In 2009, Julien Smith and I wrote Trust Agents. It was a book about how to be human across the web. Now, almost a decade later, I’m hot on the trail of how companies can extend their business relationships even more, and how emerging technologies like blockchain are helping deliver TRUST at a distance.
China’s answer to Amazon, JD, has just started using blockchain to validate the authenticity of beef. Before I read the article, I hadn’t really considered just how much of what we buy is based on hearsay and assurances. Did I just get Wagyu or Kobe beef? That’s what the label says. But how do I know?
The blockchain is a different kind of transmission system the way the internet is. In the case of the internet, we move INFORMATION around. With the blockchain, we move the verification of VALUE around. It’s not that different from the internet, but it’s early days and hard to explain easily.
One big difference is that the blockchain uses very distributed systems to prove that everything is what it says it is, and that it’s virtually unhackable. That means that if thousands of distributed systems all agree with a piece of information that you can trust (huge exclamation points and yellow highlighter here) that what is stated is accurate.
This is big. To be able to digitize trust will be a huge step forward in how we do what we do. And I can’t think of a single company that won’t benefit from equipping these changes.
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