This is the first of what I’m sure will be many posts on a technology that will come to define our digital lives in the coming decades.

“The internet was originally supposed to be a democratizing force. It was supposed to to be, ‘Oh, everything’s going to be equal and even. We’re all going to have websites. And nobody’s going to be in charge.’ Now meet your new overlords – Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon. These are the people really in charge.”

“Blockchains give us a system for taking networks that normally would have been run by individuals, kings, or corporations, and instead making sure they’re leaderless”

These quotes from Naval have encouraged me for the last year or so to go down the ‘blockchain rabbit hole’, swiftly consuming articles like this one :https://areomagazine.com/2019/07/31/towards-a-free-and-open-internet/. Internalizing them or truly understanding the protocols at play are another matter however. Still, I am simply a spectator in a very technical field, but this weeks class has helped me take another small step forwards in grasping what I feel will be a major part of our technological future.

BLOCKCHAINS
Bitcoin and its foundational technology of blockchain usage has garnered worldwide attention. Rather than highlight all the obvious features and talking points I’d like to mention two things that really stood out for me in my reading of the topic thus far.

NON FUNGIBLE TOKENS
Wikipedia provides the definition here: “A non-fungible token is a special type of cryptographic token which represents something unique; non-fungible tokens are thus not interchangeable. Non-fungible tokens are used to create verifiable digital scarcity, as well as ownership, and the possibility of asset interoperabilty.“
This technology seems to point to a potential revolution in business and trading. Here are a couple of use cases: (https://hackernoon.com/non-fungible-tokens-vs-fungible-tokens-whats-the-difference-part-ii-f4b7e81f5942)

BYZANTINE GENERALS PROBLEM
The reference below provides the full details but in essence its the problem of achieving consensus among untrusted parties. Blockchain solves this problem for the first time in computing. I discovered via a podcast with a famous Silicon Valley player Naval Ravikant. He said (link here) “I realized this is a way out of centralized tech monopolies, a way out of gatekeepers for money. It’s a way out of inflation.” It sounds idealistic and of course its very appealing. The interest for me is trying to figure out what will actually be versus what will remain a dream. The more technical skills I gain, the more I can do this.

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