30 Dec Blockchain Technology for Transparency and Accountability
Decentralized information-sharing and total transparency and accountability are what blockchain can bring to the digital age. A general ledger that can be shared and verified without being corrupted is a game changer for everyone who relies on the internet to do anything which currently, in this day and age, is potentially everyone including third world non-industrialized countries that rely on alternative money exchanges and payment forms.
This isn’t just about bitcoin. In fact, Blockchain technology applications will have much farther and more commonly shared uses than some alternative crypto currency. The mythology goes that over a decade ago someone or a group of people going by the moniker, Satoshi Yamamoto, authored the bitcoin white paper and deployed the original bitcoin implementation. He/They may have intended to create a parallel universe internet where as long as a lot of electricity was available, you could become a billionaire. Sustainable? No. Nothing is worth more than gold and silver and bitcoin is not rare minerals. But having a system that keeps the internet democratic, honest, and transparent absolutely has major implications.
Blockchain will absolutely be part of the web 3.0. It already has begun. 3.0 is also known as a more intelligent, semantic, and curated web experience that is taking shape before our eyes at light speed. During the rapid technological advancement of multiple devices and digital touch points of users, their experience, and reasons for putting everything on the internet are starting to see where not only is blockchain technology developing but also needed.
In other words, during what has been labeled obliquely and ubiquitously, the ‘digital transformation’ and IoT or ‘internet of things’, we will see a more decentralized web experience with blockchain technology playing a pivotal role. Blockchain functions as its own internet in several ways. It enables total transparency, traceability, and accountability in many industries including food production, agribusiness, financial transactions, cannabis strain patents, real estate, healthcare, and more.
How do transactions happen currently? I was in a car dealership recently and witnessed the sales manager logging into the company’s google drive business account with his own login and password and continued watching the screen as he started entering confidential information like my social security number, birthdate credit score, and other personal information. I asked him when they started using google as their business platform and he mistook my apprehensive tone as being impressed and answered that their general manager was very tech savvy and adept at helping make things more efficient. I reminded him that any data uploaded to Google is under Google’s control and a single point of failure exists every day when a disgruntled worker decides to commit fraud and embark on identity theft tantrums. I know that sounds paranoid but let’s be realistic. Google cloud just means the data lives on Google’s servers. Google has been hacked before and will be again. Why rely on one huge depository to store all the information on the internet? We are in the age of smart contracts, the sharing economy, crowd funding, transparent governance, supply chain auditing, file storage, protection of intellectual property, microgrids, identity management, anti-money laundering AML, know your customer KYC, data management, land title registration, and stock trading that are all poised for disruption and reorganization. The idea of decentralization will be helped by nodes or administrators who have credentials to verify and approve. Data and content delivery will speed up as information is transferred and shared among many computers and easily verifiable and traceable.
When you think of Blockchain and how it will revolutionize industries like food safety, the easiest way I can explain it is picture a general ledger or spread sheets shared by fax machines all over the world so when you post information you still have the original message ready to verify from the fax you received. Still not making sense? Ok then picture scanning a bar code and looking at a screen seeing every piece of information about that product you just scanned. Maybe it’s a hemp plant and now you know where the seed came from, what soil was used, how often it was watered, what nutrients were used, was it organic, when was it harvested, are there any toxins present, etc. Seed to smoke becomes like farm to table and that farm to table scenario would result in accessing even more data from a simple scan including from conception to consumption. You can’t manipulate the information arbitrarily and there are multiple ways to confirm what the information was and should be.
As mentioned before, a lot of talk about bitcoin and crypto currency especially over the last several years has transpired where some outlets say crypto is dead and the bitcoin bubble has burst. If you are a crypto millionaire, then lucky for you and your ability to mine bitcoin is admirable. There will be alternative currency again and it’s not about exclusivity, it’s about convenience and the worth of an alternative payment source will rely on supply and demand. Think of it more as bartering. You want to buy a car off Facebook? Facebook is busy creating its own blockchain so that not only can people sell cars off Facebook, they also will be able to transact via Facebook. Take a screen shot. That’s your fax, or rather your facsimile, your pit stops as you transact something that you have and someone else wants. By having that screen shot you have just emulated an administrator.
New networks can exist with distributed ledgers that are either public or private and can vary in their size and structure. Computers’ processing power confirms transactions which is like bitcoin mining. The distribution of these ledgers can be public and/or private. Users are anonymous, and each user has a copy of the ledger and participates in confirming transactions independently or users are public, and permission is required for users to have a copy of the ledger and participate in confirming transactions. Picture yourself signing a contract digitally and copies of that contract are shared among chosen participants who have access and no one entity or bank or database has complete control. Why would we want this? Think about voting. Think about food safety. Think about medical research. Think about financial accountability. Blockchain won’t keep everyone honest but it will keep things transparent and traceable and hold entities accountable.