Many of the technologies that we consider commonplace were at one time a real revolution. If you take, for example, the same smartphones, you can see how much they have changed our daily life and work.
Previously, when people were out of the office or at home, it was impossible to contact them, because the phones were tied to a specific place, and not to a person. Now there are travelers who run their businesses directly from their phones. And think about it: smartphones have only been around for about ten years.
We are now in the midst of another revolution: the blockchain is a distributed database that consists of an ever-growing list of ordered records called "blocks." Take a look at what has happened over the past 10 years:
• The first large blockchain-based project was bitcoin - an experiment in the field of digital currency. Bitcoin's market capitalization is now roughly $ 65 billion, and the currency itself is used by millions of people around the world to make payments, including the huge and growing remittance market.
• The second innovation is the blockchain itself, which essentially became the realization that the main technology on which bitcoin is based can be separated from the currency and used in any areas of inter-organizational relations. Almost all large financial institutions are now researching the blockchain, and by the end of 2017, this technology is expected to be used in about 15% of all banks.
• The third innovation was called “smart contract” and was embodied in the second generation blockchain system called Ethereum, which allows creating small computer algorithms right on the blockchain, which allowed financial instruments such as loans and securities to appear on the blockchain. The market capitalization of Ethereum is now approximately $ 27 billion, and hundreds of projects have been launched on the basis of this platform itself.
• The fourth and actively looming innovation is Proof-of-stake (PoS). The current generation of blockchain systems is protected by what is known as Proof-of-Work (PoW), in which the group with the most computing power makes decisions. These groups are called "miners" and operate huge data centers to keep the data safe. New systems (PoS) do not imply data centers, replacing them with complex financial instruments in order to provide a similar or more advanced level of security.
• The fifth element is future blockchain optimization. Now, in any blockchain, every computer on the network processes every transaction. It is very slow. The optimized blockchain will speed up this process without compromising security by using only the required number of computers to complete each transaction. This will enable networks to operate more efficiently.
This entire innovative landscape is the result of ten years of hard work by the best scientists, cryptographers and mathematicians. When the full potential of this system is revealed, then much of what is now difficult to imagine will become reality. Self-driving cars and drones will use the blockchain to pay for services such as gas stations or landing sites. International money transfers will take not days, but hours or even minutes.
Until the end of the 90s, it was impossible to safely pay with a plastic card on the Internet, so e-commerce simply did not exist then. How quickly will blockchain bring global changes to our lives?
It's hard to predict how far this will go. Has anyone foreshadowed the arrival of social media? Who would have thought that viewing photos of friends would replace sitting in front of the TV for us? Predictors tend to overestimate the short term and underestimate the long term. But the feeling that blockchain will have the same impact on the world as the invention of the Internet did in its time is quite real. And exactly how much blockchain will enter our lives over the next ten years will determine how soon the future comes.