The Future of Decentralization
The future of decentralization isn’t just a better internet, it’s a better capitalism, experience of democracy and a sharing economy where prosperity is shared and wealth inequality no longer exists.
If blockchain was born in 2009, it was in fact the date was October 31st, 2008. Satoshi Nakamoto published his white paper. Many concepts of what decentralization would come to mean, for a new generation, started there.
If Ethereum has expanded beyond Bitcoin, now there’s over 1,600 altcoins. It’s not about investing, it’s about building a better world. It’s not about profit, it’s about shared ownership of the future, smart contract consensus, and a new concept of what nodes, security, transactions and trust even mean.
Decentralization isn’t about the best dApp platform, it’s about the shared energy, wealth, resources and power of the human species, to find the most optimal way to evolve as an organism that deserve to live and to do good in the galaxy. It’s about the root essence of what energy and money means, to the future of humanity.
Crypto is a symbol that we can do digital money better. Blockchain is a mechanism of how we can do trust and democracy and collaboration better. But decentralization is the mission, and any system that falls or fails to uphold it, isn’t worthy of our time or future. (or of our investment). Decentralization at its core, is a value system of a group of young people born in the 90s (among others), destined to make the world a better place. Radical decentralization is revolutionary.
If Ethereum is the attempt at a programmable virtual machine, Bitcoin is the representation of an idea that a decentralized ledger is a superior method of establishing value. However the march towards decentralization does not stop, it does not rest, and as our world becomes more authoritarian with AI and as we own less of our own data, that is less secure and our minds less free, the necessity of a concept of decentralization become more urgent, more tremendously innovative to how we are held captive by the past, money and past systems we are unable to transcend.
There’s no liberation from banks and money or from wealth inequality any time soon. We are all tethered to this legacy infrastructure of the current power structure like simulations inside of a Matrix. However, banks and huge financial service systems are themselves realizing they have to update themselves in order to survive long-term. They realize cryptocurrencies are an existential threat to their business model, as the value system of people is changing.
We won’t always live in a system of ruthless capitalism where the profit-motive is ungainly a zero sum game where most are failures, and only a few winners emerge as some kind of ruling elite. Those who earnestly believe in decentralization, envision a better world. Where constructs like capitalism, money and democracy need new code, new software, updated smart contracts, better AI, and a more united will that’s planetary and imbued with corporate social responsibility, equal opportunity and prosperity shared with all.
The Trinity of Centralization
Authoritarian regimes whether it be the ultra-rich, the tech corporations or leadership like the Chinese Government do not want such a world to come to pass. Because in such a world, they could not function as they do, growing in power, growing in influence and growing in their reach among consumers, citizens and followers. Forces of centralization truly do see pure decentralization as a threat to their status-quo, their hegemony and their ownership of our collective reality. However, they are not us, they are not the people.
The augmentation of technology, is the privilege to enact true decentralization. It’s not unlike a neural net where everyone participates, almost telepathically, like a quasi mesh of artificial intelligence and all the minds that make up humanity. That is after all, the purest expression of what the internet is, what it will become and what it is meant to be. The web was not designed to be a place where advertisements proliferate, algorithms are primed to stimulate us, a place where porn or gamified digital dopamine channels entertain us, that’s not its true purpose.
The internet is supposed to be about free transactions, free education, free access to the same utilities others have enjoyed for decades. Decentralization therefore when realized, is the internet-of-freedom. It is connection as a service. It’s not designed to exploit data, monetize attention or anything like that. We are not talking about blockchain religion here, we are talking about how technology should empower people.
Just as alternative, renewable, natural and sustainable energy can contribute to a cleaner environment, so to the infrastructure of politics, economics and the motives of the web need to be remade with more intention as to truly allow technology to serve humanity and not the other way around. This will take time, likely decades if not longer. It will take the help of whatever artificial intelligence becomes. It turns out we need more than the familiar tools of language, shared meaning and money to solve the problems that our greater complexity and higher population is creating.
Decentralization requires a human-AI hybrid civilization. It requires automation, robots, new kinds of jobs, roles and values not yet invented or even implemented or imagined. Radical decentralization also requires leadership, humans with a different consciousness, that’s more inclusive, more augmented with data, more wise — than any human leaders in history.
The future of decentralization is global, it’s not something Scandinavia or China arrives at before others, though certainly they may embody some elements of it before. A decentralized internet, like solutions on the blockchain will required upgrades, better iterations, improved software, smarter smart contracts, quantum infrastructures, AIs that police them to make sure they are what they were intended to be.
In a decentralization future, the concept of ownership, creation, stewardship, collaboration and many other things are all fundamentally alterted. As human beings begin to realize the scarcity of a shared future, as signs of our extinction become more imminent — it will change us. It will force us to think differently about how we go about our “business-as-usual”. This may necessitate each generation have their own 2008, their own crises that they must face. Major global, economic and technological and political obstacles to overcome. Time and time again, decentralization will show the way.
Thousands of hours of research, and billions of dollars of hashpower, have been spent for the sole purpose of attempting to achieve decentralization, and to protect and improve it… — Vitalik Buterin.
The future of decentralization is how the species learns to overcome its materialism, dysfunctional individualism, it’s addiction to status, possession, power and control. Ideas that to profit, one must harm others; as if to thwart competitors and enemies were desirable. Imagined enemies who are fundamentally, the same as us. The American dream must die, both symbolically and literally. To rise above the herd can no longer be put on a pedestal. In truth, decentralization is closer to the ideals of collectivistic societies. They are humble, pragmatic, understand the value of the common good over the brashness of the individual.
The future of decentralization isn’t about one blockchain or one internet, but about the future of all blockchains, all internets, all citizens, all splinter colonies the Earth may or may not produce. Decentralization is the only way humanity will survive. Any major mistakes towards that aim, could be the end of the species — an extinction event, or a gradual stagnation into decay. Many believe we are already seeing signs of either or both of these.
For the new generation, decentralization is like the Tao of the blockchain. It is not just software decentralization, it is the shift of human values to a new way of thinking about exchange, energy, and humanity’s shared future. It is a hard fork towards a techno-socialism where what we conceive of economic elites or even government, is no longer required. It is a radical hive mind of pure consensus. It is the kind of decentralization that is only possible with a smarter AI and a neutral interface, and a different iteration of the “internet” altogether.
As far as I’m concerned, everything that happens with blockchain or cryptocurrencies are but small beginnings to prepare for such a world. And, I am not alone in believing this. The way we conceive of data, decision making, software-as-a-reality and a dynamic internet are all in flux. The ways of the future are hard for us to comprehend. However we know that the concept of blockchain and decentralization are useful pillars that lead to a more just world, a world of faster transactions and a better circulation of different kinds of capital and currencies. Such a world is more fluid, more creative, and has many more aspects of what we now call the sharing economy.
Our concept of money is different in the future, it’s no longer something to accumulate. Ideas of ownership, hoarding, controlling others, corporate pyramids, political corruption — all of these will be changed. Also what we consider a working proof-of-decentralization will continue to evolve indefinitely. In the future, it’s very likely the future of decentralization will be created by our most powerful artificial intelligences. But we are not there yet.
After all, a system that formalizes only capital and not human individuality may inexorably serve wealth rather than humanity. — Vitalik Buterin & Glen Weyl