Blockchain is as revolutionary as electricity: Big Ideas with Jason Potts
Economics Professor Jason Potts is co-director of the Blockchain Innovation Hub at RMIT University. He sees blockchain technology as a fundamental institutional technology revolution comparable to the emergence of companies and the internet perhaps even as world-changing as the invention of electricity.
What’s the last big technological change that had the same sort of impact that you believe blockchain will have?
I think the obvious one is the internet, which was a profound revolution stringing together digital communication networks and computers to basically send the cost of communication and coordination to zero. But, it fundamentally didn’t change any of the economic infrastructures.
Why is blockchain a fundamental infrastructure change rather than just another technology?
We could already do that, of course. The difference is you don’t have a centralized body telling you those things.
As for infrastructure, what possibilities does it open up?
Youve done some research into this that estimates about $29 trillion worth of the economy is there simply to enable us to trust that certain things have happened, or that information is accurate.
How long do you see this taking? Will the transformation take 50 years like electricity did?
Another ramification of this revolution that youre predicting is that well see fewer big corporations in the future thanks to the emergence of blockchain as a coordinating force. Can you explain the theory there?
I recall very strongly from the early days of the internet that we all thought it was going to be a magical utopia of happiness and wonder and it turned into a total mess. What are the negative things that blockchain and cryptocurrency could bring about?
The Chinese government seems to love blockchain and they don’t like things they can’t control. So, it seems like it could just turn into Big Brother everywhere.
Tell me about the RMIT Blockchain Hub in Melbourne