A Higher-Order Future: What the Future of Blockchain Holds
When Bob Dylan wrote the song “The Times They are a Changin” it was the 1960’s and the world was going through a geopolitical movement. Now here we are today, those words and sentiment couldn’t be more accurate. The times of change are written all over the wall. Every area of life is affected by new technologies and the paradigms that come with it.
Real breakthroughs are noticeable not only in one aspect but they transform the whole fabric of the reality we live in: social, economic, technological, environmental, behavioral and psychological.
Undoubtedly, Blockchain is such a technology and ten years into its development, it’s time to look at where this journey is leading.
The First 10 years and Three Red Pills
We are only ten short and intense years into the history of blockchain. Yet, in its short existence blockchain has already undergone three iterations of development each with its own focus and implications for mindset, application, and business use cases. Let’s follow the traces of that evolution to assess what the future may hold.
1.The first red pill: Bitcoin & the global API for value
Satoshi’s Whitepaper has been released in late 2008. It started a movement and thinking style that 10 years later, many are still trying to understand in its breadth and width. Born in the financial crisis it is widely understood as the ideological response to a fraudulent and collapsing financial system based on depth and fractional reserve mechanisms.
While money itself can be understood as the API for value (an interface that enables different things to be exchangeable with each other) — Bitcoin can be understood as a global API to transfer value securely.
2.The second red Pill: Ethereum & smart contracts
While Bitcoins monetary or in regulatory terms asset like aspects resonated widely globally, the technology powering Bitcoin, the blockchain remained mostly unseen. In the second “red pill moment” of blockchain history, Ethereum was released in 2013. Based on the concept of smart contracts it does not only allow the transfer of value but also the trustless transfer of value and information-driven by a programmable self-executing logic called smart contract. Ethereum put the blockchain as an underlying technology into the limelight and it enabled the ICO craze of 2017 with its ERC20 token standard. An entirely new tokenized ecosystem with roughly 50B USD market cap at current prices was the result. While in 2017 everything was ripe to be tokenized and disrupted the collapse of the speculation bubble in combination with technical shortcomings and too early to market in combination with regulatory intervention has quieted the industry quite a bit.
3.The third red Pill: DAG & data economies
Over time it also became clear that blockchains like Ethereum have a fundamental conceptual flaw: Applications running on such a blockchain share the entire throughput resources of that blockchain with each other. This means if one application needs a lot of throughput the rest of the network is clogged up and transaction fees become very high. Among others, this is the main reason why the public Ethereum network has never seriously been considered as an enterprise-grade infrastructure layer.
The solution to this issue is third generation horizontally scalable blockchains like Constellation, COTI, Scroll Network, and a few others. The scalability is based on a new network structure called DAG (directed acyclical graph). In a DAG network transaction can be processed asynchronous which makes the network throughput scalable.
This signifies the third red pill moment in Blockchain history as it shifts the focus away from smart contract logic to scalability, high throughput, and enterprise readiness. This opens up completely new use cases and future scenarios.
Where is This Journey Going?
With a third-generation infrastructure, Big Data and stream processing tasks become possible. High throughput unlocks the live validation and notarization of data-rich video, sensor or machine learning pipelines. Big Data plus Blockchain becomes a reality.
That alone brings dozens if not hundreds of industrial and enterprise-grade applications to mind where blockchain could bring interoperability, validation and security advantages. One step further, tokenization of validated data packages allows for the attachment of value to data. As such, dormant data silos become exchangeable and monetizable. The network infrastructure serves as an API for diverse data sets while creating a marketplace at the same time.
Data is the New Oil
US presidential candidate Andrew Yang just recently stated that
“At this point, data is more valuable than oil. If anyone benefits from our data it should be us.”
Third generation Blockchain technology allows us to take back the data monopoly into our own hands. This works both on the individual and corporate levels. Through hashed meta-data comparisons the quality of a data set can be assessed and scored in relation to similar data sets without breaching any confidentiality or privacy regulations. In essence, this creates a new data economy where the ones generating the data have the ability to monetize their data.
As such, large data lakes and reservoirs sitting untapped in their silos get the chance to be onboarded and verified onto the network and exchanged for value. The network becomes a secure data marketplace for humans and devices alike.
Data Economies & Datapreneurship
With economies forming around data a new type of entrepreneurial activity will emerge: The Datapreneur.
The Datapreneuer offers clean and validated data sets for purchase or in exchange for other data sets. The utilization of untapped data reservoirs within entire companies, industries or even countries becomes a new business model in the digital sphere. This will generate a new gold rush where data is the new oil and high throughput blockchains will be the infrastructure to pump, distribute and sell the oil.
The new landscape will shift the thinking around business models even more into the digital space. It will be less about physical products but their digital meta-data properties. For example, automotive companies are starting to recognize this shift. They understand that their brand won’t depend on the sale of the physical product as much as on the services offered to enable and enhance mobility. Data products and their monetization will play a major role in a future where physical goods become almost secondary.
Digital Twins & Solving the World’s Most Urgent Problems
Over-consumption, resource exploitation, waste, pollution and habitat destruction are directly linked our economic activity as humans. Matterum is working on breakthrough solutions to re-invent our production system. Through the combination of digital twins and blockchain technology, it will enable us to usher in the next industrial revolution and open new pathways to solving the global systemic issues of our species.
A digital twin is a data object that holds information about a physical object like properties and life cycle information. Digital twins will completely reinvent the way physical objects will be produced, traded and owned. Why? Because accurate predictions can be made on the lifecycle of an object. Resources and demand can be more accurately measured and secondary markets of otherwise disposable (and wasted) objects will be created.
Such a system reduces the inefficiencies of production and ownership lifecycle and it increases the overall quality of goods produced. This, in turn, reduces waste and increases the lifespan of products.
Through a universal naming system efficient information markets for the composition and quality of things can be established (e.g. data economies). This allows us to revolutionize manufacturing, resource allocations consumption and waste management on a global scale.
Global Sovereignty, Mindset & Governance
As Einstein said: A problem cannot be solved with the same mindset that created the problem in the first place. Today, it’s very obvious that the human race needs a mind-shift and social organization shift in order to be able to tackle its huge global challenges. Isolationist and egotistical thinking, as well as top-down hierarchies and trodden path of control, do not work anymore. Luckily, blockchain technology as a global, fast and systemic technology forces the global mindset that is needed for taking these challenges on.
The unique phenomenon of social self-organization is that this technology gave birth to interconnected communities across the globe. These communities that support blockchain companies and are a big part of making the endeavour a success. The speed, ingenuity and financial power of these communities is unprecedented.
Going forward, the global interconnectedness of results driven communities will increase. With the Baby Boomer generation leaving the levers of power within the next 10 years, networked and systemic thinking amplified by the Blockchain industry (among others) will spread into all aspects of social life.
Systemic thinking will penetrate people’s everyday life and interactions much deeper. It will force people into a growth of understanding themselves as human nodes in the social fabric (network). Nodes who act against the overall wellbeing of our global ecosphere and humanity as a whole will be left behind and excluded from the social fabric and its resources. The prosperous future of a global human race simply cannot afford the old ideas of power, religion, race, social, and economic organization anymore.
That means we have an answer for Carl Sagan’s question: “Who speaks for earth?”
Our answer: “Systemic thinking that acknowledges earth and the ecosphere as a sovereign entity and the highest logical order of global governance.”
This means, from a governance perspective, decentralized networks form a new type of global entity. In the future, these networks will operate under a new legal status and novel governance mechanisms that align stakeholder interests better than current systems. In essence global decentralized networks are somewhat akin to an international body like the United Nations. They will force us to think globally and beyond the silo of nation-state, territory, and citizenship and open more inclusive ways of self-governance in relation to global well-being.
VP of Finance at Constellation
Follow Mateo on Twitter.
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