Blockchain and bitcoin: progress or chaos?

Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin exist solely in digital world. There are no physical golden coins with a big “B” on them: you will never literally have it in your hands or even in your bank account. So how do you own them? That’s where blockchain comes in. A blockchain serves as an open ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. It is usually managed by a peer- to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. And, once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks, which needs a collusion of the network majority.

Not quite getting it? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Colin Platt from digital transformation agency 11FS and co-host of the Blockchain Insider Podcast series will be holding a Tech Talk to explain all. Colin has been involved in blockchain since 2013 and the financial markets since 2009. Before founding ÐPactum he worked at BNP Paribas Global Markets blockchain innovation and he has sat on the steering committee for R3CEV and Post-Trade Distributed Ledger Working Group (PTDL).

Mishcon Academy
Tech Talks: Blockchain and bitcoin: Progress or chaos?

Joe Hancock
Cyber Security Lead, Mishcon de Reya

Cryptocurrency and blockchain is a hot topic because we are seeing large amounts of media attention at the moment, we are seeing the price of bitcoin and cryptocurrency going from a fraction of a dollar to over 16,000 dollars a day, we’re seeing greater interest from all of our clients, from investors, from members of staff and we’ve invited Colin Platt to talk about blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Colin Platt
Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Consultant, 11FS & Blockchain Insider Podcast

This is a new technology, it’s very immature.  People have been putting out ideas like this could be the new internet like the concept of getting it off the ground for that is very attractive to people.

It’s a really interesting phenomenon, the price movements of cryptocurrencies are, and people saying well if this doesn’t function as an effective payment system I don’t want to compare this with a pound sterling and that I could just go down to Pret and spend that.  Because the price is potentially going to go up by multiple times, why would I spend today what’s worth so much more in the future.  Calling these currencies is probably a misnomer, we should call them digital commodities or digital assets and much like real physical assets the price of gold over time has been very consistent in going up.  So the question is, why is gold going up if I never spend gold?

Joe Hancock
Cyber Security Lead, Mishcon de Reya

At the moment, the bitcoin network uses the electricity equivalent of the whole state of Denmark to do its kind of processing and also that Colin said that he thinks that maybe bitcoin will hit over a hundred thousand dollars this year which will be a tenfold increase of where it is now but also could be worth absolutely nothing.

Colin Platt
Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Consultant, 11FS & Blockchain Insider Podcast

A lot of people have been fascinated with this price rise and curious in why it happens.  I think there’s other underlying things which is we’ve talked a lot over the last few years about how enterprises might use blockchains, distributive ledgers to their own advantage to save costs to find new areas of business.  The underlying technology, I think, will have a lot of impacts.  It’s worth spending time if you’re interested in what these things are and want to say, how can blockchain and cryptocurrency impact my career?  Keep abreast of the latest news because it does change very quickly.  By the time you watch this video it’s probably already out of date.