The advent of the blockchain should enable a real economic and societal revolution, but we are still far from knowing in which direction it will go. According to some researchers, this technology could lead to a more open society as well as to a technocratic dictatorship.
According to blockchain aficionados, this technology could herald the advent of open and decentralized finance. Rather than going through central agencies, it would allow individuals to exchange values on their own. A great idea?
The Five Hypothetical Futures of the Blockchain
Some experts have serious doubts. This is particularly the case for Sarah Manski, a doctoral student at the University of Santa Barbara and a specialist in this technology. In her article No Gods, No Masters, No Coders? The Future of Sovereignty in a Blockchain World, she considers five scenarios, more or less catastrophic.
In the first, each individual would become an entrepreneur of his or her own, in competition with everyone else. All social relations would be regulated by the law of the market, with the premium going to the most influential. A libertarian future, therefore, which would engender the pure and simple disappearance of the notion of the State.
The second scenario imagines a technocratic sovereignty in which the institutions and actors of the crypto sector would use the blockchain to dismiss the GAFAM. Sarah Manski describes the creation of a myriad of autonomous and decentralized organizations.
In the third one, corporations like Google or Facebook would change their model and start distributing tokens to their users or developers in exchange for their data and services. According to the old adage “winners take all”, the giants would strengthen their power.
In the fourth scenario, technology would give states complete control over economic, social, and political activities to create the first techno-
Finally, the last scenario imagines, on a more positive note, a future in which distributed registers would allow the real emergence of the collaborative economy in which chains of blocks would be used for the common good with the creation of agricultural or energy cooperatives.
This picture would not be complete without considering that the blockchain could make these five hypotheses cohabit.
The blockchain, a system based on lack of trust
For his part, Michel Bauwens, the great theorist of collaborative economy and founder of the P2P Foundation, invites us to be especially vigilant. It is said that the blockchain is so secure that it allows exchanges to take place in complete confidence,” he explains. But the promoters of this system themselves don’t trust human beings and consider everyone suspicious. They believe it’s the role of technology to verify and endorse our choices. We must realize that those behind these architectures often put forward an ultra-liberal and hyper-rationalist ideology. They are engineers who learned economics on the job and who believe that humans are economic agents in constant competition. »
According to him, it is necessary to sort out the different start-ups that rely on the blockchain. He cites, among others, AgriLedger and Pylon Network, which are setting up agricultural or energy cooperatives, Fishcoin, which rewards in tokens fishermen and fish producers who agree to share their traceability data… With these projects, the final objective is to get away from speculative crypto-money and allow the arrival of a new economy in which the ecological efforts of workers could have a real value. Enough to change the world, for real!
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