Blockchain TED Talk: Why this technology will change society and the economy forever

Bettina Warburg, a venture capitalist, became the first person to do a TED talk on the power of blockchain technology. This short and entertaining explanation boils down the subject in an easy to understand and relatable video. 

Say hello to the decentralized economy -- the blockchain is about to change everything. In this lucid explainer of the complex (and confusing) technology, Bettina Warburg describes how the blockchain will eliminate the need for centralized institutions like banks or governments to facilitate trade, evolving age-old models of commerce and finance into something far more interesting: a distributed, transparent, autonomous system for exchanging value.

Bettina Warburg, a co-partner and managing partner at Animal Ventures was the first person to do a TED talk on blockchain technology. Her video translated this confusing and opaque term into something that we all can understand. 

In the caveman days, we used brute force to enforce our rights and control over property. If we took advantage of another party and they were stronger, we would be beat up or killed. It was the law of the jungle. 

As we moved into agrarian societies and had to plan long-term harvests, the skills required to be successful were not measured in strength, but rather numbers and intelligence. Trade was done through social norms and unwritten rules to enhance cohesion. Trade was local. 

Once society industrialized and global trade routes were established, we created institutions that helped establish a framework to ensure that trade was smooth, contracts were honored, and there was an arbitration process should one of the counter-parties violate the terms of the deal. Complex institutions, government bureaucracy, and corporations sprung up to assist and enforce. 

We are now moving to the next stage of development. One in which global institutions are not necessary for trade, trust, or enforcement. Welcome to the world of triple ledger, or blockchain. In a blockchain world, we will have a complete record of human exchange. Uncertainties are eliminated because the framework is established to ensure trust and transparency between unknown counter-parties. As Bettina puts it in the video, humans have a natural tendency for mutual distrust (which we learned through evolution and societal constructs) and with blockchain these issues are mitigated. 

In a blockchain world, uncertainty is eliminated by mitigating someone reneging on deals, enjoying full asset tracking and trade, and instantaneously have a complete record of the other's identity - all without the need for regulators or intermediaries.  

Anyone that has been around the logistics space knows how often parties renege on deals, how little counter-parties trust one another, and how any contract or commitment is nearly unenforceable. With blockchain, most of these issues can go away, changing the way the industry works forever. Much like the internet in 1992, companies are coming together to create standards and explore ideas on how to create the framework for a successful blockchain economy in the transportation space. They call themselves BiTA (Blockchain in Trucking Alliance). If you are interested in joining or learning more visit www.bita.studio or subscribe to FreightWaves to stay up-to date.