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How the blockchain is changing money and business | Don Tapscott

How the blockchain is changing money and business | Don Tapscott


The technology likely to have
the greatest impact on the next few decades has arrived. And it’s not social media. It’s not big data. It’s not robotics. It’s not even AI. You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s the underlying technology
of digital currencies like Bitcoin. It’s called the blockchain. Blockchain. Now, it’s not the most sonorous
word in the world, but I believe that this is now the next generation of the internet, and that it holds vast promise
for every business, every society and for all of you, individually. You know, for the past few decades,
we’ve had the internet of information. And when I send you an email
or a PowerPoint file or something, I’m actually not sending you the original, I’m sending you a copy. And that’s great. This is democratized information. But when it comes to assets — things like money, financial assets like stocks and bonds, loyalty points, intellectual property, music, art, a vote, carbon credit and other assets — sending you a copy is a really bad idea. If I send you 100 dollars, it’s really important
that I don’t still have the money — (Laughter) and that I can’t send it to you. This has been called
the “double-spend” problem by cryptographers for a long time. So today, we rely entirely
on big intermediaries — middlemen like banks, government, big social media companies,
credit card companies and so on — to establish trust in our economy. And these intermediaries perform
all the business and transaction logic of every kind of commerce, from authentication,
identification of people, through to clearing, settling
and record keeping. And overall, they do a pretty good job. But there are growing problems. To begin, they’re centralized. That means they can be hacked,
and increasingly are — JP Morgan, the US Federal Government, LinkedIn, Home Depot and others found that out the hard way. They exclude billions of people
from the global economy, for example, people
who don’t have enough money to have a bank account. They slow things down. It can take a second for an email
to go around the world, but it can take days or weeks for money to move through
the banking system across a city. And they take a big piece of the action — 10 to 20 percent just to send money
to another country. They capture our data, and that means we can’t monetize it or use it to better manage our lives. Our privacy is being undermined. And the biggest problem is that overall, they’ve appropriated the largesse
of the digital age asymmetrically: we have wealth creation,
but we have growing social inequality. So what if there were not only
an internet of information, what if there were an internet of value — some kind of vast, global,
distributed ledger running on millions of computers and available to everybody. And where every kind of asset,
from money to music, could be stored, moved, transacted,
exchanged and managed, all without powerful intermediaries? What if there were
a native medium for value? Well, in 2008, the financial
industry crashed and, perhaps propitiously, an anonymous person or persons
named Satoshi Nakamoto created a paper where he developed
a protocol for a digital cash that used an underlying
cryptocurrency called Bitcoin. And this cryptocurrency enabled people
to establish trust and do transactions without a third party. And this seemingly simple act
set off a spark that ignited the world, that has everyone excited
or terrified or otherwise interested in many places. Now, don’t be confused about Bitcoin — Bitcoin is an asset; it goes up and down, and that should be of interest
to you if you’re a speculator. More broadly, it’s a cryptocurrency. It’s not a fiat currency
controlled by a nation-state. And that’s of greater interest. But the real pony here
is the underlying technology. It’s called blockchain. So for the first time now
in human history, people everywhere can trust each other and transact peer to peer. And trust is established,
not by some big institution, but by collaboration, by cryptography and by some clever code. And because trust is native
to the technology, I call this, “The Trust Protocol.” Now, you’re probably wondering:
How does this thing work? Fair enough. Assets — digital assets like money
to music and everything in between — are not stored in a central place, but they’re distributed
across a global ledger, using the highest level of cryptography. And when a transaction is conducted, it’s posted globally, across millions and millions of computers. And out there, around the world, is a group of people called “miners.” These are not young people,
they’re Bitcoin miners. They have massive computing power
at their fingertips — 10 to 100 times bigger
than all of Google worldwide. These miners do a lot of work. And every 10 minutes, kind of like the heartbeat of a network, a block gets created that has all the transactions
from the previous 10 minutes. Then the miners get to work,
trying to solve some tough problems. And they compete: the first miner to find out the truth
and to validate the block, is rewarded in digital currency, in the case of the Bitcoin
blockchain, with Bitcoin. And then — this is the key part — that block is linked to the previous block and the previous block to create a chain of blocks. And every one is time-stamped, kind of like with a digital waxed seal. So if I wanted to go and hack a block and, say, pay you and you
with the same money, I’d have to hack that block, plus all the preceding blocks, the entire history of commerce
on that blockchain, not just on one computer
but across millions of computers, simultaneously, all using the highest
levels of encryption, in the light of the most powerful
computing resource in the world that’s watching me. Tough to do. This is infinitely more secure than the computer systems
that we have today. Blockchain. That’s how it works. So the Bitcoin blockchain is just one. There are many. The Ethereum blockchain was developed
by a Canadian named Vitalik Buterin. He’s [22] years old, and this blockchain
has some extraordinary capabilities. One of them is that you can
build smart contracts. It’s kind of what it sounds like. It’s a contract that self-executes, and the contract handles the enforcement,
the management, performance and payment — the contract kind of has
a bank account, too, in a sense — of agreements between people. And today, on the Ethereum blockchain, there are projects underway
to do everything from create a new replacement
for the stock market to create a new model of democracy, where politicians
are accountable to citizens. (Applause) So to understand what a radical change
this is going to bring, let’s look at one industry,
financial services. Recognize this? Rube Goldberg machine. It’s a ridiculously complicated machine
that does something really simple, like crack an egg or shut a door. Well, it kind of reminds me
of the financial services industry, honestly. I mean, you tap your card
in the corner store, and a bitstream goes through
a dozen companies, each with their own computer system, some of them being 1970s mainframes older than many
of the people in this room, and three days later, a settlement occurs. Well, with a blockchain
financial industry, there would be no settlement, because the payment and the settlement
is the same activity, it’s just a change in the ledger. So Wall Street and all around the world, the financial industry
is in a big upheaval about this, wondering, can we be replaced, or how do we embrace
this technology for success? Now, why should you care? Well, let me describe some applications. Prosperity. The first era of the internet, the internet of information, brought us wealth
but not shared prosperity, because social inequality is growing. And this is at the heart
of all of the anger and extremism and protectionism and xenophobia and worse that we’re seeing growing
in the world today, Brexit being the most recent case. So could we develop some new approaches
to this problem of inequality? Because the only approach today
is to redistribute wealth, tax people and spread it around more. Could we pre-distribute wealth? Could we change the way that wealth
gets created in the first place by democratizing wealth creation, engaging more people in the economy, and then ensuring that they got
fair compensation? Let me describe five ways
that this can be done. Number one: Did you know that 70 percent
of the people in the world who have land have a tenuous title to it? So, you’ve got a little farm in Honduras,
some dictator comes to power, he says, “I know you’ve got a piece
of paper that says you own your farm, but the government computer
says my friend owns your farm.” This happened on a mass scale in Honduras, and this problem exists everywhere. Hernando de Soto, the great
Latin American economist, says this is the number one
issue in the world in terms of economic mobility, more important than having a bank account, because if you don’t have
a valid title to your land, you can’t borrow against it, and you can’t plan for the future. So today, companies
are working with governments to put land titles on a blockchain. And once it’s there, this is immutable. You can’t hack it. This creates the conditions for prosperity for potentially billions of people. Secondly: a lot of writers talk about Uber and Airbnb and TaskRabbit
and Lyft and so on as part of the sharing economy. This is a very powerful idea, that peers can come together
and create and share wealth. My view is that … these companies are not really sharing. In fact, they’re successful
precisely because they don’t share. They aggregate services together,
and they sell them. What if, rather than Airbnb
being a $25 billion corporation, there was a distributed application
on a blockchain, we’ll call it B-Airbnb, and it was essentially owned
by all of the people who have a room to rent. And when someone wants to rent a room, they go onto the blockchain
database and all the criteria, they sift through, it helps
them find the right room, and then the blockchain helps
with the contracting, it identifies the party, it handles the payments just through digital payments —
they’re built into the system. And it even handles reputation, because if she rates a room
as a five-star room, that room is there, and it’s rated, and it’s immutable. So, the big sharing-economy
disruptors in Silicon Valley could be disrupted, and this would be good for prosperity. Number three: the biggest flow of funds
from the developed world to the developing world is not corporate investment, and it’s not even foreign aid. It’s remittances. This is the global diaspora; people have left their ancestral lands, and they’re sending money back
to their families at home. This is 600 billion dollars a year,
and it’s growing, and these people are getting ripped off. Analie Domingo is a housekeeper. She lives in Toronto, and every month she goes
to the Western Union office with some cash to send her remittances
to her mom in Manila. It costs her around 10 percent; the money takes four to seven
days to get there; her mom never knows
when it’s going to arrive. It takes five hours
out of her week to do this. Six months ago, Analie Domingo used
a blockchain application called Abra. And from her mobile device,
she sent 300 bucks. It went directly
to her mom’s mobile device without going through an intermediary. And then her mom
looked at her mobile device — it’s kind of like an Uber interface,
there’s Abra “tellers” moving around. She clicks on a teller
that’s a five-star teller, who’s seven minutes away. The guy shows up at the door,
gives her Filipino pesos, she puts them in her wallet. The whole thing took minutes, and it cost her two percent. This is a big opportunity for prosperity. Number four: the most powerful asset
of the digital age is data. And data is really a new asset class, maybe bigger than previous asset classes, like land under the agrarian economy, or an industrial plant, or even money. And all of you — we — create this data. We create this asset, and we leave this trail
of digital crumbs behind us as we go throughout life. And these crumbs are collected
into a mirror image of you, the virtual you. And the virtual you may know
more about you than you do, because you can’t remember
what you bought a year ago, or said a year ago,
or your exact location a year ago. And the virtual you is not owned by you — that’s the big problem. So today, there are companies working to create an identity in a black box, the virtual you owned by you. And this black box moves around with you as you travel throughout the world, and it’s very, very stingy. It only gives away
the shred of information that’s required to do something. A lot of transactions, the seller doesn’t even need
to know who you are. They just need to know that they got paid. And then this avatar
is sweeping up all of this data and enabling you to monetize it. And this is a wonderful thing, because it can also help us
protect our privacy, and privacy is the foundation
of a free society. Let’s get this asset that we create back under our control, where we can own our own identity and manage it responsibly. Finally — (Applause) Finally, number five: there are a whole number
of creators of content who don’t receive fair compensation, because the system
for intellectual property is broken. It was broken by the first era
of the internet. Take music. Musicians are left with crumbs
at the end of the whole food chain. You know, if you were a songwriter,
25 years ago, you wrote a hit song, it got a million singles, you could get royalties
of around 45,000 dollars. Today, you’re a songwriter,
you write a hit song, it gets a million streams, you don’t get 45k, you get 36 dollars, enough to buy a nice pizza. So Imogen Heap, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, is now putting music
on a blockchain ecosystem. She calls it “Mycelia.” And the music has
a smart contract surrounding it. And the music protects
her intellectual property rights. You want to listen to the song? It’s free, or maybe a few micro-cents
that flow into a digital account. You want to put the song
in your movie, that’s different, and the IP rights are all specified. You want to make a ringtone?
That’s different. She describes that the song
becomes a business. It’s out there on this platform
marketing itself, protecting the rights of the author, and because the song has a payment system in the sense of bank account, all the money flows back to the artist, and they control the industry, rather than these powerful intermediaries. Now, this is — (Applause) This is not just songwriters, it’s any creator of content, like art, like inventions, scientific discoveries, journalists. There are all kinds of people
who don’t get fair compensation, and with blockchains, they’re going to be able
to make it rain on the blockchain. And that’s a wonderful thing. So, these are five opportunities out of a dozen to solve one problem, prosperity, which is one of countless problems that blockchains are applicable to. Now, technology doesn’t create
prosperity, of course — people do. But my case to you is that, once again, the technology genie
has escaped from the bottle, and it was summoned
by an unknown person or persons at this uncertain time in human history, and it’s giving us
another kick at the can, another opportunity to rewrite
the economic power grid and the old order of things, and solve some of the world’s most
difficult problems, if we will it. Thank you. (Applause)

100 comments on “How the blockchain is changing money and business | Don Tapscott

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  2. Hopefully the Digital Contracts could become the standard means of transacting a lot of things…including capital projects as well as operating expenses with large corporations as vendors of equipment, goods, engineering services, etc. They can abuse the vendors. Especially an Anheuser-Busch type of company with 120 day payment terms. That should be illegal.

  3. On the music industry…Music, for the most part, has been used to promote permissiveness and to do away with important social values and lead society into a behavioral path that is detrimental to human progress. It is no surprise that almost every single artist is a drug user. They should no be rewarded with fame or money for doing so.

  4. Great speech, well explained and delivered. But there is a huge problem with cryptocurrencies: their value is so volatile that in November 2015 a BC went from USD282 to $20,000 in 2017 then it dropped to $6000 in 2018, which is crazy… Which means that it is currency not worth keeping and since their value is not attached to a production of tangible products, which makes its value unpredictable.
    Furthermore, BC is largely used in illegal activities in the deep web, which makes it prone to seizures which usually makes its value go sky-high, which makes it the perfect item of gov-sponsored speculation to funnel money for blackops. HOT POTATO!

  5. I cannot believe people are so gullible to fall for this digital currency / block chain non sense, its the usual painting of and chasing a rainbow. Go backwards to the tv, it was going to change the world, it's now so full of junk adverts people turn to social media for entertainment, next the computer, then the internet, is the world now some Nirvana, far from it, FACTS and LAW and ORDER are in free fall due to corruption perpetrated from the inside. What should be ringing alarm bells is the fact that currencies have been destroyed but oh look here's bitcoin! Fast forward a few years, how exactly are people going to spare some change for a waiters tip, the homeless, an independent vendor of eggs or logs at the side of the road, worse than that everyone will be utterly dependent on electricity, exponential amounts of it to keep tabs of the blockchain and also dependent on the internet. In the dystopian future that is being planned by the liar , idiot and 'CONFIDENCE TRICKSTER' satn everyone is dependent on the internet and electricity and hence the cost of both will go through the roof, at this point you will realise how utterly shafted you have been. Many honest and decent people will be taken in by this confidence trick and may well with good intent want to promote crypto. The answer does not lie in technology as can be seen from tv, computer, internet, crypto. The answer lies in peoples hearts, in their souls and in their conscience which are easily corrupted, bought or duped out of. step back, look at this bloke, its like something from a bond movie playing on everyones need and greed, even on their desire for a better fairer world, that is how subtle and fraudulent satn is.

  6. It's all about dependence and addiction to trap your soul/spirit, don't fall for it, is lies and deception, cost of internet will rocket and as a result you'll be back on the treadmill. The global economy needs to be focused on restoring the planet and eliminating poverty.

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  9. I'm a songwriter I got a hundred thousand spins and it was paid $2 this technology will save us as songwriters it will save everybody from being ripped off hooray for blockchain

  10. You talk about property rights but then talk of wealth sharing. Hypocrite, people that come up with Ideas you want to take the intellectual property from them. This causes a loss of incentive to come up with ideas that benefit people so it doesn't happen. Your idea is just another form of communism.

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  20. Very good speech. However he missed quite an important point regarding hacking the blockchain with 51% attack, although this is also very unlikely and expensive endeavour, especially regarding Bitcoin.

  21. Not only its changed the way business and transactions operate.. Its literally changed my life. you have no idea where i would be right now if it wasnt for blockchain/crypto. Literally opened the world of entrepreneurship to me , like @telecoin which will be helping me to have a brighter future

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  24. MONEY 💰 GOLD IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL . BITCOIN GIVES THE POWER BACK TO THE PEOPLE and it’s GOOD FIGHTING back in this time of EVIL WHICH IS GETTING OUTED EVERYWHERE .“Living room of Satoshi” is part of block chain and the new way Money/WEALTH will be used to pay bills without government tax but a little goes to them . So many more are going to pop up . BUY INTO THEM

  25. What is the name of this gentleman? he is a thorough wonderful speaker. I am impressed that he is so open to innovation and can visualize the future so well at his age. Speeches like this are given by groups of young people, not a single man! Absolutely brilliant!

  26. To all the rich greedy bitcoin manipulators. Please, STOP manipulating the BITCOiN price, allow it to grow in value for the sake of the average investor

  27. Blockchain is changing the world of money and gives a new meaning to cashless transactions. All cryptocurrencies take part in this process, of course, some – like Bitcoin – to a greater extent, others – like PrimeStone – to a lesser extent. I do not know which cryptocurrency will become a leading tender, but definitely, money will be replaced with digital coins soon.

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  30. More globalist propaganda. Blockchain is a sound way to store DATA….but not everyone has a $20,000 computing system to mine crypto-currency! How will you distribute wealth? Who will get the currency and how much? Gaining control of a bunch of $20,000 computers that are "privately owned" is not that hard for the powerful of this world. Never say something online is "unhackable". Our money system will be pegged back to gold soon. The FED will lose ALL of their power in manipulating the market and the value of the dollar. Our currency will be backed by an asset that is REAL versus a bunch of 1s and 0s in a network!

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  32. Opportunities that only exist when technology is easily accessible from energy. Energy that comes from fossil fuels. Unless you have clean energy, which has yet to prove itself globally as the master of energy delivery. And we won’t know…. not for a long time. So don’t trust the digital era. And if you do, make sure you know that you stand to lose all when they change their minds about what it’s worth.

  33. Blockchain has allowed people to have assets that are not controlled by one entity, to have things that unite us as one human being not just borders; i think over time more and more people are realizing how amazing blockchain technology really is

  34. It's awesome to see and hear all about the real impact and changes that a technology could bring and I look forward to seeing it applied and used going forward!

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  38. He is so cynical – looks like he is thinking in the human improvement – but this is the NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM – total fascist-like control over all mankind. And these claps – so naïve. The future is a great tribulation. And it is soon, really imminent. The only coube be saved are those new born in Christ.

  39. Anyone else getting this 'palpable tension feeling' in the ether? What I mean by this is that after we bottom in this dip, within the next 10 months, we are going to see pandemonium with the prices, news, and a massive influx of people and money? Chatter_2020 is the year of great change in 'ALL MARKETS'.My only advice for investors and newbies is to take advantage of Mr Robert's program, a pro trader who’s is helping investors accumulate more bitcoin through his amazing trading strategy, with his program I went from having 2.7btc to 9btc in just 3weeks. Reach him on His

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  41. Well he puts it in simple terms, but each transaction being back up by previous transactions seems good but not scaleable. It would get to a point where there would be needed too much computational power or energy to keep up with every transaction.

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  43. The moment Brexit is made into a villain, it shows the evil disguised as a angel. The evil of wealthy elites pushing global agenda on majority of people in order to enslave them. Beware of Communism coming back with a vengeance. Comrades at the top will remain wealthy, stupid sheep at the bottom will remain poor, same old trick.

  44. Yo but how to sell it for fiat. And the blockchain is stored on a network of pc’s? What if many of them turn off at the same time? How is it backed up?
    What if he is wrong, this whole system sounds a bit sketchy.
    One thing, by definition… Mark zuckerburg is a great hacker, id say the greatest in recorded history. dont let him make a crypto.

  45. Blockchain with a flavor of socialism. I get it, block chain is about redistribution of wealth, destroying the current financial system, and living in a utopian society. Keep on dreaming

  46. where are the humans?? There goes economists jobs there goes the banking industry.. NOW WE ARE PUTTING OUR TRUST INTO A MACHINE!! MACHINES CAN BE HACKED LOOK AT BITCOIN.. WHO IS REALLY GOING TO PROFIT FROM THIS TECHNOLOGY.. THE MONEY MEN!! DON'T BE FOOLED – HUMANS OUT MACHINES IN

  47. In his example, it doesn't seem like wealth is being "pre-distributed" so much as more people are generating wealth. It Doesn't seem like blockchain is some kind of invisible hand, dealing out wealth to people, but that it creates and protects opportunity for more people to create wealth given their own human capital.

  48. Early Last year I decided to go into bitcoin and learn about it and with just limited knowledge I decided to give it a shot by buying and that was in mid-2018 after a friend of mine told me the importance of Bitcoin to the economy. I was afraid initially at but after I have seen several use cases I decided to buy 7BTC and I left it in my wallet expecting the price to rise like the previous year in some months time due to my how I understand the market but it never happened. In fact, it became worse that the value of my coins drop down to the fact of me almost giving up on the cryptocurrency market and selling off but I hold on to my patience and did a little research on how I can earn profit with my coins. After an intensive research I found a beginners trading post talking about a strategy on how to trade and make profit so I decided to give it a try and I contacted the person in charge, Mr markeverest. He took time to explain to me the different ways to make profit in this bearish market. I decided to give it a try and I invested 3 BTC of my coin, and it quickly rose to 9 BTC towards the end of December 2018, and I was convinced that this is the best way to make a good profit from Bitcoin. If you're still confused and don't know the step to take to profit in this new year I urge you to contact [email protected] for all your cryptocurrency questions, strategy and beginners coaching and you will be glad you did.

  49. So…a dictator in Honduras or anywhere else is going to care that the property is on the blockchain? How? Won't the dictator just point a gun to the landowner's head, or his child's head, to force him to transfer title?

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