Why There is No Digital Future Without Blockchain by@zinnia

Why There is No Digital Future Without Blockchain

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Zinnia Network

Zinnia represents the quest for a sustainable, transparent, decentralised future.

As we witness an explosion of value around blockchain-based ecosystems, many people are wondering about the intrinsic value of the technology. How does blockchain work? Why does something need blockchain? But the question you should be asking is…

Should everyone try to understand it?

It may seem a bit blunt, but the truth is that most of us don’t know how many of the things we use everyday work. From CPUs & databases to the infrastructure of the internet, the inner workings are reserved for a select group of people who generally work in the development of these innovations.

The most important thing about understanding this new technology is to understand which problems it can help solve. And those problems are big ones that are becoming increasingly important in society.

Personal privacy and your attention as a commodity

You have probably heard about the Facebook papers last year. In short, the Facebook papers showed that the company has designed its product with the purpose of increasing engagement, no matter the cost. This has led to many icky situations, from the handling of sensitive social issues to harvesting data from minors for extremely dubious reasons.

“Facebook uses personal data collected about young people aged 13 to 18 years to profile them across a range of categories. Many of these profiles are created using highly sensitive data, that leaves young people vulnerable to advertisers. For example, Facebook uses data it collects about minors to create profiles of young people with harmful or risky interests, such as 13 to 17-year olds interested in alcohol.”

Read more: Reset Australia “Profiling Children for Advertising: Facebook’s Monetisation of Young People’s Personal Data“.

Whilst most people consider this unethical and call for Facebook to ban these abusive practices, the real problem here is that Facebook is a profit-driven company that needs to perform these tasks to keep making their employees and investors money. The entire business is designed around making people spend as much time on Facebook as possible and selling this time to advertisers, along with the user’s data.

And it’s not only Facebook. It’s happening everywhere online. From your Google searches to your favorite candy stacking mobile game; it’s all driven by capturing your attention for profit.

This is where blockchain comes in. Specifically, a new idea that has emerged that uses blockchain technology called web3. Web3 (or web 3.0) is a proposed new way for the internet to work. In simple forms, just as web2 moved from company-generated content to user-generated content, web3 will transition the internet infrastructure from company-driven to user-driven.

This means that there will be apps (commonly called Dapps, or decentralized apps), that are run by thousands of regular people all over the world. There are no central servers and no single profit-seeking party. Users will have more control over their data and can benefit from their data if they choose to.

Data leaks and data ownership

It looks like we’ll be using Facebook as an example again (sorry not sorry). Unfortunately, there are too many examples of data leaks, but this one is especially frightening. You might have heard about the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica case, there a lot (tens of millions of people’s) of incredibly sensitive user data was “lost” by Facebook and illegally acquired by a company called Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica then used this data, which included intimate details on people’s personalities, to create voter profiles to be used in election campaign advertising and marketing. WOW.

Ok, so you’re probably wondering what this has to do with blockchain. Well, if you followed me before as I mentioned web3, the new structure for the internet will be run by people, not companies. One of the ways this will impact data is that the way user data is managed will be fundamentally changed. Currently, most data is stored in massive data centers, like this one.

image

If we want to prevent situations as in this example, we need to change the way data ownership is managed.

In web3, new storage solutions allow people to store data for each other in a secure and decentralized way. This makes it much, much, more difficult to obtain user data through hacking a server full of data. At the same time, the way data will be managed on the user-side is that it will be completely permission-based. Users will be able to manage data access on the fly, giving and withdrawing permission to personal data when needed. In our vision, this will end up being the way the internet is going to work in the future, whether you apply for a loan or do an online personality test.

Extremist groups, war, or oppressive governments

There’s a darker use case for blockchain and unfortunately, it’s something many people are experiencing every day. Whilst we don’t want to dive into specifics here, I think it’s not hard to imagine situations where an oppressive force, like a government, limits people’s online freedom. They can do this because of the centralized nature of the internet. They might choose to censor certain conversations or websites, take down entire social media networks or even track your online identity and behavior to see if you comply with a specific viewpoint.

The power of blockchain here lies in the power of digital sovereignty, in other words, the freedom to do whatever you want online without anybody telling you otherwise. Here again, the decentralized nature of blockchain is key, because it makes it virtually impossible for any third party to interfere with the process.

A note on financial freedom

Whilst it’s not the focus of this article, I couldn’t publish it without an honorary note about financial freedom and Bitcoin. Many of the ideas and concepts mentioned in this blog come from the vision behind Bitcoin. The idea is that the decentralized nature of blockchain allows people to transact wealth freely, without the need for banks, governments, or anybody else. This once sounded like a futuristic libertarian utopia, now it’s becoming a reality. In the current war in Ukraine, the struggles of the refugees are tremendous but we’ve seen multiple reports pop up, where people can escape with their wealth thanks to Bitcoin. And it reminds us that ‘the future’ always seems lightyears away; until it doesn’t.

A vision for the future.

Whilst we may still be some years away from the decentralized future I’ve just sketched in this article, the amount of money and talent pouring into web3 and blockchain ecosystems is enormous. I wouldn’t be surprised if this spurs the development into hyper-speed and creates truly decentralized web3 ecosystems sooner rather than later.

We’re doing our part and building important innovations that we believe will serve as an important backbone for the future of the internet. Join us here.

Good to know:

This story was written by Vincent Maliepaard, marketing lead for the Zinnia Network. There is no incentive to sell anything with this post, but we’d appreciate it if you check out our social media.



Welcome To The Web3 Writing Contest

As we witness an explosion of value around blockchain-based ecosystems, many people are wondering about the intrinsic value of the technology. How does blockchain work? Why does something need blockchain? But the question you should be asking is…

Should everyone try to understand it?

It may seem a bit blunt, but the truth is that most of us don’t know how many of the things we use everyday work. From CPUs & databases to the infrastructure of the internet, the inner workings are reserved for a select group of people who generally work in the development of these innovations.

The most important thing about understanding this new technology is to understand which problems it can help solve. And those problems are big ones that are becoming increasingly important in society.

Personal privacy and your attention as a commodity

You have probably heard about the Facebook papers last year. In short, the Facebook papers showed that the company has designed its product with the purpose of increasing engagement, no matter the cost. This has led to many icky situations, from the handling of sensitive social issues to harvesting data from minors for extremely dubious reasons.

“Facebook uses personal data collected about young people aged 13 to 18 years to profile them across a range of categories. Many of these profiles are created using highly sensitive data, that leaves young people vulnerable to advertisers. For example, Facebook uses data it collects about minors to create profiles of young people with harmful or risky interests, such as 13 to 17-year olds interested in alcohol.”

Read more: Reset Australia “Profiling Children for Advertising: Facebook’s Monetisation of Young People’s Personal Data“.

Whilst most people consider this unethical and call for Facebook to ban these abusive practices, the real problem here is that Facebook is a profit-driven company that needs to perform these tasks to keep making their employees and investors money. The entire business is designed around making people spend as much time on Facebook as possible and selling this time to advertisers, along with the user’s data.

And it’s not only Facebook. It’s happening everywhere online. From your Google searches to your favorite candy stacking mobile game; it’s all driven by capturing your attention for profit.

This is where blockchain comes in. Specifically, a new idea that has emerged that uses blockchain technology called web3. Web3 (or web 3.0) is a proposed new way for the internet to work. In simple forms, just as web2 moved from company-generated content to user-generated content, web3 will transition the internet infrastructure from company-driven to user-driven.

This means that there will be apps (commonly called Dapps, or decentralized apps), that are run by thousands of regular people all over the world. There are no central servers and no single profit-seeking party. Users will have more control over their data and can benefit from their data if they choose to.

Data leaks and data ownership

It looks like we’ll be using Facebook as an example again (sorry not sorry). Unfortunately, there are too many examples of data leaks, but this one is especially frightening. You might have heard about the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica case, there a lot (tens of millions of people’s) of incredibly sensitive user data was “lost” by Facebook and illegally acquired by a company called Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica then used this data, which included intimate details on people’s personalities, to create voter profiles to be used in election campaign advertising and marketing. WOW.

Ok, so you’re probably wondering what this has to do with blockchain. Well, if you followed me before as I mentioned web3, the new structure for the internet will be run by people, not companies. One of the ways this will impact data is that the way user data is managed will be fundamentally changed. Currently, most data is stored in massive data centers, like this one.

image

If we want to prevent situations as in this example, we need to change the way data ownership is managed.

In web3, new storage solutions allow people to store data for each other in a secure and decentralized way. This makes it much, much, more difficult to obtain user data through hacking a server full of data. At the same time, the way data will be managed on the user-side is that it will be completely permission-based. Users will be able to manage data access on the fly, giving and withdrawing permission to personal data when needed. In our vision, this will end up being the way the internet is going to work in the future, whether you apply for a loan or do an online personality test.

Extremist groups, war, or oppressive governments

There’s a darker use case for blockchain and unfortunately, it’s something many people are experiencing every day. Whilst we don’t want to dive into specifics here, I think it’s not hard to imagine situations where an oppressive force, like a government, limits people’s online freedom. They can do this because of the centralized nature of the internet. They might choose to censor certain conversations or websites, take down entire social media networks or even track your online identity and behavior to see if you comply with a specific viewpoint.

The power of blockchain here lies in the power of digital sovereignty, in other words, the freedom to do whatever you want online without anybody telling you otherwise. Here again, the decentralized nature of blockchain is key, because it makes it virtually impossible for any third party to interfere with the process.

A note on financial freedom

Whilst it’s not the focus of this article, I couldn’t publish it without an honorary note about financial freedom and Bitcoin. Many of the ideas and concepts mentioned in this blog come from the vision behind Bitcoin. The idea is that the decentralized nature of blockchain allows people to transact wealth freely, without the need for banks, governments, or anybody else. This once sounded like a futuristic libertarian utopia, now it’s becoming a reality. In the current war in Ukraine, the struggles of the refugees are tremendous but we’ve seen multiple reports pop up, where people can escape with their wealth thanks to Bitcoin. And it reminds us that ‘the future’ always seems lightyears away; until it doesn’t.

A vision for the future.

Whilst we may still be some years away from the decentralized future I’ve just sketched in this article, the amount of money and talent pouring into web3 and blockchain ecosystems is enormous. I wouldn’t be surprised if this spurs the development into hyper-speed and creates truly decentralized web3 ecosystems sooner rather than later.

We’re doing our part and building important innovations that we believe will serve as an important backbone for the future of the internet. Join us here.

Good to know:

This story was written by Vincent Maliepaard, marketing lead for the Zinnia Network. There is no incentive to sell anything with this post, but we’d appreciate it if you check out our social media.


Zinnia Network HackerNoon profile picture
by Zinnia Network @zinnia.Zinnia represents the quest for a sustainable, transparent, decentralised future.
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