Can Blockchain be eventually decrypted? The answer is almost consensual among all the technological optimists. This optimism penetrates the crypto community too. There is one thing on which both critics and supporters of the crypto rush agree on. The Blockchain technology has the potential to transform the future.
Jack Ma sees it the same way, so does Jack Dorsey of the Twitter. The financial regulators all over the world are fussing over the effective regulatory framework for the crypto but they are also excited about the Blockchain technology.
Chinese government has included it in its trinity of weapons to master the China 2025. The mission aims at replacing US as the technological superpower by 2025 and the Chinese government has already invested 300 billion USD into the project.
President Xi was adamant about mastering Blockchain by 2025. Even Indian government seems smitten by the Blockchain technology despite being openly hostile towards cryptocurrencies.
All these positions stem from the fact that Blockchain technology is supposedly unhackable. In order to hack into one block, one has to go into it and change its contents. The changing of these contents changes the hash function of the block.
This creates a mismatch with the hash function of the previous block which triggers the entire Blockchain to detect the hack and correct it. The only way to hack it is to take over 51% of the nodes of the entire Blockchain which is extremely difficult because of its decentralized nature.
However, there is a contrarian view which is emerging among a minority of opinion makers. George Friedman, one of the world’s foremost geopolitical experts have some skepticism regarding the future of the Blockchain.
He was giving these comments in a recent interview. He said that Blockchain can become obsolete. His main problem with the Blockchain was the determinism that it will never be hacked. He said, “I’ve never known any encryption technology not to be broken”.
According to Mr. Friedman, China, Russia and United States are his top contenders who will be able to hack Blockchain in coming days. He further said, “The Blockchain fever will pass, it is one of those hypes. People are profiting from it, making extraordinary claims about it”.
Friedman’s points can be critiqued as he is from the international affairs fields. Some are already arguing that he does not have the technological expertise to make any comments on the subject.
However, given his record of precise predictions, his points on the shortcomings and possibility of Blockchain hack in future can be taken as constructive criticism. After all, New York Times claimed that he has the temptation of being equivalent of magic.
He has designed some games when he was young before majoring in Pol Science and thus have the technological understanding. However, the larger point of this debate is quite significant and have great implications for the future.
With the arrival of the data economy as the driver of modern civilization, the centralization vs. decentralization quickly is becoming the central theme of our time.
All the other problems and approaches from governance to macroeconomic stability are nested within the metaphysical presupposition of this debate. Order vs. chaos. Freedom v. control. Anarchy vs. controlled chaos. These themes are recurring in these debates.
The question of Blockchain is at the center of this debate now. The future of this debate rests on the future of Blockchain technology. The libertarians have the edge in the debate now but Friedman’s concerns must be heeded. As a devout Heraclitean, I must confess that this is something worth pondering over.