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Consulting with the oracle

Harry Hamburg
Harry Hamburg
9 min read
Consulting with the oracle
John William Waterhouse's Consulting With The Oracle. Source: public domain.

Take a close look at this picture. It shows the exact moment the world changed:

A person standing on a platform in a large room with people in the background

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Source: Public domain

More than anything else, this is the moment that brought us into the modern world.

Can you see what’s happening?

A man is being hoisted high on a platform, suspended by a single rope.

The crowd are aghast, as they see another man emerge and cut through that rope with an axe. 

Surely he’ll fall to his death!

But he didn’t. 

His platform stayed there, suspended in mid-air, with no rope and no safety line of any kind.


All thanks to a small device hidden in his platform, which he called the “Otis Safety Brake”.

Before safety brakes, elevators – or “lifts” as we call them in the UK – were incredibly dangerous. 

No one trusted them, and building heights were limited to the number of stairs people were willing to climb.

After the safety brake, that all changed.

Towns grew upwards instead of outwards, and became cities.

And with those cities came a new way of life, new businesses and colossal companies we know today.

This simple piece of technology didn’t just change our economy, but our entire society.

And the Otis company is still around today. 

The next time you get in a lift, take a look around. There’s a good chance you’ll see “Otis” embossed somewhere.

What does this have to do with crypto?

Well, in these articles, I talk a lot about “enabling” technologies.

With enabling technologies, it’s not so much about what they do as what they… well, enable.

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