🔒 Don’t throw blockchain baby out with cryptocurrency water

LONDON — Bitcoin once flew high and peaked at around $20,000. Compare that to the recent price of a mere $4,000. The vision of a token-driven decentralised economy and off course untold wealth for people has imploded and it is now almost a dirty word as it struggles for legitimacy. And many wondered if it is over for blockchain as well. But to use a good old saying, ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water’ as blockchain has many other uses. If you have been pouring over blockchain for dummies trying to understand the technology behind it, Stephen P. Williams, the author of “Blockchain, the next everything”, explains to Bloomberg’s Carol Massar and Jason Kelley that you need not understand the science behind it to use it. – Linda van Tilburg

I think what people need to learn is that they don’t need to understand everything that makes up the technology – i.e. how it specifically works. They need to understand the potential of the technology and that’s what my book is trying to do; it’s trying to present the bigger picture so that people can kind of see what they can do with their companies and then hire technologists who really make it happen.

Is this like me with my phone and my husband. E.g. “Honey, I don’t really care how it works. Just give me the buttons and set it up”?

Yeah, it’s like all of us with our computers – with everything. I mean, none of us really know how the World Wide Web works. Some of us do, but…

But we’re all on it.

Yeah, we all know how to use it.

Alright, for someone driving home, they’re gonna pour themselves a bourbon and talk about their day and they’re gonna say, “You know what? I learned a little bit about blockchain. I can now at least be, if not fluent, conversant in what it is: How would they explain it?

Explain what blockchain is? I would say that it’s a way to collect information stored on the internet in a way that’s not hackable and the reason it’s not hackable is because of a new kind of system called ‘the distributed system’ so every computer on the blockchain protects the information.

And you describe, throughout the course of this book, some of the use cases. Healthcare is one that I feel like we hear so much about – so much promise there. In part, because privacy and security are utmost in people’s minds as consumers and also as providers. Is that becoming a reality – just taking that particular industry?

Sure. There’s a lot of work being done around healthcare and health records right now. What I would say is that is a great use case for blockchain but it also recently has… People have begun to realise that it has also revealed problems with blockchain. One part of that is that you would own your health data and have a private ID that you could carry your data with you and sell it, use it, or reveal it as you wished but it turns out that you own the information but perhaps the healthcare company owns the software that can translate that information. As blockchain comes into being, there are all kinds of things that we need to learn, fix, and figure out. It’s not a perfect technology right now, by any means.

It’s not a perfect technology but you do think about the potential when it comes to healthcare/financial – anything that really, really needs to be secure.

Yeah, I’d like to look at it as… We’re in 1995. I was walking down 5th Avenue and I saw a URL – the first one I ever saw and I was like, “What is that? I know it’s something big.” That’s where we are with blockchain right now.

Well, because you propose in this book that it’s gonna change not only the way we think about data, but it’s going to change the way we think about brands and so many things that we take for granted in our daily lives.

Yeah. I think it’s going to have a huge effect on corporations, on brands, on advertising, on individual power, and kind of levelling the opportunity cost so that people can really join in.