When brokers started banning trade on particular stocks because to not do so would be to the detriment of major hedge funds, people saw it, and took note. When bankers claimed that there is an ‘infinite’ amount of cash in the Federal Reserve, people saw it, and took note. When companies freely claimed they harvest data en masse and use it for their algorithms, manipulating people, not to mention the forced consent in all of this because of the monopoly they have on their services…
People saw it, and took note. And they acted:
Cryptotechnology and the blockchain industry is an attempt to answer some of these issues (amongst others) and to empower the average person.
You may have heard the term Web 3.0. There are multiple definitions surrounding Web 3.0 but they all center around an open & decentralized, trustless, permissionless technological future that’s more fair for all of us. Below are these 3 key terms explained in simpler terms.
1) Open & Decentralised — meaning nobody in particular is in control and everybody can participate. Me, you, and Raphael de la Ghetto from next door can go read the source code for Cardano on Github right now. And if any of us think we can make something better, we can go ahead and try. In the end, the masses make the choice of what services they use, and how they use them. If something better pops along, people move onto that.
Nobody is in control. Want to set up a Chainlink node to provide high quality data for smart contracts? You can, and nobody can stop you from participating. If the data you provide is low quality or simply false, the people themselves will avoid your node, and you’ll be penalised, and your stake in the network will be slashed. In this way, nobody has a monopoly on truth, and people are hurt monetarily for going against what is considered the truth. All of us take part in creating verifiable, decentralised truth. And it’s open. If a billionaire tries to manipulate the market or make a dodgy transaction, we can all go and see and verify it on the blockchain. The playing field is a bit more equal, and nothing is hidden.
2) Trustless — there are no third parties. If you want to send $1K to your friend in the Bahamas, or Kazakhstan, or South Africa, you can send it straight from your wallet to their wallet. If you set up a smart contract, this can even be automated and made to be done on the regular. You don’t need anyone else for this.
3) Permissionless — When you interact with Decentralised Exchanges like 1INCH, or Uniswap, there is nobody that can block your trade of tokens, or reverse them on you. Banks ‘approve’ transactions — if they so wish to — but in the blockchain industry, transactions are not ‘approved’, but ‘confirmed’. This is because banks signify centralised power, but blockchain is decentralised & permissionless. You decide what happens with your money, and other people can’t stop you from making your own decisions regarding it. You are in full control of it. Some blockchain projects even look into creating decentralised exchanges that interact with the stock market,where a token held reflects one share of a stock on the New York Stock Exchange. Having much of cryptotechnology be permissionless means that the power is in the hands of the user, and not that of a centralized authority. Of course, much work on the above still needs to be done.
Now the potential of all this is what is really mindblowing. You can set up automated insurance systems, where folks bypass banks, and directly interact with other individuals around the world. Lets say farmers in Cameroon pay monthly insurance to a decentralised group of users as part of a smart contract. If subsequently a drought is detected in Cameroon based on data collected from Chainlink nodes, the smart contract on Ethereum will automatically kick in and insurance money from those previous network participants will be sent to those farmers as part of the terms of the contract. The farmers receive the insurance money based on those initial conditions. Nobody can stop the pay out from happening, or steal it, or manipulate it — the contract is immutable and the conditions were set at the beginning. No 3rd parties were involved — and it all goes straight to the farmers crypto wallet.
Another thing that possible is taking control of your private data and make it more difficult for organizations to take it from you. Using privacy based browsers like Brave (instead of Firefox or Chrome) you can earn crypto tokens like BAT and have a more consensual relationship with advertisers — what you want to be exposed to, and what not, and what data you give up, and what not. You start being paid for your time and your attention, instead of Zuckerberg & his pals selling your time and attention in return for access to their “free” website. You earn money for browsing the web, instead of being the product involuntarily. All this matters & makes a difference — it empowers the user to be more in control of their own selves & their digital footprint.
The sky is the limit when it comes to what we can do with blockchain technology. And personally, I think this is the sort of stuff the modern world genuinely needs.