Speaking at Hong Kong Blockchain Week, Charles Hoskinson made some interesting points about the future of blockchain technology and its role within society.
Charles Hoskinson has a brilliant mind and, in a space so full of large egos, actually seems like the nice guy of crypto. His vision for Cardano as a platform which brings profound change whilst being maintained to the highest standard through its peer-reviewed method truly sets it apart from many other projects and whilst it has been a slow burner in terms of getting off the ground, still holds a lot of promise in terms of what it will offer in the future.
Speaking at Hong Kong Blockchain Week, Hoskinson reminded the audience exactly the scale of change he foresees; Cardano wants to become “the internet of blockchains” and so he has a track record with thinking big.
The World Is Changing
The internet revolution is not over. The internet at once feels like it has been around forever and yet there are new and incredible innovations constantly – ever think back and wonder how you did it without WhatsApp or Google Maps? That was about seven years ago. What were we doing before? Sending texts?! Similar to the real world postal service where how much you pay depends on the size of what you are sending, we were paying by the letter. Life has been revolutionised since then and who knows what that will be like given another seven years.
The point here is to draw your attention to the fact that change takes time to be imagined – but once it happens, looking back at how things used to be done baffles the mind. Hoskinson highlights that the structures of the old world were the initial model for the structures of the digital world – think about companies like DigiCash from the ‘90s, one of the first companies to attempt to create anonymous electronic cash transactions.
Now however these structures are changing. The nature of the system is turning on its head and becoming a bottom-up arrangement where decentralised systems are granting individuals the power to decide what they do with their assets; the level of autonomy the internet grants the average citizen is already huge and set to increase.
The Problem of Truth on the Internet
Smartphones are doing more and more with each generation released and have the power to connect us all across the world; national borders and geographic obstacles are no problem in the digital world.
However, one thing that as yet hasn’t been solved is the problem of truth. On the internet, anything can be faked: fake news, doctored photographs, even fake videos are an increasing problem. Right now, Craig Wright is embroiled in a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit which alleges he faked signatures on contracts which allowed him to claim over 1 million BTC from programmer David Kleiman. What makes blockchain so revolutionary is its potential to provide truth on the internet; entries on a blockchain can have their truth mathematically verified and proved to be correct, a fact which has huge implications for the way we live our lives.
Blockchain Will Change the Way We Vote
After talking about the direction blockchain is taking us Hoskinson moved on to the future what the possibilities are. Getting down to the nuts and bolts he reminded everyone of the power of the device we all have in our pockets. With blockchain technology on these devices as well a host of possibilities become available.
One of these is voting, which will easily become one of the most secure and reliable methods of using blockchain tech out there. In any scenario, once the open source software is freely available – which is more a question of when, rather than if – it will immediately be the most effective way of handling democratic voting systems at all levels of society. Cryptographically secured votes in all kinds of scenarios, be they local special interest groups or national elections will become the norm because they will be the most reliable way of preventing voter fraud as well as being the most cost-effective.
A Note of Caution
However, whilst this opens up a host of possibilities to do good, there is also the potential to abuse. Hoskinson points out that authorities currently in place all over the world would like to use these new tech innovations to attach a number to citizens which tells them whether they are good or bad, reliable or unreliable – it makes securing power infinitely easier.
Right now, we are at a fork in the road, where one direction can take us to a place where blockchain helps liberate the average person everywhere and allow them to participate in the global financial system and global governance in a way that was impossible before. This will unlock huge amounts of capital in the process and allow it to flow into the global financial system, a good thing for everyone.
The other way, if the technology is not distributed effectively from the get-go leads to oligarchy in a way that makes Russia right now look like a beacon of democracy, where not just your money, but your ability to do every day, normal things is compromised and subject to the whims of a tiny elite.
Image Credits: “NexChange/Youtube”
Alex has been putting words on paper since he was old enough to hold a pen; when he bought his first bitcoin in January 2017, those words discovered their place within crypto as well. He holds a master’s degree in international relations from Leiden University in the Netherlands, and his special expertise lies in European cryptocurrency regulation.