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What Blockchain Needs to Get Right First
Blockchain is an incredibly powerful technology that can change the way we do business.
However, it needs to get its foot in the door.
One of the clearest use cases for blockchain is shipping manifests.
There are incredible savings in cash and time to leveraging blockchains to move through ports and warehouses.
Yet, that not only hasn’t happened but doesn’t appear likely any time soon.
Blockchain proponents assume that the marvels of the technology will win people over.
The fact is a huge chunk of the world simply doesn’t care. They want practical applications.
Sure, Bitcoin transactions are cool and all. But for most of us, how much different is it than using a credit card payment app on our phone these days?
And it’s tough to tell people how safe it is when another bad actor, usually unrelated, scams millions from the unsuspecting.
The point is blockchain needs to make a practical, tangible difference in everyday life before it tries to change the world.
You probably heard rumblings of Web 3.0 and wondered – what the heck is that?
We’re here to give you the low down.
Web 1.0 started with websites that had little to no interactivity. Content was simply published and accepted. This covers the period from 1991 – 2004 where webpages were static.
In the last two decades we’ve seen the rise of Web 2.0. You can think of it as ‘web as a platform.’ Users could create content and upload it to social media, networking services, blogs, cloud, etc.
Now we Have Web 3.0.
The idea is to create an internet built on blockchain technology. Rather than web data housed on a server somewhere, it will expand to a decentralized network.
Additionally, computers would be able to understand the data similar to the way humans do through machine learning and artificial intelligence. This will allow computers to produce faster and more relevant results to the users.
If you had to sum it up in three words: open, trustless (participants can interact publicly or privately without a trusted 3rd party), and permissionless.
We often hear about cryptocurrencies mentioned in the same breath as Web 3.0. That’s because many of the Web 3.0 protocols rely heavily on cryptocurrencies.
Essentially, users get monetary rewards (tokens) for helping to create, govern, contribute, or improve one for the projects. So, rather than paying Amazon to put up your website, a network of players might do it instead.
What’s the Catch?
The notion that everyone will suddenly start using their smartphones and personal computers as internet servers is a bit ambitious.
In fact, the early iterations, as Jack Dorsey pointed out, are tightly controlled by a few companies. So we just traded one tech giant for a smaller outfit.
Another major problem stems from the permissionless benefit.
Social media companies struggle to manage malevolent content right now. Taking away any governing body opens up a host of issues including cybercrime, online harassment, hate speech, dissemination of inappropriate photos and other content.
Probably most importantly, there is no clear definition of what Web 3.0 actually is.
There’s also the question of mass adoption as well as latency problems which would make most users hesitant to move forward.
The Bottom Line: Given the distance cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and decentralized finance have to go for simple payment transactions, we don’t expect the internet to be reinvented anytime soon.
However, we could see branches built off for specific purposes in the interim.
Current players include Coinbase (COIN) and Square (SQ).
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