Bitcoin has proved to be a bearer digital asset that can be transferred but not duplicated. Scarce in digital realm as nothing else before, bitcoin is digital gold with a secure embedded settlement network. More a crypto-commodity then a crypto-currency, bitcoin aims to be a world reserve asset. The digital equivalent of gold could be disruptive in the current digital civilization and the future of money and finance.
Blockchain is an append-only sequential data structure: to change a block in the middle of the chain all subsequent blocks need to be changed. It is very inefficient if compared to a relational database: it is mostly an idiosyncratic technology for digital scarcity. Indeed, blockchain requires an intrinsic native digital asset to provide the economic incentives for the blockchain maintainers to be honest. Without the seigniorage revenues associated to its native asset, a blockchain system would need to select and appoint its maintainers, ultimately resorting to central governance.
A timestamp proves that a document existed in a specific status prior to a given point in time. Digital data can be securely timestamped attesting its 'hash' in a blockchain transaction. OpenTimestamps is a vendor-independent open protocol that defines a set of operations for creating provable blockchain timestamps and later independently verifying them; as such, it allows for third party auditability and is suitable for regulatory prescriptions.
Even if one is only interested in genuine technological applications of blockchain, the most promising field is the development of tools and practices for crypto-assets financial services, primarily custody for institutional investors and high net worth individuals.
Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology
at Milano Bicocca and Politecnico di Milano.
Hayek Money promoter, QuantLib founder, Interest Rate Derivatives Adjunct Professor at Milano Bicocca. Ex-physicist, Springsteen fan, husband, father of three.