Blockchain: Massively Simplified by Richie Etwaru at TEDxMorristown (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Chief Digital Officer of IQVIA Holdings, Richie Etwaru’s TEDx Talk titled Blockchain: Massively Simplified at TEDxMorristown conference.


MP3 Audio: 



Richie Etwaru – Chief Digital Officer, IQVIA Holdings

Let me take you to the ground floor of the Internet.

This is what the Internet looked like exactly 40 years ago. In 1977, the Internet was just a couple of computers, a dozen of dots if I may, loosely connected by some lines that can barely carry a couple of bits and bytes between them, not that much.

Today you’re watching this video on YouTube, using the Internet, in the most sacred part of your house without a wire connected to the device, that you’re watching this video on, on the seat that most people should watch TED talks on, in your toilet.

Now in order for us to go from where we are, which are these couple dots, to where we are today, a lot had to happen. People like Bill Gates and Tim Berners-Lee had to dream about what could the world be like? How could we change the world?

And here we are, 40 years after. Now the thing about great inventions and great paradigms like the Internet is you actually don’t know what it is the day was made. You kind of have hindsight forty years after and you look at and you go, “Oh I see, what that did! It did the following thing:

And the question or the discussion we’re going to have today is if there was a paradigm sitting in front of us today, what can we do today to figure out what that paradigm is going to do 40 years from now so that we could take advantage of it, so that we can be a part of what Bill Gates and others did to the Internet.

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In order to do that, in order to get ahead you have to ask what I like to call the big question. And the big question about any paradigm is: what is the one thing, what is the one gap that that paradigm fills for everyone?

Now I said hindsight is easy. Hindsight is 2020 but foresight, that’s where it gets difficult. Let’s take a look at hindsight.

If we think about some of the large inventions in our life, the printing press, for example, in the 1400s. The printing press filled an interesting gap. It filled what I like to call the knowledge gap. At the time knowledge only came to the anointed — someone special would get a clay with the name of kings on it and that’s how knowledge came from the gods.

The printing press was invented and completely closed the knowledge gap. If we take a look at something like the engine, — that invention; what gap did it fill? Well, it filled a power gap. At the time we wanted to manufacture and all we had was manpower, slavery, colonialism. The engine helped get rid of all of that.

And then our favorite invention: the internet. Starting 40 years ago, you looked at it, you’d go I’m not sure what it does. Today I like to think of it as filling the distance gap. The world is a lot smaller than it was 40 years ago. Today you can transact with just about anyone, from just about any distance away.

We’re here to talk today about the next gap that exists. There’s a gap that is building in our society and there’s an invention as you would imagine that fills that gap. That invention is called blockchain.

Now this is an oversimplified version of a blockchain conversation. For all those blockchain experts, the sixteen of us that exist in the world, save all the details for the comments. We’re going to have an oversimplified conversation. We’re at the ground floor of blockchain. And what I want to talk about is what is the gap that it fills so that we can look forward and see what the world could look like and take advantage of it.

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Blockchain changes something that is very fundamental to us. It’s at the core of who we are and each of us do it hundreds of times a day. What blockchain is going to change is, it’s going to change the way we trust. Not just how we trust each other but more specifically, how we trust in business.

Now you might go, “Wow! Trust in business? I trust all the businesses I operated with today.” Of course, I do. I trust my government. I trust my news. I trust everyone. I’m being funny here guys.

Trust is actually very, very core to business. Trust in business started very early on, from cavemen all the way through the mercantile economy to the Industrial Age and today in the Information Age. We have come to a conclusion as a species that I have to trust you in order to transact with you.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, trust is the fundamental currency of commerce. Think about if we just stopped trusting all companies or governments. Commerce would come to a bit of a halt.

Now trust itself is very delicate. It’s poignant; it’s close to us; easily breakable. And yet somehow we’re able to trust each other and transact a hundred trillion dollars a year between the 7 billion of us on this planet. This little delicate thing called trust somehow or the other we’re able to do it this many times per year.

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