You can’t go past a news paper, radio show or television news story these days without being flooded by all things Bitcoin or Crypto Currency. Some say it’s the new world of money while others suggest its all just a passing fad. Whatever your position or preference of Crypto Currency the really story is in the world of what is know as Blockchain Technology. In fact, without it, there would be little or no value in Crypto.
Blockchain is not necessarily new as a concept because in fact human beings have been working to harness the collective for many thousands of years to either build or create things. Where it differs is in the harnessing of technology to achieve a maximum benefit from efficiencies being created. Its also about harnessing the collective to achieve a great outcome in the most optimal time possible. Confused? Ok, imagine it like this:
You start off with a single spreadsheet within your own single operating environment that updates on a regular basis as an improvement is found or a calculation becomes more sophisticated. You then share that spreadsheet thereby duplicating the number but this time – virtually and therefore globally. A network is born with the spreadsheet now able to update, improve, recalibrate and calculate faster than a single group of human beings could working in an office tech environment in a single office. So think of this now as a network as opposed to the spreadsheet being stored in a single location as many documents currently are. In essence blocks of information and data are built that can be reused, improved upon and re-purposed not by a single person in a single owned location but by multiple people and computers in a multitude of locations.
More importantly Blockchain is not owned or controlled by a single entity, organisation or government, nor does it technically have a single point of failure. Where disruptions do occur its not in the technology its in the ability of human beings finding ways to take advantage of things such as Crypto currency not by corrupting the chain but by setting up old school techniques of stealing through fake pages and fake offers.
Technology Futurist Ian Kahn talks about it like this: “ … No more missed transactions, human or machine errors, or even an exchange that was not done with the consent of the parties involved. Above anything else, the most critical area where Blockchain helps is to guarantee the validity of a transaction by recording it not only on a main register but a connected distributed system of registers, all of which are connected through a secure validation mechanism.”
In other words, the manipulation of the Blockchain is harder and therefore less corruptible. In terms of the single point of failure that inevitably plagues current technologies and platforms, Blockchain is decentralised. Take Bitcoin as an example – it uses a global network of computers off the back of Blockchain to jointly manage the database that records transactions – in a typical world view of banking the system would be owned, operated and managed by a single bank – hence the interbank transfer system that is still in use.
So think about this – a technology that harnesses the collective to find new ways and means of doing things – potentially it could be finding a more efficient fuel source, solutions to climate change and even cures for cancer and other diseases. So when you think about Crypto Currencies know that its just one part of the potential that Blockchain brings.
Matthew Tukaki is the Chair of News Now, former Chair of the Chief Information Officers Council and Chair of the National Maori Authority of New Zealand.
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