This comment was from a friend that I used to work with:
I’ve read about Blockchain and programmed a lot of MySQL, but I just don’t get why blockchain is really needed when centralized databases work so well and are not broken.
That’s a great question! In many cases blockchain is not needed.
It’s first use was to provide the infrastructure for Bitcoin… limiting users to spend a coin only once, transfer ownership (of the digital asset, which in Bitcoin’s case is a digital token), and eliminate the middleman (banks), allow transactions between parties that don’t know or trust each other, and provide a permanent record of transactions (using cryptography) that can not be altered.
Now, take the Bitcoin system, and decapitate it… knock off the coin part. Where does the remainder, Blockchain, add value? That’s the million dollar question. There are a plethora of ideas… take the expensive, difficult business processes and automate them using blockchain, develop ‘autoexecuting contracts’ between parties, get rid of middlemen companies and their expense, come up with a whole new way of doing something (disrupt existing businesses that have a good margin).
Most of these ideas won’t survive in the long run, but you can imagine a situation where the ‘amazon.com of blockchain ‘starts up, undercutting existing businesses by eliminating middle men, it could be good for the founders, and bad for the middle men. The meetup seems to be 2/3 crypto currency people (Chicago is a big financial trading town (commodities, options, money…), and many of ‘those guys’ are moving into crypto), about 1/3 blockchain ‘purists’ (me)… It makes for some interesting discussions, and the people there are great, too!