Blockchain Blog 04: Blockchain — A Hope for the new World?

Aakash S


In the barter system, we all had to keep track, in our heads, of what we owed other people, or what other people owed us. And we all went around about our business, with these ledgers in our minds of who owes us what, and what do we owe to whom. Very subjective system.

Often, these debts didn’t clear or clear in ways that were not satisfactory to both parties, until the time when we came up with a new technology that really took off, which was for example beads. Beads became the objective ledger for some tribes. Instead of each of us having to remember what we’re owed, the beads are gonna keep track for us, an objective ledger to keep track of debts. And it was such a successful technology that it took off. And in a couple of thousand years, it became impossible to find a tribe or civilization that didn’t have some form of objective ledger. In some cases, it was one-point shells. In other places, it was salt, in other places, rocks or beads.
This objective ledger was always something that has six qualities, the most important of which, is that it be scarce. And it makes sense because if it’s not scarce, we can create, you know, if we were to use tree leaves, for example, we could create debts that are owed to us out of thin air, and that wouldn’t be good, that wouldn’t be a good ledger. But also has to be durable. If it’s something that decays or corrodes, it doesn’t store the information well. It has to be divisible. It has to be transportable, recognizable, and fungible. And this system really worked until trade began to extend a lot geographically, and we began to trade with other tribes. And different tribes were using different ledgers. So they couldn’t trade with each other.

Then gold emerged as the first universal ledger to keep track of debt. And it was gold because it was universally scarce. That was the most important consideration. Also, it was very durable. Fairly divisible, transportable, recognizable, and fungible. And then what came next after gold we have already covered in Blog 01: Cryptocurrencies, Is it needed?- Part 1

We will dig more into bitcoin, and explore why bitcoin is seen as digital gold in the next blog. Let’s today dig more into the use-cases of blockchain and why it can revolutionize the way we operate ourselves in society.

Blockchain is said to be still in the early stage similar to the 1990s Internet. Blockchain Technology is somewhat parallel to what the Internet was for the social network, e-commerce, or any other internet-based services we run today. Blockchain has the potential to change our lives in the next 20 years in the same way that the internet has changed in the last 20 years. (Note taken from Jaspreet Bindra’s talk on Blockchain.)

So let’s explore how blockchain can be revolutionary and what potential does it holds. In the future, we will dig more into technical aspects of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, if you want to be in a flow with us on this exploration then do stay updated with: 28Days of February: Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Research Blogs

Blockchain for a New Decentralized World

We often hear about labor exploitation, workers making less than minimum wage without protection, and most importantly environment being getting harmed by wrong industrial practices. Most of these companies like Airbnb and Uber have massive valuations, off the backs of other people’s time and resources like their cars, their homes.
Airbnb uses other people’s homes, their apartments, and their spare bedrooms. Most businesses are extractive, extractive of human labor or of the planet’s resources, labor resources like hourly time, or the earth’s resources like water, metals, or wood used to make products. Products that are made from earth’s resources but built by any centralized body. The same could have been made by cooperatives or equity crowdfunding as potential models but these were slow and legally complicated, and nothing seemed too practical until blockchain.

Blockchain is both a philosophical opening of how we can rearrange society as much as it is technology.

We already went through What is Blockchain? in a previous blog: Blog 03: Blockchain, For the Data Age

Blockchain is supported by super-efficient computers and algorithms that prove that something actually happened, that something which was being in an agreement or a record of a transaction. This is a digital living document of collective truth of things like medical records, and legal agreements that could live there because it’s both anonymous and private.

So what’s so great about blockchain? What is it enabled that we can’t already do?
Blockchain gives us two things:
1 — Programmable Money with Smart Contracts:
Smart contracts enable us to incentivize on:
What do people do?
When do they do?
and How they do it.
So what if tonight we wanted to incentivize you to take the bus, well, first of all, you could transact without paying any fees, secondly maybe you get some refund when you swiped it on the bus, and third the driver themselves might actually get something for bringing a full bus of people at right place.

2 — Blockchain gives us the opportunity to dream again to rethink transaction governance:

Monetary incentives can be aligned with planetary ones, imagine that I’m running a city a municipality, if I want to incentivize people to take care of the environment maybe I compensate them for recycling, or for creating community gardens, or if I wanted to incentivize them for wellness, I have them create community dinners in specific neighborhoods, How about a sharing economy, example, I have a car in San Francisco and I want to go to Bangkok and I need an apartment well with traditional sharing economy platforms perhaps I put my car on a car-sharing platform, and I look for a place on Airbnb with blockchain, I could do a value exchange, I could lend my car to person, a meanwhile staying in person B’s apartment in Bangkok, and perhaps no money would actually have to transfer because their equivalent in value, I might not even need to use a platform at all, so no fees.

Blockchain technology helps to create these beautiful value distributed networks, people will play in this economy, get more creative

Blockchain also makes shared ownership very easy remember the Airbnb and Uber, well imagine these companies today built as blockchain companies, not only would they share a value in the form of long term ownership but they would also compensate people for being super hosts and drivers who drive a lot, imagine a future where instead of owning a car, you own a piece of an autonomous vehicle company and you have access to a fleet of cars, anywhere you are in the world, and imagine that instead of buying internet service from a centralized service provider, you actually use a mesh network of computers, that are all around you, and that your refrigerator knows that you need juice before you do and orders that juice via a smart contract, and it doesn’t have to be through Amazon but a Blockchain-based service.

Imagine, log into any social network, or Blockchain-based Facebook, that when you create engagement, a new post, and you’re actually creating media that you’re compensated for. Imagine that in your job your time is no longer rented out, instead, your hourly wages are incentivized and compensated for things like referring a new employee or coming up with a great idea that makes the company more profitable. Value can be distributed with blockchain. This reorganizes everything, we can create businesses that operate more like communities, and ecosystems, and like top-down hierarchical organizations.

What if the future plays out very differently than what we have talked about above. In ever-increasing economic divide, what if, instead of more decentralization and fewer jobs, we use a centralized blockchain-based system, and more mechanization takes place, and imagine that you’re running around the world doing your things, speaking, transacting, and that all of those things are recorded, and you are being incentivized for positive behaviors. We are standing at the pinnacle of one of the most meaningful opportunities for social change of our time, and right now we need to program the underlying operating system, and the ethics of blockchain technology, we need to include shared ownership and value distribution into the future. And we need to stop playing catch-up with efficiency, living with technology, through technology, supporting our humanists, and connection above all else. We have the opportunity to rewrite the Declaration of Independence, and digital form to rethink policy to dream again.

All of the innovations mentioned above were possible with existing SQL-based database systems and current technology. The reason we were forbidden is due to the one thing that makes blockchain truly a miracle is that it’s difficult to misuse the data collected, and in the many ways rewards and compensation systems can be created, thereby creating a possibility for blockchain-based systems to scale and have more impact than ever before.

Well, what I have written in the blog is purely based on my current understanding and research. I see there are lots of scams and cryptos in the market. People are just investing in cryptos based on market sentiments, whereas blockchain is a lot more.
The reason I have not yet jumped straight to bitcoin, or technical aspects of blockchain and cryptocurrencies is that I really want to know where the problem is, what is wrong with the current system we live in, do we really want transformation…
To be honest, I have started looking at the potential side of the blockchain, but execution wise is it really possible, are there any companies that are creating a blockchain-based solution for the new decentralized world? How do these cryptocurrencies really operate and work?
We need further research.
So stay tuned for the next blog tomorrow!