Intro: Scaling the World

1.1 Our Non-Scalable Economy

Rapid technological innovation and globalization are driving the need for ever more urgency, quality, and competitiveness in the modern economy - the pressure to go faster, better, cheaper has never been higher. To adapt to these realities, businesses need to be increasingly data-driven in order to make decisions that are sufficiently fast and correct to survive in the market. But as the pressure mounts, cracks are starting to appear in the way we currently organize our economic activities.

Most business data is uncaptured because they are unstructured. But the vast majority of business operations data (>80%) are unstructured, [1] expensive to verify and wholly lacking in context.

Captured data is siloed, splintered across a sea of applications that are unverifiable and lacking context across their closed-garden ecosystems.

With most of the world's data uncaptured and what little is captured highly fractured, there's very little reason to believe that the current way we structure our economic activities is scalable. The faster we try to grow, the more friction we introduce into the system that slows us down.

1.2 How Blockchain Technology Could Help

Blockchain technology provides two interesting guarantees to externally-generated data (i.e., data that is not generated natively on-chain).

  • Data provenance is guaranteed via simple signature verifications, hence guaranteeing the traceability of responsibility.

  • Data immutability is guaranteed via decentralized redundancy and a Byzantine fault tolerant consensus algorithm.

These guarantees enable an interesting application called data anchoring, which in turn makes it possible to construct independently verifiable and completely transparent audit logs.

Audit logs make operational data highly verifiable and trustworthy, thereby making unstructured data or structured data across silos cross-verifiable. Since public ledgers are open-source and decentralized, there's no commercial or proprietary barriers for transparency.

By making operational data verifiable, whether they're generated by machines or people, we now have a critical data source with which to add localized context to the sea of unstructured data by providing snapshots or milestones which stakeholders can sign-off.

This deceptively simple application of decentralized ledgers has far-ranging implications in helping to drastically reduce business friction and ultimately help make our global economy far much scalable.