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Engineering as Adjudicator Of Smart Contracts

by Dan Robles on July 9, 2015

The opportunities for the future of Professional engineering are just staggering.   Banks and insurance companies are investing heavily in blockchain technology in order to both head off a threat of decentralized cryptocurrencies and to release fantastic efficiencies for their own centralized processes. However, no matter how big or how powerful these institutions are, they must contend with the issue of representing a physical asset with the virtual asset.  This is the source of widespread liquidity issues across the cryptocurrency movement and a problem that remains largely unsolved.

Adjudicator stoolFinancial institutions will need, more than anything else in the world, some provision to identify, the quantity, quality, and variance in  all physical assets represented by virtual currencies. There is simply no way around this.  Sure, crypto-pundits will try to explain this little fact away by claiming that intrinsic value of a currency is no longer a requisite for money.  They are wrong.

The Professional Engineering Community is in a very unique opportunity to serve this extremely important function, in part because of the legal structure that they are associated with as well as the simple fact that the PE stamp already performs a similar function in legacy finance.  As a third party adjudicator of traditional contracts, the engineer flips the switches of money transfer to infrastructure projects (and much more), upon compliance with a legal contract.  This same structure can be readily adapted to the virtual currency domain via engineering as adjudicator of smart contracts.

Engineers need to think about their role in society more like a financial instrument than a commercial service or job function. Only then can they have a direct and profound influence on what is built when, and how.  It is in this capacity that engineers can increase effectiveness in their historical doctrine to safeguard the health and welfare of people and property (planet).

Today, a great many decisions that impact the safety, health, and welfare of people and property (planet) are being made by non-engineers, blind shareholders, financial institutions, and short-term politics.  Yet the majority of the future challenges for civilization will be technical in nature.  The integration of a technical policy in finance is precisely the balance that the global economy needs to transition into the next millennium.

NSPE and A Platform

In order to take advantage of these opportunities, the engineering profession needs to reorganize itself.  The NSPE constrains itself to a mandate that serves only State Licensed engineers.  Taken alone, this makes the PE less of a physical science and more of a political science.  The NSPE, precisely by their State Registration, is also in a unique position to act as the decentralized platform for all engineers.  All engineers must be elevated to the position of financial instruments and interact directly with the Banking and Insurance companies.

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