It seems to me that as time goes on technology becomes better and better at imitating the physical world.
Think of any computer screen or device; originally we were restricted to mouse-pointers to “click” a “button” on a screen and navigate a world of “pages.” Nowadays we need only our hands and a mobile phone device to access and surf the Internet.
A non-physical world built by humans will inevitably bear characteristics of physical objects. This physical trait of the digital world makes it easy for anyone to use modern devices, from the youngest of our kind to the oldest.
However, everything in the digital world is copyable and seemingly unlimited, so how in this regard can data and information become more like real objects?
The answer, is blockchain technology.
Blockchain refers to a system of data exchange that operates using a chain of records, or “blocks,” that are unalterable once they are posted. Given that the information is unalterable and posted on a digital ledger, data exchanged using this system become “mutually exclusive” in their ownership.
This mutually exclusive feature is something that makes it easy for societies to enforce property rights. You cannot use my hammer whilst I use it, nor can you listen to my vinyl record while it sits in my house. Through the Internet however, music and other intellectual productions lost their trait of ownership-linked consumption, and became subject to the whim and demands of online pirates.
My old iPod full of 20,000 songs is testament to this fact.
Now with the advent of blockchain technology, digital information gains a physical trait, exemplified most aptly by the advent of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is merely one use for blockchain technology we have created so far, as Richard Bush from Adage observes.
Blockchain, in my view, will create a gradual but major power shift in a vast number of industries. The concept of the sharing economy alone is a great example of how varied and creative we humans can be with our technology and system of exchange.
I may be approaching this idea quite obliquely, but after reading this article on Adage.com I was reminded once again just how “disruptive” technology can be. Blockchain, as Bush suggests, may be the next disruption we have to deal with, this time in a cooperative way.
What are your thoughts? What kind of impact could this unique system of exchange have on your industry, or those markets you most engage with?
Also please have a read of Richard Bush’s article in Adage.com,as it was the inspiration for these thoughts expressed herein.