On October 31, 2008, a man named Satoshi Nakamoto published a message in an email list in which he announced the creation of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin based on Blockchain technology. Since then, all crypto fans have been talking about the « new internet », the Blockchain revolution or a great digital transformation. What is it really?
This blog post is the fruit of my own reflection, so it does not mean that it is the absolute truth, it is only my view. Also note that I am not talking about BTC or cryptocurrency at all (which are a separate topic) but only about the Blockchain.
Bitcoin is based on blockchain technology, the same technology that is at the heart of the debate, the BTC is a problem (ecological in particular), the blockchain however is revolutionary because it corrects the only problem that the Internet has not managed to solve, identity theft (and therefore theft).
To put it simply, the blockchain is a different database design than traditional databases, it is decentralized and distributed when other databases are centralized and not distributed (which makes them vulnerable). Each transaction of the blockchain is registered in a database, this same database is duplicated in all the computers of the network, they themselves validate the transaction and finally each line of the database can be neither changed nor erased, even if a usurper lend to possess a value (to sell it) the other computers of the network will not validate his transaction because by going back the transactions they will not be able to prove his eligibility to possess this value.
With this basic scheme given, in the last few years hundreds of « crypto-currencies » all based on the bockchain have emerged and Bitcoin has come close to $60,000 taking all other crypto-currencies with it. The fact of having currencies not managed by the state or banks has managed to seduce crypto fans.
Recently a new technology based on blockchain has emerged, the NFT.
Mainly used in the field of art or video games, this technology uniquely identifies the owner of a work of art or a unique space in a video game. One artist even sold her nft-based artwork for $69 million.
It is with the arguments stated later that articles, media, personalities etc. started to talk about blockchain as the future of the internet.
However, let’s analyze the beginnings of the Internet a little bit. The concept of Internet (network of networks) dates from 1973 and the official date of birth often retained is January 1st, 1983, day when the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency NETwork) of 1969 passed from the protocol NCP to TCP/IP. However it did not take long for this to change our lives, in 1976 two companies that will change our lives are born, Microsoft and Apple. Oracle was born the year after. In 1980 Microsoft announced the XENIX OS, a portable operating system for 16-bit microprocessors. In 1981 IBM launched the IBM PC, one of the first personal computers. In 1983 Microsoft launched its first mouse. Unlike the Apple mouse, it has two buttons. Every year new inventions are born and they revolutionize our way of life. In 1990 Microsoft launched Windows 3.0. Ten million copies were sold in two years.
In the early 2000s, web hosting companies appeared that could host applications on their computer premises. In particular, Google and Amazon have simultaneously taken up the term ‘cloud computing’ in 2006 the year of the creation of Google cloud and AWS, since then, the use of the cloud has not stopped growing. AWS reports a turnover of 54 billion dollars in 2020. History proves it, every technological invention has had an imminent success and an increased growth of new user.
Let’s go back to blockchain, 13 years after its creation name me one blockchain based application that has changed our lives… Any of you using a Gmail, Facebook or even a blockchain based open source application? No.
Even if the world proclaims it, blockchain has not changed our lives.
Let’s analyze the reasons for this failure to have a synthesis on the subject
There are many reasons why blockchain has not revolutionized our lives despite its powerful technology. I have however only 1, of course there are surely others.
Not everyone is interested in the security of a database. If the early days of the internet have seen a strong growth it is partly because it has given a colossal power to the user. The power to search for information for free, the power to communicate through a network … The blockchain does not change this, it does not give new power it simply secures this power, for the general public the fact that the database is duplicated does not change anything, only the security or cryptography buffs are pleased. If blockchain has not succeeded in changing our lives it is simply because the purpose of blockchain is not to change OUR lives but only the lives of those who seek a way to be uniquely authenticated and for them blockchain has already changed their lives, look at the artists and the NFT.
The emergence of the internet was a creation of 0 to 1, the emergence of blockchain is only an improvement of this 1 (to 2)
The blockchain is yes revolutionary in a sense and even if it is currently not enough or badly used I have no doubt that this technology will change considerably some thing. Security and authenticity in the digital world is not something to be sneezed at, imagine a Facebook or Google based on a blockchain the number of data related problems that would be solved from the user’s perspective.
However, many blokchain-based strategies are emerging and it is necessary to analyze and study seriously if it is not just a buzzword and to be careful that the startup really delivers content outside of storytelling.