The internet as we know it, was designed for one purpose, the sharing of information. Back then, we all hoped it would level the playing field, and give rise to an inclusive and participatory global economy. We experienced the centralised “Old media” transform from a one-way channel controlled by oligarchs, to openly distributed peer-to-peer information super highways. The global economy was also intended to be more inclusive. Low-cost computing and connectivity would allow everyone everywhere to be a consumer and producer of content and services. However, over the last two decades, this concept was used for many purposes other than its original vision. Though a vision of a world which would be flatter, fairer and more flexible was on the horizon, reality is far from it.
What changed? Centralisation raised its ugly head yet again. Organisations kept increasing control on what was supposed to be a shared global resource; The Internet. These companies which maintained its infrastructure, started to extract massive amounts of data from users. By using this data, algorithms began to focus on managing businesses and aspects of our daily lives. AI computing began using their power and influence over entire economies and societies. If you have not done so yet, I would urge you to watch Social Dilemma to understand the depths institutional control has over our data, and how it threatens our privacy. Even democratic governments are using it to spy on its citizens, harass dissenters and stay in power. Hacking into these systems brings us to another issue; security. Technology doesn’t seem to be creating prosperity anymore, but destroying privacy.
Powerful digital conglomerates like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple who were once digital startups, are some of the largest companies in the world today. They create amazing value and have transformed into brands beloved the world over. But they’re also capturing troves of data and creating great value for themselves by it.
This new asset class is one we should take back control of. It is we who should be deciding who and when to share our data, for what purpose and under what terms. Now, for the first time in human history, this is becoming a reality. Two or more parties anywhere in the world can transact and do business peer-to-peer without the involvement of an intermediary or centralized authority, without the need to reveal one’s identity. The Blockchain revolution has arrived!