Blockchain

Blockchain is one of those things that more and more people I trust have started saying ‘have you seen this thing? I think it’s important!’. These are my first thoughts after a quick look.

While I kind of knew blockchain was some kind of database thing that bitcoin used it wasn’t until I saw that the BBC had ran a news segment on it that I got a feel for what it actually did, you can check out the video here:

TL;DW: This (tad over-excitable) video calls the technology ons of those that is so incredible it is ’impossible to imagine before its inception but afterwards defies imagining life without it’. If you are interesed in blockchan I suggest you watch the video, not only because it gives a very brief breakdown of what blockchain is, a distributed database of transactions, but also because it gives you a view on what it can be used for. Interestingly the video mentions Barclays as many times as is possible for a corporation such as the BBC to mention Barcleys without getting a slap on the wrist from OFCOM. When the host is not getting expert advice from Derek White (chief design & digital officer, Barclays) he is interviewing Diane Kempt on how thanks to a little investment (from Barclays), she can use blockchain to make sure that people can buy her diamonds safe in the knowledge that they are not blood diamonds.

I found this video on blockchain really interesting because something in the it was giving me the impression that a bank might be interested in investing in this technology. This contrasts to the little bits and pieces I already knew about blockchain and what I know about the views of people who had recommended that I look in to it. Blockchain, as far as I understand it, is the public ledger of transactions for bitcoin, a payment system described by the BBC video very briefly, simply mentioning it as ‘“the shady, anarchic world of Bitcoin”. So, on the one hand the BBC video has Barcleys guests perhaps suggesting that blockchain is the savoir of hierarchy, it states it could be the ‘technological answer to piracy’, a tool their bank to regain trust with its users.

On the other hand my friends are telling me that it is a way to start to think about removing hierarchy from organisations, since  everything is accountable and is distributed. But I guess as Theresa May’s department told us on Christmas eve, it is ‘vexatious’ to want to make privacy a two way thing with those in power. Do we really want to make Theresa vexed? This prompts a question I haven’t really had time to digest:

‘Am I as bothered about my own personal privacy when we are all forced in to the open, including corporations and those in power?

A quick chat to my friends and look around on the internet suggests there are lots of things I should look at to get a better feel for the technology, in paticular I want to play with Alexandria. I think I’ll have a play and a think…

 

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