My friend Mike sent this to me. It was a presentation at the Stigler Center over at Chicago Booth. David Yermack is an academic at NYU. They did a 3 day conference on blockchain, and here is a link to the presentation.
It’s just over one hour but it’s worth your time.
Blockchain is the most exciting technology to come around in a long time. It will not only disrupt finance, but also legal and government. If you are sick of political parties, get familiar with blockchain.
The key component to Blockchain isn’t the foreign exchange or currency part of it. It’s trust.
How much of our society pays gatekeepers because of trust? Or fear? Or fear that something won’t happen? Or that someone won’t perform on an obligation?
Blockchain can make that go away.
For entrepreneurs, they will have to rethink how they do some things. They will have to get comfortable with delegating a lot to a network that they create. Many entrepreneurs are “control freaks” in some way. A blockchain network is highly organized but highly decentralized. That can make people uncomfortable.
One example I thought of was this. Currently, if you do a trade at an exchange, it runs through a clearinghouse. The exchange clearinghouse is a centralized database that the exchange can derive revenue off of. What if that whole thing was outsourced to a blockchain? The whole thing. That means setting margins and fees too.
Reasearch scientists will use blockchains to collaborate. People across the world will link up on blockchains and there will be immediate trust.
The most concrete example I can give is being a trader on the floor. Prior to going on the floor, you were vetted by a membership committee. Your clearing firm interviewed you and checked out your finances. The clearing firm guaranteed your account with the clearinghouse. If you went tap city, they were on the hook. The day you got your badge and walked on the floor, you could go to any pit you wanted and make a trade. People trusted that your trade would be good. Implicitly. Your word was your bond.
People that didn’t stand by their trades were run out of the community. It wasn’t pretty. Even if you were a huge scumbag, you had to step up. Otherwise you were out.
Blockchain reminds me a lot of that but at scale.
This technology is going to upset A LOT of apple carts.