September 23, 2018 Dan Wilson

Blockchain schmockchain

Anyone who follows me on Twitter (@danielwilson) will know my personal opinions of Blockchain. To succinctly recap them here I am long on Blockchain and crypto. Very long. The reason is simple – I fully agree with Adam Beck when he wrote “What we want is fully anonymous, ultra-low transaction cost, transferable units of exchange. If we get that going… the banks will become the obsolete dinosaurs they deserve to become.” And he wrote this some time ago.

This is also the first year in many when I haven’t immediately come back from Dmexco and written a blog post about the show. Yes, the show was good and very busy, I am still amazed at how regional it is (and how crap the food is). However, I didn’t see anything that I would class as innovation.

I also didn’t see much Blockchain stuff. Long-touted as the saviour of adtech Blockchain is an immutable record of transactions – including economics ones. I find the current adoption of Blockchain by adtech vendors as being rather perverse. On the one hand they are finally trying to show ‘transparency’ – the same people who have been systematically gouging clients for years are now all about transparency. Digging deeper into some of the new transparent things being written to these (still mainly private) ledgers – the actual transaction itself is not being calculated and validated by the system, just the results of the transaction that are processed internally are then written to the ledger.

Paul the Apostle this is not. What this is, is a continuation of previous practices with the last mile being put on a database so that someone else (if the ledger is public) can confirm xyz volume and 123 price. If it is a private ledger it is no more use than an expensive spreadsheet delivered from a very expensive cloud server.

Transparency, provenance and disclosure are very different things. We may fix some of these with Blockchain, we may not. Whatever we do with it will be geared towards transparency, provenance and disclosure, the way a proper market should run.

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