How the blockchain is changing money and business | Don Tapscott | Summary and Q&A

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September 16, 2016
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TED
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How the blockchain is changing money and business | Don Tapscott

TL;DR

Blockchain, the underlying technology of digital currencies like Bitcoin, has the potential to revolutionize industries and solve global problems.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What technology is likely to have the greatest impact on the next few decades?

The technology that is likely to have the greatest impact on the next few decades is blockchain, the underlying technology of digital currencies like Bitcoin.

Q: What is the current state of the internet?

For the past few decades, we have had the internet of information, where sending a file or email means sending a copy. However, this is not suitable for sending assets like money or intellectual property, as it creates a "double-spend" problem.

Q: What are some of the problems with relying on intermediaries?

Intermediaries like banks and social media companies perform business and transaction logic, but they are centralized, can be hacked, exclude people from the global economy, slow down processes, capture our data without our control, and contribute to growing social inequality.

Q: How does blockchain technology work?

Blockchain technology stores digital assets across a global ledger using high-level cryptography. When a transaction is conducted, it is posted globally and validated by miners, who solve tough problems. The validated transactions are then linked to the previous blocks, creating a chain of blocks that is time-stamped and highly secure.

Q: What are some potential applications of blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology can be used to address issues of prosperity by establishing secure land titles, creating decentralized sharing economy platforms, improving the efficiency of remittances, giving individuals control over their own data and identity, and enabling fair compensation for content creators.

Summary

In this video, the speaker discusses the potential impact of blockchain technology on various industries and society as a whole. He explains how blockchain, the underlying technology behind digital currencies like Bitcoin, can provide a decentralized and secure way to store, transact, and manage assets. The speaker also highlights five potential applications of blockchain technology: improving land ownership records, transforming the sharing economy, revolutionizing remittances, empowering individuals to own and monetize their data, and revolutionizing the intellectual property industry. He concludes by emphasizing that blockchains offer opportunities to solve many of the world's most challenging problems, urging people to embrace this technology and use it for positive change.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the technology that is likely to have the greatest impact in the coming decades?

The technology with the potential to have the greatest impact is blockchain, the underlying technology of digital currencies like Bitcoin.

Q: How does blockchain differ from the internet of information?

While the internet of information allows for the easy distribution of information copies, blockchain enables the storage and transfer of assets such as money, stocks, bonds, intellectual property, and more, without the need for intermediaries.

Q: What problems are associated with relying on intermediaries in our current economy?

Intermediaries in our economy are centralized, which makes them vulnerable to hacking. They also exclude many people from participating in the global economy and slow down transactions. Moreover, intermediaries capture our data, eroding our privacy, and contribute to growing social inequality.

Q: How does blockchain establish trust?

Trust on blockchain is established through collaboration, cryptography, and clever code, rather than relying on large institutions. The technology itself ensures trust, making it a native part of the system.

Q: How does the Bitcoin blockchain work?

The Bitcoin blockchain consists of a distributed ledger stored across millions of computers worldwide. Transactions are posted globally and grouped into blocks. Miners, who have significant computational power, compete to solve complex problems and validate blocks. The validated block is then linked to the previous block, creating an immutable chain of blocks, securing the transactions.

Q: Are there other blockchains besides Bitcoin?

Yes, there are many blockchains. For example, the Ethereum blockchain introduced smart contracts, allowing for self-executing agreements. These contracts handle enforcement, management, performance, payment, and more, ultimately enabling the creation of various decentralized applications.

Q: How could blockchain revolutionize the financial services industry?

In the financial services industry, blockchain could eliminate the need for separate settlement processes since payment and settlement can occur simultaneously. This technology is causing disruption, leaving financial institutions wondering how to embrace it for success.

Q: How can blockchain address the issue of wealth inequality?

Blockchain presents an opportunity to create shared prosperity by democratizing wealth creation. By engaging more people in the economy, pre-distributing wealth, and ensuring fair compensation, blockchain can help combat inequality.

Q: What are some specific applications of blockchain technology for prosperity?

Blockchain can improve land ownership records, empowering individuals with unambiguous ownership. It can also transform the sharing economy by creating decentralized platforms that give control to users. Additionally, blockchain can revolutionize remittances, protect personal data while enabling monetization, and provide fair compensation for content creators, such as musicians and artists.

Q: What is the potential of blockchain in the intellectual property industry?

Blockchain can address the broken system of intellectual property by allowing creators to have more control and receive fair compensation. By using smart contracts, artists and inventors can protect their rights, monetize their work, and bypass powerful intermediaries.

Takeaways

Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize various industries and address societal challenges. It offers a decentralized and secure solution for storing and transacting assets, eliminating the need for intermediaries. Blockchain can enhance prosperity by improving land ownership, transforming the sharing economy, revolutionizing remittances, empowering individuals to own and monetize their data, and revolutionizing the intellectual property industry. It is a transformative technology that can rewrite the economic power grid and pave the way for positive change.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The blockchain, the underlying technology of digital currencies like Bitcoin, is likely to have the greatest impact on the next few decades.

  • The current internet of information has democratized information, but it is not suitable for assets like money, stocks, and intellectual property, which require trust and cannot be copied.

  • Blockchain technology allows for trust to be established through collaboration, cryptography, and clever code, and has the potential to address issues such as social inequality, inefficient financial systems, remittances, data privacy, and fair compensation for content creators.

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