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Blockchain 2040

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Part of a panel conversation, first presented at the UC Berkeley Blockchain Course on April 23, 2018
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/uc-berkeley-blockchain-course-guest-panel-series-v-blockchain-in-2040-tickets-45226658152#

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Blockchain 2040

  1. 1. “Blockchain 2040” Voice over: opportunities or just dystopias?
  2. 2. Disclaimer • These slides contain names of specific projects. This is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended to be seen as an endorsement or investment advice • The contents herein does not reflect the views or opinions of anyone else but myself. • I am not a lawyer.
  3. 3. Okay, so let’s assume for the moment that all of the problems in the world can and will be solved because of magical “blockchains”…
  4. 4. You didn’t need a chain to create the GFW
  5. 5. (1) Panoptichain • How much different would living behind the GFW be if all commercial activity is being monitored, stored, and chronicled with a “blockchain”? • Arguably: not too different under these existing circumstances (maybe worse depending on who you are?)
  6. 6. On the other hand…
  7. 7. (2) Inability to monitor (majority of) illicit activity • With the advent of cross-chain interoperability, even if one or two networks are taken down, other chains can continue to move data and value between one another • Bulletproofs / SNARKS effective at obfuscating sender/receiver information • Coupled with decentralized exchanges (IDEX) and vending machine exchanges (like Shapeshift) as well as whitelisted exchanges (Coinbase) – price discovery and liquidity can and will exist for dozens of coins, potentially enabling near permanent confidentiality to savvy users • Will be hard for data analytics / forensics to be done to identify illicit activity (need to rely on undercover work again)
  8. 8. Run for the hills, right?
  9. 9. (3) Proof-of-work mining is not socially responsible investing; developed countries will restrict or ban it
  10. 10. What is the future of subpoenacoin era?
  11. 11. Or somewhere in between
  12. 12. (4) Why do enterprises care? ● Remove reconciliation processes and automate workflows ● Do not want to create another clearing house and CCPs (lots of those already exist) ● Do not want to rely on just one organization to run a database ● Looked at cryptocurrencies, but none of these were fit-for-purpose ● Most cryptocurrencies have probabilistic not deterministic finality ● Need legal hooks / SLAs, not interested in anarchic chains
  13. 13. Conclusion • 25 years ago cypherpunks and early Web promoters marketed a world that looks very different in reality: are we in a dystopia today? • Voluntary self-radicalization, GFW, permanent fake news cycles, chronic visible divide on majors issues reinforced in digitized echo chambers… all made possible by technology and ideas conjured up decades ago • If blockchains and/or DLT is as useful as most of its vocal proponents say they are, there will inevitably be tradeoffs • On the one hand, all digitally connected commerce could conceivably be traced and enable potential legal recourse • On the other hand, this also enables abuse both by policy makers and savvy criminals
  14. 14. Contact tim@postoaklabs.com

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