Letters from a Blockchain Agnostic (2)

G. Lemus
6 min readJul 30, 2021

What else can I do besides writing messages on the blockchain ?

In my previous Letter from a Blockchain Agnostic I kept hammering down the basic use of a blockchain:

Blockchain keeps records that cannot be (easily) faked nor destroyed.

As a ‘thought experiment’, I added the example of someone who would like to record their UK visa status on the blockchain (instead of a UK government centralized digital database) to avoid a repeat of the Windrush scandal when

“The only official records of the arrival of many “Windrush” immigrants in the 1950s through to the early 1970s were landing cards collected as they disembarked from ships in UK ports. In subsequent decades, these cards were routinely used by British immigration officials to verify dates of arrival for borderline immigration cases.[128] In 2009, those landing cards were earmarked for destruction as part of a broader clean up of paper records”

In a horror scenario, a centralized database could be hold by a third party in a ramsomware attack (remember the NHS cyber-attack).

I proposed the floor value of the blockchain token as the price that a user would be willing to pay to safely record that information. After all, to create a record you need to use the tokens — the beauty of token blockchains is that they use the same blockchain to record the token transaction. However, the price will also depend on whether or not the record is accepted in the court of law.

Beyond one record at a time

Blockchains can be turbo-charged — depending on the one you decide to use, they can allow the coding of rules to write multiple records. The jargon for this ability is called smart contract which should never be confused with a legal contract.

Smart contracts allow the construction of more esoteric record writing; lets take a view to a couple of very important examples:

  • Non Fungible Token contract: It is a contract that allows the creation of single tokens that then can be wholly transferred across wallets. (also known as NFTs)
Newspaper article

Instead of digital cats, companies are linking the token to real life assets. Daniel Hirst created 10,000 paintings with dots

G. Lemus