HARI SREENIVASAN: Im walking on Wall Street with author Don Tapscott. Hes written a dozen books on technology and sees one that could change everything around us. Hes not the only believer. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up about 20 percent in the past year, Bitcoin, a digital currency, is up more than 700 percent, with a total value of near $80 billion. Thats more than American Express. The surge has people wondering whether Bitcoin is in a bubble.
For Tapscott, that question is missing the real story.
DON TAPSCOTT, AUTHOR BLOCKCHAIN REVOLUTION: The real pony here is the underlying technology called the blockchain.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Tapscott and his son co-wrote a book called Blockchain Revolution, named after the technology that supports bitcoin and other so-called cryptocurrencies. Theyre called that because of the cryptography, or computer code, that makes them secure.
Tapscott says the technology is the key to creating trust in peer-to-peer transactions, like sending or receiving money without a bank or a credit card company in between.
DON TAPSCOTT: Trust is achieved not by a big intermediary; its achieved by cryptography, by collaboration and by some clever code.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Heres how the blockchain works: when you send or receive an asset, the transaction is recorded in a global, public ledger. A network of millions of computers store copies of that ledger and work to validate new transactions in blocks. When each block is verified, its sealed and connected to the preceding block, which in turn is connected to every block that has ever been validated, creating a secure blockchain.
DON TAPSCOTT: There is now an immutable record of that transaction. And if I wanted to go and hack that transaction, say to use that money to pay somebody else, Id have to hack that block, plus the previous block, in the entire history of commerce on that block chain, not just on one computer, but across millions of computers simultaneously all using the highest level of cryptography while the most powerful computing resource in the world is watching me. The way I like to think of it is that is a blockchain is a highly processed thing sort of like a chicken nugget, and if you wanted to hack it, itd be like turning a chicken nugget back into a chicken. Now someday someone will be able to do that. But for now, its going to be tough.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Tapscott predicts these global ledgers, or blockchains, could affect several parts of the economy during the next decade, in particular, the financial industry.
HARI SREENIVASAN: In a blockchain future, what happens to the New York Stock Exchange?
DON TAPSCOTT: Well, a likely scenario is it becomes a fabulous museum, and it is a beautiful building when you think about it. But buying and selling a stock can be done peer-to-peer now using new blockchain platforms.
HARI SREENIVASAN: He says routine transactions, like using a credit card or making online payments with PayPal or Venmo, could be replaced with instant, peer-to-peer blockchain transactions, speeding up how long it takes and shrinking the costs.
DON TAPSCOTT: Think about something like you tap your card in a Starbucks and a bunch of messages go through different companies. Some of them using, you know, 30-year-old technology, and three days later, a settlement occurs. Well, if all of that were on a blockchain there would be no three-day delay. The payment and the settlement is the same activity. So it would happen instantly and in a secure way. So thats either going to disintermediate those players, or if those players are smart, theyll embrace this technology to speed up the whole metabolism of the financial industry.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Beyond upending financial transactions, Tapscott imagines a future where a blockchain could be used to transfer any kind of asset, from a users personal data to intellectual property.
Some of that has already begun. This is Consensys, a technology start-up in Brooklyn, New York. Joseph Lubin founded Consensys and helped develop the Ethereum blockchain, the second biggest blockchain in the world after Bitcoin. Ethereum launched in 2015.
JOSEPH LUBIN, CONSENSYS: Ethereum is by far the most powerful blockchain platform out there. It has the most expressive programming language.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Meaning Ethereum can do something pretty radical: it allows for what are known as smart contracts to be built into the code. So it can also transfer a set of instructions or conditions.
DON TAPSCOTT: Its kind of like what it sounds like its a contract that self-executes, and it has a payment system built into it. Sort of like a contract that has built in lawyers and governments and a bank account.
HARI SREENIVASAN: At Consensys, one project applies this idea to music.
JESSE GRUSHAK: Click buy album
HARI SREENIVASAN: Jesse Grushack is the founder of ujo, a music platform for artists to distribute their music through the blockchain. Artists decide what price to sell their music and pocket more from their intellectual property.
JESSE GRUSHAK, UJO MUSIC: Were looking at how to make the music industry more efficient, but at the end of the day, our top level goal is getting artists paid more for their work and all their creative content.
HARI SREENIVASAN: But ujo is not yet easy to use. There is only one album on the platform, and it requires users to buy music with ether, the cryptocurrency used on the Ethereum blockchain.
JESSE GRUSHAK: The blockchain is still in its infancy right now. Its still kind of in the Netscape phase, really, of the internet. You dont have that AOL, you dont have that landing page that opens the world up to you. Its still a little nerdy, its still a little technical but were working really hard to kind of make it usable, make the user experience seamless because really this technology we want to be in the hands of everyone.
HARI SREENIVASAN: When he said, a little nerdy, he wasnt kidding. In order to get an idea, I went out and bought some crypto-currencies online and the process was not easy. Certainly not as easy as going to the bank to get cash or calling a stockbroker to buy a stock. But then, using my first email account in the early 90s, that wasnt easy either.
DON TAPSCOTT: I think were in 1994. And in 94, we had the internet and most people were using it for a single application, email. And thats kind of like Bitcoin is today. The application is called a currency, but were starting to see the rise of the web as we did in 94. A general purpose platform for building applications that changed many, many industries.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Youve literally written the book on the blockchain. How do you know that this is actually working, that people are believing in this, investing in this, understanding the potential in this?
DON TAPSCOTT: In every single industry now, companies are starting to implement pilots to explore how this technology can change their operations.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Tapscott points to retailer Walmart, which has done a pilot using a blockchain to track food safety, and manufacturer Foxconn, which is experimenting with using a blockchain to track its supply chain.
Still, this blockchain believer acknowledges it has a lot left to prove.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Theres several critics out there that kind of look at this and say, This is like tulip mania. This cryptocurrency stuff, this is a bubble, bigger than Ive ever seen before. Theres a bunch of people that dont know a thing about whats going on that just want to see something go up.
DON TAPSCOTT: Well, for sure theres a hype cycle that were into now. But the biggest impact will be that blockchain itself is going to change the fundamental operations of banks, of retail companies of supply chains, of manufacturing companies, of governments, and of every institution in society.
- Bitcoin price | index, chart and news | WorldCoinIndex - April 22nd, 2019
- Analyst: Bitcoin (BTC) Likely to Soon See Massive Volatility ... - April 21st, 2019
- Bitcoin Cash - Wikipedia - April 21st, 2019
- Bitcoin heads for mass market adoption as Millennials get onboard - April 21st, 2019
- Major Bitcoin hard and soft forks. Where are they now? - April 21st, 2019
- Bitcoins Long Road to Privacy | Crypto News Monitor | The #1 ... - April 21st, 2019
- Bitcoin [BTC] mining could go nuclear; Belarus emerges as ... - April 21st, 2019
- Crypto Traders Bullish Bitcoin (BTC) Call Goes Viral Plus ... - April 21st, 2019
- Benefits of Trading with Bitcoin Live Bitcoin News - April 21st, 2019
- Bitcoin Exchange Binance Confirms Delisting Of Bitcoin SV - April 21st, 2019
- How To Explain Bitcoin To Your Friends & Family ... - April 21st, 2019
- Bitcoin's Path to Retake $20,000 Could Be Slow and Painful ... - April 21st, 2019
- Cryptocurrency Bear Market Waning, Going Through Accumulation ... - April 21st, 2019
- What is Bitcoin? The Complete WIRED Guide | WIRED - April 18th, 2019
- Bitcoin Price Today - Live Bitcoin Value - Charts & Market ... - March 16th, 2019
- Suite of Crypto Services to Leverage Nasdaq Framework ... - March 16th, 2019
- Bitcoin | Definition, Mining, & Facts | Britannica.com - January 13th, 2019
- News - Bitcoin News - Page 952 - January 6th, 2019
- Bitcoin | Bitcoin Price | Bitcoin News | BTC | Info.Binance.com - December 24th, 2018
- Bitcoin Technical Analysis - FXStreet - December 20th, 2018
- Bitcoincharts | Charts - December 20th, 2018
- Bitcoin Crypto-Economics Index - coindesk.com - November 29th, 2018
- Bitcoin (BTC) Price, Chart, Info | CoinGecko - November 17th, 2018
- Bitcoinker - The Best Bitcoin Faucet, Claim Every 5 Minutes! - November 17th, 2018
- Africa Dominates P2P Bitcoin Exchange Paxful With $64 Million ... - November 10th, 2018
- Bitcoin Dips Below $7,000, Hitting Lowest In 2 Weeks - August 8th, 2018
- Things you need to know Bitcoin.com - July 29th, 2018
- Bitcoin - Bitcoin Price Live, BTC Value, Mining, BTC to USD ... - July 10th, 2018
- Digital Currencies and Financial Inclusion: Revisited | CGAP - May 19th, 2018
- Bitcoin vs. Electronic Money: Digital But Different | CGAP - May 19th, 2018
- Must I pay tax this year if I transfer bitcoin from ... - April 4th, 2018
- Will a 1099-B form work best for reporting bitcoin ... - April 4th, 2018
- Bitcoin (BTC) price: News & Live Chart - Trading Analysis ... - March 29th, 2018
- Bitcoin USD - BTCUSD Overview - MarketWatch - February 28th, 2018
- Buy Bitcoin IRA | Bitcoin IRA Investment & Retirement Account ... - February 28th, 2018
- Bitcoin Fees Have Become Infeasible - Bitcoin News - December 23rd, 2017
- Bitcoin's incredible surge takes it above $9,500 - Nov. 27 ... - November 27th, 2017
- Warning Signs About Another Giant Bitcoin Exchange - November 23rd, 2017
- What Is Bitcoin, and How Does It Work? - The New York Times - October 6th, 2017
- Why Beanie Babies make for a better investment than bitcoin - MarketWatch - September 5th, 2017
- Bitcoin's price hit $5000 last week. It's still a dumb investment - Los Angeles Times - September 5th, 2017
- Bitcoin dips another $300 after China's cryptocurrency crackdown - CNBC - September 5th, 2017
- IRS Eyes Profits From Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash Investments - Investopedia - September 5th, 2017
- Sequoia, IDG to Invest in China Bitcoin Mining Giant - Bloomberg - September 4th, 2017
- Bitcoin Price Drops By Over $250 as Crypto Markets Lose Billions - CoinDesk - September 4th, 2017
- Bitcoin $5,000: Currency Hits New Record High | Fortune.com - Fortune - September 2nd, 2017
- Bitcoin Drops Below $5000 as Crypto Markets See $13 Billion Sell-Off - CoinDesk - September 2nd, 2017
- Bitcoin Mempool is Empty and High Transaction Fees are no Longer Required - newsBTC - September 2nd, 2017
- Literally just one huge chart showing bitcoin's incredible rise to $4800 - MarketWatch - September 2nd, 2017
- Bitcoin's nearly five-fold climb in 2017 looks very similar to tech ... - CNBC - September 2nd, 2017
- BTC-e's Big Claim: Bitcoin Withdrawals to Begin Tomorrow - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - September 2nd, 2017
- As bitcoin surges in price and popularity, so do the complaints - CNBC - August 31st, 2017
- Here is how Indians are minting a fortune in bitcoins - Economic Times - August 31st, 2017
- Why Miners Are Mining Bitcoin Cash and Losing Money Doing It - CoinDesk - August 30th, 2017
- Bitcoin jumps nearly 70% for August to record high, offshoot 'bitcoin cash' falls to more than one-week low - CNBC - August 30th, 2017
- Bitcoin Foundation seeks legal protection from US currency regulation - The Independent - August 30th, 2017
- Bitcoin's epic rise leaves late-1990s tech bubble in the dust - Economic Times - August 30th, 2017
- 99Bitcoins | Buy Bitcoin, Bitcoin Guides & Reviews for ... - August 29th, 2017
- Dark web finds bitcoin increasingly more of a problem than a help, tries other digital currencies - CNBC - August 29th, 2017
- Bitcoin Meets Zcash: Developers Test Tool for Trustless Trades - CoinDesk - August 29th, 2017
- Russian Regulator: Bitcoin Should Be Limited to 'Qualified Investors' - CoinDesk - August 29th, 2017
- As bitcoin and rivals surge, so too have complaints to the CFPB - MarketWatch - August 29th, 2017
- Is Bitcoin the New Gold? - TheStreet.com - August 28th, 2017
- This Swedish guy bet all his life savings on bitcoin and it made him 100 times richer - Business Insider Nordic - August 28th, 2017
- How To Gain Bitcoin Exposure Inside Of Your Traditional Brokerage Account - Seeking Alpha - August 28th, 2017
- Value of all digital currencies hits record around $160 billion as ... - MarketWatch - August 28th, 2017
- Why Motherboard Is Capitalizing 'Bitcoin' Again - Motherboard - August 28th, 2017
- New Bitcoin.com Charts: The Bitcoin Ecosystem at a Glance - Bitcoin News (press release) - August 27th, 2017
- Expert Predicts Bitcoin Will be Worth up to $20000 in the Next Three Years - Futurism - August 27th, 2017
- Does Bitcoin Have a Mining Monopoly Problem? - Fortune - August 27th, 2017
- Bitcoin poised to challenge record after recovering from correction - MarketWatch - August 26th, 2017
- Bitcoin Prices Rise But Fall Short of All-Time High - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - August 26th, 2017
- Bitcoin and Artificial Intelligence Can Help Fight Sex Trafficking ... - Fortune - August 26th, 2017
- Bitcoin Investors, Beware: The IRS Is Coming for Your Vast Riches - TheStreet.com - August 26th, 2017
- Bitcoin's Lightning Network Moves Closer to Compatibility - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - August 26th, 2017
- A sketchy Satoshi has popped up to promote his new blockchain - The Verge - August 26th, 2017
- Bitcoin And Why You Think You're Right (Even When You're Wrong) - Seeking Alpha - August 26th, 2017
- Bitcoin and Ether rise, helping take crypto space above $150 billion market cap - MarketWatch - August 23rd, 2017
- Bitcoin Prices Are Up Over $100 Already Today - CoinDesk - August 23rd, 2017
- MGT Capital Raises $2.4 Million to Expand Bitcoin Mining Operation - CoinDesk - August 23rd, 2017