Blockchain blockchain blockchain [English]

No. This title is not an error. It is a free “plagiarism” of an article by Matt Levine on Bloomberg.

The article basically says one thing: even Harvard University got drunk with the blockchain. Bloomberg’s editorialist examines the paper “Blockchain Technology for Corporate Governance and Shareholder Activism” by Anne Lafarre and Christoph Van der Elst, published on the platform of the Corporate Governance Forum at Financial Regulation of Harvard Law School.

The paper carefully examines the replacement processes at the top in large companies. In particular, it explains the models for the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders (AGM). The thesis of the paper is that in the decision-making processes on the new figures at the top of the companies, in the decisions that the shareholders must take, influence too many factors that influence the vote.

Without going into technicalities, the famous “transaction costs” in decision-making theory are all those steps, rumors, information circulating in the system before arriving at the decision before it is discussed and voted. Entries represent unclear information or lose their truthfulness as the number of passes increases.

In addition, shareholders’ meetings today are a cost for companies and, in the event that they are organized remotely, shareholder participation often has problems identifying digital identity.

The cited paper supports one thing: all these problems can be largely solved with the blockchain. This, in a clear manner allows an unstoppable identification of users, allows everyone to have the same information without transaction costs, allows maximum transparency and efficiency. In short: the blockchain according to Harvard could help solve problems in decision-making processes within organizations, as many have already maintained, in terms of identification, timing, clarity.

Levine poses this an objection: but would not it be enough to create a web platform where everyone must pre-register in a certified way, in which the information on the Shareholders’ Meeting is shared beforehand with everyone and where the voting processes are unambiguous?

Technically, yes. The value of the blockchain applied to organizational tools and decision-making processes already exists, and represents a different way of doing things that are already possible.

Innovation, in this case, is not at all disruptive. And the use of the mantra “blockchain” in this sense is likely to evolve for what it is: nothing more than a model of management software for organizations like others.

But even if Harvard falls into the shocking myth of the blockchain that helps to revolutionize the decisions on the president of the big industry or the Free Charity Association of WhateverCity, the times are not at all serene. To change the future, it is needed to get out of the sensationalism of the terms and finally get to the concreteness of  reality.