Blockchain: The new jobkiller?

Blockchain technology is currently one of the most hotly discussed topics in the technology sector. While it is often seen as synonymous with virtual currencies such as bitcoin, this technology is really all about a general principle: decentrality. Well-known examples of enterprises that exploit decentrality include Airbnb, Uber, Google and Facebook, all which have done away with any "middlemen" in their operating areas. Others include the community DIP portals that are striking fear into the heart of many a hardware retailer and the new portals for direct electricity sales (including sales by private suppliers). The question arises of what the principle of decentrality means for the new working world.

 

What tasks will disappear?

It all begins with yet another horror scenario, one in which blockchain technology does away with millions of jobs. If blockchains can reliably record and manage transactions, agreements, contracts and similar information, then a great many of the administrative tasks that humans now perform are going to become unnecessary. In this view, the jobs most at risk include jobs in the financial sector, such as jobs at banks and insurance companies, and jobs in the energy sector. And when digital trust is added to the mix, increasing numbers of tasks whose sole purpose is to embody or provide trust will also disappear. This would mean that notaries public and brokers would also have to start worrying about their career prospects.

The economic advantages outweights the disadvatages

Andreas Park, a blockchain expert and economics professor at the University of Toronto, believes the new technology’s advantages will outweigh its disadvantages:

In all likelihood, even employees who now think they have demanding jobs could soon find themselves replaced. That will have an enormous impact on our society. From an economic standpoint, it will bring a better future, and there I see great potential. But it will also have other social consequences. And they will be irreversible.

(Andreas Park)

It is unquestioned that digitalization, through technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, is going to change many jobs and eliminate many others. But economics and labor market experts disagree as to whether those trends will permanently put millions of people out of work.

Million of new jobs

History teaches us that whenever jobs disappear new jobs are created in their place. When robots replace workers in the automotive industry, the robot industry adds jobs. And new business models also create new jobs. Many analysts are expecting blockchain technology to create millions of jobs in the information technology sector alone. A look at major job portals, such as Stepstone, Monster and others, shows that blockchain developers and experts are already in great demand.

Do not try to sit on the fence

Needless to say, not everybody can become a blockchain developer. But many new occupations will emerge that we cannot even conceive of at present. In any case, it is clear that the decentralization trend that goes hand-in-hand with blockchain technology should be teaching us to prepare for a changing and changed labor market. This is why CHRO Christian Illek warns against "sitting on the fence until you see how digitalization might change your life." The better policy, he adds, is to actively deal with the changes and the resulting possibilities. And, naturally, that applies not only for individual employees but also for a company such as Deutsche Telekom. With the company’s new "skillsUP!" program, Illek is thus seeking to create a system that will help people and companies prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.

Do you think blockchain is the new job killer? Share your thoughts and discuss this topic with us on Twitter!

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