The Blockchain Stands as the Knight Against Fire-Breathing Monopoliesby@Giorgi-M
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The Blockchain Stands as the Knight Against Fire-Breathing Monopolies

by Giorgi MikhelidzeSeptember 20th, 2019
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Bitcoin is a decentralized medium of exchange, not a monopoly, it's a direct alternative to the government's monopoly on money. Bitcoin is the only real challenge that the modern financial system had to face in terms of competition was when the blockchain first became available. Governments from all over the world were trying to prevent its expansion as early as 2014-15. But what if the one who's tasked to control monopolies, governs the largest monopoly of them all? What about currencies, or money in general? Who prevents monopolies there?

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Monopoly is a word you hear probably once a month or so, maybe once a week if you’re a big board games fan. The word itself has stopped being associated with terrible business practices and is now considered more as honest fun with your friends.

However, should you mention this word in front of a business owner or a future business owner, you will immediately see his eyes widen and dread to cover his facial expressions. A monopoly regardless of what it’s being practiced on is the worst thing that can happen to a country’s economy, a consumer’s product, and an entrepreneur’s dreams.

In the past, we’ve used things such as the Antitrust law to prevent large corporations from blocking trade or using their vast resources to influence the market. Government agencies have been up in arms trying to regulate the market, but the fact is that they’re not truly enough.

There will be a time, where a brand will grow so much, that it achieves monopoly status inadvertently, thus being thrust into a position of power, which very few can retain or control.

But what if the one who’s tasked to control monopolies, governs the largest monopoly of them all? What about currencies, or money in general? Who prevents monopolies there?

A knight in shining code

The only real “challenge” that the modern financial system had to face in terms of competition was when the blockchain first became available. Sure, the technology was not as popular back then as it is now, but governments from all over the world were trying to prevent its expansion as early as 2014-15.

Why was there such a rush to control the blockchain industry? Because it was going against everything the traditional financial system had installed and achieved over the course of several centuries. 

It was a decentralized currency, meaning that neither the government nor the central bank could determine the route it would take in the future.

As we all know, inflation is very heavily monitored in countries with floating exchange rates, which gives the currency a very artificial sense of value, while cryptocurrencies have a set amount available at any given moment, with a little left in reserve for a rainy day.

The blockchain disrupted the governments’ monopoly on money by simply becomming an option for the regular consumer.

Where else does the blockchain reign supreme?

The fact that the blockchain combats the monopoly on money is quite obvious, it’s pretty much a direct alternative, which is cheaper and faster, but what about other industries? Where does the blockchain technology, as a representation of medium of exchange reign supreme?

In order to answer that question, we need to go North, almost as North as we go, until we reach a place called the Nordics. Three countries aligned right next to each other. Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Not only do these countries share the same flag patterns and unbelievably cold winters, but also a well-hidden monopoly that they’re trying to sweep under the rug for others to simply ignore.

Although the monopolies were installed for a good cause, a government-owned enterprise pretty much destroys any prospects of innovation, advancement and customer-friendly attitude.

The industry in question here is iGaming, or as people like to call it online wagering.

Breaking the firewall with a line of code

As a person who’s witnessed what addiction to iGaming can do to people, I supported the idea of restraining the industry within government control, but only before I looked into how exactly it’s being enforced.

No online website or an offline venture has the right to set up shop in these countries, which seemed quite good in the beginning. But the moment you compare the service one gets with a monopolistic company as opposed to a privatized industry, the problems are immediately displayed.

Disadvantageous odds, very high minimum entry prices, restriction from cashing out and etc. Overall, the whole gig is formatted so that people stay away from it after trying it once. But as already mentioned, as a witness of true addiction, no matter what the price gap is, people will try to get their hands on something no matter what.

Because of this, Norwegians, Swedes, and Finns tend to throw away most of their paycheck into these SOEs (State Owned Enterprises) because there is nothing else available. It has become so terrible that the local populace in Finland is already starting to go against the government’s decisions.

As an interviewee of a local iGaming supporting website, NorskeCasino mentioned:

“The government was supposed to use all of the revenue from their monopoly to support the addicts.

There have been zero registrations of new agencies, investments in this segment of the country’s healthcare and no real cashback for the customers.

It was supposed to be a good thing. People should have started to avoid wagering, but they went ahead and made it more expensive without warning.”

You can view the source for the full story right here.

Because of sentiments like these, iGaming websites outside of the Nordics started to add cryptocurrencies as a payment option, especially things such as Bitcoin and privacy tokens. Although Bitcoin is the most traceable crypto out there, at least it has the most liquidity.

Thousands of Nordic people started to use cryptos to escape the government’s monopoly on the industry, simply because the firewall wasn’t fine-tuned to block outbound payments via the blockchain system.

And even though that is being developed as we speak, just a small replacement of the type of blockchain is enough to avoid it once again.

So basically, no matter what the government does, the blockchain technology will be a step ahead of it regardless.

But isn’t it harmful to the consumers?

Yes, it definitely is, I’m not here advocating for iGaming, I believe it’s one of the worst industries out there. But as long as the blockchain can interfere with the government’s mismanagement of it, then I’m all for it. Why? Because it gives them a sense of competition on the technological level rather than a political level.

And what does competition do? It drives innovation, adoption of new ideas and switching to an openminded society.

Should the blockchain had not become such a “problem” to traditional establishments, the question about its adoption on a state level would have never been asked. In a sense, the government has to fight fire with fire.

But there’s little they can do in this sense as they can’t even combat a VPN system.

If you support cryptos you already have a USP

USP stands for Unique Selling Point. This is something that brands and companies use to stand out from the rest of the competition. But what does the blockchain have to do with this understanding?

Well, it’s quite simple actually. As long as a large corporation dominating a specific industry doesn’t support this technology, i.e. Google, Amazon, Apple, and etc. There is room for newer, more innovative brands to emerge by basing their USP on the blockchain. This can even apply to a country.

For example, a diehard crypto fan would leap at the opportunity to spend his cryptos for online shopping, rather than convert them and shop on portals like Amazon or eBay.

As long as there is an alternative, the market will always be split into two, therefore preventing any type of unfair market share division.