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Microsoft's John Farmer: bitcoin is least interesting part in blockchain technology
John Paul Farmer, Director of Technology & Civic Innovation at Microsoft, shared his thoughts on bitcoin and blockchain technology while speaking to CoinDesk.
He is not much interested in bitcoin, the digital currency. "I find that to be the least interesting part of what bitcoin and the blockchain can do," he said.
He admits that cryptocurrency deserves some praise for bringing blockchain tech to the forefront, but he does not devote much time reflecting on that particular application of the technology.
"I actually spend most of my time thinking about what it means when you can have an identity that can be controlled and shared in a granular way, when you have titles and deeds that can be stored and shared easily and without middlemen."
He said, while blockchain technology has the potential to transform the developing world by helping the unbanked become banked for the first time, his interests lie closer to home. He added that, recently, he heard 25 percent of African-Americans (around 10 million people) do not have a government-issued identification card.
"That is amazing, and there are states here that require you to show your identification card in order to vote. So the ability for these technologies to empower and enfranchise the disenfranchised here in the US and in the UK and in other developed countries, I think is also really really powerful."
Farmer further pointed out that his team has been reaching out to other organisations, groups and individuals that are working on "interesting applications of technology".
"Obviously there are a lot of people doing a lot of things to do with the blockchain, but we're trying to find the ones where there's a good fit and it makes sense, both for them and for us," he explained.
With regard to what the team is producing, he said that it is very much still in the R&D phase when it comes to solutions based on blockchain technology.
"We produce prototypes of what could exist and then we share those with the community externally, but also internally to the various product groups of Microsoft, to help those product groups imagine what could happen and what could really benefit end users," Farmer said.