Blockchain – Should We Take Notice?

When I was a child there was this terrific program on the TV called Tomorrow's World. Its concept was simple, a posh chap called Raymond would show us often ludicrous inventions and explain how they were about to be part of our everyday lives. He would demonstrate these contraptions generally overlooking the real world limitations of money and various accepted laws of physics. As a small boy I was captivated by the idea of shortly being able to travel by jetpack and Mars becoming an alternative destination to the seaside for our family summer holiday.

For the last six months or so, I have been consuming my idle cycles at work looking at Blockchain. I must say, it does reminds me a lot of those Thursday evenings in front of the TV in the 1970s. Everyone talks about this technology as if it is mature, has been around forever and will shortly be behind everything we do. Perhaps it will be, but like jetpacks, we’re being asked to take a leap of faith that its use limitation will be overcome.

Blockchain has limitations. It is painfully slow—approximately 5 transactions per second—there are no rules how it can and cannot be used, and it has no common language for users to communicate. Like the early days of the Internet, no one has any real idea how to commercialize it either. In reality, it's not new. We’ve had ledgers since the Romans and networks for nearly as long. So, is the technology a dud? Ehhh. No!

I have no idea if what we are seeing is akin to the first TV broadcast or perhaps TV in colour. Is it the Internet or just cloud computing? Only time will tell if this is the evolution and culmination of a set of ideas, or a real revolutionary change. What I do know is that it has the possibility of being able to provide an almost uncorruptible record of everything we do, keep, or move. That is a seductive promise. 

Sure there are likely to be a number of false starts and we will have a lot of before we find Google. It wouldn't surprise me if, when it does become mainstream, Blockchain looks nothing like it does today. What I do know is there are a lot of people brighter than me consuming their primary thought cycles to look at this. Some of whom work for some big name companies. So I for one will continue to look at it even if I am not sure why. What about you?