Blockchainz: Good (or Bad) Drank?

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It feels like the Bitcoin conversations are subsiding a bit. Admittedly, I’ve been on a timeout with Facebook as of late. Forgotten passwords plague life. I’ll remember it eventually. And remind myself why I was ok forgetting it in the first place.
 
I tried to buy an Antminer S9 to mine Bitcoin. Two actually. Bitcoin was on its November tear. I had been researching it since September. I watched Facebook friends abandon posting family pics to regular Bitcoin profit updates! So, I logged on to eBay and attempted to purchase my pair Antminer S9, a machine with the strongest hashing rate on the market! No dice. Oddly, demand was outpacing Chinese production capacity.

Outbid, curious-er and obsessed. I was referred to a guy who knew a guy. Warehouse meet-ups, in Miami, are not generally a fitting scene for my practical Sedan, outfitted with child seats and shopping cart dings. Press on I shall!!! Until I woke up one night. It all just felt … off. 

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Since then, mining has only become more competitive. Bitcoin volatility contradicts my practical Sedan sentiments. Hardware has become more and more expensive. And the consumption may soon be otherworldly. 24 houses can be powered with what it takes to process 1 of the 165K daily Bitcoin transactions. It’s really the technology that’s most compelling. Consumption will get better and more evenly distributed, and at some point, fall into a whatever-normal-means threshold. 

But, the tech? It has some serious potential to do good things for good people and move the needle for the world’s most challenging problems. Much the same way WWW changed our world, could blockchain represent the next great reclassification of industry as we know it?!

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Sourcing Clothing or Food: If you were to trace how your shirt was made, could you? Where is the cotton spun? Planted and harvested? What farm? What country? Who owns the farm? Do they pay fair wages? Do they employ child labor?
 
Brands will eventually want to know the answers to these questions, to protect themselves against degradation of quality of their product and ensure that their supply chain aligns with their brand mission and purpose. Or to identify the resiliency of a certain seed in harsher climates that could benefit a farm, on the other side of the world facing similar challenges. 

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Medicine: MIT Labs are on the hunt to distribute and update patient records for an obvious reason that plagues the medical world. The byproduct will help clean data to the point where anonymized patient records can give clean baseline data to all “miners” (participants in the Blockchain) for baseline research. There are several others looking to provide this in the private sector as well, and the benefits could evolve medicine in ways we can only imagine.

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Content Creators:  We saw Kodak briefly offer its own cryptocurrency around, for lack of better terms, digital rights. There are whispers about how content creators can ultimately protect their rights in the antiquated rights management digital monolith.
 
We would love to hear how you are seeing Blockchain whispers disrupting your world. And if you think this is a fad or fixture in 2018 and beyond. Feel free to reach out, share or ask away!

Words by John Hett. 
 

Katie KilbrideComment