How much do you trust me?
That’s mostly rhetorical as I expect the answer is not a lot, if even at all.
Why would you?
What credential or reason do you have for extending pleasantries to me with respect to any level of trust or understanding? You may have read a couple of my blog posts in the past, or just discovered my writing for the first time, but neither is a strong basis for trusting anything I say or enough to compel you to take any specific action which has the potential to harm you in any way.
That is to say that online trust is impossible.
In the physical world, it is maintained by third parties and intermediaries who ensure what is ours remains ours, what we are due gets paid, and that we are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous actors trying to exploit us.
The most radical leap forward in terms of innovation that blockchain achieves is that it destroys the need for that third party to exist today. Right now we need a bank to ensure that money we are due by someone else reaches our account. They deploy double entry bookkeeping which debits the account of the person who owes you that money and credits your account with it.
That is the revolution that has enabled the world to evolve throughout history, while before that there was no mechanism which could ensure we got paid.
Trust makes the world go round
Blockchain is the innovation that enables this where it’s impossible
It enables trust in a trust-less setting, between people who needn’t know each other’s identity. If that sounds like a small thing, consider for a second whether you would unlock your phone and allow me to scroll through its content without being able to object or stop anything I was doing.
You wouldn’t right?
But what if there was a technology that recorded every single thing I done on your phone, displayed it on a public incorruptible ledger which keeps that record for the rest of time for anyone else to see at their leisure?
If you could look back at my history on there, see that I’d been given 100 people phones and never done anything untoward before to anyone else, would that increase your willingness to trust me?
If that record said that I had done something I shouldn’t have, my reputation would be there for you to see and you would have the evidence you need to not trust me. You could choose who you could extend your trust to based on their historical actions, guaranteed by a peer to peer network who’s consensus algorithm is designed to weed out people we can’t rely on.
To think of that a different way, Snapchat has a feature which tells you if somebody else screenshots a picture you have sent to them. This has hurt a huge number of teenagers in the past who’s trust has been broken by a friend who has shared that private image with other people. Blockchain would record this bad behavior and maintain it as a public record anyone could see. This could stop people from sharing information with people who cannot be trusted. It could also trace the leak back to the person who started it by encoding the users public key on the data that was shared.
Blockchain ensures we know the people we can trust while echoing that information globally for anyone to tap in to. It lets us trust people until they misbehave where they will be barred from transacting on the platform.
Naturally, the initial way this innovation was deployed was through money. It was the most profitable mechanism by which intermediaries being removed could have the widest possible benefit.
Next, it will replace every institution where there is currently a third party required to ensure the transaction occurs as it should
Property deeds, contractual agreements, escrow will all be massacred by the blockchain.
No longer do these things have to be rooted through centralized databases when we can maintain the record ourselves, confirm transactions and ensure that it is literally impossible for people to go back on their word or reverse a record on the chain.
More trust, quicker clearing, on a ledger which takes longer than the lifespan of the universe to hack
That is the level of security and trust you can place in a system that can’t be hacked at one location or maintained by a single party.
Everyone confirms there own and everyone else transactions
Everyone ensures those records are not tampered with.
There has never been this depth or breadth of win win win opportunity for humanity in our history.