Only one of the following news items is real, but someday, all will sound equally comical.

Headline, 1896:

The owner of Wagoneer & Sons, a leading horse-drawn carriage maker, has announced the adoption of a new machine called the “internal combustion engine” to improve its manufacturing process. “Gas engines are powerful but dangerous,” the owner said. “We will use them to make better wagons.

Headline, 1918:

The American Association of Candle Makers has announced a new initiative to electrify its wax-making process. It believes that electricity is too dangerous to use for lighting but can be utilized to make cheaper candles.

Headline, 1989:

The United States postal service will adopt a new technology called “the internet” to speed up the sorting and delivery of letters and postcards.

Headline, 2022:

The CEO of a major investment bank argues that blockchain, a technology invented to eliminate legacy intermediaries such as banks, is best used by those intermediaries to incrementally improve their outdated methods.

That final headline is a summary of an op-ed authored by Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, who argues that private blockchains deployed by regulated intermediaries are more useful than cryptocurrencies. This is the latest iteration of the “blockchain, not Bitcoin” argument we’ve heard for years. It usually starts with a list of why things like public blockchains or decentralized finance (DeFi) are dangerous and ends with the conclusion that only incumbents should be allowed to use the technology. But that’s not how history works.

Every transformative…

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