Be the change that you wish to see in the world
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Firstly, I want to thank the The5CsofBusiness, who inspired me to write this article on creating a better world by providing thought-provoking insight into business, blockchain, and technology’s role in our culture.
The times they are changing
Over the ages, we have come to fully accept the systems that underpin how our society functions (no matter how unjust or ineffective these systems might be) cannot be changed. To be sure, our out-of-date systems and processes that are the foundation of the most critical institutions and their functions are, in essence, the driver behind technologies, like blockchain, to come to life for the greater good.
It seems we live in a world that drives us to be human doings rather than human beings. Until recently, we have not had the advanced technological tools to unlock and build these new foundational systems that are seemingly needed to create a new way of being in society.
A prominent blocker to adopting new blockchain-based ideas is our zeal for productivity. This block is a factor that prevents diverse ideas and technologies from being shared, as competition is too high between the conflicting needs of individuals and the desire to win at all costs.
Regardless of blockchain’s hopes and dreams, it is becoming evident that the future of work and society requires a metamorphosis. Humans moving beyond merely surviving, which is, in essence, what forms of unhealthy competition.
A route to a new marketplace
In an article I wrote early in 2020, I discussed the changing workplace landscape and how we might assign value to our future work. I looked at the intangible economy and the transformation from productivity and output to ideas and knowledge. Society needs to look at this because, due to robotics, it is inevitable that productivity tangibles are clearly becoming more and more automated as the decades move in.
The intangibles economy is estimated to grow to a staggering US$ 1,281 trillion by 2040.
According to a recent European Commission’s survey on the digital skills gap across the EU, 43% of people in the EU don’t know how to perform basic tasks like searching for information online.
How will society make the intangible tangible and assign value for workers, whether in data, a non-profit hospital, or a homemaker?
If you think about some of our largest technology companies, some are more profitable than some small countries. Have these technology giants paved the way for a new world by accelerating these technical changes but at their own demise?
A case for blockchain
You won’t find it hard to locate a myriad of justifications for the benefits blockchain . Still, until recently, the blockchain translation to the marketplace got lost in technological jargon that confused commercial decision-makers.
Decision-makers must follow this age-old prudent piece of advice;
If you don’t understand, don’t invest.
However, saying that, some companies have taken a bold chance of being early adopters of blockchain technology, which will be best for blockchain in the long run, as this innovative technology needs rigorous testing in the real world.
It is worth noting that, unsurprisingly, there are reports that current blockchain solutions in society will require replacing by 2023. This replacement is notably due to these solutions not performing the marketplace test.
But we shouldn’t give up. These blockchain hurdles to mass adoption are worth solving to help lay the foundations of a more robust virtual future, which we clearly need.
So, why now, blockchain?
Well, for starters, as mentioned above, we did not have the convergence of technologies that we do now. This a coming together of technologies to realize the benefits of the blockchain invention fully.
Blockchain is particular in that it crosses the social and technological void that exists in our systems. It seems to be that no other technology endeavors to cross this current rope bridge to transform it.
For example, a mobile cryptocurrency* wallet would not have been possible before smartphone technology and all the technical advancements that sit behind this recent invention. The maturing of technologies and at this point in time has allowed some 20-year blockchain innovations to come alive. One example of this is the acclaimed next-generation blockchain Algorand, a ground-breaking blockchain innovation by MIT Professor Silvio Micali.
(*cryptocurrency is a financial application built using blockchain. Bitcoin is the most massive experiment of this, as an example)
Why might you want alternative systems?
1. Control of your digital footprint
Think about your digital footprint. Your online trail includes surveillance, credit cards, banking, shopping, mobile devices, internet accounts, and medical records.
This knowledge of your data has become the main ingredient in generating economic value for enterprises. Many people who use some centralized platforms don’t mind (or are unaware of) selling privacy for convenience; however, some people would like the choice or control of their data and online footprint, which is what a blockchain internet could help build that freedom for the future.
Personally, I like the idea of community-driven enterprises that have a similar ethos to the ideas of stakeholder capitalism.
“Stakeholder capitalism is a vow to do business in service of all stakeholders, rather than just profits and returns. Shareholders are of course important, but it’s vital that companies also consider workers, communities, the environment, and more when defining success — especially because doing so has demonstrated benefits not just to society, but also the bottom line. This approach is neither status quo nor abandoning capitalism altogether. It’s simply recalibrating the system to take a deeper view of business, and ensure an economy that works for all.” — Paul Tudor Jones, founder of Tudor Investment Corporation
Community-centric self-organizing businesses are just one-way blockchain can be used in the real world to help with economic freedom for all. These new organizations can happen by building a new blockchain-based internet with no single point of failure, self-organizing peer-to-peer networks with cheaper and easier entry through smart devices.
Laying the foundations for change
Any effort to overhaul our very foundations, such as the internet, which would enable self-organizing communities or tighter control of your data, is tough. Because changing the internet at its very core requires a radical and underlying technology like blockchain. You cannot quickly repair or replace the current centralized landscape that the foundations of our online lives run on. It will take many years. And it will require new thinking, new skills, and new ways of doing business and a robust tried and tested technology. This testing is where blockchain is currently going through its paces.
This new internet has the potential to innovate and help build a better, more inclusive future — a future global marketplace for all, not just specific demographics.
Steering us towards a new future requires new thinking, new types of collations, and collaborations never seen before. So, is 2020 the time to take advantage of the possibilities? As we emerge from an unknown period in history and rewrite and reset our society is now the time to take this risk to reshape everyone’s future.
To achieve a reimagined society the world must reconstruct all digital features of our demographics and economies, from education to social customs and working conditions. Every Government must participate, and every enterprise must transform their business models. In seems, we need a grand revolution of capitalism.
It will be messy, and as we have seen with other technologies, overnight success is a myth. It has taken a long-time for cloud-computing to come to fruition. Even now, some firms are wary of using cloud technology.
Technologies rise and fall due to their economic relevance to the world. They adapt, like blockchain, this technology is nothing new and was around long before the birth of Bitcoin in 2009.
Developing alternative operating systems requires learning from the past — which is what next-generation blockchains, like Algorand, are doing — and projecting that vision into the future and fixing the messy in-between.
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