1 min read


There's plenty of situations in life where it would be convenient to have things happen automatically at a future date. Sending birthday cards, delivering flowers for anniversaries, paying recurring bills that don't have auto pay for some reason, etc.

If you're like me, you probably just write it down on a calendar or to do list. Somewhere you'll remember to look when the time comes. That works fine for most things.

For software, there's usually a lot more recurring tasks that we run in order to keep the lights on. Pulling data, backing up databases, updating reports, etc. We usually use a tool called cron to automatically run code on a timed schedule.

Cron works great, but it requires a computer to run on. If that machine goes down, you need to be notified so you can fix it or have it try to fix itself. That means another computer needs to be involved to monitor the first one.

Building reliable time-driven systems is a bit of an art form.

Blockchains are the ultimate time-driven system. A blockchain keeps time in sync across every computer on the network. That might not seem like much, but it's actually an exciting and foundational part of the technology. The way Satoshi Nakamoto figured out how to do this with proof of work is really cool.

If you want something to happen on a schedule (even on your centralized infrastructure), using a blockchain as the time and record keeper is going to be significantly more reliable for significantly less work.

You may not need that kind of reliability for your current applications, but what could it enable you to build? What would you want to happen automatically every month, every day, or every hour for the next 100 years?


P.S. I still don't understand why my life insurance and property taxes can't be set up on auto pay like everything else.