The Bitcoin Protocol Impact on The Engineering Profession
I will be delivering this presentation at the Nation Society of Professional Engineers Annual Conference on July 2015 in Seattle.
In a Wall Street Journal essay, two authors wrote, “The digital currency known as bitcoin is only six years old, and many of its critics are already declaring it dead. But such dire predictions miss a far more important point: Whether bitcoin survives or not, the technology underlying it is here to stay.” This session will cover what digital currency means for the engineering profession.
“Decentralization” is a term being applied to platforms that use the Blockchain Protocol pioneered by Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin. As a cryptographic currency, Bitcoin remains problematic. However, as an algorithmic protocol, blockchain technology will enable society to cheaply perform common business processes that are now controlled by institutions such as banks, insurance companies, corporations, government, etc. Today, rapidly emerging platforms are under development to bring “smart contracts” (algorithms based on blockchain technology) into the mainstream.
An important and essential variant of smart contracts is called an “Adjudicated Smart Contract” that requires an independent 3rd party adjudicator that would “flip the switch” on algorithmic agreements in finance, insurance, and decisions of governance. There is a staggering opportunity ahead for the engineering profession to position itself for the role of the adjudicator in a wide variety of important and high value transactions. The caveat is that we too must change the way that we organize ourselves.
This presentation, Decentralizing the Engineering Profession, begins with the failure of the NAFTA MRD followed by an introduction to blockchain technologies, and ending with specifications on how our profession can jump to the top of the value chain in the era of Social Capitalism – if, and only if, [the engineering profession] can choose to change.