The bitcoin boom spawned new billionaires and videos of beach parties and Lamborghinis. The crypto crash brought devastation for small investors and bankruptcy for many companies.
Blockchain technology underpins crypto and has been hailed as a world-changing innovation, but does it have any use beyond creating speculative financial instruments?
– More secure voting? –
A “blockchain-based mobile voting app”, I tweeted, would mean “we won’t have to wait for results, or have any questions on its validity”.
So far, experiments have been very small scale.
“From the American perspective, every single district runs its own voting programme,” he said.
“Centralizing the voting system in one digital place would be pretty risky -– then all you have to do is corrupt the blockchain and you could corrupt democracy.”
Blockchain at heart is a ledger, a way of storing transactions that is — according to fans — secure, transparent and permanent.
Diehl said it was “absurd” that the blockchain was “going back to things that were solved a millennium ago to justify its own existence”.
“The blockchain isn’t solving anything here.”
The blockchain emerged from a 2008 white paper on bitcoin, which was conceived as an alternative to fiat currency.
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency. There are now more than 10,000 others sitting on many different blockchains.
Diehl pointed out that cryptoassets are speculative instruments not suitable for payments.
“It just doesn’t happen. You want something that’s going to be stable so the price of your coffee is the price of your coffee next week.”
Want to know where your handle came from? Some supermarkets believe the best way for you to find out is to access a blockchain-based system capable of tracking the fruit from the tropics of Central America to your cornerstore.
Carrefour told AFP earlier this year that shoppers would be able to scan a QR code and discover the provenance of an array of products.
Diehl pointed out that digital supply chain management has been around for years and is perfectly adequate without blockchain.
“If I have a carton of apples and report that I put 100 percent of them on the truck, but then I skim off 50 percent for myself, the blockchain is not going to prevent that.”