There are technologies that break the status quo and blockchain surely has a potential for that. Currently, this technology is experiencing a real boom. It’s said that it can fundamentally change the way business is done. So far, many identify it only with cryptocurrencies, but the opportunities are much bigger. Alternative system solutions that are applicable in more and more areas of social development are being created on the basis of blockchain. However, the cryptocurrencies are an extremely interesting phenomenon due to the fact that they managed to involve so many people in something that is so intangible.
The story of blockchain started on 31st October 2008 with the publishing of a "white book" by Satoshi Nakamoto that describes in detail how the new systems works. It was probably published under a pen name, behind which a whole group of people can be found. After Bitcoin, more and more cryptocurrencies started emerging euphorically, but it is a matter of personal choice whether to risk it and enter "the game", or stay out of it. In Bulgaria, trading with cryptocurrencies attracts new supporters, too. Blockchain Hub Bulgaria is a public group of technology and innovation professionals and enthusiasts who work for the development of the technology in its various forms. A critical mass is gathering that is ready to give way to the new. But is the status quo ready to surrender?
The Virtual Currency
Blockchain is not only Bitcoin. Blockchain is a continuously growing list of protected cryptographic records called "blocks" that are linked together like a chain. Each block contains a hash pointer that links it to the previous block, and it has a timestamp and transaction data. The data in the already created blocks is very hard to modify. That being true, hackers manage to steal more and more bitcoins, which destroys the myth of the unbreakability of the chain. However, we will leave the comments to the top specialists. The invention of blockchain turned Bitcoin into the first entirely digital currency and became an inspiration for creating both other cryptocurrencies and new applications for the blockchain technology. But is this a bubble or just an expensive entertainment in the virtual reality?
Down with Bureaucracy
Blockchain will take the place of the huge infrastructure and will make a great part of the bureaucracy redundant. Like artificial intelligence, it will replace many of the expensive processes that require great human resources. In its development, bureaucracy started serving its own self and its convenience, instead of serving people. Blockchain solutions will eliminate the unnecessary administration in public structures and within the businesses sector itself, say blockchain enthusiasts. But will the administration allow them to do so?
The rates of Bitcoin are growing, it is developing very quickly, and the predictions are that it will seriously affect the entire financial industry, as well as other sectors. The main advantage of the solutions, based on the blockchain technology, is that they don't need an intermediary in money transfer. It's claimed that the financial industry will be turned upside down by the very fact that intermediaries will become redundant. Bill Gates' words that banking is necessary, but banks are not, are often quoted. They are used as an argument that the new technology will totally change the world of money. But not entirely, since banks are there. Are we to believe that the ones that currently hold our money will so easily allow someone to take their business away?
One of the main technological aspects of blockchain is decentralization. The existing system will be reformed and a new social organization will be created. Shared economy can use blockchain technology as it records the participation and contribution of everyone in the production of a particular article or service without the possibility of falsification. What will happen with the regulations? Who will pay taxes in this case? The politicians are the people the new technology depends on to make a revolution in today's social organization.
Blockchain is expanding its application perimeter. For example, it can be used in production and supply chain, thus ensuring traceability and transparency. What is more, through "smart contracts“, certain obligations can be fixed and in this way blockchain becomes particularly suitable for use in the insurance sector, as it allows for the compensation to be transferred quickly, in case of a certain insurance event. The technology may also be introduced in copyright. Blockchain is a reliable solution against election manipulations. The vote of everyone who exercises his or her right is entered in an unalterable record that can't be falsified. But will the advantages be appreciated and will the businesses start introducing the technology in certain segments? Will blockchain declare a war to the status quo and will it have the power to win it?
Sceptics or Realists
Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics at New York University and a US Congress consultant, said that Bitcoin is the "mother of all bubbles". In his opinion, every day, new virtual currencies are created that are fraud schemes. Will this theory of "Dr. Doom" be disproved by the development of the new gold rush itself?
We are neither wholehearted enthusiasts, nor absolute sceptics, that is why we will say that blockchain is a technology that has its advantages, but it's just starting out and is about to fight for its place under the sun. However, we will remind that the currency board in Bulgaria and the cryptocurrencies are two complete opposites. The Director-General of the financial company, based in San Francisco True Link Financial - Kai Stinchcombe, said that in the last decade, blockchain has been used only in places, where its use is not obligatory. The battle with the status quo has not yet begun.