Blockchain: The Future of Work Building in Colorado
EthDenver recently showcased the Colorado community's stake in the decentralized future of commerce
There is no denying the impact that the internet has had on how we interact with one another and with the world around us. It is arguably one of the most influential technologies in modern history alongside the invention of the printing press, the railroad and the telephone. By introducing a worldwide, open network of computers which could exchange information easily and quickly, the world wide web changed the way consumers, businesses, families and governments connect.
Technologists, business leaders and governments across the world are now paying attention to a new technology called blockchain, which has the potential to bring about the next wave of Internet innovation: Web 3.0.
You may have heard about blockchain and its first use case – Bitcoin – because of the cryptocurrency’s massive price jumps (and sometimes, steep drops), and the speculative potential for the currency to disrupt modern financial systems. Putting the valuation of Bitcoin aside, what many have overlooked is the immense potential of the cryptocurrency’s underlying blockchain technology.
Blockchain is a decentralized network of computers that allows users to exchange value in a fast and safe way without the need for third-party institutions. Think of it as automating the middle man, so parties involved can have more direct and trustworthy interactions.
Diving a bit deeper into a technical definition, the blockchain is a distributed network of computers that verifies and encrypts digital transfers of value into blocks of transactions. These blocks are then confirmed as a whole and chained together to form a unified, distributed ledger that permanently records every transaction ever between users. New blocks are confirmed every several minutes, enabling value to be transferred worldwide almost instantaneously.
If the internet transformed the world by helping users exchange information, how will a new web that enables us to seamlessly exchange value impact society?
Blockchain has the potential to reconfigure existing power structures and build more equitable and transparent systems from the ground up. By removing intermediaries, the new blockchain-based system will distribute power to the edges – to you, the consumer. Anyone with a computer or mobile phone– – not just the financially well-connected – will be able to manage their own assets. The same way the Internet of Things put a thousand songs in your pocket and made you your own DJ, a blockchain-enabled internet of value will put your digital assets in your control and make you your own bank.
The emerging blockchain-based financial system is geographically distributed away from legacy financial conduits, such as Manhattan, Hong Kong and London. Silicon Valley and other tech hubs no longer have to be concentrated centers for innovation. Blockchain enables a world where value is decentralized, and we are already starting to see this unfold. ConsenSys, the Gitcoin Foundation’s sole investor, is a leading blockchain company that employs 600+ people in over 28 cities around the world, including Brooklyn, Johannesburg, the Philippines, Dubai, and San Francisco. The future of blockchain is distributed globally, including right here in Colorado
The ETHDenver, a community-driven hackathon invited more than 1,200 entrepreneurs, hackers, developers and designers from all over the world to Colorado to build on the new, open financial infrastructure. The organizers of the hackathon even launched ColoradoCoin, a physical coin with a QR code on the back that allowed attendees to easily transact with local vendors.
Colorado is emerging as a hotbed of technology talent made up of technologists, entrepreneurs, business leaders and organizations building this new worldwide ecosystem. More and more families are moving from the coasts to Colorado for the affordable housing, sunshine, friendly neighbors and beauty of the outdoors. As Colorado becomes a blockchain powerhouse, this macro trend will likely accelerate. Get involved in the Colorado blockchain revolution by joining any number of community events. The organizers of ETHDenver have recently launched coloradoblockchain.com, a free calendar of everything going on in the Colorado blockchain scene.
Many believe the future of work will be unbundled. It will be as easy for a software engineer to find a new project as it is for an Uber driver to find a new rider. Successful members of the future economy will be intensely collaborative. We will not climb corporate ladders like our parents did. We will summit the new economy like a rock climber ascending a mountain face –agile, limber, aware of our skills and limitations, and most of all, focused on the future.
Is it too late to get involved in the space? Quite the opposite – we’re only in the first inning of the new blockchain world. Lead the charge. The decentralized future is yours.
Kevin Owocki is the founder of Gitcoin, a platform that gives Open Source software developers the opportunity to build, collaborate, and thrive in the emerging blockchain ecosystem. Kevin has a BS in Computer Science, 10 years of engineering leadership experience in startups and Open Source Software, and is a community organizer in the Boulder Colorado Tech Scene.