LFP173 – The Blockchain Digitisation of Tuvalu & Implications of Digitisation At Large w/Dave Washburn CEO nChain

nChain are part of a small consortium are working on a project with the Tuvalu govt to put all of its records on a digital ledger – aka Blockchain, thus becoming the first country to do so. Tuvalu, comprises 9 islands, has a domestic revenue of $60m (a chunk of which comes from its ownership of the .tv domain), has a ca 11,000 population but does not have an electronic banking system. The plan is to move the country’s national register to the Blockchain, will be followed by an exploration into digital currency, a huge feat of technological leapfrogging.

In this episode we are joined by Dr Dave Washburn CEO of nChain who discusses not only this landmark project but the broader and wider implications of digitisation as a whole.

Digitisation is neither good not bad in itself – like a knife it can be wielded for good or for ill. However as digiitsation of everything continues apace what simplifying criteria, what simplifying metrics are we to use in particular cases of digitisation?

Topics discussed include:

  • the amazing possibilities that digitisation and the internet brings to explore an infinite amount of teaching and training let alone information
  • shoutout for French Cooking Academy (on YouTube)
  • digitisation is not about technology but about socio-cultural consequences
  • Dave’s career journey
  • the amazingly wide semantic range of usage of the word “Blockchain” – how Dave sees it now
  • nChain’s choice of type of Blockchain
  • why Tuvalu decided to digitise its records
  • Tuvalu, cash, and small islands trends
  • using technology to meet their challenges
  • “how hard is it to digitise a whole country’s records?”
  • challenge is making data interoperable not siloed
  • unlocking value for stakeholders cf “Just” “info on a computer”
  • challenges of rolling out new technologies – cf railway history as per Chris Tarrant’s “Extreme Railways” series
  • building to be highly scalable and transferable
  • two key metrics – whose data is it and “who gets empowered by a particular digital transformation?”
  • empowerment can have multiple dimensions – the citizen or the State, the consumer or the corporate
  • who monetises the data?
  • transparency and accountability is a further dimension that can be empowered
  • Czech Pirate Party
  • comparisons with credit card schemes – it is often the scheme surround rather than the technology which tilts the benefit one way or another
  • permissioned-access
  • Tim Berners-Lee and his concerns over the direction the web has gone
  • monetising other people’s data – the major model of some of the largest companies in the world was never envisaged
  • case study of a Health Care project
  • prior examples of huge technological change and the slow response of society to reign-in the negative side-effects
  • the future of digital transformation – Dave’s summary of key aspects
  • what nChain does – enterprise grade Blockchain-based solutions for business
  • now over 200 employees and one of intellectual leaders worldwide (patents etc)
  • about to roll out a new API-able platform which will hide the blockhain details from a client’s use-case
  • the fractal complexity of digital transformation and exciting future – good and bad and unforeseen consequences that lies ahead

And much much more 🙂

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