2018: The Year of The Blockchain

"The very institutions whose charter is brokering social trust—banks and governments—have in many parts of the world spectacularly failed to do so." - Natalie Smolenski

This quote highlights one of the many reasons we are seeing a global transition from traditional institutions to more decentralized and transparent systems. We are seeing more disillusionment with our private service providers (think Facebook), our banks (think Wells Fargo), our Government (think protests, election participation). At the same time, we are seeing rays of hope as new systems arise that provide a more secure and trust-fueled path into our technology-driven future. These systems are emanating from the many blockchain projects currently being developed, implemented and utilized all over the world. 

I recently returned from a blockchain conference in Vietnam. Never have I been in such a diverse space. There were old bankers bantering with youthful bohemians, government officials gabbing with geeks, digital nomads schmoozing with stay-at-home parents - I could go on. At the Siagon-based event, there were at least 60 countries represented, and the gender divide was easily 50/50. The many corners of the world and walks of life that are catalyzed by the blockchain movement is energizing and confidence inspiring. So many very smart people, from so many different backgrounds, are all working towards the mass adoption of blockchain technologies in pursuit of making more equitable systems of finance, governance, and so much more.

One of my favourite conference presentations was by Estonia's Director of E-Residency, Anna Piperal. Estonia is at least a decade ahead of most nations in implementing blockchain technology (a.k.a. Distributed Ledger Technology, DLT). For example, the Estonian IRS is an algorithm that is connected to one's bank account, so tax season takes seconds. Estonians' healthcare records are transferable between healthcare providers in Estonia and in neighbouring countries, accessible by a chip in each Estonian's state ID. Estonians vote from their laptops and smartphones. Estonian use cases go on and on, and the efficiencies that these implementations bring with them continues to spawn more incredible service improvements and cost savings for the people of Estonia. To learn more about the incredible model that Estonia provides the rest of the world, read this article from The New Yorker.

As the US is mired in old debates, and hamstrung by legacy systems, I continue to find inspiration and hope abroad as I witness smaller nations racing ahead in powerful ways, living the values that the USA has espoused since 1776.

If you are interested in how we can create more trust, expand the boundaries of democracy, create more transparency and increase global access to our resource-rich world, I encourage you to begin and/or deepen your understanding of blockchain technology's potential. My good friends will be in Santa Rosa this weekend leading an informal and experiential conversation that explores this space. Learn more about this opportunity at http://moneychaingers.io/santarosa/.

Below are links to some excellent readings to support your blockchain learning journey: