In the past year blockchain technology and digital currency, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, have gained some incredible traction. Normal people are buying it, developers are building it, and companies are using it. Too often, however, the technology is being portrayed as a silver bullet. Is it going to end poverty and create world peace? Probably not. But is it going to have a big impact? Absolutely yes.
I genuinely believe that blockchain technology will disrupt the way identity is handled, how we communicate, how we own and store data and how organisations are run. These are all very impactful changes to our society. But still consider these changes incremental. There are things with humanity that probably are not going to change with any sort of technology. Malicious people will still exist, developers will still create bugs by mistake, and companies will still put profit before purpose. Blockchains will not fix that, only incrementally make it better in important ways.
One of the many positive outcomes from this movement is that people are asking lots of questions. Old assumptions about social-economics and computational patterns are being questioned and put to test. An incredible amount of research is being put into things like economic game theory, advanced cryptography and formal software verification. Even if we get nothing more out of this blockchain movement, it’s already a success. This is the kind of research that is raising the bar for future technologies. Digest that for a moment. And now, think about what’s already being built for this new era of the web.
Bitcoin is a remarkable cryptographic achievement and the ability to create something that is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value
— Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google