Trust. Ask yourself if you trust others more or less than you did 10 years ago? Surprisingly we have seen a growing level of distrust with the increase of access to the internet via smartphones and devices that are built to connect us. The issue is that trust isn't just based on proximity, it's also based in transparency and a shared connection.
Blockchain based projects are our response to a growing "Trust Gap". This is where we are connected closer than ever before, yet we seem to trust less and less. Is that transaction real? Is this email really from my dad with a link to some obscure article? Who am I really chatting with on the other end of the screen? When posed with a problem like this (transparency of transactions) the obvious solution is to try and create immutable points that fix the origin and endpoint of a transaction. Such as the origin and ability to transact a value of wealth, the safety and true nature of a link, or the identity of the other person actively chatting with me.
The problem with this transparency, is that it's typically created in a centralized way. This means one entity is in control (generally) of the information. Government, Corporate, etc.. these centralized silos of information are less than ideal. To make it public may not make sense in most cases as it can be abused with too much transparency. This is where the core idea of blockchain comes into play. Make the information immutable, transparent, and anonymous (to a degree).
To narrow the Trust Gap is to try and grasp at a part of humanity we have been unable to scale with the advent of the internet and the shrinking of the world as it relates to connectivity. Blockchain is a piece of the puzzle, a core component of our society in the future. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and others might be vibrant solutions to some of our bloated transaction processes, or they might just be the first wave that paves the way for the next successful blockchain based startup.
How are you learning about blockchain, including projects like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple?