It took decades, but the mainstream adoption of the internet happened faster than any other technology we’ve ever known. A majority of people in the world don’t know it yet, but the blockchain is next.
One day, we’ll all sit around holographic campfires and talk about how archaic life was in the early days of the internet.
Anyone born in the 1980s or earlier may recall grandma talking about the hardships of her youth — walking 10 miles to school, uphill both ways, paper thin clothes, in the snow. They shared bathwater during the Great Depression. Food wasn’t full of chemicals, yet vegetables were a luxury during cold months. Every summer road trip and Thanksgiving dinner, same stories. And she’d go on and on, and we loved her, so we’d sit intently and listen.
Let’s fast forward to 20 years from today.
Call it a hunch, but it will be our generation’s turn to reminisce about our youth. It’ll be the first round of stories: “We had to actually wait in a standing line, have awkward conversations — with our mouths! With the person standing beside us. We had waiting times. It took 2 weeks to get approved for a mortgage! Remember that, Earl?”.
One day, that’ll be us.
Because of blockchain technology and its razor sharp awesomeness.
Still so far to go, Louis.Ok, I don’t know any Earls, but you get the idea. The internet is outdated. It took 20 years for it to be adopted by the planet, and now it’s so, over. Just like the name Earl.
What’s Wrong with our Existing Systems (and the Internet)?
The internet today is a tangled, inefficient mess. First, let’s take a high level look at where its faults lay, and then get into how blockchain is going to smooth over the ugly parts.
It’s easier to paint a picture of how amazing blockchain will soon be by demonstrating where the internet currently needs work. I’m really oversimplifying for this one, blockchain isn’t an easy nut to crack.
Here are a few ways our current internet-connected systems are inefficient.
All computer systems, for the most part, have human bottlenecks. We have so many touchpoints for human intervention because the truth is, we don’t (and we can’t!) trust our existing systems in their current state.
PayPal will freeze your account on a moment’s notice because you used a different browser. Bank loans aren’t approved instantly. All eCommerce requires confirmation from a third party business with their own icky systems that webmasters must integrate or else.
Existing systems rely on triggers and people. On a given day, one “customer service” person needlessly wastes the time of 100 people.
Systems aren’t autonomous enough; and when a human gets involved, queues form, and you wait. Frontline staff have department managers who have managers who have managers.
Waiting for a tax refund is the worst.
Even though we use computers today, it doesn’t always improve something; it just makes it more expensive.
Databases All Over the Place
Product catalog, database.
Product inventory and location inside the warehouse, different databases.
Bank account, database.
Shipping costs by weight, shipping address, shipping method — database, database, database.
All in centralised locations, in whatever country. It’s quaint by 2030 standards. So inefficient.
And in order for these present-day databases to speak to one another, they need expensive database integrations (APIs) and bleeding edge internet connections. And those fail, so what do we do?
We add humans to keep an eye on them. That’s efficient! No sarcasm at all. Ok, maybe just a little.
This year alone showed just how poorly the internet and all its connected systems are performing. After all this time, you’d think that we got this.
Instead, the internet runs like some sort of Keynesian nightmare; boom and bust cycles of internet meltdowns.
Let’s look in our bag of 2017 internet hacks. That whole ransomware thing based on a really old vulnerability makes me wanna cry, WiFi bugs that are insane only because they still exist, and the fact that so many sites can still root your mobile phone in seconds is a real modern-life buzzkill.
Isn’t that enough? Of course not. Businesses are still trying to save face through it all, and the year isn’t over yet.
If a database at some ho-hum corporation is governed by internal security policies unseen in the light of day, we can’t trust it. Equifax, anyone? Am I loud and clear?
Most of us don’t know it, but we wish for immutable databases and don’t see the answer right under our noses. It’s an itch we can’t scratch.
Blockchain: More Than Just a Shared Database
Now I’d like to build a case for blockchain technology solving our current technological woes. Check out our other articles about blockchain which also discuss the benefits and potential uses of blockchain technology.
Imagine if all related corporations worked their business processes into a shared database the way they use the same power grid.
It would speed up the whole internet.
No more junk massive cloud backups, hacker crap, and best of all –no more hiding malicious internal Enron-levels of evil. Everyone is on the same page, software makers and regulators, too.
No More Human Involvement
The blockchain, and in today’s case, that of Ethereum, has smart contract technology that will be able to initiate, calculate, and enforce contracts without human intervention.
And we all don’t need to know exactly how it works, we just need it to. Do you actually know how a TV works? Do you need to?
Personally, I had a light switch in my house for 14 years and I moved out never knowing what it did. But I still lived well. That line of thinking may be what blockchain will be to the average person. And that’s all fine.
Always the leftmost light switchFinancial institutions, warehouse operations, and even governmental departments like the Department of Motor Vehicles can all benefit (and speed things up) by using smart contracts.
The point is no more waiting times, no more queues, no more weeks or months to get a tax refund. For me, the best part is no more low-grade government employees that are rude to me.
The blockchain is immutable. In other words, blockchain technology is the Drake of the database world; he keeps coming back. We don’t need to like him but even if you hate his songs, 34 other musicians will still buy the rights and put out the same lyrics — and you’ll like those! Take Hotline Bling for instance.
Erykah did it betterMy point is that when you have more than one copy of the same database stored on hundreds of different machines and the majority can overrule an anomaly — you got something powerful.
In Drake’s case, his song was terrible. The duplicates weren’t. And everyone benefited.
In the first video above, Louis CK said we’re all a big bunch of whiners if we aren’t happy with a broken system. I would normally agree with him — until we start talking about the banks and the government, online security, wait times, and technology.
The truth is, technology can be better. And we’re limiting ourselves if we settle for what we have today. With blockchain, our quality of life can be so much better. And the fact that a few white collar heads may roll sweetens the deal.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments.