Blockchain, but for real

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  1. Blockchain, but for real
  2. 4. A truly positive nature

4. A truly positive nature

This brings us to what blockchain is actually about. Here are a few points:

Stereotypes (part 2)

  • … the criticisms outlined in (2. A truly tarnished reputation), to some extent.

Indeed, these usages of blockchain are very real. However, they are, as such, insignificant aspects of what it actually is; such a diminished — sometimes deceptive — definition, by highlighting only dubious or problematic usages, conceals a tremendous part of its immense potential. As well as countless initiatives that already seek to improve existing systems.

Philosophy: “don’t trust, verify”

  • An expression that accurately conveys the essence of blockchain: “don’t trust, verify” or sometimes “trust, but verify”.

Eventually, as blockchain eliminates third parties (in most cases), in exchange it allows anyone to verify the validity and authenticity of any data. Meaning a transaction, information, a picture — virtually anything that can be digitalized.

Decentralized platforms

  • Decentralized platforms, whose whole structure and functioning are transparent — ensured by an unalterable (immutable) code, accessible to anyone — yet can guarantee anonymity and data privacy. Partly for financial transactions, but so much more.

Trust-minimized voting (without third parties), securely and anonymously. There are various methods that eliminate the risk of fraud, and evaluate each vote with the same weight, mitigating the bias due to trust requirements (5).

Digital identity. Yes, it’s concerning. However, here as well, it really depends on how much control we have, and how much it relies on intermediaries. The increasing digitalization of institutions, and consequently of our identities, is a reality; certainly, these solutions will be leveraged to support this process. Yet — by design — the user can solely own their identity, without ever having to disclose details to anyone. Some systems allow proving a claim without ever revealing it (6) — e.g., that a user is of legal age without actually revealing it.

Intellectual property and copyright. Artists and creators can register their works on blockchain, which irrevocably inscribes their authenticity and allows for direct compensation with each use or sale. We are familiar with the business practices of Spotify — there are already platforms that offer the same service while actually remunerating artists (7).

Supply chains. Companies can use blockchain to trace the provenance, history, and itinerary of their products, providing tangible proof of their quality — again, without any third party (8, 9).

Decentralized financing. Beyond cryptocurrencies, Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is a set of financial systems without intermediaries, which enable, for example, offering loans, exchanges, and other financial services directly between users (10). More generally, similar to peer-to-peer networks (11), blockchain allows exchanging anything, straight from one user to another.

Management of medical records. Patients can have secure and controlled access to their medical records, while facilitating it to healthcare professionals whenever required. For example, to prove to a doctor that one is subjected to x or y treatment, without necessarily providing further details (12). Once again, on the same grounds as digital identity, the only person who knows about your medical record — is you.

Design shamelessly forked and modified from 5/9