The Great Equalizer: Blockchain Will Liberate the Digital World


Many of us continue to take the freedom the Internet affords us for granted. However, this is not the case for most countries in the world, even in many countries where we perceive internet privacy and freedom as the norm. In effect, according to to Freedom House, “State intervention in the world’s digital sphere has contributed to the 11th straight year of global decline in internet freedom.” According to the report, global norms have shifted towards state intervention in the digital sphere, with forty-eight of the seventy governments surveyed pursuing moves to more heavily regulate the digital sphere, too often violating privacy standards. users and even freedom of expression. Blockchain technology, in an appropriately regulated environment, can provide the solutions needed to secure the future of the Internet while positively impacting users’ rights to privacy and freedom.

The web 3.0 revolution

The famous Web 3.0 revolution is inevitable. Enabled by blockchain, its decentralized nature will provide extraordinary freedom, privacy, and opportunities for innovation. This will further ensure that Internet services and products serve people rather than big business. Although some may not have heard of Web 3.0, its basic idea is a new, decentralized iteration of the World Wide Web based on blockchain technology.

Data is a critical part of how value is stored and transferred over the internet. In its current state, the Internet (and the collection of traceable digital user activity) is the inevitable product that allows businesses to monetize users, the users themselves never benefiting financially. The problem is that data is difficult to market on an individual basis, but can be very useful in bulk. Hundreds of companies have understood this principle and made Billions dollars by selling consumer data.

With the advent of Internet 3.0, we are approaching an Internet era where the main objective is to guarantee the confidentiality and security of user data. Decentralized information and data are at the heart of this new Internet paradigm. This movement is driven by a revolution in the way we, the collective, understand and appreciate the internet, and it is facilitated by blockchain technology.

A blockchain foundation

The essence of blockchain technology is its ability to distribute ownership and access to information among a wide range of entities instead of centralizing it in one intermediary. Disbursed governance allows us to ensure that individuals own their data and no one else. It also facilitates the emergence of new leadership structures that enable collaboration among a wide range of actors without requiring centralized direction, by dividing ownership between its creators and users.

For those unfamiliar, the beauty of blockchain is its foundation on a transparent and immutable system. Described as a kind of digital ledger, it facilitates transactions distributed across an entire network of computer systems and servers on the blockchain. Each block records transaction information, with the respective transactions being added to the participant’s ledgers. Managing multiple participants, immutable cryptographic signatures, and decentralized agency make the database unique.

Since Web 3.0 is based on incorporating blockchain technology into its operations, the new World Wide Web it will create will be decentralized, trustless (Web 3.0 eliminates the middleman) and permissionless (anyone can join and no one can ever be banned). These realities become even more critical in a world where autocratic governments seek to block human rights activists and dissidents from accessing the web. Blockchain and Web 3.0 are the future.

Digital property

Another positive contribution of blockchain technology to the internet of the future is the way it facilitates digital ownership. Believe it or not, even though a significant portion of the Internet relies on user-generated content, those who generate content, such as social media posts, do not own it. For example, YouTube says it can delete an account if it’s not “commercially viable.” In the case of games played on Web 2.0, game creators may freely cancel purchases of in-game items tied to accounts. Likewise, if one decides to stop playing the game, the value of the game objects is naturally completely lost.

Web 3.0 will enable direct ownership of digital assets. To show provenance and validity, users can create digital editions with a unique ID and digital certificate of authenticity. It also allows artists to accept consignments and forward digital works to collectors in compliance with the law. No one, including the designers of a game, has the power to take away ownership. Additionally, one can also sell or trade in-game acquisitions on open open markets to recoup their value if one chooses to stop playing.

The importance of blockchain

None of these significant changes will be possible without blockchain, as its unique characteristics cannot be replaced by any alternative available in today’s market. There’s a reason why Governments around the world have used blockchain to improve existing processes. Of course, aside from blockchain’s potential to facilitate the safe and secure sharing of data between users, its unique characteristics create a sense of trust between parties that other technologies could not generate.

In terms of trust, the real value of blockchain is in the decentralization and benefits of transparency and immutability. Additionally, by creating efficient workflow processes in the way it handles transactions, blockchain can save us money by eliminating the middleman.

Regulate and adopt intelligently

Over the past two decades, the Internet has revolutionized everything in the world as we know it, including financial markets, culture, and politics. The Web 3.0 revolution is closer than we imagine, thanks to the tools made available to developers via the blockchain. There are currently hundreds of apps being developed using blockchain technology, creating the infrastructure required for a fairer internet and enabling people to enjoy and fully benefit from their own digital activities. The continued development of blockchain should inspire Western policymakers to adopt smart regulations and facilitate the integration of this game-changing element into the daily lives of their citizens.

Elif Nisa Polat is an economist at the World Bank, where she focuses on the finance, competitiveness and innovation sectors in developing countries. His goal is to advise businesses and government institutions on blockchain and other emerging technologies. Elif earned her Masters in International Relations at Leiden University and a second Masters in International Relations and Economics at Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Efe Buldouk is an experienced finance professional and tokenomics expert, providing consultancy services to companies moving to Web 3. Prior to focusing on Web 3, Efe was the Regional Manager for Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean for Rystad Energy. He holds an MSC degree in energy finance from Sciences Po Paris as well as blockchain and finance certificates from MIT and Harvard Business School.

Picture: Reuters.

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