Very few people understand bitcoin and those that do usually have a hard time explaining it anyway. One of the main reasons why very few people understand bitcoin, and I’m including people who work in the industry, is the fact that it overrides every rule we know. More to the point the blokchain, the technology through which bitcoin transactions are carried out, is unlike anything we’ve invented before, as a species I mean.
We’re used to a certain degree of uncertainty. In any spectrum of life, no matter the subject, it is almost impossible to be 100 % correct or 100 % incorrect, things are never 100 % of something. You can get to a reasonable level of certainty, and you can get to a rock-solid truth beyond reasonable doubt, yes, but I’m talking about mathematical certainty. That’s what gets you with bitcoin and the blockchain. Everything is 100 % this or that. There’s no middle ground. Either the transaction was done or it wasn’t. And either way, it’s completely impossible to deny it. In other words, if you sent bitcoin, it’ll be impossible to claim you haven’t. And if you haven’t, it will be impossible to claim you have. I’m not talking about “drive-a-Subaru-Impreza-slowly” kind of impossible. I’m talking about mathematically impossible. Arithmetically undeniable.
The blockchain carries and records transactions in a way that makes it impossible to deny or cancel a transaction if it’s happened, and it also makes the outcome completely certain and predictable. It would be like doing 2+2 on a calculator and hoping the result is any different than four. Speaking of which, the blockchain operates through cryptography and I’m going to explain this the same way a cyber-security girl from Belgrade I know explained it to me, in simple terms because I’m a bit of an idiot sometimes. She said “This is how cryptography works: 2+2 = 4. If you point a gun to my head. 2+2 still equals 4.” It’s rather simplified but it gets straight to the point.
The reason I mention this and the reason why I lingered on with this convoluted premise is the blockchain is now used primarily as a means of completing cryptocurrency transactions but it can be used for a lot of different things. Including carrying data. Including with cars.
A couple of months ago, during the tech days at Automobility LA (mainly inside the tech pavillion), the blockchain was mentioned more than once. There was a panel, called “Blockchain – The Connectivity Cure” and there was even a stand (with a car in it) where the blockchain was (kinda) explained to media and the other exhibitors.
The blockchain could be utilized to perform many different actions with your car. One example? Right now, if you communicate with your car via an app, the instructions have to go through a third-party server which causes two main problems. The first, it is a slower process because there’s a “filter” involved, and the second, more importantly, it is hackable. The blockchain is, in practical terms, as close to impossible to hack as it gets. I’ll explain why at the end.
Would you like another example? Let’s talk about insurance fraud. That would be extinct if the data and details of any recorded accident were carried via blockchain because the blockchain data cannot, ever, not by anyone, be altered. And because it isn’t physical, it cannot be destroyed. So if you crashed, you crashed. You can’t claim otherwise. And if you didn’t, you didn’t. That’s what the blockchain does. It is a public ledger that carries data for ever. It does not expire and it can’t be tempered with. The only way to alter it is shutting down the internet, and I mean literally, for anyone in any device in the world.
I’m going to tell you the God’s honest truth. I dislike technology but this isn’t about what we like, it’s not about what’s “likable”. It’s about what’s happening. And this is happening.
I said the blockchain cannot be hacked. Here’s why. The blockchain is a decentralized (no central control) ledger in which any new string of data (usually referred to as “block”) also includes all previous blocks, and I mean each and every single one of them no matter how far back in time, spread across millions of computers which require something that is, in simple terms, mutual acceptance to function. Also, each block, each piece of data, has a timestamp and a link to the previous block forming a chronological chain reinforced through cryptography ensuring the records cannot be altered by others. In other words, in order to hack the blockchain you’d have to hack millions of computers, all at the same time, for a prolonged period, corrupting data that go back to the origin of the blockchain itself. Impossible.
What could this mean for us? Well, right now? Nothing.
In the future? A lot of things but I would like to cite two potential examples specifically, just for my own personal taste, you know.
1. new cars couldn’t be stolen or started by unauthorized third-parties
2. goddamn whiplash claims would finally disappear
I apologize for this article’s lack of pictures. Normal service with videos and pictures will e resumed shortly. This article was previously published on Game Changers, my tribe on Drive Tribe
ph credit: Hacker Noon