On Leaving the Poor Box Unattended

friar tuck poor box--robin-hoods-robins

It’s difficult to think what the advantages and new possibilities are for blockchain because we don’t think about strangers being trusted partners, especially on the internet.  We assume everyone is potentially a bad player.  For example, we’re not accustomed to trusting a website visitor unless they have been verified.  How do we know that visitor isn’t here to do malicious mischief for personal gain, to steal from other users, or harm someone else?

But let me give you an example:  Try to imagine a doctor’s office hosting an online public calendar, where any one of their present or future patients, without having to log in, can enter an appointment with name, date or time.  “Too much chaos,” you say? “The temptation for someone to grab another person’s appointment as their own would be too great.”

Ah!  But there it is.  No one can change your appointment but you, if that calendar were set up as a blockchain calendar.  Every transaction is recorded and you are given both a public key and a private key when you make an appointment.  The public key is accessible and known by everyone but only you know the private key.  For convenience sake, only your computer knows your private key so that you don’t have to think about it.  Anyone else would be denied access.  Secretaries no longer have to be a central clearinghouse.

It seems counterintuitive because we have been dealing with sites on the internet that are either open access without restrictions or sites requiring username/password protection.  Now, we have a third alternative that allows open access but provides strict, trustworthy private controls.  That’s valuable, indeed.