Blockchains and Brexit
If you’re not up on the finer points of Brexit, you just need to know that the Irish border is probably the most complicated problem of the whole sorry mess. Put a hard border with checkpoints between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and you upset a lot of people and risk a return to the violence of The Troubles. Put the border in the Irish Sea, and you upset a different bunch of people with potentially the same outcome. But there needs to be a border somewhere if the UK is outside the EU and Ireland is inside it.
This is a tough dilemma for a UK government committed to ‘delivering Brexit’ in some form, and by March next year. 'Technology’ has been the solution most commonly proffered the border issue, avoiding any specifics that might reveal the fact that there isn’t any technology available that would solve the problem.
So yesterday, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond resorted to the magical thinking that blockchain is the solution to everything. This has been the laughable claim of anyone desperate to look 'with it’ for the past couple of years. They might be able to just about explain what a blockchain is, but they sure as hell don’t understand what it can and can’t be used for.
How would a blockchain provide a frictionless border between the UK and EU? I honestly have no idea, and I don’t know anyone else who does either.
It’s another sign that even if you think Brexit should happen, there’s no way it should have been rushed in two years without any thought to its complexities. Let’s call it off, and then if we really want to, start again and spend a decade figuring it out. We might even find a legitimate use for a 'Brexit blockchain’ in that time.