Decentralization: From Teenage Rockers to Solving World Hunger

It’s quite common to hear that blockchain technology is the biggest thing to happen to the world of computers since the creation of the Internet. And I agree. But perhaps a better analogy was provided in an article I recently read in the Harvard Business Review by Vinjay Gupta, entitled “The Promise of Blockchain Is a World Without Middlemen,” which compares blockchain to the birth of the database: “The blockchain is a revolution that builds on another technical revolution so old that only the more experienced among us remember it: the invention of the database,” Gupta writes, harking back to 1970 and IBM.

“The importance of these relational databases to our everyday lives today cannot be overstated,” he adds. “Literally every aspect of our civilization is now dependent on this abstraction for storing and retrieving data. And now the blockchain is about to revolutionize databases, which will in turn revolutionize literally every aspect of our civilization.”

I want to emphasize the final sentence above because it states so clearly the impact that blockchain is bringing to the world.

Forbes recently published an article by contributor Marshall Brown that voiced a similar appreciation for the infrastructural significance of blockchain. Brown wrote: “I began with the question, ‘Can we build a sustainable planet through blockchain?’ and ended with the conclusion that in fact it is hard to imagine us doing so without it.”

The revolutionary nature of blockchain is based on two key elements: decentralization and immutability.

Atonomi was created with all of this in mind. From day one, we knew that protecting the Internet of Things (IoT) would require a decentralized solution. The world has become too large and complex to continue with centralized data stores and administration. The use of central databases are, by nature, undemocratic, and represent attractive targets for hackers and other bad actors.

“We stand at a moment when, literally, ‘the center will not hold,’ or rather the center is holding too much,” Brown writes in Forbes. “Look how easily hacked our large scale systems are, whether Equifax, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Google, governments. Can this all get any more unwieldy, opaque, and inefficient?”

As autonomous machine-to-machine transactions become the new normal, and a range of devices – from smartphones to alarm clocks to insulin pumps to industrial controllers – enter the global network, the need for greater data security cannot be overestimated.

Using blockchain, billions of devices, each with its own wallet, can be stored on a secured, distributed ledger – avoiding the kind of huge targets that centralized data stores have proven to be. With decentralized data, potential targets become massively diffused, transforming the way that we perceive data protection.

With regard to immutability, Atonomi plans to take advantage of blockchain’s ability to provide root of trust and ledgering to protect the IoT. Beyond the IoT, immutability has many other use-cases – with the potential to transform much of the world. For instance, nonprofits dedicated to improving the life of millions of people living in developing countries consider the immutability of blockchain to be a miracle for establishing basic rights such as personal identity and land ownership.

On the lighter side, BandNameVault is a blockchain-based organization that enables aspiring rockers to register their name, complete with an immutable and time-stamped record of every time they performed or released a song to establish provenance.

So from allowing teenaged rockers to sleep easier at night to solving world hunger, the decentralization and immutability of blockchain is changing the world.

Thanks for reading,

David