Yesterday, I experienced the future at the Blockstack conference in Berlin;
I will be very happy with my story with you.
Blockstack is a protocol which uses Blockchain technology to decentralize the registration of domain namespaces and file storage which are two critical components the Internet. By decentralizing these components, Blockstack allows for an Internet that is different than the one we have grown accustomed to nowadays; an Internet where users are central again. In control of their data, identity and choices. No light task indeed, but luckily Blockstack is supported by many important players in the Blockchain community, many of whom participated in the conference I attended yesterday.
I attended the Blockstack conference in name of Decred, which is worth some mentioning on its own. At the conference, many people asked me if I was employed by Decred, but this question is particularly difficult to answer since there is no such thing as a "Decred company" to employ me. Decred is a revolutionary cryptocurrency protocol, which has by construction funds available for its own development - just as Bitcoin has funds available to pay out miners to secure the network. I will not spend too much word on Decred (look at decred.org instead), but in short, Decred is a cryptocurrency protocol which allows its holders to vote on necessary upgrades of the network and spend funds on development and marketing.
Let that sink in for a moment (...). Yes, I have been employed by a cryptocurrency protocol. This indeed is futuristic and I am grateful to the Decred community for their trust in me to perform such an important task to bring Decred to the attention of people.
The conference itself was very pleasant to attend. I have many reasons to believe we are witnessing the dawn of an era fuelled by the seemingly never-ending development of computation power, data analysis methods and novel ways of cooperation through Blockchain protocols. This trio of technologies is rattling at this very moment at the power structures present in the world nowadays. And where old power structures fail, new ones emerge. I believe that the blockchain community is very much aware of this fact and of their responsibility in creating a novel fundament on which society can flourish. Through Nick Szabo (Computer scientist and lawyer, crucial for the early development of Bitcoin), Edward Snowden (famous from the NSA Leaks in 2013 and currently exile in Moscow), Elisabeth Stark (Developer of the Bitcoin Lightning Network) and many more we learned about the flaws of the current system, as well as about the challenges in creating a new one. Blockchain protocols, luckily, are fundamentally better in governance than a human can ever be since a programme will never try to manipulate, have feelings of pride and greed or other non-strictly necessary motives besides doing what it is programmed to do. The question is, however, how do you programme a system which lives on the internet to actually incentivize people to live up to its reality in the real world? A similar question was asked by Montesquieu in 1748 in France and the founding fathers in 1781 in what is nowadays known as the United States. That time as well, these questions were a result of technological development which made old power structures obsolete. Their systems have worked incredibly well, but I believe that the recent development of technology allows us to do yet better again, with all respect to the genius people who developed the system on which our current society is spinning.
Curious to hear more? Visit Blockstack to get an idea about how it was from the presentations of last year, Decred to learn more about Decred Mediium about the importance of designing proper governance protocols and BlockchainTalks to learn more about a series of conferences which I co-organize in the Netherlands.