What's a source of trust? In the era before instant global communication, our trust was often based on limited information. Picture this: the year is 1900. Most folks in the States are scratching their heads, wondering why on earth the Chinese Emperor would back the Boxer Rebellion. Their feed was the morning newspaper and cinematic takes like 55 Days at Peking. We had to trust what the media told us because it was impossible to fact-check or hear the story from the other side. Fast forward to the post-pandemic era, and you've got folks from the opposite side of the planet correcting your tweets before you've even had your morning coffee. This flood of information, coupled with the proliferation of fake news, challenges our ability to determine the truth. Images can be manipulated or generated by AI in mere seconds. So, in a world where seeing isn't always believing, where do we turn? Blockchain. It is our new compass in this storm of misinformation.
Why do you reckon that crumpled dollar bill in your pocket will still get you a soda tomorrow? Because we've all put our faith in the U.S. Treasury. And those shiny credit cards? That's trust in the banks and the entire financial system that supports them. But why do we believe in gravity? I don't trust gravity because a textbook told me to. I trust gravity not based on faith but on observable and measurable proof that I come back down no matter how many times I jump. That's trust built on cold, hard facts. That's trust based on gravity's permanence.
The modern society operates on a vast network of trust. Buying a latte with Apple Pay? That's not just caffeine addiction talking; that's trust in a cosmic dance of tech giants, banks, and digital safety nets. As a society, we put faith in the banks, the issuer, the acquirer, card networks, and the fintech API providers. They collaborate and get the transaction through. Yet, when I bid on a Non-Fungible Token, I can verify the integrity of my purchase by examining the public smart contract. With the magic of blockchain, you can peek behind the digital curtain and see the nuts and bolts. For those knowledgeable enough, this code offers concrete proof that upon paying the necessary fees, the NFT will be mine. This is the transformative power of blockchain: not just the ability to own a digital collectible (or some picture from a 10-year-old a thousand miles away), but the certainty of transaction underpinned by transparent and immutable code. No intermediaries, no leap of faith, the self-evident proof written in the form of a smart contract gives you the x-ray vision to see through transactions.
The value of such trust is magnified in subscription-based services. While single transactions are straightforward, what about ongoing commitments like domain registrations? Apart from all the third parties I need to believe in to facilitate my transaction, the domain registration company will register on my behalf at ICANN and keep their promise until my service ends. But what if they stopped supporting it? For example, I lost a beloved domain when the provider went bankrupt, and I failed to transfer it out from them. However, suppose it's written in a smart contract like Ethereum Name Service. In that case, I am certain I'll receive my domain NFT and be assured that even if Ethereum Name Service were to disappear, the domain would still point to my digital wallet address. It's all in the blockchain code: transparent, tamper-proof, and trustworthy.
Now, consider digital items or services intended to last a lifetime...