Elon Musk has gone crypto twitter again, but this time a joke may have turned a bit more serious after his ethereum tweet was met with an invitation to Devcon by Vitalik Buterin, ethereum’s inventor.
It is what follows that interests this article because it’s a very good question:
Buterin replied with a long list of things and we might as well quote it in full:
“My top picks (1):
- A globally accessible financial system, including payments, store of value, also more advanced stuff like insurance http://hurricaneguard.io/
- Identity: “sign in with Facebook” -> “sign in with an ethereum account, no intermediaries”. Also web of trust…
- All sorts of registries should publish on chain for security and easy verifiability, see my thread on this https://twitter.com/vitalikbuterin/status/1072158957999771648 …
- Experimenting with new forms of human organizational structure, eg. @MolochDAO
- All sorts of micropayment use cases via payment channels…
- Markets for personal data for privacy preserving machine learning (you pay me X, I let you homomorphically execute function Y on my data that’s been attestated to by Z…)
- Cryptoeconomics for spam prevention in social networks
- Cryptoeconomics / micropayment schemes to reward publishers of good content
- Testing ground for new market designs, eg. frequent batch auctions, combinatorial auctions, automated market makers (eg. http://uniswap.exchange )
- p2p marketplace for internet connections / incentivized mesh networks
- Identity, reputation and credit systems for those that currently have few resources (eg. refugees)
- Decentralized DNS alternatives (eg. http://ens.domains/ ).”
Fitting all that in a few tweets is quite something with much of it interesting, like HurricaneGuard by Etherisc. They’ve now apparently expanded from FlightDelay to automatically pay if wind speeds of 30 miles per hour are recorded. Quite something.
DAOs are most interesting if done properly. In fact they could be revolutionary, more than maybe even smart contracts or the blockchain itself even though DAOs do need both.
What could Elon Musk, however, develop on ethereum; the billionaire who plans to go to Mars, runs Tesla and SpaceX?
What is already being done or tested by other car manufacturers is rewarding drivers with crypto for sharing information gathered by sensors, such as road potholes or traffic jams.
These rewards can then be used to pay electric charging stations with crypto used because it can then connect to a peer to peer data market where non-competitive information are shared or traded with other car manufacturers through buying and selling.
Musk has considerable resources and he is worried about artificial intelligence. The worry there is that AI might get out of control and or that few people control it.
Now here one needs a lot of imagination and creativity to involve the blockchain, but a story once was told of a delivery drone that was set free by bot rights activists after paying the corporate owner. The drone then made its own living, delivering goods through smart contract orders and payments as well as GPS, WiFi and all the rest.
Autonomous machines run based on open source public code that is enforced by the blockchain is a futuristic idea, but then so is going to Mars.
On the latter, the measure of success of human expansion would probably be if one eth can be sent from Mars or wherever to earth or wherever and how long it would take.
Some say it can’t be done at all, but that has been said about many things. It probably can be done if a chain of satellites is used as points of contact.
Another use of blockchain tech can also be for authentication once cars can drive by themselves. You basically scan a QR code, pay whatever eth or pay it as miles stack up, then you scan the QR code again to end the journey.
A lot of these things are about tomorrow, rather than today. Just how fast tomorrow comes, however, remains to be seen because time does have a deceptive quality. It can seem as if it isn’t moving at all, and then you look back and see just how much has changed.
Generally, anything that requires trust and can be replaced with blockchain tech will probably be replaced eventually.
We’d argue in fact that anywhere where a database is used it should be a blockchain because a database concentrates power on effectively one admin, while a blockchain empowers because with the right design you can ensure no one has changed the data.
Car sales data, for example, maybe doesn’t have to go on the blockchain, but why not? Making two, three, five or ten digital copies of something is very cheap. Changing one copy is easy, changing ten copies owned by different entities is not that easy. Shareholders would have more reason to trust the data from the latter.
There are obviously plenty of problems with blockchain tech as no system is perfect, but digital scarcity has been dreamed for years. Now it is here. There’s no reason why it should not be employed in anything it can be employed because whatever some say, code is cheap, labour is not, nor is trust.