Alternative Facts, and Blockchain

For some reason, maybe the alignment of the Universe, or some Butterfly effect that started when a Blacksmith missed a swing a millennium ago, I have begun to see a groundswell of misinformation and alternative factoids in the blockchian space.

Some are just from the miss informed, and I do not have a problem with that. Some are from people who choose to look at Blockchain only as a speculative instrument, instead of the game-changing technology it is. And some seems to be coming from folks who are so far afield, it reminds me of the Salem Witch hunters. Such a publisher is Kai Stinchcombe and his recent article on Medium entitled “Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future”.

I can not begin to estimate the cognitive biases stuffing up this piece of well written, but misinformed claptrap. Declinism is the cognitive bias or belief that a particular thing is in a state of significant and possibly irreversible decline. And this is a good example, in the Blockchain Space.

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly at first. From your cell phone next to you to the computer you used to read this article, all have failed miserably at first. All had opponents that espoused the status quo as superior and foretold of the doom that comes with any change. Computers will never work in the mainstream, and my flip phone will never need a touchscreen.

And they, like Kai were wrong.

The internet started out as 350 baud streaming from a modem that made funny sounds.

It was slow at first with most people complaining that it could not do much, this internet thing will never work in the mainstream, it is just to slow.

And they, like Kai were wrong.

As it turns out if you were going to build a database in 1984 it would look a lot like SQL or Oracle. If you were going to build a database in 2018, it would be different. And if you were going to build a business in 2018, it would look nothing like the centralized business we built in the 80’s.

As far as for use cases banks, yes I said banks, have been using blockchain and distributed leger for intrabank transfers for over a decade now.

And as far a Smart Contracts, for a wide range of potential applications, blockchain-based smart contracts offer some benefits many of which are currently coming online. Smart Contracts execute transactions 1,000 times quicker and 100 times cheaper than their fiat based counterparts. Because smart contracts use software code to automate tasks that are typically accomplished through manual means, they can increase the speed of a wide variety of business processes. Automated transactions are not only faster but less prone to manual error. The decentralized process of execution virtually eliminates the risk of manipulation, nonperformance, or errors, since execution is managed automatically by the network rather than an individual party.

Because smart contracts provide a low-cost way of ensuring that the transactions are reliably performed as agreed upon, they will enable new kinds of businesses, from peer-to-peer renewable energy trading to automated access to vehicles and storage units.

As businesses become more and more dependent on global supply chains for goods and services, the freight and logistics industry will pay a much more critical role. Currently, the industry is controlled by freight brokers who help to facilitate transactions of loads from shippers to carriers by adding a markup. Due to this, the costs of the carriers and of the downstream prices to the customers tend to increase. The traditional supply chains have relied on physical movement of large volumes of paper documents which may result in huge challenges in efficiency, tracking, and theft. Very often, supply chains are hampered by paper-based systems reliant on trading parties and banks around the world physically transferring documents which can take weeks for a single transaction.

This and more is happening right now as we speak. 2nd and 3rd quarter 2019 will see many of these new organizations begin to take hold in many industries.

A good read, to prove my theory here would be The Truth Machine by Michael Casey.

“Views differ on bitcoin, but few doubt the transformative potential of Blockchain technology. The Truth Machine is the best book so far on what has happened and what may come along. It demands the attention of anyone concerned with our economic future.”

―Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard, Former Treasury Secretary

Kai says he is —” Whatever the opposite of a futurist is,” which is cute, and comfortable with the risk-averse, but it also means that when something changes he is wrong. And no one should have the opportunity to print Alternative Facts without exposure to being challenged.

I feel better now, thank you for listening. This seems to be more of a rant than an informative article. If I have offended you, please accept my apology, but the Alternative Facts, coming out about Blockchian have caused me a lot of grief and it WAS my therapist that suggested I write this, so there is that.

  • Michael


  • Blogger: User Profile: NETEN
  • Upgrading blockchains
  • How Smart Contracts is changing Supply Chain

Alternative Facts, and Blockchain was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.