Ki­wis are em­brac­ing blockchain


The tech­nol­ogy is still in its in­fancy but has the po­ten­tial to make a big im­pact, writes

like most peo­ple don’t un­der­stand how the in­ter­net ac­tu­ally works or how a cloud ser­vice ac­tu­ally works.’’

But why do we even need blockchain in an apps hub? Af­ter all, Ap­ple and Google al­ready have app plat­forms. What blockchain of­fers, said McDon­ald, is a way for users ‘‘to con­trol their dig­i­tal des­tiny’’. He also said that Cen­tral­ity users ‘‘will own their own data’’.

Ac­cord­ing to McDon­ald, Cen­tral­ity users will con­trol their pro­file by way of a pri­vate key. ‘‘We don’t hold the in­for­ma­tion our­selves,’’ said McDon­ald.

As well as com­mer­cial ap­pli­ca­tions, blockchain tech­nol­ogy is also be­ing used for so­cial en­ter­prise ap­pli­ca­tions.

Tau­ranga-based soft­ware ar­chi­tect Robert O’Brien is in­volved in a project called NZ Data Com­mons, which hopes to en­able data shar­ing across dis­parate or­gan­i­sa­tions. Its first project is to im­ple­ment a ‘‘shared data in­fra­struc­ture’’ for the Preda­tor Free NZ 2050 ini­tia­tive of Bi­o­log­i­cal Her­itage NZ.

How­ever, O’Brien stressed that blockchain is just one part of the Data Com­mons sys­tem. Only the mar­ket­place, which he de­scribed as ‘‘a place for the pub­li­ca­tion of avail­able datasets’’, will be built on the blockchain. And it won’t be about buy­ing and sell­ing data, but ne­go­ti­at­ing ac­cess to the data ‘‘ir­re­spec­tive of where it is held’’.

In sum­mary, blockchain is at an early stage. But Kiwi star­tups and de­vel­op­ers are us­ing this tech­nol­ogy in a va­ri­ety of in­no­va­tive ways. It shows what this coun­try can achieve with­out the gov­ern­ment and cor­po­rate med­dling that is ham­per­ing bit­coin.

Richard MacManus (@ric­mac) founded tech blog Read­WriteWeb in 2003 and has since be­come an in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised com­men­ta­tor on what’s next in tech­nol­ogy and what it means for so­ci­ety.

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