Vision for Blockchain presented in Dublin
Blockchain could finally deliver the long promised “paperless revolution” envisaged in the early 1980s. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) was the technology designed then precisely for that purpose. Blockchain is effectively EDI in new clothes, according to Alfredo Sarich, who helped develop EDI when working for what was then the European Economic Community in the late 1970s.
In Ireland, and elsewhere, moves are afoot to prepare for Blockchain, such as the recent “a strategic alliance” between the Irish Computer Society (ICS) and the Blockchain Association of Ireland.
“Blockchain’s apparent forerunner was earmarked to assist with international trade”
The two organisations held a half-day “Blockchain Conference” hosted by the ICS in Dublin in March. This was an “information intense event”, taking a panoramic look at the technical, sector specific and other implications of Blockchain.
Susan Cosgrove of Dublin based law firm, Cosgrove Gaynard Solicitors, looked at the legal aspects of what is widely believed to be a new technology, despite its argued derivation from EDI.
ICS CEO, Jim Friars and Stuart King of the Blockchain Association opened the conference, which was also supported by TechnologyIreland.
Commenting on the conference Friars said: “There certainly is lots of interest in the area and we will need to stay on top of it if we want to remain relevant,” indicating just how important he believes Blockchain will be.
Blockchain, given the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies and the, until recently, gradual dawning that it is much more than just a technological pillar for Bitcoin, is clearly being seen as one of the next big things. As such, it is being discussed in the same breath as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.
Blockchain’s technical, social and political significance is impossible to precisely predict, but Sarich pointed out that Blockchain’s apparent forerunner was earmarked to assist with international trade, such as logistics and customs.
Sarich gave some indication that Blockchain, in the event of a hard border on the island of Ireland in the wake of Brexit, could contribute to a customised technological solution. But the former EU official and entrepreneur, now based in Umbria, Italy, would not be drawn further on this.
As a member of a generation of technologists and policy-makers that promised the “paperless society,” Sarich’s caution is understandable. The mood of the generation represented at the Dublin event was one of intense anticipation. Such anticipation may well be replicated at similar events all around the world as EDI’s 1980s vision might well turn out to be Blockchain’s 2020 vision.
Bernard L Conlon