“The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”
— William Gibson 1993, cyberpunk sci-fi author
Distributed cryptographic ledgers back digital currencies exceeding a cumulative $140 billion
in value, at the time of writing. Modern cryptography finally protects over half of all web traffic in the form of
HTTP+SSL (invented 1995), according to a Q1 2017 report by the Mozilla Foundation. Mathematically-backed
asymmetric encryption is provably safe, freely available, and at long last, widely adopted by the overwhelming
majority of digital services that impact and empower day-to-day life for most people alive on Earth today.
Over 40 years of computing advancement history has shown that earliest adopters of technologies tend
to be hobbyists, followed by consumers, who are followed by businesses, and finally governments. In this
regard, as quickly as digital assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum have taken the hobbyists by storm, and are now
penetrating consumer wallets, businesses and governments alike are much slower to adapt and adopt. While
some brave speculators are already betting their full life savings on these currencies, many businesses still
won’t yet take them as payment, and most governments do not even acknowledge their status as “money”.
In these regards, cryptographic ledger “blockchain” technology can still be considered in its infancy; the
now-famous 2009 whitepaper by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto describes only the first iteration of a
hypothetical use-case, the digitization of money into a trustless and decentralized protocol. The second major
iteration on this novel concept yielded Ethereum, a platform and virtual machine far beyond just a currency,
supporting complex Smart Contract logic and a new frontier of distributed applications, or “dApps”. Neither is yet
fully suitable for enterprise use cases where a degree of regulation and accountability is required.
And thus these two applications are only the beginning of a new age in human communication and
cooperation. Blockchains have already begun to disrupt the transmission of monies and the execution of
software logic, but the ways they will change business logic and governmental process remain almost
completely unexplored. It is a field wide open, ripe for innovation and the pioneering of new systems that will
form the basis of how commerce, business and governance occur at a global scale, shaping societies and
human culture in the coming years, decades and far, far beyond. The future is indeed here.