Everything You Think You Know About the Internet is Changing.

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(repost from medium)

That’s right. Everything you thought you knew about hosting a website, using cloud storage, social media, eCommerce, internet chat, hosting webinars, mobile apps is changing. I have been programming web marketing platforms since 1994. In those 23 years, this is the most transformative technology shift that I have witnessed.

I freely admit that I almost slept through this one. I will try to provide as much context as I can and give you some jumping off points to learn more about certain topics as I go along. At this point, you might think me a fool. “Nothing has changed for me,” you say. Well, I invite you to look further down the track with me. This unstoppable movement is headed our way and I almost missed it because I largely ignored the Bitcoin movement.

Wait, this is not about Bitcoin. Stay with me.

You see, I did not understand the underlying technology known as the blockchain. I had heard of the blockchain but assumed it was the same thing as Bitcoin. My “ah-ha” moment came in late 2016 when I realized that a blockchain is its own thing. Bitcoin and the blockchain are not the same things. Bitcoin is to the blockchain as Medium, Amazon, and Google are to the Internet. Bitcoin uses the blockchain. The blockchain is a distributed open ledger (a kind of decentralized database). It is a platform used in applications like Bitcoin. So, what’s the big deal? Why is the blockchain so important? In a word, Decentralization. The thing that makes the blockchain a perfect platform for financial transactions like Bitcoin, namely immutability of data objects, makes it the perfect platform for decentralized application development.

Until recently, most applications have been hosted in a central server configuration with a central authority, usually a company, managing those assets. The peer-to-peer (P2P) nature of the blockchain makes Decentralized Applications or DApps a real possibility. DApps are managed and controlled by smart contracts with no single controlling authority. Since DApps run in a trustless system, all behaviors and transactions within the system are governed by the smart contracts and the consensus of its participants. DApps also generate tokens that reward individuals and organizations for their participation and contribution of resources to the DApp.

It’s already happening.

There are already a handful of exciting DApps. Ethlance, for example, is a freelance marketplace that is completely decentralized and running on the Ethereum blockchain. Ethlance is a practical demonstration of where things are heading. The entire site is managed using about a dozen smart contracts. The code is open source. The files are served up by another P2P project, IPFS

DApps are not without their challenges. There are some friction points, and issues will need to be solved before DApps will enjoy broad-based consumer adoption. Moving people to the crypto DApp space is going to require a new set of tools. Right now, to use Ethlance, you need to install the MetaMask plugin for the Chrome browser to connect your Ethereum wallet. There will be a period when hybrid DApps that have a central database component will have their place. We recently deployed one such hybrid DApp for intellectual property registration that removes much of the friction. Our purpose at PriorThings is to expose people to the blockchain without introducing the DApp concept.

Corporate friction doesn’t matter so much. I do not see the same issues affecting corporate adoption. As infrastructure type services are developed, blockchain adoption by business will be faster. >span class="markup--quote markup--p-quote is-other" name="5630a2170449" data-creator-ids="62bbc95a62ea">Governments are actively moving to the blockchain. Delaware, responsible for 60% of all corporate registrations, recently announced that it is moving to the blockchain. Major financial institutions are forming consortiums to build blockchains to reduce transaction costs. There are currently about 25 industry specific consortia working on moving their respective industries to the blockchain.

Blockchain development is the unstoppable freight train headed straight at us. I have decided to be prepared. I see a huge opportunity in helping to build new tracks for this train. If we do things right, no one should even feel the rumble as the train passes. Regardless the train is coming.