Cliff Burton, Metallica's bassist from 1982 to 1986, when he was alive, told Kirk that he had jumped from the 11th floor and did not die. The guitarist could not believe it. However, Lars and James said that they saw it happening. Not only that, all of Metallica's fans confirmed it.
That is how Hugo Pinto explained blockchain to Campaign's Breakfast briefing on blockchain attendees. The decentralised ledger was the theme of the event exploring how the new technology will impact marketing and advertising. He also demystified some ideas such as only one blockchain, it being cryptocurrency and immutable. Using his initial example he explained that if enough nodes in the blockchain are "convinced" that something happened, then it gets verified. Practically, something very difficult to achieve, but not impossible.
With this basic understanding, we learned from the speakers how blockchain is being implemented beyond fintech:
- Estonia's government, after a nationwide cyber attack in 2007, has been moving their registries to a blockchain
- Blockchain provides better supply chain transparency. There's no risk of fake goods being inserted into a network of retailers, transporters, distributors etc
- A lock for, amongst others, Airbnb hosts, has been developed using smart contracts
- For journalists there’s Civil, a news marketplace where stories are published directly to the blockchain and users pay for it with any currency, including their own cryptocurrency CVL
- CryptoKitties is a game whereby the user trades collectible kitties, all stored in a blockchain
- Spotify acquired a blockchain startup to deal with copyright in their platform
- Finally, Adledger uses blockchain to provide transparency on programmatic advertising
The amount of money currently invested in companies leveraging the technology was presented by Julie Langley, Partner at Results International. Later, a member of the public asked if anyone had recommended adding blockchain to a company title. Which leads to the main conclusion.
Blockchain is just a new technology, what we should be watchful of is how people are going to use it. To quote Hugo Pinto, "We ask too much of technology and not enough of ourselves".