Blockchain is likely to advance the internet of things—and robot rights.

On March 6, 2016, a small drone belonging to the open-source software company Drone Employee lifted into the Russian sky, traveling across an open field of white snow. Drone flight is relatively unremarkable today, but this particular drone wasn’t controlled by anyone. Brought to life by a predetermined agreement, or “smart contract,” running on the Ethereum blockchain, the drone’s engines powered on and it lifted itself into the air, taking a flight path dictated—only and exclusively—by code. The smart contract controlled the drone’s trajectory, without the need for a middleman with a remote to manage the device. Once started, the code governing the drone could not be stopped. If the smart contract had directed the drone to fly into a building or to head straight for a person, there would be no way for anyone to change its direction or stop the flight without physically disabling the drone or modifying the blockchain.

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Swiss company Proxeus demos blockchain solution that speeds up business incorporation

Swiss entrepreneurs face on average a six-week-long, paper-heavy process to legally register their business entity with the government. This doesn’t jibe with a generalized sense of Swiss perfection. Even though the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report identifies Switzerland as the world’s most competitive economy for the eighth year in a row, it simultaneously pegs the country as bureaucratic. Of the 138 countries surveyed, Switzerland’s business incorporation process is the 54th-easiest to navigate and the 56th-fastest to complete. A demonstration of blockchain technology by a company called Proxeus significantly moved the goalposts on Switzerland’s six-week process, registering a valid legal entity (“Drakkensberg AG”) with the complicated government in one hour and 37 minutes.