Leadership in Tech Episode 33: Bitcoin and Decentralization

In our seventh episode of Season 2, Zac and Errol discuss the concept of decentralization both in the technology sector and leadership, using the example of Bitcoin and blockchain technology.  How will this new, unregulated technology impact our world? 

So what is blockchain? According to Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016), “The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” 

The key to blockchain is that it's decentralized. No one person, group, or organization controls it. The internet, once considered the new, uncharted, frontier on the other hand is incredibly centralized with a handful of organizations controlling large portions of it. The impact of this decentralization will affect people, businesses, economies, virtually every aspect of our lives.

Listen in as Errol and Zac discuss decentralization as it relates to blockchain, to business, to the military, and ultimately to leadership. 

As always, don't forget to check us out on social (links can always be found at the top right hand corner of our webpage), and if you're interested in learning more about our hosts, you can find Zac at Salt, and Errol at Leader 193!

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Season 2 Episode 33 Outline:

2:05: Errol's 80 year old mother wants to learn more about Bitcoin and blockchain! 

3:12: If blockchain has permeated our parents and grandparents, then it's a topic we need to discuss!

3:40: As a "tech guy" what is Zac's "definition" of blockchain?  Distributed decentralized network of computers that all agree on a particular piece of information.

6:20: There are applications that sit on top of blockchain technology, for example, Bitcoin - a cryptocurrency. So if the computers agree on who has which Bitcoins, then that is who own's particular Bitcoins.

7:53: Most important part of the blockchain technology is a decentralized way to build the internet, which is currently very centralized. Example, Google control's a huge portion of the internet. No one controls blockchain technology. Data is spread across anyone's computers. It is permission-less. There are no controlling authorities holding the master copy of data or algorithms. Theme of decentralization is the biggest driver of this technology. 

9:49: Errol's thoughts - Tech used to be wild, unique, and now it's a new version of monopoly. Now blockchain technology threatens to take Big Tech power away. 

11:10: Is Silicon Valley the new Wall Street? "Ashamed to work in Silicon Valley: how techies became the new bankers." Historically every technology over time started decentralized and became a monopoly (wire tech, phone, internet) but now some want blockchain on that path.

12:15: Could blockchain be the technology that will stay decentralized?

13:45: Errol explains centralized and decentralized command and control in the military as a leadership comparison.

18:50: Can there be parameters within blockchain to avoid a market wipe out? Or catastrophe?

19:27: An example of risk: "Someone ‘Accidentally’ Locked Away $300M Worth of Other People's Ethereum Funds."

24:25: Concept of decentralization is great especially as it relates to remote teams, freedom to operate, etc. So if blockchain is the future and the world is moving to decentralized applications, then we need to be able to move that way from a leadership standpoint as well.