Brian Forde: Bitcoin and blockchain can restore trust

Brian Forde believes developing countries will move into cryptocurrency adoption ahead of developed countries.

Bitcoin and blockchain can restore trust in financial transactions, one of the foremost authorities on cryptocurrencies, Brian Forde, told the World Congress of Accountants (WCOA) meeting in Sydney on November 7, 2018.

Bitcoin is re-creating trust that has been lost in banks, said Forde, a senior lecturer for Bitcoin and blockchain at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a former adviser on mobile and data innovation to the Obama White House.

“Bitcoin was built for people, not companies,” he said, noting the cryptocurrency was 10 years old that week.

“It is about being able to transfer faithfully without trusting a third party, a government, a company, an organisation. It starts to remove intermediaries that take fees.”

Forde believes developing countries will move into cryptocurrency adoption ahead of developed countries where citizens can easily find a bank or ATM.

Uses for Bitcoin and blockchain

MIT had developed a Bitcoin project for a foreign government that had been forced to transport large amounts of cash to citizens by canoe and wasn’t sure that the right people were getting the money.

It had also tested storing medical records on blockchain, building a platform that was tested by a local hospital.

Related: See CPA Australia’s full WCOA 2018 coverage here

Forde noted that a private blockchain allowed control of the blockchain ledger and who had access to files.

Bitcoin and cyberattacks

Asked about cyberattacks, Forde said Bitcoin – unlike some cryptocurrencies – had never been hacked, and was protected by the size of computing power needed.

“The ledger has never been hacked and there is a lot of incentive to do it.”

He said state actors, or government-sponsored players, might have enough computing power to launch an attack.

Forde acknowledged the volatility of cryptocurrencies and said they were affected by speculation and government statements about proposals to use the currencies, as well as “forks”, which created new cryptocurrencies.

“It is the wild, wild west right now and I don’t advise people to invest in it, but I advise you to play in it.

“If you aren’t doing it, your competitor is.”

Businesses around the world are creating their own blockchain arrangements, with some positive, innovative results adds Paul Drum FCPA, CPA Australia head of policy.

“This is especially so in the case of goods-based transactions. However, it is less clear that these transactions need a token or virtual currency to enable them to seamlessly take place,” says Drum.

Read next: What’s the difference between a private and a public blockchain

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