In the documentary film Blockchain City – The Future of Cities Driven by Blockchain, technology futurist and speaker Ian Khan narrates the history of blockchain development and attempts to break down the possible future evolution of digital transaction records and how they will impact modern day life.
Birth of blockchain
In 2008, a whitepaper was published highlighting a potential new electronic form of currency with blockchain technology as its core foundation. Since then, blockchain has grown into a global phenomenon.
2:27: In Dubai, a radical futuristic vision is pushing an aggressive strategy for changing our future through technology. Dubai is well known as one of the fastest growing cities in the world, and its name is synonymous with progress, and dreaming big.
Dubai has an ambitious plan to create a fully blockchain based government by the end of 2020. The idea is to make sure we’re utilising the best technologies, and understanding how blockchain can add value to our lives and make them simpler.
Dubai has focused on moving hundred percent of its government onto blockchain. It is encouraging entrepreneurs and startups, and aiming to become a global leader in blockchain technology. Dubai has come up with twenty use cases for blockchain which they want to fully move towards by the end of this year.
As a result of this technology oriented vision, every industry and business sector in Dubai is undergoing a radical shift.
What is blockchain?
5:17: Blockchain is a breakthrough in database tech. Its architecture allows everyone on the system to trust the system. You decentralize contracts and decision making, so nothing is mediated by gatekeepers, and this makes the process extremely fast and efficient.
Estonia, over the last two decades or so, has laid foundations for a digital powered nation. They are considered a leader in blockchain. Estonia was one of the original users of blockchain-esque database technologies, used in peoples registrars and database systems.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands is attempting to bring global attention to blockchain technology. Blockchain can help people work together and collaborate.
Benefits of blockchain
How can one technology have so many different applications? How can one new breakthrough revolutionise our lives on its own? Ian Khan argues that when personal computers first entered the market, sceptics did not believe they could change our lives – but they have. He says blockchain will do the same, but in this decade.
There is massive financial benefit and ease associated with blockchain; you don’t have to wait at a bank for hours and sign pieces of paper to make transactions.
Dubai started digitization of their government in 2000. Blockchain isn’t just limited to the financial sector – it can be used for social projects and solving world problems, like overfishing or child labour. There is a vast range of applications.
Blockchain will provide an unchangeable, permanent record of legitimate transactions, helping to track information because it is all available on blockchain. Blockchain can change the music industry by digitizing contracts into smart contracts to stay on top of payments. Payments can be sent safely without a third party. By opening up these databases, the music industry can establish an eco-system of collaboration and music ownership.
Normally transactions can take many days, but with today’s blockchain we’re achieving up to fifty percent efficiency. If every transaction is made through blockchain, we’ll have one hundred percent efficiency and transactions will be instantaneous, 100% safe and secure.
Blockchain and trust
18:15: We need global trust and there is a strong need for consensus with blockchain. You have to have very secure and rigid database architecture to earn the trust of the public. This is especially true when it comes to the inner workings of governments around the world.
20:33: One important building block is regulating blockchain startups. It is difficult to track where they are trading, how they are operating and how their systems work. They are virtual, autonomous organizations.
21:10: Everyone is driven by a need for change. A good example is an ongoing technology experiment in a town outside of Zurich, Switzerland. The municipality of Zook is experimenting with cryptocurrency for payments and government matters. The government chose to accept bitcoin for numerous administrative transactions, and many stores now accept bitcoin as a payment. Zook is now referred to as Crypto Valley. In Switzerland, there is a lot of trust in the government. Switzerland also has a lot of advanced technology, so it is the perfect place to test blockchain technology on a large scale.
24:34: You can use blockchain to build real smart cities. For example, if a streetlight breaks down, it could automatically send a smart contract to repair workers and process a transaction autonomously, so the worker can be paid immediately. The current technology is advanced enough to do this today.
25:11: blockchain is an enabler for trust. Technology is a big factor for creating trust; no longer do you have to trust in a third party, only the established blockchain technology being used. This increases the certainty in making purchases, voting online, and performing other user identified actions through the cloud.
What will it take to create a blockchain based world?
Blockchain will take thousands of years of technology developed up until this day and put it on a strong foundation.
30:06: Blockchain has the potential to solve hundreds of enormous problems. What would it take to achieve global blockchain dependency? The internet will be revolutionised in the next five years. If people want to be globally connected with each other, we need blockchain. AI, smart homes and the internet will all be brought together to streamline our lives and save us from excessive decision making.
Blockchain has not fully matured yet, and there is still a lot of progression before it can be taken worldwide. The promising fact is that many organizations and governing agencies are now taking the technology seriously. But blockchain is developing extremely fast. Before we can adopt it at a mass scale, we need to hit several trust margins.
In the past years, we have learned that to be a part of the internet, you pay with your data. Blockchain aims to solve this by allowing people to take control of their data and digital personas. The technology is extremely easy to use, and it provides a chance for democracy and interconnectedness to improve. Money making is not an aspect in blockchain.
This decade is perhaps the most incredibly technological time in human history so far.