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INTERVIEW future a reality. But there are a lot of challenges to making it a mainstream reality. Some of them are technical, i.e “can we scale the technology to meet these high demands” to policydriven, “can we ensure governments take an enlightened approach and don’t over or underregulate this technology in a way that prevents it from reaching its potential.”

Q. “The blockchain is a global spreadsheet - an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value and importance to humankind”. Could you explain how the new platform ensures trust and integrity?

Q. Could we see a reduction in the predominance of cash with a transition to global cryptocurrencies in the developing markets in the coming years? A. We don’t think you need cryptocurrencies to see a migration away from cash. In fact, it’s already happening in many parts of the world. Cash is not inherently bad, but it is inefficient, adds cost, is frail and is the grease on the wheels of the dark economy. So moving away from it should have salutory effects. As for a global cryptocurrencies we’ll see. Bitcoin is growing in usage but we’re skeptical it will ever become a global currency, outstripping the US$ and others. What could happen instead is cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum grow in relevance alongside fiat cryptocurrencies that are under the purview of governments and central banks.

Q. Many banks, governments and institutions are the focus of hackers. What real innovation and advantage does blockchain bring in cybersecurity terms? A. Smart regulators, governments and law enforcement see the benefits of having an immutable database of transactions, even if those transactions are near-anonymous. Combined with smart policing and other data, it makes it easier to trace criminal activity than crimes that are perpetrated with cash.

Q. “The idea of a distributed database where trust is established through mass collaboration and clever code rather than through a powerful institution that does the authentication and the settlement.” What is your theory about the trust protocol - that enables us to do commerce, to do transactions, and to exchange money without a powerful third party? How and when do you believe the theory will become a mainstream reality?

A. Blockchains are simply a much more secure and efficient mechanism to move and store value. To hack a blockchain you’d have to simultaneously attack multiple computers at the same point in time, all around the world, battling against a network designed to protect its efforts. It’s tough. That’s why the bitcoin blockchain, for example, has never been hacked.

Q. “An immutable, unhackable distributed database of digital assets. A platform for truth and for trust.” Do you believe the blockchain will be used only for good reasons and that all people around the world could come to trust one another? A. As for good reasons, of course not. As we said earlier, technology is just a tool. It has no moral agency. There are endless examples throughout history of seemingly innocuous inventions being used to harm. Regarding trust, blockchains don’t eliminate the need altogether for trust. If I want to borrow money the person or persons lending it to me must trust or have some assurance I will pay it back if something goes wrong. But blockchain removes the need for trust in the execution of transactions and agreements – such as payments and contracts – and that will be very powerful..

Q. How could the technology impact the way we manage issues of trust, security and privacy for years to come? Why could blockchain secure a better privacy protection than our present institutions? A. The fact that it’s distributed and not centralized means it’s harder to hack. See above.

A. We’ve already covered the why and the how. As for the when - we believe the future is not something to be predicted, but something to be achieved, and right now there are entrepreneurs, coders, business leaders and governments all acting on this powerful new technology to make that


February 2017

Profile for CCEG

Social Value and Intangibles Review February 2017  

CCEG Social Value & Intangibles Review (SVIR) – February 2017 Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance journal on Social Impact and...

Social Value and Intangibles Review February 2017  

CCEG Social Value & Intangibles Review (SVIR) – February 2017 Centre for Citizenship, Enterprise and Governance journal on Social Impact and...

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