If you’re an avid podcast listener, you’ll know Dan Carlin.
He’s host of the incredible Hardcore History podcast. If you get the chance, try listening to his five part series on the Mongolian Empire — The Wrath of the Khans.
Anyway…last night I stumbled across an interview Dan had with Google. In front of employees, Dan talked for almost an hour.
The new media, Dan said, will completely change history in the years ahead. The new media being podcasts, Facebook, Youtube and others alike.
In years’ time, we won’t be trying to piece together the oral history of events. We will be watching videos or reading posts from those who lived through it.
If you read between the lines, Dan also makes the point about the explosion of opportunities. You don’t have to be in the TV news room, become a newspaper reporter or be an influential speaker anymore.
Today, everyone has a voice.
If you have something interesting to share you can post it on Facebook, upload a video on Youtube or write a blog post and send it out to the world.
Never before in history have you or I had such power.
Even Dan’s interview with Google hammers home this point. He would not be talking to a group of employees from one of the largest companies in the world had technology not decentralised the media.
Thanks to decentralisation, Dan can share his ideas and stories with millions of listens. No one would argue this is a negative for society.
And I guess that’s why it was easy for so many people to get behind the bitcoin/blockchain idea.
Who doesn’t want power for the people?
Power to the people
Hate it or love it, bitcoin is a big deal.
Even as the coin has fallen far below its high last year, it is still worth more than US$137 billion. Who’s to know what will happen next?
But while investors have been more interested in the price of cryptos, companies are interested in the underlying technology — blockchain.
It’s been around for a while, but let’s have a quick refresher.
The best way to describe blockchain is to think of a ledger. This digital list can contain transactions, identity or any kind of data really.
This list is then distributed, not copied, to various holders, making up a network. Each holder of the list then constantly verifies the information on the list.
In the example of a crypto transaction, two parties agree to transact, list holders then compete to add that transaction to the list. Once complete, all list holders verify the transaction and it becomes a valid crypto transaction etched into the ledger.
Source: Block Geeks
The idea of such an ecosystem is to give power back to the people. With blockchain we don’t need financial middle men charging fees for moving money. We also don’t need to trust any third party to act honestly.
But as I said, you can use blockchain technology for almost any kind of data. It’s why you’ve heard so many companies experiment with blockchain capabilities.
The latest company to do so is Facebook. Well no, actually Facebook has been dabbling with the tech since last year.
But they’ve now appointed a new head to their blockchain experiment. According to the Australian Financial Review, Mark Zuckerberg has put David Marcus in charge.
‘What the company has not done is say anything, in public at least, about what Mr Marcus and his team will be doing — leaving others in the blockchain world to speculate, and poring over Mr Marcus’ CV for clues.
‘The 45-year-old executive has been given his new assignment after a stint in charge of Facebook Messenger. Before Facebook, he was president of PayPal, the online payments company, and he also sits on the board of Coinbase, a US cryptocurrency exchange.
‘Facebook could use the technology for payments on the social network, by creating its own cryptocurrency, blockchain experts say. It could use it to try to improve privacy, by giving users a new way to own and control their personal data. Or it might think blockchain will help it fight fake accounts and provide more services by giving users a way to prove their identities.’
Yet it would seem even a leading company like Facebook is late to the blockchain party. If we cast our eyes to the East, there are tech companies already rolling out blockchain in a big way.
Get in now before it’s too late
China’s largest ecommerce giants are already quick rolling out their blockchain developments. JD.com and Alibaba are tracking goods in their supply chain with blockchain.
This means anyone can find out the origin, stops and times it took any good to get to their house. This is particularly important for food as fakes in China look to profit from consumer demand.
South China Morning Post wrote earlier this year:
‘Bird nests are one of the fastest growing traditional Chinese foods, a JD.Com executive said, adding that his company had become the country’s largest retail channel for the product. The foodstuff is generally imported from Southeast Asia, but there are many poor quality, dyed and counterfeit nests mixed in with high-quality batches.
‘…JD.Com will attach unique identifying codes to all bird nests it imports, so consumers can see online who made and sold the product, where it was stored and where it is in the delivery process. Buyers can also scan QR codes on delivered goods to check the product details.
‘Alibaba’s cross-border e-commerce platform Tmall International and its logistics arm Cainiao Network Technology Group have begun using blockchain to track all imports through the online retail outlet.’
But this is just one of the many growing industries in China today. In fact, there are so many opportunities in Asia, the richest man in Japan wants to launch another US$100 billion fund.
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Editor, Money Morning