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Blockchain and society

Abstract

In this text, the origin of blockchain technology is explained and put into the context of three waves of digitalization: digitalization of information represented by the internet, digitalization of communities and community building tools represented by social media and digitalization of value represented by blockchain. The text will show that blockchain can bring back promised features of digitalization of the first two waves, features that were lost with centralization tendencies created by business models that are independent of the underlying technology. After a short introduction to the terminology, a map of the potential blockchain has for society is sketched. The text also debates the decentralization aspects of the technology and the challenges it poses for individuals and organizations. Later, the storytelling aspects, as well as some religious aspects within and around the blockchain community are analyzed. Finally, some thoughts about adoption scenarios are laid out, and some ideas why blockchains have become very important in Switzerland are formulated. The focus of this text is on the opportunities and strengths of the technology. It deliberately oversimplifies the technological aspects in order to focus on the implication of the technology on society.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf.

  2. 2.

    https://www.activism.net/cypherpunk/manifesto.html.

  3. 3.

    https://www.eff.org/cyberspace-independence.

  4. 4.

    https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/04/19/financial-inclusion-on-the-rise-but-gaps-remain-global-findex-database-shows.

  5. 5.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/24/technology-killing-off-corporations-average-lifespan-of-company-under-20-years.html.

  6. 6.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/01/five-crucial-challenges-for-blockchain-to-overcome-deloitte.html.

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Correspondence to Toni Caradonna.

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Caradonna, T. Blockchain and society. Informatik Spektrum (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00287-020-01246-7

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