A recent article on the World Economic Forum website rightly asked some tough questions about the ability of blockchain to change the world for better. The argument was that it was dangerous to place all our faith in this new technology to solve our digital security issues.
While it is true that blockchain is not a “magic bullet” that should be blindly trusted, there are other factors at play here. The idea is not to replace human trust with trust in machines but mathematically demonstrated trust.
Blockchain is a new technology with the ability to transform our everyday lives. It is an invisible technology, it works behind the scenes. It is like the internet today: you cannot see it, but you know it is there working for us. One of its key features is also immutability, meaning the records cannot be retrospectively changed; this is an integral point to any discussion about blockchain and security.
Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin were the first real-use case of blockchain, but that wave has since come and gone. Problems in the cryptocurrency sector do not negate the benefits of blockchain in other sectors, where it will often be used to supplement rather than wholly replace existing security systems. Every technology has flaws, but blockchain seems to spook some people because, in terms of security, it has relatively fewer flaws.
The article also mentions the story of a deceased CEO whose $150 million funds were inaccessible after death, but then goes on to say the company “failed to implement proper checks and balances to prevent such a scenario.” So this is a problem generated by poor implementation, not a shortcoming of the technology.
The authors are correct to say it could take years for the blockchain industry to converge on security standards, but just because mass-implementation is around the corner, it does not mean it will be rolled out too soon. This is for two reasons: firstly, development in the blockchain sector is moving at lightning speed. Secondly, if blockchain is rolled out en-masse before developers feel it is ready, then this is a problem again with human trust, not the technology. If you cannot cut an apple with a blunt knife, the problem is not with the knife, but that the knife was not sharpened before use. It is important to remember that blockchain is still in the development stage.