Entrepreneurs ask themselves, how will the internet evolve? How can I profit from it? One answer may be “blockchains”. This is a shared encrypted public ledger on which all confirmed transactions are recorded and placed beyond control of any one person or entity. Bitcoin successfully deploys blockchain technology.
“Think of massively replicated databases managed by a network of computers, like a shared decentralised cloud,” says Aaron Wright of Cardozo Tech Startup Clinic. “Blockchains are the memory of the internet, but harder, like a permanent record.”
Devolved and widely distributed, blockchains are more secure than any cluster of computers can hope to be. Potentially, they provide a very robust and scalable computer system free from bureaucratic and governmental fiat, while offering a means of transacting business without having either to trust your counterparty or trouble the bank.
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One can fantasise about a blockchained Utopia unencumbered by paper-based records of title and audit, that is truly global, and that reverses the centralising tendencies of Facebook, Google, the Squid and governments.
“Blockchains will be deployed in the financial realm and then e-commerce,” says Wright. Nasdaq is piloting a stock exchange off blockchain technology. UBS is experimenting with “smart bonds” that use