Would you store your personal data, including health data, on a blockchain? Even among experts, confidence in the security of this technology is still weak. ” That depends,” was the general tone among the speakers at a conference. This is despite the fact that the architecture of the blockchain is systemically more secure than a central server-client system or a cloud solution. The applications and the first scandals with misappropriated crypto currencies are still too young.
The blockchain is programmed to automatically secure trust and process contracts fully automated. This is the philosophy of the activists around the “phantom” Satoshi Nakamoto, to whom the invention is attributed in 2009. The idea is actually a vote of no confidence against “trustworthy third parties”, also known as “intermediaries”, who mediate and conduct business. In 2008, these were especially the banks that had to overcome a crisis of confidence that had lasted for years after the financial crisis.
Ten years later, blockchain applications are being developed for supply chains, logistics ecosystems, facility management, land registers and other geographic information systems. It is conceivable that payment transactions might work without banks and clearing houses and that taxes and charges might be levied directly and fully automatically on transactions. Data protection will remain a challenge.
The blockchain knows no national borders, and soloing with Swiss self-determination is an illusion – worldwide standards will be needed.
We will get used to the fact that we consider codes to be safer than people. It still runs counter to our intuition – both for self-propelled vehicles and for fully automated business and data processing. And yes, it will continue to need people, especially in unforeseeable and critical situations such as on the 15th of January 2009. An autopilot could not have landed the Airbus A320 of the US Airways on the Hudson River in New York as confidently as Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger. On the other hand, we know: Airplanes fly computer-controlled for the longest time, even when two pilots are sitting in the cockpit.
Column in the Handelszeitung of 22 November 2018 by Esther-Mirjam de Boer