The blockchain managed to gain the reputation of financial technology. Although this is mostly true, deriving from the fact that 99% of its use in the financial sector, it would be a shame if we disregarded it as an amazing system for other purposes as well.
Very few have considered the blockchain as a tool for activism, especially in anything besides finances.
In this article, I would like to shine a light on the uses of blockchain that can disrupt some of the vilest practices in the modern-day world. I will also touch upon the blockchain’s capabilities of being an activism tool through finances, but let’s focus on other sectors first.
The first industry or sector I’d like to focus on is the retail industry. You know, shops like Walmart, Target and various other supermarket brands you can find in your neighborhood. What do these brands have in common with activism and how can blockchain be a tool for it? Well, let’s find out.
Blockchain’s role in the retail industry
When I mention blockchain in the retail industry, I don’t necessarily mean the usage of cryptocurrencies for buying groceries or any other product that a family or an individual may use on a daily basis. What I mean is the opportunity to trace the product all the way from its raw material form.
There are some projects already that target this feature of the blockchain. They simply install barcodes on specific products, strike partnerships with both manufacturers and the retail stores, and give the consumers an opportunity to see where their product came from.
It’s quite simple actually. The consumer downloads an application scans the barcode of the product they’re about to purchase and receive information on who manufactured it, where the raw materials came from and some other information about it as well.
Now, how could this feature of the blockchain be a tool for activists? Well, it’s not necessarily a tool for every activist out there, but a particular one. The Global Warming activist is the one who can benefit from this the most.
When we go shopping in large retail stores, it’s sometimes very hard to remember which manufacturers adhere to the pollution laws, which of them are happy to decrease their carbon footprint, and which of them are ready to pay their workers in factories a living wage. Because of this, even if we want to protest a specific brand to force them to change, we sometimes make the mistake of buying their products.
It may seem like an honest mistake that happens just once, but considering that a nation’s population will have made that mistake at least once, that will be millions if not billions of dollars in revenue for that corporation.
With the blockchain, we can always track the product’s journey all the way from the factory and onto the shelf we are looking at. If something were to indicate the violation of pollution policies and human rights issues, we simply refrain from purchasing that product.
The best way to talk to corporations that have repetitive instances of misconduct isn’t through social media posts or new campaigns, it’s by directly depriving them of sales revenue and making them feel the burn.
Activism in finances
The next instance where the blockchain instills activism is the finance sector of course. It would have been impossible to write this article without considering this sector, as it’s pretty much why the blockchain was created.
In this case, we have to refer to cryptocurrencies, and more specifically, things like privacy tokens and security tokens.
One example I have about blockchain activism in the financial sector is the country of Venezuela. Their currency went through huge amounts of inflation, thus rendering it almost useless. Instead of relying on that currency, the population decided to go for cryptocurrency instead and completely revamp the nation’s economy.
Through this decision, they managed to not only instill a blockchain-friendly economy in some economies but also avoid the prying eyes of the authoritarian government. It is still one of the best forms of passive activism that we can find information on.
Activism against data mining
The blockchain is a decentralized network where the identity of the user is always protected. The transparency of the network allows both the users and the owners of the network to keep an eye on the proceedings and the decisions made by both parties.
This allows for a lot more accountability from large corporations, meaning that there will be no hiding of data mining, encroachment on privacy and etc.
Facebook, Google, and various other large companies have already been fined for mining their users’ data, but thanks to the large gaps between these fines, the corporations were still able to generate income from the information gained.
With the blockchain, any instance of mining this information or selling it without the users’ consent would be perceived as fine-able, thus exposing large corporations to crippling payments that they simply cannot maintain long-term.