Ten years ago, as the global economy was in the middle of the worst meltdown in generations, a savior was born. At least, that was the hope. On Oct. 31, 2008, a paper outlining a new “peer-to-peer electronic cash system” called bitcoin quietly appeared online. A decade later, bitcoin and the blockchain technology that underlies it are among the most talked about innovations, but there’s often vociferous disagreement about whether they’re leading a revolution or a bubble bursting in slow motion. Over the past several years, I’ve attempted to use cryptocurrencies across the real world and gone down the rabbit hole of blockchain technology, but the most detailed analysis I can offer is that the future still seems cloudy. It’s easy to imagine a tomorrow in which blockchain and bitcoin are the next Internet: a ridiculously disruptive set of technologies that change nearly everything they touch and remake the world in their own image. But many others say the tech is flawed without a solid use case (aside from buying drugs and other illicit things off the dark web) and uses so much energy a recent study found it is a significant contributor to climate change. Now playing: Watch this: Bitcoin: A beginner’s guide 3:09 Right now various blockchain startups promise to use the peer-to-peer transaction technology to revolutionize everything from our financial system and how we vote to improving today’s maligned social networks. Some even offer better ways to get fresh fruit into your shopping cart. And yet, whenever I have made… [Read full story]
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