A few days ago, I attended an International Blockchain Congress that was organized here, in Granada, just in the city of Motril; of course, I could not miss it. Mainly I went because although I had already read about this matter and especially about cryptocurrencies -there is too much info about bitcoin-, I wanted to know the real potential of this disruptive technology, that as I mention in the title, goes further than just cryptocurrencies.
I must admit, it was a very technical forum -and sometimes I could get lost-, but thanks to that, I could go deeper regarding programming languages and the processes that are behind this system. So firstly, I would like to define this term, because as it happens with many other trends, we could be using a concept without knowing its real meaning.
In a nutshell, we could say that Blockchain is a bund of technologies that let us create a register of information that are generating the digital transactions, through a validation system, that makes each operation unique identifying each person or device that are participating in the same.
For those who know how accounting works, it could be like a ledger, in which all the movements are reflected, while they are codified as an internet router that assignes IP adresses to each device that is connected to the net. In this way, this information is storaged as a public register, avoiding the intervention of an auditor or “notary” for certifying the authenticity of those transactions.
I hope that this brief introduction has worked for clarifying the concept before starting to see different uses that it has nowadays; knowing that this system has been existing for more than a decade, but there was no internet implementation nor the necessary infrastructure for developing all its potential. In fact, today we do not even know its limits in the long term.
“This system has been existing for more than a decade, but there was no internet implementation nor the necessary infrastructure for developing all its potential”.
In the following I am going to name some of the fields where Blockchain is already present, and some others that are only in incipient way, but they are emerging in a beta phase, and they are going to revolutionize the way we have been doing things until now.
One of the big advantages of Blockchain is that facilitates the register of any transaction of clause gathered in a contract, without the need of an interpretation of the same. Being scalable to any contractual situation (renting, insurances, working relations, etc).
For example, flight insurance, that we have hired for covering any risks or delays. Using a smart contract, in case the plane is delayed for 2 hours, it won´t be necessary to call the company or insurance office asking for compensation. As soon as we arrive, we validate the time through our mobile phones which are geolocated, and we will receive in less than minutes the transfer in our bank accounts.
What could happen if it´s not necessary either asking for recommendations or looking in your CV to know if that Master Degree was a piece of paper or for real? Or… what if the job vacancies both in public and private sectors were covered automatically, based on the suitability of the candidates, all of that validated through a platform based on Blockchain? Maybe, in this way we could avoid many scandals and in the other hand, we could stop that scepticism that exists regarding to meritocracy of some elections.
If we talk about Fake News -for instance- which points the housing price is increasing 6% one day, and just the day after the same publisher says it has dropped for 2%. What if the news feeds could check the veracity of these news to prevent spreading fake news? So yes, this is just one of many possibilities that this technology offers.
ROBOTICS AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
In this field the possibilities are unimaginable -and not only for a layman as me in this matter-, but in my opinion nobody is still prepared to see what this technology could reach if it is combined with Deep Learning process.
Cloud computing platforms that are gathered in Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, are advancing up to levels that make us rethink even our role as humans in the current society. In the previous article published on this blog What is the 4th industrial revolution bringing? -which I invite you to read if you are interested in this subject-, I dealt with this dilemma.
Por supuesto, cuanto más se desarrolla este campo, más vértigo nos da, pero claro, es lo que tiene el miedo al cambio, lo cual es algo inherente al ser humano.
Intervención de Carol Reyes y su robot Nick que basa su sistema de aprendizaje en el Machine Learning.
Este punto lo he dejado para el final, ya que es mucho más popular y por ende no creo que vaya a descubrir muchas cosas nuevas. Es de todos más que conocido el tema de las criptomonedas como el Bitcoin, Ethereum, Iota, Ripple, etc -solo por citar las más nocidas-, y su funcionamiento ya explicado al principio del artículo, permiten conocer a quien pertenecen las monedas virtuales. Quizás lo más interesante para mi -por lo novedoso, quiero decir- fué el concepto de la minería de moneda. Donde a través de equipos informatícos armados de tarjetas gráficas potentes, van realizando cálculos computaciones y como incentivo obtienen por un lado comisiones por esas transacciones “al servicio de la causa”; y por otro nuevos bitcoins que se ponen en circulación.
Aunque su alcance dentro de la industria financiera es mucho mayor, ya que como indicaba en el apartado sobre Smart Contracts, no hará falta un interventor o un analista para verificar la solvencia de un cliente, ya que esta será conocida con solo introducir el DNI. Por no hablar de la no necesidad de gran parte de esa intermediación financiera. Aunque la reinvención del mercado laboral, es otro capítulo a parte que no vamos a analizar aquí.
Como hemos visto a lo largo de todo el artículo, son muchos los campos en los que el Blockchain ya está marcando un antes y un después, usuando la red global para cambiar los mercados y la forma en la que nos relacionamos; haciendo cualquier actuación verificable y transparente. Dando así la máxima agilidad y fiabilidad a los diferentes procesos y eliminando algunos eslabones de la cadena; especialmente aquellos que lejos de aportar valor, la distorsionan, entorpecen y encarencen.