The Conversation, 01 Oct 2014
Cryptocurrencies are novel as they are only possible because of the ready availability of high-speed computing and networks. They are a challenge to today’s currencies because of their decentralised nature, taking them out of national governments’ control. … What has been given less attention is the mechanism that makes the bitcoin network possible, the blockchain. . . . The use of the blockchain means that each contract is distributed across the network with time triggers agreed and written into the contract. … The Ethereum White Paper outlining the concepts and aims of the project describes how using the blockchain can be used to form decentralised autonomous organisations (DAO). … Various controversial claims around Ethereum suggest it will remove the need for lawyers, or even the need for bankers. … In a similar way open innovation could become a more powerful mechanism by using the blockchain as an arbitrator that offers attribution of original ideas in the correct chronological order. The blockchain can also be applied to education, used to verify attendance and identity for exams held at remote locations. … Ethereum is just the first to exploit the blockchain in novel and creative ways. Others are already arriving, for example IBM’s Adept project takes the blockchain in an entirely different direction, putting it at the centre of a future internet of things. Here the blockchain is used to authenticate devices so they can communicate with each other, using the blockchain to store a record of devices that have done so.
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