What use is any new technology if it does not alleviate suffering, or empower people, while pointing us towards sustainable and regenerative principles for our planet? The crypto-currency craze obscured that the underlying technology of blockchain can actually be utilized for positive social impact. Issues with the early iterations of blockchain like enormous energy consumption, security, miners gaming the system, and crypto currency Ponzi schemes presented hurdles and bad PR for the technology. However these issues did not diminish the revelation of peer to peer, decentralized networks and the promise that blockchain possesses to transform every aspect of society. The forthcoming iteration of Blockchain is a technological upgrade to this most extraordinary innovation that is values-driven and community-based.
“Our collective inability to secure inclusive growth and preserve our scarce resources puts multiple global systems at risk simultaneously. Our first response must be to develop new models for cooperation that are not based on narrow interests but on the destiny of humanity as a whole.” -Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum
Why Decentralized? Economic inequality, broken political systems, and imbalanced power structures are responsible for much of the division that is harming our collective future. If centralized systems create concentrated wealth and power, can a decentralized model deliver a better distribution of wealth and foster shared power to shape our future? Many believe that this idea is worth exploring.
If global power structures are unable to create collaborative models for addressing global environmental issues or the equitable sharing of resources, perhaps technology can help individuals through peer to peer exchanges. This notion of utilizing blockchain to power the people is central to the original Bitcoin White Paper and core to Unify Earth’s forthcoming Blockchain 3.0 technology.
Community Values and Blockchain: Beyond cryptocurrencies and even technology, Blockchain has brought about a fundamentally new way to think about and organize online communities, business, and government systems. This distributed ledger invites us to consider systems that operate in a decentralized, distributed, peer-to-peer environment. The value of this is that it cuts out the middle man, reduces tolls, taxes, and usury in the exchange of value.
Blockchain was born in the aftermath of the global economic crisis of 2008 when central financial institutions failed and were then bailed out by taxpayers. Average people began to question the legitimacy of current financial systems in a modern world. Who to trust? How to share? These are actually questions about how to address the commons, and what is technology’s role in that equation? I explore this concept in depth in my previous article, Blockchain and a Renaissance of the Social Commons.
“As we have seen open data revolutionise the citizen’s relationship with the state, so may the visibility in these technologies reform our financial markets, supply chains, consumer and business-to-business services, and publicly-held registers.”
-UK Government Office for Science
Social Impact Instead of Crypto Speculation. Technology should be used to serve humanity as a whole, not to be hoarded and utilized to achieve dominance, subjugate, or enslave the masses. Top-down structures, and centralized networks have their own value but they need to be held in check by peer to peer networks thus creating a true democratization of the technology. Access to capital, exchanging value, having a voice in politics, micro-lending, and collaboration are all potentially enhanced as Blockchain technology scales and becomes more streamlined.
We are seeing blockchain beyond the hype of cryptocurrencies into ways that it can be used to address global initiatives through local communities. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for example, give us a great starting road map for tackling many of the world’s most urgent problems. Imagine applying blockchain to solve global poverty, stronger democratic institutions, reduce our global carbon footprint, more effective supply/distribution chains, medical solutions and beyond.
“Unify Earth allows those with the least among us to have access to the same tools as the rest of us.” -Col. Arnold V. Strong (USA, Ret.), Communications Director for Unify Earth
Share the Wealth. Universal Basic Income is often mistakenly associated with socialism. In actuality it is a response to the reality that artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain are going to revolutionize production and distribution, making millions of jobs obsolete. Humanity has achieved enormous success, power, and wealth and the next step towards a better future will be a fair, equitable way of distributing this value.
Blockchain Breakthrough. The first internet and personal computers were only accessible for nerds and geeks who understood the language of programming. Innovations like windows for the PC, and browsers for the internet made them visual, interactive and accessible for the general public. Early web pages were basically like static online brochures until web 2.0 allowed for comments and integration with social networks, sharing, liking, etc. In its early stages, Blockchain has been primarily used by programmers, and a select few who understand the technology. How will things change when distributed ledger technologies and Blockchain are more widely adopted by businesses and individuals?
As the dust begins to settle on the first decade of blockchain and crypto currencies, we are beginning to see the technology and the community around it mature. Startups based on faulty business plans and poorly written code are becoming more easily distinguishable from the true trailblazers in the industry. Values-aligned companies built on state of the art Blockchain will can forge new ground by setting a higher standard of professionalism and broader user accessibility for Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.
It would only be fitting to see this technology and the humans powering it aligned with an ethos of service to humanity and the planet. A new paradigm to exchange value in all forms requires a new paradigm in thinking. What creative ways will you utilize the collaborative tools of the future?
Author’s Note: This article was written to express the nature of the author’s personal views on blockchain and the potential for the Unify.Earth blockchain to improve on existing blockchain technology. There is no formal association between Unify.Earth and Unify.org, of which the author is an acknowledged co-founder and contributor. Both organizations are interested in leveraging technology to make a more sustainable, harmonious global community. Unify.org (and its related social media pages) are not involved in any token sale or coin release at this time.