A blockchain brings together a network of independent workers (individuals or organizations) that collectively provide a service. Each worker gets paid for their work in the local currency of the blockchain (coins/tokens). The coins have value because they give access to the blockchain’s service: users need to buy coins from workers and then spend them in exchange for the service provided.
The kind of work that can be tracked reliably is one of the prime factors limiting the application of blockchains.
The current applications e.g., security (Bitcoin), computation (Ethereum), prediction (Augur), attention (Basic Attention Token), and storage (FileCoin) provide work that is easy to measure, compare, and reward/price.
But how far can this limit be pushed? What types of work could be reliably tracked in theory?
Two trends hint at the long-term potential of blockchains:
Digital twinning of physical systems will bring work conducted in the physical world to the reach of digital governance by blockchains. For example, in Houston, you can already walk into a grocery store, put items in your pocket, and simply walk out, and a camera-based item recognition AI takes care of charging you right.
Apificationand microservicification(lovely jargon!) lead by big tech companies are splitting complex work into measurable components. Traditional manufacturing companies (see Haier) are following suit with microenterprise-based business models.
Microservice architectures (organizational structures) of Amazon & Netflix.
So let’s speculate: It took 30 years for the majority of our economic life to become mediated via digital interfaces. Could the next 30 years transform the majority of our monolith institutions into a complex web of open, decentralized microservices?