“Many people regard blockchain as a technological breakthrough comparable to the Internet: like the Internet in the mid-1990s, many think it will increase the potential for freedom. Blockchains are decentralised public ledgers that record transactions. A blockchain resembles a network in which each participating computer maintains the ledger. Cryptographic methods are used to secure the recorded transactions against manipulation. Owing to these characteristics, the technology is credited with the potential to shake centralised institutions to their core. The promise is that trust in social institutions could be outsourced to technology. Instead of placing their trust in banks, citizens could protect their transactions using a blockchain. Land registry offices could become obsolete if the land register was managed by blockchain. Some people even envisage an uncensorable World Wide Web – an unsettling scenario. Meanwhile, the catchphrases around blockchain recall the early days of the Internet: Democratisation! Decentralisation! Unleashing individual potential! But let us take a closer look: With the Internet, we have learned that technical protocols are political – for example, regarding whether they anticipate a private sphere or not. And where intermediaries disappear, new ones may appear. How can and should we shape the blockchain infrastructure and its framework to serve the common good?” -Primavera De Filippi


About dmf

alienist @ large, mostly on foot
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