Over 30 years, no theorist of the digital age has better explained the next big thing than Don Tapscott. For example, in Wikinomics Tapscott was the first to show how the Internet provides the first global platform for mass collaboration. Now, he writes about a profound technological shift that will change how the world does business—and everything else—using blockchain technology, which powers the digital currency Bitcoin.
The Internet as we know it is great for collaboration and communication, but is deeply flawed when it comes to commerce and privacy. The new blockchain technology facilitates peer-to-peer transactions without any intermediary such as a bank or governing body. Keeping the user’s information anonymous, the blockchain validates and keeps a permanent public record of all transactions.
That means that your personal information is private and secure, while all activity is transparent and incorruptible—reconciled by mass collaboration and stored in code on a digital ledger. With its advent, we will not need to trust each other in the traditional sense, because trust is built into the system itself.
Although many opportunities for the blockchain require a digital currency, Bitcoin is only one application of this great innovation in computer science. The blockchain can hold any legal document, from deeds and marriage licenses to educational degrees and birth certificates. Call it the World Wide Ledger. It enables smart contracts, decentralized autonomous organizations, decentralized government services, and transactions among things. The Internet of Everything needs a Ledger of Everything: the blockchain is a truly open, distributed, global platform that fundamentally changes what we can do online, how we do it, and who can participate.
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