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  1. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    blockchain technology (trustless decentralization) is going to change the world

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Daniel, Oct 18, 2016.

    I'm writing this post to draw your attention to an emerging technology that has true potential - promise, I would even say - to radically change and improve the world.

    Like industrialization, the widespread adoption and use of blockchain technology will have far-reaching effects on virtually every area of our lives. Like many disruptive technological advancements, the blockchain will be met by doubt, challenges, and resistance from the existing status quo. After studying blockchain technology, I've come to the conclusion that it it won't just improve our lives, but that it may save our specifies from many of the systematic problems we face today. It will be our foundation as we move into an age of hyper-technology, automation, and big data. Decentralization will keep society open, transparent, and free, rather than controlled at the top and murky at the bottom.

    What is blockchain technology? It is essentially a distributed ledger where each node has an exact copy of every block (data, transactions), which makes it a trustless system. This discussion assumes you have a basic understanding of the technology (though I'm happy to elaborate).



    Due to it's decentralized nature, you don't need a central authority to verify the data - which opens up a world of possibilities.

    Among such possibilities:
    • Non-inflationary currency
    • censorship-proof domain name systems
    • stock markets
    • autonomous organizations
    • private legal contracts (wills, deeds)
    • public ownership contracts
    • historical records
    • Identity verification system
    • electronic voting
    • cloud storage
    • social networks
    • governments
    All decentralized, immutable, independent, without a central authority.

    We have these existing systems and more already, but they all operate with a "trusted" central authority, usually a government or large corporation. The Federal Reserve controls (and manipulates) the U.S. dollar. ICANN controls the world-wide TLD domain name system. Contracts require lawyers, verification, and court systems. Historical records can be lost or manipulated. Identities can be forged. Voting must be done in-person. Governments aren't remotely democratic, even local governments. I could go on and on.

    The problem with such systems is they are open to manipulation, fraud, and exploitation.

    Imagine a world where stocks can be traded instantly with 100% confidence without a broker or exchange. Imagine a currency that can be sent in minutes for pennies anywhere in the world, free of government manipulation and without banks. Think of a legal contract, law, or historical record that can be looked up by anyone without any doubt to it's authenticity. Imagine a local government where every citizen has a voice in their government.

    Blockchain technology allows such systems to be created that a cannot be easily compromised, and doesn't require us to trust a centralized actor, immensely reducing many of the problems in our existing systems. The blockchain can not be easily subject to special interests, government interference, or fraud.

    The possibilities and radical change this technology presents pushes the boundaries of the imagination.

    Decentralized systems will disrupt existing power structures by providing frameworks that reduces conflict in society, and makes society more free, transparent, efficient, and prosperous.

    My questions (take your pick) to you are:

    1. Do you agree that blockchain technology will radically disrupt existing power systems for the better?
    2. Do you agree with the benefits of such decentralized systems?
    3. How can such systems reach a critical mass of adoption?
    4. What level of resistance do you think existing power structures will present?
    5. Combined with other emerging technologies, what might our world look like after adoption?

    I may update this post to expand my explanation as needed.
     
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  2. Raven484
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    Raven484 Contributing Member

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    I think my answer is all in the name. Trustless. Why would I do any of the above if it could be stolen or proven to be reliable with any transaction I make. We have a trusted system to insure us a little that we are not being robbed, why would we throw this away? If you have no regulation at all, you will have chaos.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I agree that it could, but it fails to take into account one fundamental idea. People want privacy. Whether it's an individual, a group, or a corporation, privacy is something we are coming to realize matters to us on a fundamental level. I remember only too well the period just before the advances of social media, and the interconnectedness that personal computing gave to us. I remember this well. And we thought we wanted it. We ood and ahd over what was to come. And then we realized that all this access meant access to us, as individuals, and we didn't like it. Not one bit. We have a saying in Spanish: It's one thing to call the Devil; it's another thing to have him show up. We tape over our laptop cameras and give suspicious sidelong glances at our XBOX ONE units. We lost our collective shit when Snowden released information showing how much of our private lives are, in fact, not at all private. And then the world lost its collective shit when it was made known that, sorry, America is not the only country guilty of this. People like trust and security. This is limbic. An open "trustless" system sounds too much like zero privacy.

    I'm not sure on this one.

    1) What cryptocurrency is needs to be presentable to the Average Joe (who isn't as smart as we would like to believe) in a way that is easily and intuitively understandable. Right now, everything I have seen about bitcoin is presented in a way that demands one have an understanding of other dynamics that is much greater than Average Joe has.

    2) You need to get past the massive wall presented by question #4.

    3) From a marketing aspect, use of the term "trustless" needs to be completely ditched by those who are proponents of this idea. It's a bad word-choice that, again, depends in having a level of knowledge that is "inner circle". I know perfectly well what it means, but anyone hearing that in casual passing is going to get a very different meaning from it and then you have to get past that initial meaning that was already lain down. The word, to a layperson, sounds deeply negative. Look how endlessly Science has to keep coming back to reexplain what the word theory means under the umbrella of Science as opposed to what it means in layman's terms. When someone brings up the "... it's just a theory" argument against evolution, I have to literally walk away because I don't trust myself to stay there and not box the person upside the head, and no, I cannot explain one more insufferable time about how they are using that word incorrectly. The idea needs to find a different term for this that won't get interpreted as "a thing we cannot trust" by laypeople. Semantics, I know, but there's already a daunting amount of inertia against which such an idea needs to push; you don't want to add the stumbling block of a confusing bit of terminology.

    Extreme. So much is already invested in current paradigms. The electric car was haveable in the 1980's but was cockblocked by the economic interests of other dynamics.

    I don't see a world much different from today emerging. In the 1950's people thought you and I would be teleporting to one another's house by now, dressed in our snazzy silver onesies to enjoy a meal made of pills. Yum! It's almost 70 years since 1950 and we still live lives pretty much unaltered from then save for some neato communication/porn devices (computers) and cellphones. Many of us live in houses that date from that era. No swish swish Star Trek doors yet.
     
  4. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    Perhaps as Wreybies pointed out, the use of "trustless" as a descriptor is a poor choice. When I say "trustless decentralization" I'm describing a system where, because it is decentralized, it doesn't require trust. You don't need to put your faith in the system because, by design, it is algorithmically incapable of the fraud and abuse of existing systems. As such, you can trust the system without "putting your trust in it."

    The existing systems you trust actually have problems that you describe, such as money or information being stolen. They're open to fraud and abuse, and require the trust of a third party. An adequate blockchain eliminates the middleman - the bank, government, corporation, or other system - and replaces it with code you can trust because millions of users are verifying that the data is accurate. The code behind the blockchain regulates itself, in that it can be systematically impossible to exploit the system. (There will of course always be third parties maliciously targeting individuals).

    To use the example of bitcoin, you don't have to trust that the federal reserve won't unnecessary inflate your money, causing it to lose value. You don't have to trust the government's FDIC insurance. You don't have to trust that your bank or credit card won't get robbed. With bitcoin, you know the money supply cannot be easily manipulated, and you know your funds are available because they're in your possession. You are, however, responsible for securing your funds against malicious outsiders, either yourself or through a third party.

    As for the reliability, I suppose that's one of the barriers of adoption. It's reliability can only be proven with time, otherwise one might switch to such a system based upon it's other benefits. For example, in the case of bitcoin, you could send a $100,000 or $1,000,000 transaction across the planet for about $.10-.20 in about 30 minutes, with full faith and confidence. If you used a bank, you're probably paying 4-5% and it'll take 4-7 days. This is not an insignificant benefit.

    Blockchain systems have inherent benefits existing systems simply cannot compete with.

    I agree with you. Privacy is on the verge of extinction today, even when we value it more than ever. Some developers are addressing this issue, but it is definitely a real concern.

    In the case of bitcoin, a public ledger of every transaction worldwide could be disastrous. As it stands, bitcoin is only pseudo-anonymous, and with right resources, transactions could be traced back to an individual. Who knows how much might be transparent in the future. Every transaction you make - your investments, your vices, your bills, your grocery list - could be available. Ironically, most of this information is available to the existing systems already. I think it's also worth noting that most people are against bitcoin transactions being 100% transparent. I suspect the only ones for it are the existing status quo.

    Also keep in mind that I'm not talking exclusively about bitcoin, but rather decentralized technology itself. Privacy can be built into most of my examples, with perhaps the exception of voting or an identity system. For example, presently, every domain name must be registered with ICANN with up-to-date personal information. With a system like Namecoin, you can a "website" on a domain name system that is anonymous (and censorship-resistant).

    You could have records, such as will, deeds, ownership records, cloud storage files, that are only visible with encryption keys from multiple parties (this already exists). You could design a system where information is only visible to those with the proper keys, such as the executor of an estate an all it's beneficiaries, but not the public.

    Speaking of privacy, we know how invasive social media corporations have become. Our personal data is their lifeblood, and we have virtually no privacy. A decentralized social network could be created where you have absolute control of what information is available to who, it could be advertiser-less, information could be hidden or deleted with certainty (not deleting something on Facebook where it's backed up in 300 datacenters).

    You're right about privacy, and it could be a risk if we adopt blockchain technology that is too transparent. But privacy can be built into a blockchain, and when done so, it may provide more privacy that we otherwise would have.

    In fact, this is my point: blockchain technology can provide us with a system that's transparent (we know for a fact exactly how much privacy we really have), but that allows us more control of our own privacy and our own lives than existing systems. We want a transparent blockchain system, but not transparent blockchain information "blocks". In my mind, blockchain technology has the potential to restore our privacy - I see no other way privacy can be saved.


    This is an interesting observation I hadn't thought of or recognized until this thread. The idea of replacing existing systems that rely on third parties with a decentralized system that has no need of "the faith of trust" is where blockchain technology gains most of it's value. A trustless system seems like the best descriptor to me, but I think you're right on this one. It's essentially a "system you can trust because it doesn't require trust."
     
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  5. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I agree. Except in cases where an existing system adoptions a blockchain. I haven't worked out such a case myself, but I know some corporations are exploring the possibilities.

    I wonder, though, how might an existing system fight a decentralized system? Due to the decentralized nature of blockchain technology, it would seem very difficult to prevent.


    Perhaps, but I must disagree on two fronts.

    Assuming blockchain technology replaces or is integrated into existing systems, it provides much more control over our own lives.

    To take a more extreme example, let's take my city, Peoria, Illinois. The city adoptions a partial blockchain governance system. Let's assume blockchain literacy and use equal at least to the existing local voting population.

    Under such a system, governance would become more democratic by an immense scale. Keep in mind it could be designed so that critical decisions require a larger percentage of voters or are reserved for a special committee.

    Under such a system, you could implement an electoral system where a much higher population percentage votes the city counsel, mayor, sheriff into office, making the city more representative of the people, and the city government more accountable.

    You could implement 100%, 90%, 50% direct democracy.

    You could allow citizens to directly vote on passing new legislation: say decriminalizing cannabis, changing the term limits of elected officials, allocating funds to where their needed. When in comes to government, the more localized, the more representative and the more efficient. People in your city probably know what a better use of their tax dollars are than federal, state, county, or even city government.

    You could allow true taxation WITH representation. Peoria recently built a new museum downtown, projecting 200,000 annual visitors, and requiring a sales tax increase for the next 20 years or so. Most of the city was against it and knew it wouldn't get even 1/10 of the traffic. That decision could have been made by the people who were paying for it rather than a few individuals.

    You could vote on ordinances or laws knowing there was no outside or special interest. We have a 55 mph speed limit on I74 that's existed all of my life. I believe that a 65 mph speed limit would actually be safer. The city will never change this but the city residents would.​

    In short, you could shape a local government to your cities needs, efficiently. Government would be a lost faster, fairer, and the people would be better represented.

    Now take the scale of this change to local government and implement it across all the systems I listed: currency, social media, corporations, legal contracts, financial assets, digital assets, and on.

    Now you might say that this is an improvement of efficiency, legitimacy, or whatever, but that it's not a radical systematic change of our world. But if you apply the same change that empowers people across dozens of systems, you have enormous change all around you. At the very least we'd live happier, fairer, more productive lives.

    There are also other radical and disruptive technological changes happening alongside the blockchain. The two biggest ones that come to mind are big data and automation. When big data can anticipate your wants, needs, problems, and ambitions, the use of that information is a radical change in and of itself. It shapes our world even if we don't see it. If used by the existing status quo it will continue to be used to monetize (some would say exploit) the population. Likewise, automation has the potential to bring about both economic disaster through job replacement but also prosperity through post-scarcity.

    My second point here is simply that when you combine all of these huge technological advancements, you have a tempest of change. It's hard for me to picture how radically different our world might become after the adoption and integration of these technologies, but it's difficult to imagine the world will be anything like it is today. The means will exist to ensure a world of oppression and exploitation, or freedom and abundance.

    I believe there's an inherent risk of exploitation and even oppression with much of this emerging technology, including the blockchain. That's the direction our future seems to be moving, in my opinion. However, blockchain technology provides the opportunity to prevent this exploitation and oppression by replacing the control at the top with control to the individual and to the masses. Imagine automation or big data regulated by the blockchain, rather than enormous corporations - it'd be far safer and much more beneficial to 99.9% of the population.

    To use the phrase one last time, a trustless system provides the framework for preventing exploitation, and for providing true systematic consensus (control) and individual self-determination. It's hard to imagine such improvements not impacting the world in a significant and perceivable way.
     
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  6. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Totally agree with @Daniel. Automation may very well be what saves or enslaves us. I hope we'll be able to move things in the right direction and soon.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    My answer to your last question had more to do with my skepticism that such an idea could overcome the inertia of current dynamics than my thoughts on how - if it did overcome it - it would change us. I feel the yoke of inertia as we speak. I know there are Boomers who get it, who get that we're at a place now where we cannot afford to hold on to the ideas, ideals, and motives of their generation. If you're a Boomer reading this and that describes you, then I'm not talking about you. I'm talking about the vast majority of Boomers who refuse to let loose the cultural stranglehold that has us answering to 1950's concepts, and fail to take into account that when the Boomer generation starts to really slip off the slope of attrition, the remaining demographic will be so different than their demographic, will already be adult, and will never have been allowed the opportunity to put into place the ideas that make sense to us, that work for how we look at things, for the size of our generations, for the demographic, educational, and economic makeup of which we are formed. I don't mean to lay pessimism at you, man. I'm Gen-X (late-wave); it's what we do. I just have a hard time seeing such a huge generation that has lived longer - and will continue to live longer by a wide margin - than any other generation making the space for something like this to take root.
     
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  8. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    There have been problems with using bitcoin as a currency, mainly due to the fact that it is limited. Not to mention that
    you have to mine them with a program that figures out the correct algorithms. Also 1 bitcoin is like $600 a pop at a the
    moment, but it fluctuates just like standard currency. The primary use of bitcoin is the purchasing of goods and services
    on the deep web, so hey you can get your pot online along with that minigun you always wanted. Or to put things more
    aptly it is a great currency for the masses if you only have say a few hundred million people to distribute them around. So
    why is this being hailed as the next great thing? IDK, because bitcoin is untraceable and makes any transaction bloody simple.
    Not to mention not everything cost an entire bitcoin but a point of the total per unit. Be just as simple to get rid of fiat currency
    altogether and just put numbers up on a screen, cause it will have the exact same value as anything else that is digital and
    can be manipulated by a moderately decent programmer or coder.

    So bitcoin is not really worth anything, kinda like the the dollar. Except that they are both promissory to be what they claim
    to be. But the useless dollar is much more widely accepted than bitcoin is. Try that one next time you want to pay for groceries
    with a number of digital currency on your Ipad. Stick with credit for made up money that is useless, we have a system that
    takes imaginary money already in place. And it is unlimited because it is bloody imaginary money for real tangible goods
    and services.

    Be more effective to give a person oral sex for things. The buyer has to earn product or service, and the seller gets to
    feel good about rendering service or selling the product.

    Who really cares what monetary system your in, the guys that run the shit show are by default going to make their
    amount ridiculously higher than the average guy. Way to think outside the money box.

    And to end things on a high note (if not a personal one). I wouldn't mind getting a bloody bj for no reason than simply
    because it would be a thing in my life (and I fucking hate blow jobs, so yeah even sexually frustrated me can accept
    a concept of putting my cock in a mouth).:supergrin:

    Next week we exchange spent nuclear fuel rods for stuff, cause radiation poisoning would sure cut down on the
    population a smidgen or so. Granted at this point that would still have more value in both instances as a form
    of currency and getting rid of a mass quantity of people within a few short years.

    You would be better off with note cards and crayons, at least they would be worth something.
     
  9. Raven484
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    Raven484 Contributing Member

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    This sounds pretty cool. But in reality, it can be very scary and used as a weapon by the majority.
    Imagine one day you go online and someone puts up a vote to deport all illegal aliens. Or to stop immigration all together.
    Just an example, it is early here and I have not had my coffee.
    I see the good side of it. I also see the darkside. Why would the government release this power to the people? Racism and bigotry would rule the land.
    Maybe fifty or sixty years from now it might work better.

    If we implemented a system like this four years from now, and a vote to ban all muslim people from this country. It would pass. If you think this wouldn't happen, you live in a shell and really do not understand what is going on in this country.
    There is still darkness in this country. Most people still believe climate change is a hoax.
     
  10. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    First direct democracy as I think it's called, can't work. Centralised democracy with parties (which in my view is a necessary corruption of the system) does work. The problem is that everyone has a specific selfish agenda, and without a balanced plan it can't happen. So for example who doesn't want lower taxes (A)? Who doesn't want free childcare (B)? Free healthcare (C)? But how can I have B or C if I also vote for A? So everyone votes for A,B and C and the system breaks down. Parties at least balance their agendas. So for those who decry "tax and spend" or like it, at least it's a balanced approach. Tax and spend or don't tax and don't spend. You can't not tax and then spend.

    Next, Bitcoin is not a success. The currency is vastly unstable, values of it swinging up and down by sometimes more than a hundred percent. Clever idea but if the currency isn't backed by anything other than people's hopes, it can never actually be stable. Currencies backed by countries in which people actually want to live and which trade with other countries are far more stable generally.

    And third, far from being more secure, I suspect your block chain information technology would be less so. EG how many people do you know with out of date virus checkers? Who use "password" as their password? And in your system every one of those people and others with insecure passwords etc, is a weak point in the system which those with the skills can use to hack deeper.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  11. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I'm going to be short and sweet on this. No matter what system you put into place, the rich and powerful will always find a way to circumvent it and take control. As was the same in caveman times, is the same as it is today. The one carrying the biggest club rules the world.
     
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