This week the tabloids are all hailing the death of Bitcoin. The Sun for one headlines it as a “failed experiment”.
Bitcoin still is a fascinating experiment, it’s not over yet and it certainly hasn’t failed.
Through hundreds of millions of transactions involving huge sums of money and users from academics to underworld criminals it has very publicly proven blockchain works, and that it can’t be broken.
The merits of currencies which operate beyond the banking sector are overly documented already. However, on the other side of the news agenda you’ll see how blockchain is being hailed as something that will remove corruption in parts of the world that have struggled to eliminate fraud and failure from government, public services and finance.
Blockchain is the underlying database structure at the heart of Bitcoin; it uses a chain of interconnected data blocks, hence the name. Blockchain’s use for virtual currency is just the tip of the iceberg. Any transaction or kept record can be protected by blockchain because the act of updating it is systematically encrypted, recorded, and visible to all parties who have access. So if you change it that change is recorded everywhere in an encrypted form, that cannot be spoofed or tampered with by anyone.
It provides the potential to protect the voting process, monitor regional financial records, international government grants… in fact, any sector where more transparency could deliver big changes in public perception and trust.
Economic growth could be generated as a result. To give an example, commentators have suggested that if public land registration across the whole of Africa was made fully transparent, through blockchain, the land would become valuable. Registered land could then act as loan collateral to bootstrap small businesses and entrepreneurial activity to accelerate growth.
Far from being a failure, Bitcoin has already succeeded.