Sir Richard Branson – a huge supporter of blockchain technology since its beginnings – describes in the following interesting interview on livemint.com with by Jaspreet Bindra what he loves about blockchain and why he sees it as a revolutionary technology:
Why Richard Branson loves blockchain
It was early this month that Virgin Group founder Richard Branson hosted the second annual Blockchain Summit at Necker Island, his idyllic atoll. One thing we do know about Branson is that if he is so deep into something, that has to be revolutionary, game-changing and, well, sexy.
Blockchain certainly promises to be the first and the second, and is rapidly climbing the charts to become the third too. Vaguely known for long as the “technology behind bitcoin”, blockchain is rapidly coming into its own.
Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Netscape and Mosaic (the first widely-used Web browser) and venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, says, “Blockchain today feels like what the Internet did in 1993.” Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.), recently joined a blockchain start-up. Larry Summers, president emeritus at Harvard University, has gone as far as an economist can go and said that it is “overwhelmingly likely” that “blockchain will change finance forever”, and has gone ahead to put money where his mouth is and funded several blockchain start-ups. Larry is right.
In the following article by Arjun Kharpal published on cnbc.com he dives deeper into the revolutionary view of blockchain technology:
Richard Branson: Blockchain could create ‘economic revolution’ in emerging markets
Blockchain technology could bring an “economic revolution” in many developing countries where proving ownership of assets or getting access to capital is difficult, Virgin Group founder and billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson said on Monday.
Branson referenced the work of well-known economist Hernando de Soto, who recently announced a partnership wtih bitcoin and blockchain company BitFury and the Republic of Georgia’s National Agency of Public Registry, to trial a land titling program.
Blockchain works like a huge, decentralized ledger for the digital currency bitcoin which records every transaction and stores this information on a global network so it cannot be tampered with. It’s this technology that banks feel can be utilized in areas from remittances to securities exchanges.
The technology can be used to keep an immutable record of ownership and has been trialed for banks to carry out the trading of assets.
In developed markets, proving ownership of land is easy. But in many developing markets, this can be difficult.
“If you take somewhere like Egypt, 90 percent of people have got houses, they’ve got a garden, but they’ve got no piece of paper to show ownership of that … And without ownership of your property, it’s almost impossible to start a business or get a bank loan or anything,”
Read more at cnbc.com
www.handelsblatt.com published an interview with Don Tapscott about the “internet of value”, Blockchain technology in general, its opportunities and risks.
Die Blockchain bedroht Google und Facebook
The article was published as paid content here: http://www.handelsblatt.com/my/technik/it-internet/don-tapscott-die-blockchain-bedroht-google-und-facebook/14910116.html (German)
We offer you the translated content:
Handelsblatt print: No. 232 dated 11/30/2016 page 032 / Finance and Stock Markets
“Blockchain threatens Google and Facebook”
The author on the new technology, intellectual property and cultural change.
He sees himself as a prophet: Don Tapscott envisions a new, better, open, networked world, and on that account is in great demand as an expert and author.
Mr. Tapscott, you speak of a revolution through blockchain technology. But young fintech companies see banks more as partners than as their enemy.
Many banks view blockchains as just a way to reduce costs. But that’s a mistake. The truly visionary bankers are more interested in the strategic opportunities the new technology offers.
Are there a lot of truly visionary managers?
Oh, yes. One example is the US technology stock exchange NASDAQ, which increasingly sees itself as a technology provider. For instance, it has launched a blockchain-based concept that lets private individuals sell power from their solar cells directly to other private individuals.
Again: where is the actual revolution?
This technology has impact far beyond the financial sector. It affects every business, our culture, the way we listen to music, and the question of how artists are paid for their work. Look at the British singer Imogen Heap, who sells her songs using a blockchain.
How is the internet changing?
To date we’ve been only had an internet of information, as no one can protect their identity or intellectual property. In future, we’ll also have an internet of value. This will make it much easier to sell intellectual property via the Web. That affects musicians, but also for instance journalistic articles and TV shows.
Will there also be giant companies like Google and Facebook in this new internet?
Possibly, yes. But the blockchain is more than anything else a challenge for Google and Facebook. Their business model is based on using data without paying for it, in other words on inadequate protection.
Will there be a single internet of value, for instance based on the cyber-currency Bitcoins? Or will we see multiple concurrent solutions?
I expect there will be thousands, even millions, of blockchains, some open, others restricted to a defined group of participants.
That’s pretty complicated.
The various networks can be linked. There are already companies like Abra, which enable payment in Bitcoins world-wide without the user ever actually seeing them.
But one problem with blockchains is that they suck up an incredible amount of computer capacity and energy.
This cost does not increase in proportion to the number of transactions. Additionally, consider how much energy today’s payment systems consume – just the high-rise bank buildings alone.
A large portion of the computers used to clear Bitcoins today are located in China. Doesn’t that entail political risks?
I’d also prefer to see the capacity distributed better world-wide. And that may even happen in future. But who could possibly be interested in blowing up the system? Maybe a terrorist organization like IS. Otherwise: if the system is destroyed, all Bitcoins are worthless, and nobody benefits from that.
But Bitcoins have also proven to be a haven for criminals. The currency can be used to anonymously pay ransoms or invoices on platforms used to deal drugs. Think about the well-known case of the Silk Road platform.
Some prosecutors, such as Kathryn Haun from the US Ministry of Justice, see that entirely differently. They note that blockchain payments are much easier to trace than cash. Ultimately, that’s how investigators succeeded in uncovering Silk Road. Blockchains offer greater transparency than current systems. In the last financial crisis, it would have been much easier to untangle who owed what to whom, for instance after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
Fans of Bitcoins see it as an alternative to currencies such as the dollar and euro. Will it go that far?
Not in our generation. The conventional currencies are too strong. Also, the experience in Europe in particular is showing that a single currency for all is a problematic concept.
So Bitcoins and other virtual currencies are not a major issue for the central banks?
Oh, they are. I can certainly imagine the euro or the dollar based on blockchains instead of conventional accounts and paper. That would be a much more transparent system and it would enable the central banks to see how their monetary policy is working much more quickly.
Mr. Tapscott, many thanks for this interview.
The interview was conducted by Frank Wiebe.
© Handelsblatt GmbH. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.