The Bitcoin Blockchain is known as The Blockchain and all other blockchains need qualification such as The Ethereum Blockchain, The IBM Blockchain or The Dutch Central Bank Blockchain and so on. You don't need to add the word Bitcoin to the phrase The Blockchain because Bitcoin reserves the right as the godfather of all cryptocurrencies. The technology is getting repurposed to an infinite number of mind-blowing applications while most folks around the world are just finding out about Bitcoin. Blockchains are one source for an entire record of activity.
The cyrptocurrency headlines over the past 12 months have been filled with big banks and big businesses investing millions in blockchain projects and consortiums of like minded players. Less than a year ago Big Four accounting firms, the DTCC, banks and many others had a few boots on the ground reporting back about this cool blockchain thing that could saves lots of money. Now all these organizations have their blockchain think tanks and departments. Everybody wants their own blockchain whiles other are declaring they want to be a blockchain company, a complete overhaul of their existing brand.
Speed and Fear
I've been in the Bitcoin space for 3 years, interviewed many of these players and written a book on the topic. I'm shocked at the speed these organizations are embracing the technology. Bitcoin is the beginning of a New Renaissance magnifying the adapt or die global game of business. I never thought rusty old rail models like banks would take to it so quickly--startups yes but banks no. It's a testament how the power of the technology has awakened banks into a haze of potential disintermediation if they don't get hot. It reminds me of Bugs Bunny's foes in Looney Toons who said, "If you can't beat em, join em."
As the everybody's got a blockchain thing converges with the masses finally discovering bitcoin, most people will incorrectly mix up different meanings into one. For example, if The Blockchain is typically explained as providing an enormous value of immutability folks could start thinking every blockchain is immutable or all blockchains are the same. What a tragedy that would be. The citizenry will be in for real surprise when their new (Insert Top 10 Bank Name) Blockchain Bank fails along with its comrades in another 2008 episode. The Next Big Short™ will look the same as 2008 except the bank blockchains storyline will make it even more mind-blowing.
These new bank blockchains will provide some value by reducing big time costs and having better records, however the value play is more for itself than it is for it's customers. Your definition of value also determines your favorite blockchain.
2 Kinds of Records:
Type #1) One version of the truth
Type #2) All other records
The Most Valuable Thing
My definition of value is Type #1, Bitcoin, The Blockchain, an unforgeable record and it's the single most valuable thing you can have in the DNA of records. If someone can be corrupted, they will be corrupted. If organizations and the people within them experience enough pressure or incentive, they will commit fraud by rationalization. This has been scientifically proven by Donald Cressey, Steve Albrecht et al by the famous Fraud Triangle and I also explain this in more detail in Regulatory Zigzagging, a chapter in my book.
The 2016 Report to the Nations estimates the cost of occupational fraud at 5% of 2014 Gross World Product of $74 trillion or $3.7 trillion. That's a lot of fraud millionaires all made possible by their favorite tools for perpetrating fraud, fake documents and forging records. Now you know why I love bitcoin so much. For the first time in history we have the very best example of one version of the truth. If a blockchain can be changed it will be changed. People who commit fraud suddenly become some of the most creative people in the world. Organizations will behave in a similar way all the way to another 2008.
Bitcoin becomes one version of the truth from its attributes:
1) Not centrally controlled by anyone or group
2) Alignment of incentives
3) Simultaneous protocol, network & currency
4) Voluntary participation
5) Users are 100% responsible
6) Distributed and decentralized
7) Economically infeasible hard to break algorithms
When the word blockchain is spoken in the future I can only hope people think of them as differently as gold and mercury which are next to each other on the periodic table of elements. Maybe we need something like a Period Table of Blockchains. Different blockchains will provide different levels of unique value but there will only be one Bitcoin Blockchain. Multiple blockchains will also be interoperable in a strategic daisy chain. Choose your blockchain wisely, get a copy of my book, The Ultimate Bitcoin Business Guide™ in paperback, eBook and audiobook and continue your crypto education. Using 21st century money takes some practice.
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