Blockchain, or something like it, is useful or possibly necessary to get past one of the biggest limitations that we know of, the speed of light.
The internet has organized and made information readily available in such a way that we already take it for granted. But, we’re still in the early days.
Geopolitical systems are under stress. There is opportunity to enhance global GDP with smarter systems.
The problems are not trivial, but blockchain could be a key piece of the puzzle that unlocks the next boost in global GDP in the coming decades.
This article was inspired by a talk from Vinay Gupta, who I recommend everyone follows.
In order to understand why people are excited about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, it is useful to take a step back and understand some of the limitations of our current way of organizing the world. We are becoming a more global society and technology is changing the world quickly; reorganizing it to be more efficient.
One of the breakthroughs of Bitcoin (BTC-USD)(COIN)(OTCQX:GBTC) was the way it distributed truth by allowing anyone to join and participate. The blockchain was a way of achieving distributed consensus without a central authority. The first practical application was for money, but there’s a lot more coming down the pipe.
Before we begin; a word of caution. Not all blockchain projects are a good idea. Be wary of people using blockchain as a buzzword, which is what it has become.
Let’s start with some applied science.
The Speed of Light Problem
One of the limitations we face on a planetary scale is how to synchronize computer systems. The way the GPS system works is by having a bunch of clocks orbiting the earth. Depending on your position, we can calculate the difference between how long it takes for a signal to reach those different satellites. This is then used to triangulate your position with a high level of accuracy.
Without the speed of light limitation, the GPS systems would not work. However, this also presents us with the problem of knowing the order in which events occurred when synchronizing computer systems in different locations.