If you live in the U.S., chances are good that you’ve had your identity stolen recently.
If you’ve voted in the past two national elections… have a Yahoo email address… or use a credit card… your personal information has been exposed.
But there’s good news… Blockchain – the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies – may spell the end of these hacking schemes for good.
In fact, as new American Consequences contributor Brett Aitken explains below, blockchain could save the world trillions of dollars per year…
The Blockchain Security Revolution
By Brett Aitken, financial analyst
Hacking is the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprise.
It cost the global economy $450 billion in 2016.
That number is expected to grow more than tenfold in the next four years.
Around the world, more than 4 billion records were stolen in 2016 – such as name and password combinations… credit card numbers… you name it. In the U.S., there were more than 1,000 major data breaches… and more than half of them involved customers’ Social Security numbers.
When this happens to you… it’s a nightmare.
“It ruined me financially and emotionally,” Maryland resident Dave Crouse said in an interview with MarketWatch. Thieves racked up more than $900,000 of charges in his name, he said.
He spent another $100,000 trying to fix the damage, unsuccessfully. He lost his retirement fund… his career prospects… his reputation. He considered suicide.
Then there’s this heartbreaking story from Washington, D.C.
New parents Sean and Erin were on the verge of closing their dream home… and ended up losing $1.57 million instead.
The Washington Post reports: “Their wire transfer of settlement funds was hijacked after cyberthieves reportedly penetrated a title and escrow company’s e-mail system and steered the money to their own account.”
Guess who else has been hacked?
- The Securities and Exchange Commission.
- The Trump organization.
- The CIA.
- The National Security Administration.
Right now… there’s almost nothing you can do to prevent getting hacked.
It could happen because you have a weak password… because your password was stolen by an invisible “keystroke logger” hidden on your computer… by using a poorly secured public Wi-Fi network… or simply because you used an ATM or gas station card reader and had your credit card “skimmed” by a tiny device.
But that may be about to end.
Applying blockchain technology to various encryption, cybersecurity, and digital identification activities could help end many of these hacking schemes that have proliferated in recent years. These blockchain-based security applications have the potential to save the world an estimated $6 trillion per year.
We believe the U.S. government will begin rolling out blockchain-based ID tools sooner than you probably imagine…
Last July, the General Services Administration – the agency that manages procurement for the entire federal government – pulled together more than 100 managers from dozens of federal agencies to begin implementing an American digital identity plan involving blockchain technology… including how it could be used for “government-issued credentials like visas, passports, Social Security numbers and birth certificates.”
Then in September… they held a second meeting.
Officials from 39 different federal agencies showed up… including the Executive Office of the President.
A top official from the Office of Management and Budget made it clear that the White House was “serious about and committed to this technology, and would not be deterred,” according to an account of the meeting published in Bitcoin magazine.
In a September ETHNews article, the president of the Government Blockchain Association trade group predicted:
This time next year, I would not be surprised to see dozens of pilots, legislative resolutions, and even funding spread across the various states and high up in the U.S. federal government specifically for piloting blockchain based innovation.
A lot has been said about bitcoin and the blockchain. But briefly, here is a quick refresher…
At its core, you can think of the blockchain as a distributed database system that acts as a “shared ledger” to store and manage transactions. Each record in the database is called a “block” and is cryptographically linked to the previous block. And each transaction is recorded (and verified) over multiple, distributed systems, as opposed to one centralized system in a traditional database. This means the system has multiple checks of data integrity and doesn’t suffer from any single point of failure
You can see how this type of distributed ledger and verification system could improve identity and access management.
Blockchain applications benefit from a “network effect.” Its usefulness is directly related to the number of users.
That means that once something like ID blockchain technology starts to go mainstream… its dominance will happen very quickly. One morning, you’ll wake up and see stories about it everywhere.
It’s not a fantasy to imagine that blockchain can prevent all the kinds of hacking schemes that are so pervasive today.
The rush to end identity theft using blockchain technology is so frantic that states aren’t even waiting for federal approval.
Illinois took the first step for its 13 million citizens by piloting a blockchain-based system for recording birth certificates.
Now others are rushing to do the same.
Eric Sweden, a director at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, said that blockchain was barely on his colleagues’ radar a year ago.
But today, 63% of state officials interviewed by his group said they were looking into implementing this technology. He called it “a very steep acceleration” where everyone’s worried about “being left behind.”
That’s why the tipping point for blockchain technology could be bigger than the Internet explosion of the late 1990s.
Right now, high-profile investors – including top executives from Google, Amazon, and Facebook – are sinking billions of dollars into the blockchain. And research firm Gartner says the blockchain market could grow more than 77,000% from here… from $4 billion to $3.1 trillion over the next few years alone.
If you’re interested in this idea – and learning what we believe is the single best way to invest in the blockchain revolution – click here.
Nearly 200 million U.S. voters were exposed recently…
Political information on nearly every registered U.S. voter was exposed recently… from your name, address, social-media posts, who you likely voted for, your position on issues like President Trump’s “America First Policy,” what you think about gun ownership, and even your predicted religious affiliation.
The economy is booming… yet we’re borrowing more than when the government was trying to “spend, spend, spend” our way out of the ’08 financial crisis.
Borrowing in the first quarter exceeded the old record set in the first quarter of 2010, a period when the country was struggling to pull out of a deep recession.
Inflation – the bane of responsible American savers – is starting to climb…
U.S. consumer prices accelerated in March… jumping 2.0% on a year-on-year basis last month. That was the biggest gain since February 2017.
Of course, it could be far worse if we were in a “socialist paradise” like Venezuela.
Millions of Venezuelans have seen their salaries decimated by rampant hyperinflation that is expected to drive prices up by 13,000% this year…
One billionaire is putting on a major bet in a “barbarous relic”…
He believes gold prices will rally further, reaching $1,800 per ounce from just above $1,300 now, while “overvalued” stock markets crash.Turns out people of all ages like tax cuts. Trouble for Dems in November?
Voters ages 18 to 34 say their support for Democrats over Republicans for Congress slipped by about nine percentage points over the past two years… And they increasingly say the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy. And make sure you read P.J.’s latest article over at the Weekly Standard…
It had long been my opinion that the writers and editors of the New York Times and, by extension, their readers live on a different planet—the planet where a martini costs $20. But, upon perusal of the Sunday Review section, I see that I was wrong…
And let us know what you’re reading at [email protected].
With P.J. O’Rourke and the American Consequences Editorial Staff
May 2, 2018