Forget the bulls and bears: the blockchain middle road
When it comes to blockchain, it often feels like everyone is either a super-bull (who thinks the tech is the future of everything and helps a company raise $4bn without having released a product
) or a super-bear (who thinks the whole thing is stupid and will amount to little or nothing).
The reality about the future of blockchain is likely more nuanced. Isn’t it always the case that our predictions of utopia or dystopia are disproved by a future that settles somewhere in between the two?
Last night I was compere for a London event held by Binary District
that looked at the city’s digital future and how technologies like blockchain will help shape it.
Here are a few of my favourite takeaways from the speakers and our panel discussion:
- Do you even own your cryptocurrency? Dave Michels of Queen Mary University says this is legally debatable – does a blockchain ledger represent strict ownership? And what happens if all the crypto-heads find out their ‘fortunes’ aren’t necessarily theirs?
- Is blockchain GDPR compliant? Michels said that depends if you’re a permissionless system, or a private blockchain (which is easier to fork and remove data). It’s going to be fascinating see court cases about this play out in the future.
- It could be 2025 before decentralised technologies are stable and commonplace in financial services, according to Denis Nagy, CEO of Dolfin.
- Middlemen like banks do have a role in a decentralised future, said more than one speaker. Trusted parties are still important.
- Biometrics go back to the 1800s (kind of)! Barclays’ Head of Mobile Innovation, Julian Wilson, said the bank’s archives show how customers’ identities used to be logged via handwritten notes about their appearance.