Knowledge is power, but the question is: whose power is it?
With Facebook launching Libra, their cryptocurrency project today, the term “blockchain” is all of a sudden catching extra attentions from general public.
Some people view it as big step toward wider adoption of blockchain, yet unlike other open platforms, Libra is a cryptocurrency created by a social network company with advertising as its core business model. We can only expect Facebook would do everything to “educate” their users about how great Libra is. After all, that’s what they do best.
Is this how we want to educate general public about what cryptocurrency is? Do we want to count on Facebook to be able to promote unbiased facts and ideals of what blockchain was originally intended to achieve? Reading the FAQ on libra.org, I feel the urge to remind people that real educational information should be distinguished from marketing materials.
While we all want to keep up with new trends in technologies and many other topics via information gathered online or shared with you from friends, it is crucial to understand the Internet today has very low signal-to-noise ratio.
This is particularly true when it comes to blockchain educations.
Whether we like it or not, social media has gradually becoming the main source for people to learn new things or ideas on daily basis. Despite these social platforms provide excellent outreach that connect us to others, the burden of filtering or digesting the tremendous information inflow has become so great to the point that many people no longer actively processing what they read on them. The fact that Facebook was used to affect US election already gave great example of such issue.
As a relatively young technology, information about blockchain are mostly exclusively found from these media. From the craze of ICO back in 2017, or the Libra project today, what most people can find when they do “research” online about blockchain often ended up pointing to materials that are biased, if not completely contradictory.
Finally, it is also worth to point out that blockchain education in schools alone is not enough to keep up with the pace of how it impacts our lives when projects like Libra being injected by big corporations into people’s daily online usage. This is actually an excellent example showcasing the urge to build a proper, bias-free lifelong learning mechanism beyond tuition-driven education in conventional teacher-student relationship setup — and it’s not just about blockchain, but also applies to AI, IoT, trade wars … etc.
In addition to the ability of independent thinking supported by high quality materials, we also need more effective ways to tap into collective intelligence and utilize the true power of digitally connected world today. Emerging technological trends are constantly changing over time, and there is need to learn things in a way that is also agile in the same sense to be effective — and we don’t have to do this alone.
I suspect Facebook choose the name “Libra” for its implication of “freedom”, according to English name dictionary. Ironically, blockchain alone won’t give you freedom, but true power of knowledge will.
The truth will set you free.