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The blockchain: Generations compared

Blockchain will be the second generation of the internet, at least for the next twenty years.

These days, when we use the Internet to send or share information, we are not actually sending the original of this information, instead we are sending a copy to the recipient. Obviously, when it comes to money, bonds, stocks, financial assets in general, sending a copy is not good. This is the so-called “double spending problem”: when for example you send 10 euros to someone, there must be something or someone that proves that you no longer have these 10 euros.

The blockchain will establish trust and identity online, will verify the identity of the parties within a transaction and will keep this information recorded. Consequently, it will downsize the "intermediaries" such as banks, but also companies like Google, Facebook, Airbnb, Uber, which have a great limitation, they are centralized and therefore vulnerable.

It's hard to imagine a world without banks, and it's also unlikely to happen in the short term, say within the next 20 years. What is certain, however, is that banks need to enter the blockchain world in order to survive; systems adopted such as SWIFT are already over 30 years old, and it is unthinkable a future where we cannot transact over the weekend, or wait days for international transactions.

The Blockchain could be thought of as a global ledger that runs on all computers, open and accessible to anyone, containing not only information related to money, stocks, bonds and financial assets, but also intellectual property, scientific studies, votes, cadastral archives. All protected thanks to encryption.

Bitcoin is the first concrete expression that shows the potential of the blockchain. It is a cryptocurrency not issued by a state or by an organization that collaborates with states (such as the European central bank for the euro). Bitcoin and the blockchain prove interesting in some parts of the world where the local currency is not reliable, or where there are strict capital controls, or where a person needs to migrate urgently.

Parallel to Bitcoin and therefore to the Blockchain, there is Ethereum with Smart-Contracts. The smart contract is a kind of software program that imitates the logic of a contract, but whose execution is performed automatically (with the logic If/Then).

Smart contracts in the financial sector, for example, show how certain metrics can ensure that everyone is regularly compensated without a third party being involved in the certification of the contract (example: lawyer, notary, judge, insurance agent, bank agent); It is possible that in the not too distant future these figures will no longer be used on a large scale as it appears today.

Innovation always finds some friction at the beginning, just think of the baby boomers born between 1946 and 1965: During their youth, they saw the world of HI-FI and personal computers grow. While HI-FI was immediately accepted because it gave practical and tangible feedback (excellent audio and video quality), the personal computer, in the eyes of the parents of baby boomers, had remained for a long time as something obscure, unclear, and surely destined to die sooner or later because without a “practical and tangible” potential. The baby boomers didn’t want to listen to their parents, and we can see nowadays the fruit of their efforts.

Then we have Generation X, which lived its youth in the decades at the turn of the new millennium. The advent of so-called digitization, through electronic commerce, search engines such as Google, or the SMS-text messages, and the emails. Generation X parents (aka baby boomers) thought that all these things were interesting, but very slow, impractical, complicated user interface to use, very slow internet connections… in short, all things with an uncertain future .

Lastly, generation Y, which in the first twenty years of the new millennium (so we are talking about the present) is experiencing the exponential growth of social media and digital business, like fakebook, Netflix, LinkedIn, uber, WhatsApp, and last but not least, the blockchain.

While for social media it’s practical and in a certain sense also simple to understand for parents of generation Y, however the blockchain has not yet been fully understood, nevertheless the blockchain through bitcoin is gaining more popularity, you can find more and more contents, and more and more people are educated in this regard, so it’s possible that in the near future the blockchain will be a clear and understood topic by the majority of people.

A question that comes naturally to us now is: What can the next generation expect, which is the one called the generation of the third millennium, which will live its youth during the 2020-2040?

Well, surely there will be some things on which the blockchain will have a decisive role for security, transparency, and the ability to manage multiple information.

Example: The simultaneous translation devices will allow us to relate to anyone, without necessarily having to ask for the help of an interpreter. An autonomous vehicle without a driver, which knows our agenda and synchronizes the schedule accordingly. Or the remote control of electronic devices such as household appliances that can also synchronize with the activities on our agenda at a given time.

We can also imagine instant transactions anywhere and at any time, for example buying a house and a car during holidays or weekends by making the payment with our smartphone, all managed online and automatically, including registration in the real estate registry office and Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency. These are just a few of the many things that could happen in the short / medium term future.

It is now up to us to try to imagine what the blockchain can do, and leave room for the creativity of the new generations, who will thus be able to bring innovation.


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