Understanding Blockchain Technology through Every Day Things and Practices
Blockchain breakfast is a design project that attempts to explain the actions involved in a blockchain transaction to wider audiences. The investigation departs from blockchain’s software-based nature and materialises the transaction in the form of the typical morning routine of a breakfast, including toasting bread, cooking an egg, and blending a smoothie.
In this speculative story, four main blockchain actions are transposed into breakfast cooking procedures—RECtoaster represents the ‘record’; CRYPTOpan symbolises ‘cryptography’; MINERblender performs ‘mining’; and all of the devices working together represent ‘decentralisation’. Without any of these actions this breakfast is not complete, in the same way that without its components a blockchain transaction cannot be made.
Although blockchain might still sound like an abstract idea to some, it has been speculated to potentially impact people’s lives in the same way as the internet did and still does—it is now considered to be the equivalent to what the internet was in 1993. With its ever-growing unchangeable record list and decentralised nature, blockchain is set to provide full transparency in transactions, where one can understand and trace back a good’s origin and full history, thus preventing any form of corruption in the process, without the need to any form of middlemen. Despite its promises and revolutionary changes, the general public is not yet familiarised with the concept, and in fact the majority of people may never even heard of it. Those who heard of blockchain, often confuse it with Bitcoin, and vice-versa. In fact, such confusion is further exacerbated when one sees the many Bitcoin-related issues on the news, especially with its mining process that not only consumes too much energy, but also allows for large mining farms, which ultimately result in too large a data control for its decentralised nature.
If something can be supposedly so impactful, and has the potential to dramatically change our lives and social structures, how can we better understand its basic concept?
I developed an idea of resourcing to an analogy to explain a blockchain transaction. That idea was a simple routine known to everyone: breakfast. I focused my exercise on the explanation of four basic elements of blockchain—record (block), cryptography, mining, and decentralisation—and on designing the experience of breakfast as a translation of the way a blockchain transaction works.
Initiates the transaction. Once the transaction is validated in the blockchain, the toast comes out in the form of the record (block).
Takes a picture of what is bring cooked and generates a hash code using the image’s pixels.
Validates the CRYPTOpan’s hash code and places it on the blockchain.
Every appliance knows and validates what the others are doing.