Thursday, 30th April 2020
These two simple blockchain projects would revolutionize life at grass-roots level….
The ‘experts’ tell us blockchain technology will change the world….
It hasn’t happened yet. That’s not to say that it won’t. Just that we’re still waiting….
There are some really ambitious plans for blockchain. Perhaps that’s the problem. Ideas can be so big and so complex it takes a lot of time to get them over the line….
Meantime – without sacrificing big and necessary ideas – it might be worthwhile focusing attention and resources on some small and possibly unnecessary ideas….
Perhaps we can revolutionize the world at grass roots level first?
At any rate, I have a couple of small ideas – ideas that would benefit us all and that I’d like to see some blockchain whizz kids bring to fruition….
More shortly. First, a quick flip through what’s going on….
- What’s going on….
It doesn’t matter where you look – the data is down….
Global GDP; global business activity; consumer confidence; household finance; manufacturing sector optimism; employment rate; retail sales; business confidence; global air cargo volumes; durable goods orders. They’re all at record lows. Or close to….
Oil prices are generally a good indicator of upcoming economic activity. Right now, oil is at an all-time low. They can’t give it away – literally….
A third of global energy demand disappeared in 6-weeks. That’s partly the problem. Over-supply is another. They can’t just shut wells down. So, they keep pumping the stuff despite no demand and prices crash. It could take 3-years to work through the surplus and for prices to normalize….
Right now, copper is a more reliable indicator of future activity. And there are signs of life. Copper is heading up….
Gold goes well too (as we predicted). Once again, it is proving a safe haven store of value in turbulent times….
The VIX is down. Fear levels are subsiding. So, no surprise global stocks are climbing again – despite continued uncertainty…. despite the economic effects of lockdown…. despite record unemployment levels….
That’s what massive and unprecedented cash injections from central government does – it papers over cracks and pumps-up asset prices in ways that are entirely disconnected from fundamentals….
More to come….
- But fuhgeddaboudit….
We won’t get into that today. I’m bored with COVID-19, financial chaos, economic mayhem and market madness….
Today, I’m focused on revolution….
Okay, revolution is an exaggeration. But my blockchain projects would change two small aspects of everyday life for the better….
Before I get to that, I need to talk about blockchain technology – how it works, what it does and why it’s important….
I know this kind of thing is dull. So, I’ll get it over quickly. But you need to know the basics – so you can understand where my ideas are coming from….
- Blockchain in a nutshell….
Blockchain is the technology that underpins digital currencies like bitcoin….
It allows individual bitcoins to be stored, distributed, traded and transacted – whilst simultaneously preventing individual bitcoins from being copied….
Think of the blockchain as a digital ledger – an ever-evolving real-time record of who owns what – that can’t be tampered with or edited by unauthorized third parties or centralized authority….
But it isn’t all about cryptocurrencies….
Blockchain technology can support any other kind of transaction between two consenting parties….
Which is where my ideas come in….
- Green waste bin capacity….
We all pay for green bin collection as part of our Council Tax bill. We all pay – whether or not we have gardens….
Some folk produce more green waste than fits in a single bin. Some fill half a bin every so often. Some folk produce no green waste – ever. But we all pay the same….
This all gets my goat because it’s a situation where capacity is paid for but frequently goes unused. And that spare capacity has value that cannot presently be easily extracted from the system….
I produce a lot of green waste. I can fill a bin in one morning. Once that capacity is exhausted, the rest of the green waste I produce in-between bin collections has to be hauled down to the recycling center….
But let’s say one of my neighbors has concreted his garden over and never produces any green waste. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could use the spare capacity in his green bin?
I suppose could knock on his door and ask. But that would soon become tiresome – for him and for me. Blockchain could make this possible by formalizing a system of exchange….
If green waste capacity were issued to each council taxpayer in blocks, then unused blocks of capacity in local green bins could be traded on an open market as and when necessary….
People like me who need more capacity could buy that capacity at market value off neighbors who don’t need it – giving those neighbors a way of mitigating the cost of a service they don’t make full use of….
There are rough edges to my proposal. The detail would have to be thrashed out by smarter men than me. But you see where I’m coming from….
Local councils – who like charging people for services people don’t use – would likely disagree. But my blockchain proposal would produce a more efficient system – and a fairer one for end users….
- Data, messages, call time and cloud space….
I pay for phone data as part of my monthly subscription fee to my phone network….
I seldom use the full amount of data to which I’m entitled – and for which I’m paying. Yet it doesn’t carry over….
That unused commodity which I have paid for does not remain in my ownership. I can’t store it and use it later. I either use it this month or I can never use it at all. If I don’t use it, it is simply taken away from me….
It’s a curious arrangement. Not one we would lightly accept in other areas of life….
When you fill your car up at the petrol station, you use what you pay for in your own good time….
If you woke up tomorrow morning to find some grease monkey in overalls siphoning out what’s left in your tank because you haven’t taken sufficient journeys to use the fuel up in time, you’d probably have something to say….
But phone data (along with call time, text messages and cloud storage entitlements) are apparently some different thing that work to some different code….
It probably suits the phone companies. In plenty of instances, they get to charge full fees over and over again for capacity that they don’t have to supply. That’s good business if you can get it….
But blockchain technology has the potential to change that. On a blockchain ledger, at the end of every month you’d be able to sell what capacity you don’t use (data, messages, phone time, storage space in the cloud etc.) at market value to someone who needs it….
Surely, that has to be a better system for the end user than the system that prevails right now….
Bring on the blockchain. That’s what I say….
That’s how it looks from here….
All the best