The National Society of Professional Engineers has formed a task force to research and review blockchain applications aimed at the banking and insurance sectors for applicability and impacts to the engineering profession. The task force is made up of 8 visionary engineers from within the membership. Daniel Robles, PE (this author) was appointed to lead the task force by the president of the NSPE and approved by the board of directors.
Today, Licensed Engineers serve an essential role in the economy as adjudicators to banking and insurance industry underwriting of our nation’s infrastructure, in effect, supporting the value of our currency. The integrity of infrastructure is what supports the majority of assets on a corporate or municipal balance sheet. It is a natural progression that Professional Engineers would articulate their judgement in design, safety, process, and longevity of these critical assets on smart contracts in blockchain protocol.
For example; The design and construction process is comprised of a master contract and a long series of minor contracts. Validations, inspections, compliance and defect assurance etc, can all be articulated as smart contracts on a project blockchain where the licensed professional engineer serves as an adjudicator to flip the switches that release payments, trigger insurance coverage, time stamp completion, or open the next contract in a series of work orders.
Further, Curiosumé is an application developed by The Ingenesist Project that converts a résumé into cryptography. This may be used to fabricate smart keys to open and close smart contracts on a blockchain. By decentralizing the adjudication process, moral hazard and negative incentives can be effectively eliminated from acquisition, commissioning, servicing, and maintenance of high value public and private assets.
There’s an old saying that “A fish does not have a word for water”. This is because water is so elemental in the life of a fish that they can’t even see it. The same can be said for public infrastructure. We often take for granted the availability of clean water, warm buildings, and safe transportation that we do not often see it as a storage place for value. In fact, infrastructure is the perfect store of value because without it, society is far less productive where, say, we had to ride a mule, grow our own food, or chop wood for heat, etc. It is well observed that the value of a nation’s currency is directly proportional to the value of their infrastructure.
The Liquidity Crisis
Many people in the cryptocurrency space are coming to terms with the speculative nature of the current collection of crypto-coins. They realize that a virtual asset cannot be represented as a physical asset without some intrinsic intermediary to store real value. Cryptocurrencies appear to solve part of the problem of transferring an asset, but suffer many new problems such as articulating quantity and quality of the asset. In essence, money must represent human productivity otherwise people would not be willing to work in exchange for it – this is the source of low mainstream adoption and poor liquidity of cryptocurrencies. The social agreement required to form a true currency is, and will remain, elusive without intrinsic value.
The engineering profession is precisely the means by which that intrinsic conversion can be implemented. People need electricity, they need food, shelter, energy, schools, bridges, highways, and airplanes and are willing to convert their own productivity in producing these things in reciprocal exchange with others producing these things. Blockchain transactions must be developed to represent stored value in infrastructure thereby holding intrinsic value from which supply, demand, and factors of production (markets) can behave as needed in a functional economy.
NSPE Launches FinTech Task Force
The NSPE task force is an extremely important step in bridging financial industries with the needs of people and society. This may be one of the most important developments coming out of the cryptocurrency domain since the Satoshi Genesis block one.