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Asking For A Friend: Can Blockchain Stop the Borg?by@tbukher
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Asking For A Friend: Can Blockchain Stop the Borg?

by Tim BukherNovember 1st, 2020
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ZelCore is a writer, game theorist, securities lawyer, blockchain junky and futurist. ZelCore: Blockchain by nature is a testament to the sanctity of ownership rights: rightful possession, control of usage, and responsible stewardship. It’s a way to secure the extension of ourselves into a digital matrix, retaining our control over our labors and creations. The more we digitize, the more we run into issues of government oversight and taxation, ZelCore argues.

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Blockchain by nature is a testament to the sanctity of ownership rights: rightful possession, control of usage, and responsible stewardship.

This is what makes it such an attractive model for securing finance and digital rights. It’s a way to secure the extension of ourselves into a digital matrix, retaining our control over our labors and creations. 

Check out the intro to my ZelCore pitch back in 2019 where I talked about the financial industry’s need to take back these points of control from financial institutions (as well as the nascent technology’s failure, thus far, in doing so):

RE-EMERGENCE OF BLOCKCHAIN

Since 2019, after slowly cleaning off the grime of greed and distrust that blockchain tech had engendered during the 2017 shit-coin bubble and bust, the adoption of blockchain has grown in numerous verticals that have stood to benefit from it: 

In luxury markets, for the purposes of provenance in the fine art market.

The tracking of origin of goods.

Healthcare, which has progressed to gene editing, is emerging as information technology, will also require encryption to protect privacy, integrity of process, and access to services.

And once our physical lives are inevitably on-boarded (digitized) to the internet, every aspect of ourselves will become measurable and predictive. More than currency, cryptocurrency is information. Information that can be exchanged for cash.

BLOCKCHAIN AS THE BUILDING BLOCK FOR PERSONAL DIGITAL RIGHTS… MAYBE?

It’s ironic considering that the user, in the current state of the internet, is the only actor not collecting cash for his actions on the network.

As the share economy and internet of things continue to digitize our personal physical possessions, our ownership rights become a bit murky:

We have cars that report mileage to the manufacturer.

Facebook uses user posts of transactions about buying and selling items to build out its own networks.

Our phones, which, in addition to the usual data collection, allow third parties (government, WHO, etc.) to send communications to us, regardless of our privacy settings or personal views.

In fact, as we move to a more efficient sharing of resources, especially in localized communities, these exchanges may include the lending/buying/selling/movement of all manner of physical objects as well as services. This creates a digital matrix of the user and his experience - an avatar - which is information that, unless secured (e.g., via anonymization protocols) and locked up in a blockchain and, most importantly, controlled by the user, becomes free cash to the old internet Masters of the Universe. 

By analogy, the human body is comprised of billions of cells and organisms which provide essential functions in cooperative support of the greater organism using evolved processes to communicate information throughout the system.

Each cell contains all the information necessary for these processes in the form of DNA keys. Without these codes, which together map the proper proteins for life, a living system cannot exist.

Rather, it’s an ecosystem of discrete proteins (pieces of information) without a relational framework. Although these may eventually self-organize and evolve into balance within an ecosystem, this creation will not be human.

So what are we building? And is it representative of our humanity and values? 

And so this is where humanity now finds itself. As webs of corporate-sponsored AI self-organize user data and build predictive profiles within their ecosystem toward their varying industry agendas (e.g, Facebook for ad targeting, Honda for road mapping, Amazon for goods logistics, etc…), can we use blockchain (as a relational framework) to secure our digital avatars and reclaim our information for our own ends? Or is assimilation into the Google/Facebook/Amazon mainframe inevitable and resistance futile?

AND WHAT ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS?

The more we digitize, the more we run into issues of government oversight and taxation. Which is why many governments have rejected Libra and other platforms, in favor of developing their own

This begs the uncomfortable discussion of the government's continued role in our private lives, as well as the purpose and methods (and moral basis) of taxation (in current times). In other words, will we still need government if we no longer require a central institution (government/courts) to adjudicate digitized commercial contracts (e.g., smart contracts), and when Price Oracles can be used to facilitate off-chain contracts (thus eliminating the need for central banks)?

In fact, Price Oracles, which bridge the gap between smart contracts and off-chain technology, can be used to empower users in local communities, by facilitating transactions according to governance rules established by the community. These communities can raise resources for building and repairs using tokens valued according to their governance rules and may include cash, digital currency, services, goods and labor. 

Since money is simply a measurement of time it takes to extract information, all energies in pursuit of this are interchangeable. This includes the meta data of said organizational efforts. As such, the blockchain can help facilitate transactions within the community while securing the rights of the user and community to their digital avatar selves. 

Blockchain could help seamlessly, and trustlesly, log each community member’s contribution to the community (in time, money, energy, etc…) as well as enable the community to automatically reward (and punish) participants/non-participants. (Stay tuned for detail on this in my next issue.

Another question that remains is also echoed in the upcoming US election: which blockchain platforms and Price Oracle governance (voting) systems work best for the relational systems of local communities? Will we come up with a compassionate system that is representative of our humanity to manifest our destiny or will the AI (via the antiquated stewardship of governments and corporations) assimilate those deemed worthy into the centralized collective?

REVOLUTION REQUIRES ADOPTION

Of course it’s one thing to talk about all the great solutions that blockchain could provide in reclaiming digital human rights, but it’s quite a different beast to imagine a critical mass of adoption that would fuel such a revolution. Will it happen? Can it happen? I believe it can, but stemming from a grassroots level rather than the top-down (e.g., traditional tech) push we have seen attempted in 2017.

Traditional tech has always taken an “If you build it, they will use it” approach. Blockchain is anything but traditional. Its major strength is also its biggest weakness: the fact that it poses a threat to entrenched corporate and governmental institutions. Anything built that conspicuously threatens those institutions will be attacked and torn down by existing police agencies utilizing justifications such as investor protection (SEC), anti-money laundering (FinCEN/Interpol), etc.

Initial adoption will need to fly under the radar, winning the battlefield in inches until adoption spans and mutates into a hydra with too many heads to effectively slay. 

RECLAIMING OWNERSHIP

As I touched upon at my Zel Forum talk, one of the largest impediments to adoption is, and has been, greed. Crypto groupies talk a big talk about reclaiming the agency of our financial system from untrustworthy centralized stewards, but most secretly (and pretty obviously) measure their holdings against centralized gold standard: the USD. 

Why else would there be hundreds of competitive tokens that all do the same thing when, really, all we need is one store of value coin, one transactional coin, and maybe one privacy coin?

The true idealists are few and far between. More troubling is that they remain silent. (Where is Satoshi?) Nevertheless, the current economic troubles and insane rate at which central governments have been printing “relief” currency is likely to catalyze a true deviation from mainstream fiat like we haven’t seen since 2009.

Or will it?

Until next issue, live long and HODL :P

Previously published at https://www.timbukher.com/taurus-ascending/taurus-ascending-2-can-blockchain-stop-the-borg