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The benefits of transparency: how Bitcoin & Blockchains could change the world

February 9, 2018 12:00 pm Published by

Like most people, you probably have a lot of unanswered (or unanswerable) questions about the financial system.

How do we set the price of gold if we don’t know how big the supply is? What’s the point of saving money for the future when inflation will devalue it with each passing year? Why are we still unable to prevent bribery, corruption and tax evasion?

It’s hard to figure out how the financial industry works, what we should do with our money and why.

Your parents told you to follow what they saw as the safest and smartest route. Get a good education. Get a good job. Buy a good house. Real estate is the best investment, right?

Not for everyone. That route made sense a few decades ago. These days, it leaves most of us drowning in ever-increasing debt.

Luckily there’s a proposed solution; greater transparency. And we now have the tools to make a more transparent world a reality.

Financial transparency is a powerful concept. Introducing more accountability into our financial system can help solve many big problems.

It’s no surprise many people who believe in transparency are excited about cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin, the original digital currency which uses encryption techniques to verify transactions without the input of a bank, is transparent and decentralized.

But it’s not the currency itself which matters: it’s the blockchain technology behind it.

A blockchain is a list of encrypted records, distributed on a peer-to-peer network. Permanent, tamper-proof and very secure, the records are decentralized. No one can change them in any way unless the rest of the network agrees with the modifications. Unlike a bank, a blockchain can’t be hacked.

It’s clear blockchains aren’t just useful for tracking transaction details. Any kind of information can be stored and shared with ease. In the information age, the possibilities for the technology are endless.

It’s a surprisingly simple concept. Anyone can get a good understanding of it in a few minutes and a deep understanding with a few hours of effort.

Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin, left a message in the first mined block. It was the headline of a recent article about bank bailouts. Many people have taken this as a sign Satoshi created Bitcoin to solve some of the problems in the financial industries. After the 2008 financial crisis, it was undeniable that we needed a better system.

Without giving any single person or group control, we could use blockchains to store almost anything:

  • Online voting which anyone can access.
  • Transparent government records.
  • Records of ID, such as birth and marriage certificates, and passports.
  • Court records.
  • Business records.
  • Emergency services
  • Car and property records.
  • File storage.
  • Tracking copyright holders.
  • Adorable virtual pets (yes, that’s a thing.)

And a lot more possibilities, most of which we haven’t even thought of yet. No paperwork would be involved, which could save each of us hundreds of hours per year.

Blockchain technology has been around since 2009 so it’s new and has a few hurdles to overcome. We can compare blockchains now to the internet in the 90s. It worked and it was pretty cool, but we hadn’t figured out all its uses and not everyone used it. Plenty of people were sceptical too. The internet has taken over forty years to reach its current level. Complex new technologies take a while to find their feet.

Like the internet, blockchains have the capability to disrupt incumbent industries and make our lives better.

The internet didn’t evolve to its current point by itself though. Millions of smart people over the years have seen the potential in what began as simple, clunky technology. Even now, each of us has the ability to shape its trajectory in our own small way. But the people who believed in the internet right at the start had the biggest influence.

That’s why now is the time to get involved in the movement. It’s not too late – it’s the beginning.

Wirex has made it simple to buy, send and spend Bitcoin anywhere. There’s a growing community of users coming together to discuss their thoughts and opinions, both online and at events.

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