The perfect description of blockchain technology — why it's becoming more simple

“Blockchain is a technology that allows natively digital transfer of value.”

That line was buried in a Medium post by Karl Kreder, cofounder of Gridplus.io.

The more I read it the more I think it’s the best concise description of blockchain technology. The branding problem blockchain has always had is how to describe it in 25 words or less.

Not that being able to describe in such a limitation proves any value of what is being described, however it sure makes it easier to explain at networking events where you may need to offer a description over and over.

Until I read this I had struggled to define blockchain technology concisely. It was many things. Many things that felt important to explain.

“It’s a decentralized ledger technology that allows transactions between non-trusting parties without a central arbiter.”

That was the closest I got although there was always a “but it does this…” added to the end. Which usually required another “but…” added on to explain another piece.

The problem isn’t the technology but our relationship to it, especially for those of us developing and building in the blockchain ecosystem. Proof of stake matters. Timestamping matters. Mining and immutability all matter.

They matter when you need to think about how applications can function and they matter when developing economic models to incentivise users. They don’t matter outside of that development mindset.

What I love about Kreder’s line is that it’s deceptively simple; the term “natively digital” is purposefully loaded while still being comprehensible. Unpacking that term gets deep very quickly, but for most people, the concept of “natively digital” can be grasped.

Natively digital isn’t just about the technology’s functions but its governing philosophy. A technology born in the digital era that’s known no other model of operation.

To me that shows why it’s perfectly aligned to developers working today and business models being developed today. Natively digital technology for natively digital beings.

I’m old enough to be envious of people growing up in a natively digital environment. And I expect that it won’t be long before next generations won’t be asking what blockchain is. It will be as understood as why a digital device can access 50,000 songs and connect you with others on the other side of the planet.

“Blockchain is a technology that allows natively digital transfer of value” is a perfect description for the technology and for our time.