Heads turned when Dubai announced last year they were to issue a blockchain based digital currency. It did not take long for Saudi Arabia to later announce the same, albeit in far less detail.
Then Iran joined earlier this year, providing even less detail, and decided yesterday to update the world in announcing the pilot was now ready.
A day after, that being today, Saudi Arabia announced a blockchain bootcamp with ConsenSys. A coincidence perhaps, but countries may be trying to one up each other, with this space now potentially becoming the new intra-nations competitive frontier.
For there is a certain uniqueness to this space, in both being global and in necessarily being politically neutral. Participants, of course, have their own opinion, but we here at trustnodes see blockchain technology like we see electricity.
To prevent anyone or any nation from using blockchain technology would be as successful as preventing them from utilizing the negative and positive discharge of energy or the use of 1+1=2 equations.
Even if we wanted to be biased, therefore, we don’t really have the choice. Thus making neutrality an inevitable necessity as far as the tech is concerned as it stands beyond human subjectivity.
The tech is, however, for humans and by humans, and those humans tend to be quite competitive, especially when they are country representatives.
“Lots of delegations were jockeying to get an edge on the new technology,” NY Times says in paraphrasing Gilbert Verdian, the head of the British delegation on blockchain standards at the I.S.O., who says:
“It will change how our society can operate, but at the same time, in harnessing this technology people might want to leverage that for their own gain. We all owe it to each other to do it right so that it benefits all of us rather than a few.”
Presumably things are not going very well at the committee if some delegates thought of washing laundry on NY Times.
“Look, the internet belongs to the Americans — but blockchain will belong to us,” a Russian delegate, who previously worked at FSB (former KGB), is quoted as saying according to other delegates.
They were apparently surprised at the high level of Russia’s delegation, presumably because our reporting of Putin’s declaration of a blockchain race has not quite made it to the civil services of the participating countries.
Putin ill with blockchain, we shouted as far back as October, with Russia’s President himself setting the tone for the country regarding the tech.
In that aspect, America has been far behind because of considerable neglect by the previous administration, but America’s private enterprise is in many ways far ahead.
That’s because if Silicon Valley is not the first home of blockchain tech, with the Crypto Valley taking that title, it is certainly the second holiday home.
The VCs there have championed this technology since at least the beginning of last year, and for many of them, far earlier. Their decisions of who to fund probably has more influence than any committee on how the tech develops.
With the real standards so probably set in github’s open source code, rather than any committee, which to us appears to be far too remote (we were not aware there even was such committee) and politicized.
But if nations now pour resources in competing with each other over who is first or best at utilizing this technology, and away from draining them in the two decades of war we have seen, then we’ll pretend we care about the committee, or even the number of delegates they send.
Because if we do manage to turn geopolitical competition away from fighting with guns, to fighting over who can write a better dapp, if we manage to turn back focus to technological advances, and perhaps even ambitions of colonizing Mars and other planets, if in the process we do really manage to bring peace on earth and the beginning of a new golden age, then the millennial generation must certainly be given the Nobel peace prize.