New Kid On the Block
March 8, 2021
Chain…chain..chain…! But unlike Aretha Franklin’s anthem, this is not a chain of fools…but of the very wise. The rest of the 21st century will be a marvel of new technologies changing how we live our lives, and I don’t mean in that dated, Disney World’s Fair sort of way…because it is no longer the “future” but the here and now. The
electronic television was available as a commercial item in 1939, but it would take another 20 years until it was a household item. But that was 60 years ago when “digital” meant using your fingers to count to ten. But the point is new technology usually needs a little time to “catch on”…with the possible exception of the iPhone. Just 30 years ago, no one was sure that the “Internet” was viable, 20 years ago, whether Amazon could compete and survive against the brick and mortar stores. 10 years ago…I can go on and on but I’m obviously inferring that the time span for society-changing tech adoption is getting shorter and shorter. One year ago, blockchain technology as a whole was still the realm of nerds, propellerheads and crooks. Now blockchains are popping up everywhere and will continue to do so.
In my opinion this is a good thing. Decentralizing (DeCe) can only help humanity fulfill its own potential by sifting out greed, racism, ignorance and mistrust from, if nowhere else, the digital realm. Instead of the world using technology to keep tabs on people, blockchains allow people to keep tabs on the world. At least in theory…
In any case, when we think of a blockchain, for the layman that’s just Bitcoin and, maybe, Etheruem, but only in terms of how much they’re worth. But very few understand the basis for that worth. As I mentioned in my last article…that value is based upon trust. There are many ways to display trust, a scampish wink, a firm handshake, a warm hug…think of each of these as a “separate” blockchain. Like Ethereum, Cosmos or Flow, they pretty much do the same thing but in much different ways. Eventually we’re going to have to stop looking at tech as a kind of zero sum game. Granted the success of any technology platform in the long run is based on the infamous “Network Effect”, the real driver behind the amazing impact just a few technologies have made on our lives. But the Effect is somewhat fickle, not everything popular will be good and not everything good will be popular, but that’s more in the field of sociology and psychology than it is technology.
For now, there is a plethora of blockchain smart contract networks to choose from, Ethereum, PolkaDot, Cardano, each having its own means of building trust. After all you wouldn’t hug your mailman or wink at your mother (maybe you would…) but you get the point. Sooner or later all these block chains, no matter how they’re built, will learn to communicate with each other. Will this create a dystopian world where DOA’s rule without interference from the masses? Hardly, but it is ironic that it’s easier to trust a few lines of code than a real live human being. Now that’s something to think about.