Shawn Gordon

Technology and blockchain developer and enthusiast as well as prolific musician.

Can Blockchain Make Sex Obsolete?

Of course not, but that headline isn’t any more outrageous than most of the claims that you see in the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency space. Every day I get an email from a company wanting PR, or read a headline about how blockchain is going to ensure this, that or the other. Let’s take something like Bananas, I’ve seen a number of projects in this space believe it or not. One of them was telling me that blockchain will ensure that your Organic Bananas have in fact never had pesticides used on them. This is a ridiculous assertion and goes back to the early days of computing, namely GIGO (Garbage In/Garbage Out). If the original person inputting the data lies about it, then that’s it, your data is only as good as the humans that got it in there to start. Sure, everything is secured on the blockchain after that, but it does no good if the starting data is bad.

A day or a week doesn’t go by now where we haven’t had some sort of cryptocurrency hack and/or an insane swing in valuation of cryptocurrency. The volatility and vulnerability of the technology is why pretty much no one is using it for anything other speculative investment, which is what has attracted all the attention from financial regulators. Imagine if you were paid in the Venezuelan bolívar but had to buy everything with the US Dollar. It would be insane, the prices would be changing constantly, you couldn’t plan for anything. That is the equivalent of trying to pretend that bitcoin is a currency that you can live your life with. You can use it for a tiny amount of goods and services, mostly as a novelty, but if you are involved in social media where the crypto enthusiasts are all waiting for something to moon, the dialog is like religious zealots.

Recently I was at a blockchain Meetup group and got engaged in a conversation with a guy and he was telling me about his upcoming ICO. I did a little devil’s advocate with him to make sure that they’d been thorough with the challenges, and I found out that they did not in fact have any blockchain programmers or technical experts on their team at all, but the ICO was supposed to start in weeks. I laughed, which made him mad, but I continued to try and help him see the problems he was facing, he finally said “you’re not a true believer” and stormed off. Considering I might have been the only blockchain technical person in that room of 150 people, it wasn’t a super smart thing to do, but it illustrated a bigger problem. Blockchain is a technology, it isn’t a religion, it isn’t magical, it won’t make sex obsolete. With a good design, proper planning and solid execution, you can solve some real problems using blockchain technology. Think of blockchain like a spreadsheet, you can solve various problems with a spreadsheet, it’s useful technology, but it isn’t the answer to everything, and blockchain is much the same.

I can’t stress enough the importance of understanding blockchain technology and the problem you want to address, before deciding you are going to use blockchain. Being a “Blockchain Enthusiast”, as so many on Linkedin bill themselves, is a far cry from knowing anything about how to use it. Take the time and get educated.

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