Experiments in the field of Blockchain
Whether you pay cash or have your wages transferred to your bank account – there is a national currency behind every single one of these transactions. Your country ensures that you can withdraw banknotes from an ATM in the end. Bitcoin works entirely different. For years now, everyone has been talking about the cryptocurrency. By processing calculations, computers generate values which are used for transactions. This doesn’t only sound complicated – it really is. As a non-expert, one has to keep in mind that finding the right calculations is becoming more and more difficult and thus the total value is increasing, individual units (Bitcoins) are becoming rarer and are consequently gaining in value. Bitcoins are moving away from stable currencies and are approaching speculative stocks. It isn’t necessarily a recommendable substitute for currencies. After all, there’s a reason why less and less businesses accept bitcoins as a means of payment.
However, this criticism blocks our view of the revolutionary aspect of it, namely the technology behind the phenomenon of Bitcoin. In the 1990s, security experts developed a process which allows for the connection and reciprocal protection of data sets. As soon as someone manipulate one data set, the value of the previous one and thus the entire database also changes – and the intervention is uncovered. You can imagine this data set as a chain of data blocks, which is why it’s called “Blockchain”.
Let’s travel back in time to 1941: the Zuse Z3, the first working digital computer, fills up an entire room and nevertheless, all it can do is calculate. This heavy dinosaur of a computer can hardly stand comparison with a modern-day Macbook Air. Although their DNA is quite different, their basic workings are the same: it is all based on zeros and ones. It was this technology, not the machine, that revolutionized the world.
Bitcoins will most likely not supersede Swiss francs or the dollar. Perhaps nobody will talk about them anymore a few years down the road. Who still remembers the social networks which were founded in the past 15 years but have died in the meantime? But who can imagine life without social networks today? They have become an all-encompassing part of our lives.
So, Bitcoin may become irrelevant one day, but Blockchain is a technology which can be used universally. The crypotechnology ensures a high security standard for decentralized transactions. Why should we trust a particular country’s central bank if its bankers have to implement politically motivated provisions? And, of course, experts in pinstriped suits are neither infallible nor incorruptible. Hence, a currency organized by countless individuals all over the world offers a new approach. In addition, Blockchain records relentlessly register every single change within the Blockchain for everyone to see. We usually only encounter such transparency in Open-Source software or cooperative organizations, less so in old-fashioned banks. This transparency creates trust and security. And people are looking for just that in our globalized world with all of its challenges. Blockchain could open the door to a new world of reliable transactions in countless fields. This might happen in ten or twenty years, but we nevertheless want to research and discuss it – cooperatively and openly.