It's the Blockchain Panel | Summary and Q&A

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December 15, 2015
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TechCrunch
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It's the Blockchain Panel

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Summary

In this video, three experts in the field of blockchain technology discuss the applications and possibilities of blockchain beyond Bitcoin. They explain the concept of side-chains, the benefits of open-source platforms, and the potential of blockchain in various industries such as insurance, finance, and virtual worlds. The experts also touch upon the challenges of separating blockchain from Bitcoin and the importance of programmable trust infrastructure. They conclude by discussing the different names that can be used to describe blockchain-based startups.

Questions & Answers

Q: What do the experts do in simple terms?

Austin Hill is a co-founder of Blockstream, a company that does open-source development around the Bitcoin blockchain, specifically focusing on side-chains. Vitalic Buterin is the founder of Ethereum, an independent blockchain platform with a built-in programming language. Steve Waterhouse is a partner at Pantera Capital, an investment firm focused on blockchain technologies, including Bitcoin.

Q: Can blockchain be separated from Bitcoin?

The experts emphasize that the development of blockchain technology is closely tied to the emergence of Bitcoin. They explain that the decentralization and incentivization mechanisms of Bitcoin have led to significant investment and peer review, making it a highly secure and well-tested platform for building applications. While there are use cases for blockchain without Bitcoin, the experts stress the importance of recognizing the interplay between the two.

Q: How has blockchain technology evolved from previous failed attempts?

The experts highlight the history of failed attempts to create digital cash systems prior to Bitcoin due to the reliance on central trusted parties. These systems collapsed when the central agency or database failed. Bitcoin, with its decentralized and trustless network, turned this concept on its head by introducing incentives for participation and mining. This unique approach to security, combined with peer review and stress testing, has led to the growth and development of the blockchain ecosystem.

Q: What are some potential use cases for blockchain technology?

The experts mention several exciting use cases for blockchain technology, including insurance for delayed flights using smart contracts, a decentralized insurance marketplace for the sharing economy, and the integration of blockchain and IoT for smart property management. They also discuss the potential for blockchain in finance and trade, such as automated release of funds in international trade financing. The possibilities are vast, with blockchain being seen as a programmable trust infrastructure for a wide range of industries.

Q: Can you change the name of a blockchain-based startup to avoid confusion?

The experts discuss different names and terms that can be used to describe blockchain-based startups, such as "disruptive," "decentralized," "distributed ledger technology," or "crypto 2.0." They highlight the importance of marketing and clearly communicating the unique aspects of the startup, beyond just the term "blockchain."

Takeaways

Blockchain technology, originally developed alongside Bitcoin, has evolved into a programmable trust infrastructure with a wide range of applications. It offers the potential to revolutionize industries such as finance, insurance, and virtual worlds by enabling secure and transparent transactions. The interplay between blockchain and Bitcoin is significant, with Bitcoin's decentralized network serving as a well-tested and secure platform for building applications. The possibilities for blockchain are vast, with the ability to create programmable trust and remove systemic risk. As the technology continues to evolve, it is essential to find clear and distinct names and terms to communicate its unique aspects and separate it from Bitcoin.

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