🔒 WORLDVIEW: Time for you to discover Blockchain. It will change our world. For better.

By Alec Hogg

All careers have turning points. Mine came in late 1995 when a colleague, Dr Alewyn Burger, showed me what he’d learnt during a recent trip to the IBM head office in Armonk, New York. The people at IBM had plugged him into this thing called the Internet which, they said, was going to transform the world. The gifted technologist could hardly contain himself.

It happened during my second year in big business, which came after I’d tired of the disproportionate risk:reward ratio of independent journalism. Until Alewyn opened this window to a new world, I enjoyed being an executive set for a lengthy career in banking.
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Warren Buffett

But the internet was that rare “fat pitch” Warren Buffett tells us to look out for – the dripping roast of opportunities which arrive very rarely. It was going to change all the rules of the many industries, but especially the one I knew best. Media’s impregnable barrier to entry was the cost of printing and distribution – a wall the Internet simply vaporised.

Less than a year later, that cushy corporate job was just a memory. My faltering first steps into online publishing became more assured. By mid-1999, the tiny business started in the room above my garage was suddenly in demand. A public company, it floated on the JSE at a valuation of R75m – with nowhere near enough shares to satisfy investor demand.

Stand by for a repeat. From what I have been reading, and was again told about in Davos, this one will be even bigger and more disruptive than the Internet. It’s called the Blockchain, an invention which creates a new global layer of trust, providing a faultless digital identity for every living person and every meaningful asset on earth.

I’m still getting my head around Blockchain. But from what the insiders tell me, its development is where the Internet was in 1996, around four years after the web started becoming accessible to the public. This timeline tells me we can start preparing ourselves for the Blockchain equivalent of the 1999 “DotCom boom” which saw crazy valuations afforded new companies like my little start-up of that time.

So what is this new marvel? At its most basic level, Blockchain is a universal ledger, a totally trustworthy register of all people and things. As it becomes mainstream, Blockchain will eliminate the need for third party intervention in transactions. For instance, if you want to invest in a share in a public company, you’ll be able to transact directly with someone who wants to sell one. As your assets and credit records will be available, borrowing or lending money will happen without needing the costs of involving a bank. And so on.

A future with massive opportunities beckons. The Internet created tens of millions of new jobs (i.e 9m java programmers alone) and Blockchain will do the same. It will also eliminate piles of wasted energy and many useless endeavours. And just like the web, Blockchain will bring fresh transparency, meaning fewer shadows where miscreants can hide. This new creation promises to change our world. For the better. Hope springs.