According to former White House senior advisor John Farmer, bitcoin as a currency is less interesting compared to blockchain. Although he concedes that the cryptocurrency deserves praise for uplifting the digital currency industry and bringing blockchain to the limelight, he maintained that blockchain technology has a bigger potential in transforming the world.
John Farmer is currently working with Microsoft as the company’s director of technology and civic innovation. He used to play the shortstop position for the Los Angeles Dodgers and has joined the tech giant after a conversation with Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith and corporate vice president Dan’l Lewin.
Blockchain vs. Bitcoin
“Dan’l and Brad had this vision for how Microsoft – obviously a gigantic global company with billions of users – could engage in a really local way on civic issues. So, how could we use technology to address social problems?” Farmer shared. “The more I talked to them, the more I really came to believe that they had the right approach in mind.”
Farmer believes that blockchain can make a huge difference in the developing world by helping the unbanked become banked for the first time. He explained that 25% of African-Americans or around 10 million people don’t even have a government-issued identity card, which makes opening accounts impossible.
“That is amazing, and there are states here that require you to show your identification card in order to vote. So the ability for these technologies to empower and enfranchise the disenfranchised here in the US and in the UK and in other developed countries, I think is also really really powerful,” he said.
Currently, Farmer and his team are working with a wide variety of sectors, including governments, academics, startups, for-profits, and nonprofits to “participate, partner, and produce” solutions to problems. “We produce prototypes of what could exist and then we share those with the community externally, but also internally to the various product groups of Microsoft, to help those product groups imagine what could happen and what could really benefit end users,” Farmer said.