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Blockchain Semantics Blog Blockchain awaits — Tick… Tock…

Blockchain awaits — Tick… Tock…

Jan. 20, 2018, 8:09 a.m. GMT

An American psychologist known as “Lick” is where the story of the internet begins. He foresaw interactive computing and social networking back in 1962. Licklider was the first head of the computer research program at DARPA. Several scientists, hundreds of papers, scores of prototypes, dozens of successful demos and a full decade later, internet (or ARPANET, the erstwhile avatar of the internet) was still an answer hunting for a question. All of it was about to change in 1972.

It is late in 1972 that electronic mail was first engendered and demonstrated. The ease and possibilities of this “hot” application provided the much needed nitroboost that internet needed. A lot of other things fell into place but e-mail was the kaleidoscope through which the colourful possibilities and amalgamations of features came alive.

Blockchain is waiting for its 1972. And do not think that the path to its 1972 for any technology is a streamlined and organized discovery process. Every epochal technology goes through a period of several years or decades where it gets applications and misapplications of it come together to further our understanding of it. It is a painful process where years of hard work of scientists and visionaries as well as hundreds of millions of dollars of academic institutes, companies and investors come together to create products that are not accepted by the mainstream.

But as Newton says, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.

It is these failures that form the successive foundations on which the capstone of success is built one day. The touchscreen found its mojo in the smartphone but it was ingested and then vomited out by a score of other applications before.

Academia, corporates, investors as well as start-ups working on Blockchain have to be both patient and humble as they journey through this potentially resource-guzzling, long-winding discovery process. And it is as a bow to this discovery process that India needs its imagine, create and put to work its own application layers for Blockchain. It is well documented and understood that India’s challenges are distinct to several more developed economies. As a result the status quo that a Blockchain platform for remittances or land records, for example, will be expected to supplant in Germany, say, will be very different from India’s.

For Blockchain to grow and proliferate in India, we need start-ups taking the India approach to it. The Burberry wool cashmere trenchcoat with fur collars might be too hot for a tropical India.

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