So now, why should you care???
There are so many reasons, but I’ve edited myself down to just three really good reasons to care about blockchain. We think blockchain is here to stay.
Because you care about your fellow human beings and their financial inclusion!
Now it’s happened a few times where I’ve been at a bar blabbing on about how amazing Bitcoin is, and someone will chime in and say, “Well I have a Visa card. It works great. What do I need Bitcoin for?” And, well they’re right. If you have a Visa card you really don’t need bitcoin — at least not like other people do.
Bitcoin is dramatically better tech than credit cards, but we won’t get into that now. We’ll just start with, if you’re in the first world you have access to the best financial services in the world. I mean we all have several bank accounts and credit cards, and access to international wire transfers. As much as we complain about our economy and our money and inflation, we really have one of the best, most stable currencies in the world.
There are 7.6 billion people on the planet, and over two billion of them don’t even have bank accounts. Many more than that have bank accounts, but not with anywhere near the level of service that we have in the first world. Plus many, many people around the world can’t trust their banking and monetary institutions.
Now if you’re from the US you probably kind of trust your institutions, and you’ve probably never lived through a currency crisis. But currency crises are actually pretty common around the world. If you don’t believe me, you can ask your German grandmother, or your cousin from Zimbabwe, or your Venezuelan friend.
For these reasons, if you’re living anywhere outside the first world, Bitcoin gives you a way out of your crappy institutions and a way into the world economy. So while you might think Bitcoin isn’t really needed, your fellow human beings around the world might think a bit differently.
Reason #2 – Web 3.0
Web 3.0 has a few different definitions, but what we mean here is a decentralized network of applications, data, and people who can connect and interact with each other without a trusted third party. So transact without a bank, or communicate with your aunts and uncles without a tech giant like Facebook.
All this enables much greater control over your data — which means greater privacy and security. There’s the saying about surfing the web and it goes,
“If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.”
We use so many apps and services that are free, but really we’re paying. We’re just paying with our privacy. These services are data mining us constantly. Now with Web 3.0, we’ll have streaming services and micro payments where you can pay five cents for that article instead of handing over your search history. Furthermore, Web 3.0 will have identity management where you’ll be able to know with a very high degree of certainty who it is that you’re actually dealing with when you’re online. And maybe you won’t need 15 different usernames and passwords for those 15 different services used. That would be awesome!
With a decentralized web, your data isn’t stored in one centralized location. So there’s no one server to hack and steal millions of people’s data. I could go on and on about how amazing Web 3.0 is going to be, but we’ll stop there. And I’ll just say the projects that are enabling Web 3.0 are things like Ethereum, uPort, Blockstack; and applications like smart contracts, dApps, and DAOs.
Yes! You guessed it. All of these things are powered by blockchain.
Reason #3 – Industry Disruption
Additionally, blockchain makes possible the flow of information between parties that don’t really trust each other. Maybe that doesn’t sound all that impressive by itself, but this is likely to shake up quite a few industries. And it will do that primarily by sharing and managing data much more efficiently.
To give you a couple of examples:
- Real estate and public records. Not only can it. It already has. Things like real estate listings or even real estate transactions.
- How about crowdfunding? Smart contracts can be used for crowdfunding without a business involved.
- How about supply chain solutions? Supply chains are about coordinating data and about goods being shipped. Hey what coordinates data really well? Blockchains.
- How about insurance? A lot of the costs behind insurance goes to coordinating and processing data about people, assets, and claims. Blockchain might be used for that.
- And accounting. Let’s imagine a big company that uses an open blockchain for a lot of their transactions. Is auditing really that necessary anymore???