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Home » Blockchain and a New Paradigm of Collectivity: Matan Field at TEDxCERN (Transcript)

Blockchain and a New Paradigm of Collectivity: Matan Field at TEDxCERN (Transcript)

Matan Field – TRANSCRIPT

Internet has dramatically changed our life. If we have a question, we simply google it, we read most of our news online, and we socialize with Facebook and Twitter. We take it for granted, but in the 1960s, even the simplest collaboration among peers around the world in a shared document in real time was probably unimaginable.

More than lacking proper technological tools, I believe that, conceptually, it was just too big a place for that to happen. I believe we are on the brink of a much greater transition. This will not only impact every facet of our life, every industry, but it will also lead to new, social, organizational structures in our society. I believe that “decentralized networks” – I will keep getting back to this terminology – will take over the roles of banks, corporations, and insurance companies within a decade or two. I believe that will be just the beginning.

So if you look at the murmuration of those starlings – to me, they look a lot more like a living creature rather than a flock. Look at their movement and the flow. Beyond the beauty of that movement, what fascinates me is it seems there’s no single bird responsible for coordinating that movement. Imagine having in these decentralized networks millions of people and computers, rather than birds, cooperating around shared goals.

How will it look like? What will it take to do it? And would it be a good or a bad thing? The basis for this revolution is the blockchain technology, the technology underlying bitcoin. It was introduced in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous inventor of bitcoin. Blockchain is this decentralized platform that stores and manages records of value transfer. It sounds a little complicated, so let me explain.

Middlemen are everywhere in our economy. They are there to store records, they are there to keep agreements on those records, and to take decisions. I own something if there is a social agreement that I own that thing. It is as simple as that. Ownership is set by social agreement, and if there’s no such agreement, then I don’t own anything. This agreement needs to sit somewhere. For example, if the bank says I own 20 dollars, but I want 30, then we just trust the bank’s records to hold to the truth. But as long as this record needs to be somewhere, it also needs to be in someone’s hands, which gives that person enormous power.

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