As an advocate of decentralization and its potential to disrupt institutions with corrupt intermediaries, it’s easy to see the potential through rose-colored glasses.
With NFTs, artists have more opportunities to connect with their fans and profit directly from their work. Crypto gaming empowers players with a play-to-earn model, instead of suffocating them with microtransactions. Decentralized exchanges give anyone with WiFi and a cell phone the ability to not only take out a loan but lend their own crypto and earn interest directly, cutting out corrupt and exclusive banking institutions.
With the introduction of smart contracts and the advancement of blockchain technology, more and more intermediaries are being cut out, putting power in the hands of people.
With inflation and government surveillance at an all-time high, the push for decentralization could not have come at a better time. Crypto is moving out of the dark corners of the internet and into the mainstream. People are finally starting to understand the benefit of transactions being recorded on a public ledger, and demanding transparency that should have always existed.
It’s important to take a step back and look at the macro picture with this movement, though. While I champion personal responsibility and accountability, many are intimidated by its long-term implications. Others question whether we are actually building something better or creating another system ripe for malicious actors to take over. Even though DeFi operates in a trustless system, there is still a level of trust required for mass adoption to occur. Can we honestly say that the majority of people advancing the DeFi agenda are acting in good faith?
Human history can be boiled down to this simple dynamic: centralization versus decentralization.
Civilization has been defined by this power struggle. It is a continuous cycle of leaders consolidating power and fighting for centralization of authority, the conflict that follows after the inevitable corruption of said centralized powers, and the push for decentralization to correct the corrupt consolidation of power.
This is a kairotic moment in history; a revolutionary time with the potential to create equality and opportunity on a global scale. The future will be defined by the motivation behind this movement. Personally, I want to create a better world with this technology, but I am not naive enough to believe that it won’t be used for malevolent reasons.
Greed is a powerful motivator. Crypto has already been utilized for insidious reasons, from simple scams to sinister things like drug and human trafficking. While the core tenet of DeFi is decentralization, there are still leaders in the industry. Look at their motives, and stay vigilant. Bad faith actors are inevitable, but they should be the outliers. It’s up to all of us to make sure they don’t define the movement and destroy the purity of the message.
We are building a better future with this technology, and with great power comes great responsibility.