The greatest innovations result from new technological advances coinciding with a favourable sociological context that can transform these technologies into uses. In this sense, the blockchain is the product of, on the one hand, the convergence of asymmetric cryptography and distributed systems and, on the other hand, an opportune sociological climate. The latter is itself the result of a crisis of confidence from internet users towards their institutions, which has led them to seek out new forms of governance.

The rise of the internet has demonstrated how effective a worldwide communication system, free from the constraint of one unique, overarching telecommunications operator, can be. All around the world, it is now possible to connect to any given WiFi network in a matter of seconds. Similarly, the blockchain is at the forefront of a revolution affecting the way we carry out transactions. It enables individuals to carry out operations among themselves, particularly those of a financial nature, which are guaranteed without the involvement of a trusted third party. This speeds up such interactions, and reduces their cost. Therefore, the existence of the blockchain is seriously challenging the role of institutions, banks and notorial studies, and having a profound effect on the way we approach administration.

The first experiments, which are by no means limited to bitcoin, such as decentralised autonomous organisations, demonstrate the radically disruptive nature of the blockchain.

Yves Caseau is Member of National Academy of Technologies of France (NATF) and Serge Soudoplatoff is Internet expert, co-founder of Sooyoos and Scanderia.

Yves Caseau and Serge Soudoplatoff: The blockchain, or distributed trust