Trust revisited, recreated, and reinforced in the digital age

Since the dawn of the World Wide Web, few technologies have created as much buzz as blockchain. Although cryptocurrencies are the best known manifestation, blockchain can be used as a digital architecture for numerous uses and applications. The canton of Vaud has the resources and strengths needed to play a leading role in this booming field.

Securing digital transactions and guaranteeing their full traceability are the promises of blockchain. The technology behind blockchain is largely associated with digital currencies like Bitcoin, the first of its kind, which has since been joined by other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, created in Switzerland. This technology, which allows transactions to be certified without going through trusted third parties, has a potential impact on all sectors and all players, including individuals, companies, governments, and NGOs. And for a good reason! All human activities are based on trust. Long guaranteed by third parties (banks, governments, specialized organizations, lawyers, experts, and supervisory authorities), trust may soon be established through a series of codes and algorithms. In a sense, blockchain is a technology that builds trust between people who do not known one another.

From finance to health and from corporate IT security to electronic voting security, all areas are affected, even those far removed from the new economy, such as law and human sciences. In the field of logistics, blockchain could meet the needs of a manufacturer that wants to keep a precise record of the source of ingredients or components it uses in its products. In the tourism, online payment, and mobility sectors, innovative companies like Uber, PayPal, and Airbnb may have to compete against solutions that allow individuals to bypass intermediaries.

In the healthcare sector, a blockchain-based solution could ensure traceability in medications to fight against counterfeiting. Completely overtaken by streaming services, the world of music is another example. The income of performers and songwriters depends in part on distribution statistics collected by labels, sometimes lacking in transparency for artists. Blockchain could make it possible to trace successive uses of the original file, allowing fairer compensation for creators.

In this global competition, Switzerland and especially the canton of Vaud are well positioned to become one of the most exciting areas of Europe for blockchain. Armed with expertise in areas like cybersecurity and digital technologies, the canton boasts assets that will attract investors and entrepreneurs, including a solid economic infrastructure, first-rate research, a central location in the heart of Europe, a long record of expertise in financial engineering, and a proven ability to transfer technology.

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