Blockchain is Everything
Last year, during a Sunday stroll down Santa Monica beach, I stopped to talk to a fellow brother who calls the boardwalk home. Paul and I chatted about life’s struggles, happiness, war, peace, and love. He had fought in Vietnam, became frustrated with the System and for the last 30 years, had chosen to live on the streets. After about 45 minutes of compelling conversation, he said it was time to go, and I asked him for his best life advice. Paul gave me a long look, then said: “May we all see the Godly part in everything and everyone we encounter.” He left me mesmerized. I have been an entrepreneur since I was 16, mostly working in real estate and healthcare development. It has been only a couple of years since I had become vegan , and six months since I began contemplating the idea that would become VeganNation — a decentralized nation on the blockchain that will support veganism world-wide I am now putting all my time, energy and savings into this new project, working day and night to establish something meaningful. There is something about this developing technology that feels like home. It’s a sensation I can’t quite explain. It came to me on a Tuesday night after a long day of hard work and a glass of scotch: the blockchain is in everything! I’ll explain. The simplest definition for the blockchain is “a decentralized, distributed and public digital ledger”. It’s a kind of log book that everyone owns and everyone can update. For me, the most interesting word in that definition is “decentralization.” While we know what we mean by “centralization,” decentralization does not have a specific definition. The term is used in various fields including law, political science and technology, and its definition varies considerably. In general, decentralization is “the process of distributing or dispersing functions, powers, people or things away from a central location or authority.” But let’s take a step back from blockchain as a technological revolution and look at blockchain from a different perspective. Perhaps one that is more familiar, such as nature’s perspective. We can find decentralized patterns everywhere on our beautiful planet. Fungi are a fully distributed organism, creating an underground web that can reach thousands of kilometers and are intelligently scattered with no central entity to “call the shots”. In an amazing experiment performed by Professor Toshiyuki Nakagaki, a mushroom was placed in a maze representing the map of Japan. Professor Nakagaki put sugar cubes at the points representing each major city and the mushroom in “Tokyo.” Within 23 hours the fungus had completed a web that was identical to the major transportation roads and train lines in the country. It had done that without a brain and without a central decision-maker. It was the result of nothing more, or less, than a decentralized organism working to find food. Forest ecosystems are another magnificent decentralized being. When a giraffe eats the leaves of an African acacia tree, all the trees release a toxic chemical that puts off the hungry giraffe. No single entity gives the trees the order to release that chemical. They warn each other and take action together (4). Nature is filled with similar examples of such decentralized, cooperative behavior. Life works in mysterious ways; sometimes we see a cause and an immediate effect or consequence. At other times, years can pass before we realize our actions’ consequences. We go through life, meet people and visit places, and find that some experiences are memorable and others less so. But everything we do affects other people and the world in which we live. That effect might be small or massive, meaningful or marginal but it’s always there. The Butterfly Effect argues that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can create a typhoon halfway around the world. So imagine a world so transparent that anyone can see their own butterfly effect on a daily basis, revealing how their actions have developed and who and what they have effected. Blockchain, a decentralized technology that is actually derived from nature itself, has the power to create this kind of transparency by constructing an infinite, clear chain of effect. I see a great potential in this technology and its ability to make people care more about their planet and their fellow humans. Recognizing the deep connection this revolution has to Mother Nature has made me want to get even more involved. Different industries have already started using the blockchain to their advantage, saving money, creating greater efficiencies and building stronger security. How can we use this remarkable tool for humanity as a whole? When you give a dollar to a person in need, you have no knowledge of what happens to that charity. As a result many people choose not to give in case they accidentally support a bad cause, like drug addiction. A blockchain-based currency can make each one of us accountable for our actions. We would be able to see where the coins go and who it affected on the way. Nathaniel Branden, a Canadian-American psychotherapist and writer, said that “the first step toward change is awareness. The second is acceptance.” The blockchain is the awareness and the Godly part that Paul described is the acceptance. Once we are aware of the consequences of our actions and how they affect our world and the beings in it, we can accept the Godly part that is present in everything. We can finally see how the magnificent connections our immense network generates, and the act of caring more will be inevitable. I believe everything happens for a reason, every person that crosses our path has a role in our life experience. Paul was the flutter of the butterfly’s wings that led me to this new era of my life. Now I want to pass the breeze on. I am sure that Paul would be pleased to live in such exciting times when the Godly part is on its way to becoming apparent and bringing a much needed awareness to those choosing to accept it. What a wonderful legacy would we leave generations to come.