It has been the second time in a week the U.S Government have bought up Bitcoin. There were discussions on Bitcoin from the U.S Department Of Commerce, which also included business executives which was discussing if Bitcoin and the Blockchain underlying it could reshape digital copyright.
A key thing discussed by the Berklee College of Music’s George Howard was that the Blockchain could be used as a reliable, secure backup of the ‘current state of events’ at any given date and time, a record which can not be tampered with.
He feels that in today’s world of truth coming out that something like the blockchain is needed as a reliable, immutable record of events. The past month has already had the US IRS, CFTC, Securities and Exchange commission bring up the subject of Bitcoin.
It is clear that the Blockchain technology is a reliable way to say a particular event happened, particularly a highly secure one like Bitcoin. Provided half of the nodes on a blockchain network are honest, an attacker cannot alter the consensus rules on how data is stored. Once the data is written to the blockchain and time stamped, it stays there for good, with no fiddling the numbers in any way.
POW (proof of work) blockchains like Bitcoin are expensive to secure, the mining power used by the Bitcoin network uses more than some smaller countries combined, but the decentralized nature of mining helps prevent this becoming a serious problem. A combination of POW and POS (Proof Of Stake) have been considered by some cryptocurrencies to help offset this problem a bit.
The blockchain clearly has bought the attention of the U.S government officials quite a lot in 2016, and it seems like the reaction has been mostly positive.
The Ethereum platform showed use of a blockchain for smart contracts, things like election votes could be cast using a blockchain system with no possibility of tampering, for instance.
It will be interesting to see where this goes, but 2016 has been a big year for Bitcoin, with the government interest, more interest from people, price rise and the block halving.