HOW TO GET A STAKE IN THE FUTURE OF MONEY
by David Chiltington
A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO BLOCKCHAIN AND DIGITAL CURRENCIES
“On the lush and fertile plains of their planet, daily the inhabitants feed themselves using traditional currencies known as "fiat". Subservient to their masters, they rely on fiat for every part of their daily lives. But if their masters look up at the sky, in the distance they might just see a small spec increasing in size. That small spec is the Asteroid Crypto, and it could be coming their way.”
When the Internet first arrived on the scene, I remember hearing a client who was in our office at the time, talking about America Online, one of the first ever live email platforms. “I can’t understand why my two sons spend all of their time in their bedrooms sending messages to each other, when all they have to do is just get up and open their doors,” he said.
To be fair, at that time not many people really appreciated the potential of the internet and its ability to send data across the world as if it was to the next-door room. But if you are reading this book then this time round you are probably going to be one of the first people outside the world of technology to understand what could be the next technological revolution.
This next technological revolution is called blockchain and will solve a lot of the remaining problems in using the internet, the remaining component yet to arrive and coming up just behind it being artificial intelligence. With these three in place, the world is going to change so that much of what we do today is going to be automated. It is perhaps both exciting and frightening at the same time.
Increasingly we live in an unsettled world. Governments don’t always function as they should, many economies are propped up by debt or are prone to high inflation. Governments can also be prone to giving themselves ever more bureaucratic power, centralizing their authority and increasing their control over their subjects through taxation.
Blockchain is all about decentralization, in other words not putting your trust in a single party. When Facebook started talking about launching its Libra cryptocurrency and bringing a bank account to billions of people with a new currency which could threaten the dominance of the US Dollar, at least the authorities had a physical entity to approach to challenge it.
By contrast bitcoin, which is managed by and spread across a global network of independent computers, has no address, no office and no employees. Henry Kissinger might have once said “Who do I call if I want to speak to Europe?” but with bitcoin there’s not even a telephone number to call.
Writing this book in the summer of 2019, it’s after the so-called “crypto winter” of 2018 and many start-up projects have failed after what was essential a gold rush by speculators to invest, similar to the dotcom boom of the 1980’s. However, bitcoin has prevailed and in future it now seems likely to increase both its utility and popularity.
In addition, some projects have already successfully launched their blockchain applications and many established corporations such as IBM are already either using or looking to use this technology, or are investing in it.
My sense is that we are right at the start. If one was at Fenway Park watching the Red Sox, then one might just say: “We’ve only had the first innings”.