30 July 2022
We’re into the second half of 2022 with the world facing a global recession and Blockchain technology has come under lots of scrutiny. Many people witnessed the all-time high of approximately $3 trillion last November, during a market bull run that saw Bitcoin reach an all-time high of almost $69,000 and the huge liquidation which took around $2 trillion from the crypto market in recent times. This huge volatility was caused by several factors which we will get into a little later in this article. Many skeptics and critics had impetus to instigate more fear, uncertainty and doubt(FUD) into the public, causing many curious or uninformed people in society to have a bad impression of the crypto industry. Some people even question the origins of this technology and the identity of the mysterious developer(s) “Satoshi Nakamoto” and the intentions behind it. The questions we should ask ourselves are, do we think the idea for a decentralized digital economy is new? Would it have been invented whether or not it had been Satoshi, through the natural course of technological evolution? Do we trust other forms of technology and if so, is it because we trust the people who made it?
Taking a step back while viewing the entire technology as a whole and the utility it provides, we can come to different conclusions. A lot of the criticism the blockchain industry has come under fire for was well and truly warranted with recent examples of projects such as Three Arrows Capital(3AC) who employed bad financial practices, which led to many consumers taking heavy losses in the crypto market. Some early crypto adopters can also remember OneCoin, the Ponzi scheme that pulled in $4 billion from 2014 to 2016. OneCoin was not actively traded, nor could the coins be used to purchase anything. The company's main business was selling course materials, which were reportedly plagiarized in most cases. Incidents such as this have brought all the unwarranted negative sentiment on blockchain technology. Yes, incidents such as those and other similar events are horrible, but done by individuals or groups not connected to the invention of blockchain technology and Bitcoin.
But is this idea of a digital economy new? We can check the records to find out that in 1983, a research paper by David Chaum introduced the idea of digital cash. In 1989, he founded DigiCash, an electronic cash company, in Amsterdam to commercialize the ideas in his research. It filed for bankruptcy in 1998.
e-gold was the first widely used Internet money, introduced in 1996, and grew to several million users before the US Government shut it down in 2008. e-gold has been referred to as "digital currency" by both US officials and academia alike. Sooner or later someone or some group was destined to improve this technology until it became mainstream.
Unfortunately, the bad actors/criminal organizations have taken center stage in the crypto space and became some of the earliest adopters of the technology, seeing the potential to transact with individuals peer to peer without the governments intervention was an opportunity they couldn’t refuse. The technology that was initially designed to liberate the world from a controlled and centralized economy had taken a dark turn. The famous cliche, “With great power, comes great responsibility” could never be more relevant and knowing when power falls into the wrong hands the massive damage that can follow. Every ponzi scheme, failed project and “one hit wonder” that has taken to the headlines, has made blockchain technology and bitcoin take the full responsibility, as anything that happens in the crypto space is most commonly thought by the average joe to be a problem with the blockchain.
Take an invention as simple as the television which most people use on a daily basis. We all know the dangers that the television can bring to a society, but is it the television or the people pushing the programs on that device? In the early stages of the development of televisions, scientists were even researching how to use different frequencies and patterns to manipulate the viewers to achieve a desired effect. Today a television is in every household and those fears and doubts have vanished due to increased trust in the private companies who were developing their own devices in contrast to what the government backed scientist and military organizations were working on to try to gain more control over society.
The technology in itself isn’t bad or harmful but rather the people who chose to do nefarious activities to satisfy the greed and lust for power. Most inventions generally come from the common folk and most times it’s the rich and powerful who have the resources to maximize the utility of that invention. The benefits of giving the financial power back to the people by using blockchain technology can be simply achieved by educating oneself about the utility and the ways in which it can be used to do good. Allowing the bad actors, centralized banking systems and other financial governing bodies to manipulate society into believing that the one thing that can break them free from economic prison is the one thing they should stay away from. To criticize blockchain technology is the same as criticizing the invention of the car when horses were popular. The same principles remain in both scenarios whereas both at the time was a revolutionary technology that had polarizing views between the futurist and the traditionalist. As the passage of time settled the dispute between the two sides, we can see today that a vast majority of people not only accept automobiles but heavily depend on them in everyday life. The fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding the use of fossil fuels to replace a form of transport that didn’t require any form of processed fuel.
The new invention that had polarizing views grew into the necessity we all can’t live without. Blockchain technology is another form of such transition that in 10-15 years, the world would never imagine life without the utility it brings. The Internet is another example which could’ve been used to compare with this revolutionary transition but looking further back in history gives the understanding that this is a repetition of history and one form of technology always replaces another.
True freedom can be achieved if the public gathers the confidence to use this blockchain technology to reestablish control of our own life and usher in a new democratic governance system voted by the people. We can end this article with a famous Bob Marley “CornerStone” lyric which can summarize the gist of the story, “The stone that the builder refuse, will always be the head cornerstone.”