Every morning I wake up at 6:00 AM and start my day with a hot shower. I want to tell you about an invoice from my plumber that I could receive in the future, which enabled that hot shower. I get up and walk to the bathroom. The shower is already on and set on the right temperature. The shower is provided with a computer screen, and while I'm washing my hair I receive an email. It's an invoice from the plumber.
I open the invoice and see that he did maintenance work on the hot water boiler last night. The reparation was done and the money was already transferred to his account. How did he do this while I was asleep? Well, in the future my plumber will use the power of the Blockchain among other techniques such as internet of things. This is what it would have looked like.
How the Blockchain Technology takes care of home maintenance
At 03:00 AM there was a small malfunction in the water heating element of my house which is connected to the Blockchain via an internet connection. When the element was installed the plumber connected it to the Blockchain, where it was recorded in the ledger. The broken element triggered a malfunction notification on the Blockchain that it needs to be repaired. At the same time, other checks are performed on the Blockchain: that I own my house, that this 'I' is me, that I have a bank account with enough credit to pay for the repair, that I have a subscription with my plumbing company to repair my heating system whenever it breaks down, etc.
The Blockchain allows changes when they are validated. This validation has to be a logical consequence of all the information combined on the Blockchain, making it essentially incorruptible. Out of place changes aren't accepted because there is no logical consequence building up to the change. For example, when I hadn't owned the house the signal from 'my' heating element that it is broken and needs to be repaired doesn't make sense. This is in essence the reason why the Blockchain doesn't need third party authorization, like a bank needs to authorize a payment (after checking for balance etc.) before it's actually performed. The system verifies itself.
Eventually the plumber got on his way and fixed the element. After the repair was successful, the new element was registered on the Blockchain and the plumber was paid for a successful repair.
The future of Blockchain
It took you probably two minutes to read this article so far. In the future it will probably take the Blockchain less time to do all of the above verifications. You will never ever have to wait for a plumber between the hours of 12 AM to 6 PM and fear that he will show up with the wrong heating element to do the reparation. In the future, systems are going to work autonomously and collaborate with other systems, but of course you are the one who tells the system to what extent it can affect your life when you basically pre-program it according to your personal preferences.
My next blog will be on how we can keep things to ourselves on the Blockchain.
Author: Thomas Otten is Senior Consultant at KPMG and specialised in Forensic Integrity.