I know that the title sounds a bit bombastic but I think it is the right one to draw the necessary attention to this idea, which I will not deny that it tends a bit to pessimism. I know we all want to reach that decentralization and freedom of the great centralized powers, a hope that arose at the time the Bitcoin was born but, there is an undeniable reality and it is the double-edged sword that all this has come to be in the last time.
The reasons are several but I’m going to talk about, what I consider, the three main reasons why this idea came to my head:
- The first reason is, definitely, for my past in the communist Cuba of Fidel Castro. There are things that weigh heavily in life and the experience of having lived under a dictatorship for more than 25 years weighs too much on all the senses. Well, perhaps calling it a dictatorship would be a bit hard for some, but that was simply when you “took off the candy cover” that was on top of it, as they would say in Cuba, something like the phrase “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. What I can say is that after leaving a dictatorship or something similar you do not want to turn back anymore and you end up distrusting and fleeing from everything that may resemble it.
- The second was when I got to understand well what could be done with the technology that supports cryptocurrencies like Bitshares, Ethereum, Waves and now EOS, to give some examples. To be able to create tokens very easily and also to be able to give them different characteristics such as the possibility of being transferable or not. For example, you can create a Token that is transferable between users representing money, values, tokenized objects of all kinds, etc. or that simply once it is sent remains in the purse of the receiver without possibility of transfer representing, for example, birthdays, fines, blood type, allergies, etc.. And of course, to be able to create wallets with simple common names and not with hard-to-remember addresses such as from Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, etc.
- And the third and main reason, the one that really ended up igniting the spark of everything, was when they started to separate the Bitcoin or the other different Cryptocurrencies of the Blockchain technology in important media around the world and began to appear new classifications for the Blockchain. Classifications such as Public Blockchain, Private Blockchain and Semi-Private Blockchain, all without mentioning or mentioning Bitcoin very rarely.
And, of course, the “experts” on the subject began to appear.
A very clear example of this we have it with the “political scientist” and “researcher of the Blockchain” Bettina Warburg. I, almost a year ago, wrote an article because of a TED Talk that she had done talking about the technology. I can assure you that Betina and her family have a very interesting past.
But first I want to make clear my position in this last point about the separation of Bitcoin and the Blockchain.
Personally, I must say that for me the Blockchain can not exist without being open and without being linked to some type of Token, because we must be clear of one thing, the Blockchain is decentralized, distributed and trustless simply because miners around the world compete to get the reward, be it Bitcoin or another Cryptocurrency based on POW or any other type of work, and thus be able to secure those three things. Talking about the Blockchain does not automatically mean talking about something decentralized, as, for example, in this Don Tapscott video.
As you may have heard, from minute 3:45 he calls Bitcoin simply an asset whose value goes down and up and that should only interest them (to the public) if they are simply speculators in the stock market. He only needed to name the smugglers, drug dealers and people like that to finish his idea of diminishing the real purpose of the currency in the whole.
Of course, those who do not know the subject (the vast majority) and see this video, end up thinking that the most important thing is the Blockchain and nothing else. But everything that is spoken before and after that moment is what could be achieved IF REALLY the Blockchain came together with a mechanism like Bitcoin to ensure its decentralization. The way it is proposed by Don Tapscott never explains how that decentralization is going to be achieved, he simply says that it is decentralized and that’s it, as if by magic.
For me, the best explanation on this whole issue of the separation of Bitcoin and the Blockchain is given by Andreas Antonopoulos in his video Bitcoin vs Blockchain.
After seeing this video of someone who is a recognized expert on the subject for a long time already, the why of that separation in itself, begins to seem a bit suspicious.
To this we add those new classifications of Public Blockchain, Private Blockchain and Semi-Private Blockchain and what was suspicious is becoming almost certain. Of these three classifications, the only one that should be called the Blockchain is the first, the Public, which is “open” to all.
The Bitcoin blockchain is considered a public blockchain. In order to understand why it is public, we must answer the following questions:
– Who maintains this database? Everyone who wants
– How do you encourage those who maintain this database to do it correctly? Cryptographic economy (a combination of economic incentives, together with cryptographic verification) In the case of Bitcoin, the incentives are bitcoins in the form of coins and fees, and cryptographic verification would be proof-of-work.
– Who can produce the information that is registered in the database, that is, who can send transactions in this database? Everyone who wants
– Who has access to this database? Everyone who wants
– Where is this database stored? Massively distributed
Source: Oro y Finanzas.
As far as I’m concerned the other two types of Blockchains, the Private and the Semi-Private (this name seems like a joke), are only Databases distributed in private nodes where the Decision Control of any type is completely centralized in a single entity.
Control is the keyword.
In a Public Blockchain it is practically impossible to take control of a single entity simply because it is public. To take a very clear example, there have been times when hashrates of large mining pools that mine in the Bitcoin network have approached 51% of the total and the miners have realized and re-directed their mining machines to other pools simply so that this would not happen and those pools could control the network in some way. All this simply by agreeing through various social networks and forums on the Internet. In this type of scenario, it is almost impossible for a single entity to take control of the network thanks to decentralization.
Andreas Antonopoulos has another very good talk about the importance of the Public Blockchains and in which he also touches the issue of Private Blockchains apart from other very interesting points. My advice is to see it before continuing reading.
As he says, large corporations and centralized and corrupt governments, no matter what type of political system they have, are the only ones that could be interested in something like a Private Blockchain, because it would be something only they could control. Absolute control, absolute power.
Imagine a future where we all have a chip implanted from our birth. And this chip is sending in real time and in the form of data, everything we do in our daily lives, what we have under our ownership, if we buy or sell, what we speak, see and hear, maybe even what we think, to a Private Blockchain controlled by a global organization such as the UN. And to put the final point, the way to interact with the chain is through Artificial Intelligences.
I know it sounds like a mix between 1984 and Terminator, pure Science Fiction. But all that I mentioned in the previous paragraph exists nowadays, although without the cohesion or the necessary technological maturity of many of the parties to be able to achieve something like this.
And of course, there is also us.
Although it seems a little strange, the answer to the question of whether all this technology will be used to have a better, decentralized, freer and fairer future or to perpetuate the centralization and control of a few over the vast majority is in that vast majority. It is those whom I call “us”, the common person, who will really benefit if all this experiment goes well.
We have the power to decide and in this case we are going to have to decide which Blockchains to use, whether the opened, decentralized, in which we do not need to trust and that do not believe in borders or frontiers or a private, centralized ones, those that, surely will take us to that perfect dictatorship of which I speak in my title. Personally, I do not think the decision is too complicated to make.