2. More on 'that blockchain thing'
Since doing the research for that presentation on blockchain I did a couple of weeks ago, I'm slightly more optimistic than I was that it's a technology that may actually lead to some good.
Vinay Gupta, who's probably the smartest person I know, has an article in Harvard Business Review about how blockchain will remove 'middlemen' who make the world less efficient. He, of course, helped Imogen Heap release an album a couple of years ago on the blockchain. Vinay once told me (over a burger around the corner from the Mozilla offices) that he sees "...on the blockchain" as a way of making something seemingly ridiculous sound plausible — in a similar way to the role "...in Japan" served in the 1990s.
I couldn't give a flying toss about the financial services industry, to be honest, but I am interested in the world of 'smart contracts'. As I've said before, however, contracts are only ever as good as the people designing them. Otherwise, as in the case of the DAO hack on the Ethereum network, things can go horribly wrong. That's one of the reason why, even though Google is bullish about the blockchain for medical records, it's not my favoured use case. I'd rather see the blockchain used for much more prosaic things, such as procurement and proof of ownership.