Don and Alex Tapscott join Mitch Joel and Six Pixels of Separation for a blockchain podcast. In episode #512, Don introduces himself as being in a rock band, Men in Suits, and as an author and speaker. Alex introduces himself as a “recovering investment banker”, and this is where he learned about bitcoin, quit his job, and started his own company to help businesses in the blockchain and technology space.
Mitch Joel starts the conversation about blockchain by asking this question he suspects that Don and Alex Tapscott will have to answer ad nauseam: “How do you define what blockchain is?”
Don defines it as the underlying technology of digital currencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum. For a long time, we’ve needed third party intermediaries—such as banks, credit card companies, PayPal—to transfer money. With the blockchain, there can be peer-to-peer creation and communication of value.
Alex adds that the first generation of the internet is a great comparison. The first generation had converted analog media to digital formats (newspapers, mail, music, video, etc.). There is no digital native version of “value” as they are overwhelmingly paper-based—stocks, contracts, property titles, and deeds. With blockchain technology, it’s a new medium for value that becomes a new way to store assets and value. It can’t be hacked, defrauded, altered, or expropriated.
The future is not something to be predicted—it’s something to be achieved.
Mitch brings up ’94 and The Digital Economy. Don talks about how in ’94, eBay, Amazon and Google didn’t exist. A certain degree of this book involved hypotheses about how technology can change the world. He goes on to say that both The Digital Economy and Blockchain Revolution are advocacy books.
Mitch talks about music, and how by sending music, you’re not sending a copy—you’re sending another original version of the same quality. How is blockchain different? Don says when you’re sending music, it is a copy, it’s just another high-fidelity copy because it’s digital. Don says that with blockchain, if you’re sending money, it’s not a copy or an original version—it’s an actual transfer of money through a change in the database.
The blockchain podcast continues to hit on key topics: how the blockchain will affect banks, the democratization of value, the inequality of prosperity, the creation and predistribution of wealth, and distributed ledgers.