The Autonomous Computer
Blockchains are a revolutionary new form of computer that can make commitments. They're ultimately controlled by code, which means they have no central supervising person or organization. This means that blockchain designs are more trustworthy than human-designed systems because they can be relied on to run as designed. “The code is in charge”.
These types of autonomous applications help people to reimagine the ways in which businesses can be carried out. It paves way for models that are hitherto undreamt-of, and it allows us an opportunity we haven't had yet: disintermediation! You don’t need to trust a third party; instead you can just put your faith into code itself (or what's stored on its ledger). The obvious application here would be in finance but there are many other domains where this could come into play as well..
While Bitcoin was the first decentralized digital currency, Ethereum is known as a platform for building other cryptocurrencies and applications on top. Think of it as the first general purpose computer that helps you build decentralized applications. Thousands of dApps have been built on the ethereum virtual machine. Similar to ethereum, you have many other frameworks as well - like binance smart chain, solana, cordana, polka dot etc.. The consensus protocol (in simple words the way in which the framework ensures an immutable universal state) is different in these frameworks and as such, there will be differences in transaction cost and speed, security, flexibility levels and so on.
If you are a builder/developer, you have choices - (i) built on top of a decentralized computer like the above; or (b) create your own mainnet. The latter is a heavy lift and makes sense only if your improvements are not marginal and provided you can ramp up a team capable of doing that. Also, it depends much on what business case you are solving - we will not build a computer or operating system if we are in the business of building browsers, yes? The same logic applies. Having said that, we have also seen people building on other frameworks first and later moving to their own main-nets, driven by the limitations of the existing ones. This is partially due to the level of maturity of the existing frameworks. With Layer 2 solutions (like Polygon) solving the scalability issues of Layer 1, we will see this getting more and more commoditised in the years to come.
So many interesting use cases have been built on these autonomous computers. The new paradigm has the power to re-architect the internet as we see today - new social networks which does not bully the users on data, new marketplaces owned and controlled by the buyers and sellers, protocols replacing large companies - like for banking, insurance and so many such businesses where trusted intermediaries played a pivotal role. Take for example Theta network, which is Web3 for youtube, Audius is Web3 for Spotify, Fwb is probably Web3 social media - as more and more builders understand and explore business cases in this Web3 maze, we will see more powerful communities emerging! Exciting times are ahead.
What Makes Blockchain an Interesting Technology Proposition of Tomorrow?
Blockchain technology works on the principle of decentralization, which eliminates the need of third-party authenticators. Its theoretical immutability, mass collaboration, versatility and clever code hold greater potential to bring changes and make processes smarter. Blockchain technology has been making its way into a lot of industries such as finance, healthcare, law, education, governance and beyond. Anything and everything that can be interpreted in code and of substantial value can be programmed into this digital ledger. And that is why we can say that blockchain technology
is going to stay.