Sean McGrath | Blockchain and the Scarcity of Scarcity

Sean McGrath


Sean McGrath.


Blockchain and the scarcity of scarcity.


Many business models are based on scarcity of some commodity/skill e.g. housing, brain surgery, taxi licenses etc. Technology is systematically disrupting many scarcity-based business models where the commodity itself can be made digital and/or dis-intermediated. For example objects such as writing, musical performances etc. Services such as booking agents etc. 

Blockchain is an emerging technology that can bring scarcity back to the digital realm. It does this by allowing any asset - digital or physical - to be associated with an owner in a global, tamper evident, digital equivalent of a paper transaction ledger.

Is this a good or a bad thing? On one hand, it could re-energize industries that are struggling because of digital disruption. It could also create entirely new forms of business models. However, it could also be argued that artificially re-creating a form of scarcity to prop up a business model is a retrograde step.

It can be argued that much of the disruption and new opportunities unleashed by the digital revolution can be attributed to the scarcity of ... scarcity.

Perhaps in a new Blockchain world, scarcity will be abundant again?

Previous Submissions:

2016: A Pokemon Ate My Hamster. The Future of Truth. #cong16

2015: Video killed the radio star and nothing interesting has happened since. #cong15

2014: The Cloud is a Terrible Thing to Waste on Content #cong14

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