Looking at how blockchain technology is making progress every single day, it’s safe to say that we are gradually heading towards a totally decentralised global system. Not just in the financial sector as we are sewing now, but in terms of everything else; supply chain, gaming, security – most importantly, security.
Blockchain is said to be the most secure system so far, and some even believe it is the ultimate antidote for corruption. But in spite of all this, is blockchain just all honey and milk, no downsides to it, or is there some price to be paid?
Now look at it this way as Samantha Radocchia, when you get a new app from your cell phone’s app store, some credentials are mostly required from you to help you avoid the stress of creating a new account for every app with possibly a new password every time when you could actually just use one account for all.
“Name, email, age — all that information can be outsourced to the identity you’ve created through Facebook or Gmail. That’s the web 2.0 version of identity construction. And while it may seem pretty ordinary now, that’s only because people have grown used to hauling around a digital identity and using it for different apps.”
With blockchain stepping into the picture, let’s say things are going to get amped a bit – more like web 3.0. This time around your digital identity which follows you absolutely anywhere. In such a system almost every single place you go to will require a digital identity (your digital identity) in order for you to have access to facilities or pay for services. We have seen tech giant’s like IBM begin to develop blockchain platforms to support such an ecosystem. We have also seen mew projects with a similar goal like UniquID, and uPort.
The real concern at the moment is that blockchain is decentralised, which means your information is spread across a global system and not owned by some central autonomous figure. This has undoubtedly raised some eyebrows and concerns as people wonder what will become of the confidentiality they have enjoyed in the autonomous centralised system.
The Ethical Problem Faced By Blockchain
The real issue with blockchain technology is not a code flaw, or some bug or virus, but an ethical issue.
This is no news to the world of technology. Almost every tech that is churned out of the factories today is meant for the “greater good” of society. However, what always happens is that there is some person or persons who will misuse that tech to the detriment of the human society.
Now such a decentralised system which gives everyone a digital identity can also pose a similar threat.
The People’s Republic of China presently operates in a system where people are awarded scores or social behaviour, and the outcome of these scores determine your access to things like the internet, education, and travelling. Imagine a blockchain, with all of the people’s digital Ids stored on it, in the hands of the government of such a country. Imagine the autonomy blockchain would have handed to the government – a disturbing paradox, in that what was meant to do away with autonomy ended up creating the greatest autonomy ever.
Blockchain may, and does have great potential indeed but if there’s one thing Hollywood has taught me in the past 18 years from Tobey Maguire to Ryan Reynolds, it’s that with great power comes great responsibility or irresponsibility. We determine which side of the scales we will lean towards the most. And with the tech apparently still in infancy, we will have to beat the hard path for which this tech will have to thread. Just so one day we don’t sit back in shame as we realise we failed posterity.
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