The first wave of digitisation brought us the internet of information. The second wave is bringing us – amongst other things – the internet of value. So, the internet of value is characterised by an additional layer (protocol) which enables nearly free and instant transfer of value. The internet of value is a new, distributed platform that could help us reshape society, communication, business and community. Moreover, it may help us transform, reinvent and innovate human affairs for the better.
Humanity has invented countless new tools and technologies throughout history. Almost every device and every technology we use today has made our lives more comfortable. It also has made more efficient and has boosted global productivity.
Distributed ledger technology and blockchain are no exception to this historical trend. So, in its infancy, every new technology suffers from the usual onset of negativity or critique, mostly rightly so. Further development and implementation are required to drive. Moreover, speed and scale up the adoption process and create real-world utility. So, the question however is; did these technologies eventually become adopted? You most likely know the answer.
Let us look at several vital eras to illustrate how new technological advances have established themselves from a historical perspective and obtained a foothold in our society.
The First Industrial Revolution
The First Industrial Revolution took place from the 18th to the 19th century in Europe and America. It was a period when mostly agrarian and rural societies became industrial and urban. The iron and textile industries, along with the development of the steam engine, played central roles during this time.
The Second Industrial Revolution
The Second Industrial Revolution took place between 1870 and 1914, just before World War I. It was a period of fast growth for pre-existing industries. Moreover, it represented a period of expansion for new industries. Steel, oil and electricity companies thrived since heavy machinery and electricity were used to power factories and facilitate mass production. Significant technological advances during this period included the telephone, light bulb, phonograph and the internal combustion engine.
The Third Industrial Revolution
The Third Industrial Revolution refers to the advancement of technology from analogue electronic and mechanical devices to the digital technology available today is recognised as the digital revolution. The digital revolution started during the 1980s and is ongoing. Advancements during the Third Industrial Revolution include the personal computer, the internet, and information and communications technology (ICT).
The Fourth Industrial Revolution
The Fourth Industrial Revolution builds on the second wave of digitisation. It is representing new ways in which technology becomes embedded within societies and even within the human body. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by emerging technology breakthroughs in several fields. The fields are including blockchain, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, The Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing and autonomous vehicles.
Distributed ledger technology is the revolutionary protocol that allows transactions to be simultaneously anonymous and secure by maintaining a tamper-proof public ledger of value. Though it’s the technology that drives Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the underlying framework of a distributed ledger has the potential to go far beyond. It has real utility and can record virtually everything of value to humankind, from birth and death certificates to land keeping records, supply chains and even votes. Blockchain and distributed ledger technology allow (digitized) assets to be transferred peer-to-peer, with no intermediary. The transfer is validated, permanent, and completed instantly.
The Internet of Value
At last, the value created on the web will be able to flow freely around the world (just like internet enables the free-flow of information), and the value creators will be able to receive fair compensation – a redistribution of wealth.
Currently, we stand at the verge of a technological revolution that will fundamentally change the way we live our lives. The immense scale, scope and complexity of this transformation will be unlike anything we have experienced before, and we cannot yet be confident how this scenario is going to play out. One could argue we are already in the middle of it. However, one thing is clear: the response to this transformation must be integrated, comprehensive and should involve all stakeholders in the process. We encourage everybody to try and understand the ethics and the risks involved in dealing with new and innovative technology and think about how this might play out and affect your lives. Meanwhile, we can only do our best to inform and raise awareness while guiding the adoption process in the right direction in the coming decade.
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