Twitter, GameStop… enough! The world needs true decentralization
GameStop and Twitter are both a mirage and an iceberg, but don’t try to tweet about it. Not because you won’t own a tweet (because you won’t), but because the only completely truthful expression Twitter can offer as a platform is to expose the ugly truth about the Internet itself. Or as Elon Musk recently tweeted:
In retrospect, it was inevitable
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 29, 2021
Let me explain.
As Robinhood stops doing business for its so-called users, Jack Dorsey talked about the decentralization of Twitter and social media in general. But aside from a few enthusiasts, the word “decentralization” is the equivalent of a syntactic vote. But don’t fall asleep right away. I’m not promising to tell you to buy Bitcoins (BTC), but I will tell you why you should be able to own a piece of the next Twitter and Robin Hood. Let’s start by saying what we all clearly feel.
It seems: The GameStop saga shows that legacy funding is rigged, and DeFi is the answer.
Decentralization has begun
There’s something… in the air. There is a palpable electricity. A tax is about to burst – not a literal tax, but a symbolic tax that has blocked the flow of progress and equality in many parts of our world. Power has always been in the hands of the few, and in all these areas it is about equality of power.
People are beginning to shift from centralized to decentralized models of power, away from the few who possess all the power to share it with the many. When that dam breaks, there will be a huge shift where everyone will become more powerful, while the most powerful among us will begin to become less powerful. The flight has already begun. This is the dawn of a new power.
Jeremy Heymans and Henry Timms, authors of the bestseller New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World – and How to Make It Work for You, describe the situation in a 2014 article :
“The old power works like a currency. It is held by a few. Once acquired, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial reserve to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and controlled by a leader. It downloads and captures. The new power works differently, like a stream. It is created by many. It is open, participatory and driven by like-minded people. It downloads and spreads. Like water or electricity, it is more powerful when it spreads. The purpose of new energy is not to accumulate it, but to channel it.”
A new force for the 21st century
Although the classic model of top-down power, the model of the tree or pyramid, has been around since at least Aristotle, the 21st century is moving toward something very different. We have seen it with the invention of the Internet, with political movements like the Tea Party or Black Lives Matter, with the Me Too movement, with free software, with collective knowledge projects like Wikipedia, and of course with the invention of Bitcoin (BTC) and the blockchain. But perhaps most interestingly, the universe itself, the human brain, art, and our natural ecosystems all resemble decentralized networks. Moreover, they do not resemble top-down energy models.
Heymans and Timms continue in their book:
“Those who build and operate huge platforms, in the service of the new power, have become our new elites. These leaders often use the language of the crowd – “share,” “open,” “connect” – but their actions may tell a different story. Consider Facebook, the new power platform most of us know best. Facebook’s two billion users have no stake in the enormous economic value created by the platform. No word on how it is managed. And no insight into the algorithm that appears to determine our moods, our self-esteem and even some of our decisions. Far from the free-spirited organic paradise that the early Internet pioneers imagined, there is a growing sense that we live in a world of participatory farms, where a few large platforms are fenced in and harvest the daily activities of billions of people for their own gain.”
Robinhood and Twitter – and, more importantly, the Internet design that made their business models possible – are centralized and unfolding. They are promoting the old power while bragging about it. This is where the mirage meets the iceberg. But after a tumultuous 2020, it seems people have had enough. The cat is out of the bag, so to speak.
Cultural and technological changes
What was once a theory has now become a reality. The network model really exists and, ironically, it needs a new home because it currently operates at the top of the pyramid.
The Internet is controlled by central servers of central entities. All our human data is controlled, manipulated, studied, sold and used to influence our behavior and obtain the greatest possible value for a small group of people. That’s the way it is, whether the technology giants want to admit it or not. Users are products, not customers. In the case of Robinhood, which has stopped trading GameStop and other stocks, the free service now shows that users’ commercial data is the real bread and butter by selling it to hedge funds. In the case of social media platforms, they sell our data to advertisers and sometimes to political campaigns – or worse.
So where are we now?
Millions of people today are desperate for new platforms where they can control their digital identity, manage their own data, and even enjoy and manage the platform. This new power proposition, where democracy meets libertarianism, fortunately already exists.
From the Bitcoin model created for peer-to-peer value transfer, to decentralized exchanges of digital goods only in code form, to decentralized financial stacking platforms that allow users to literally set the rules of the platform-all without a central governing body-the future looks bright.
But that’s not enough.
The everyday applications we use on our phones still run on the old electrical infrastructure. They all use central servers and corporate identities (about 70 people on average), and they all have companies that own all the data generated by their products/customers. This needs to change.
The new Internet, or Web 3.0, is creating a new infrastructure and new ways to move and store data. By removing centralized servers, giving Internet identities to public rather than corporate blockchains, and giving users the choice of how they store their data, applications are part of a new power movement. With a decentralized Internet, the popular phrase “if it’s free, you’re a product” can finally be refuted. How can this be done? Because Web 3.0 is a global movement, not a corporation.
It has always been thought that the Internet was a vast decentralized and intelligent network that no one controlled, like our universe, our brains, our oceans, and now our cultural movements. Decentralized social networks are already in development, with decentralized versions of Twitter, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp in the works.
The year 2021 marks the beginning of the end of the old power of the Internet. In my opinion, this cannot happen soon enough.
This article does not contain investment advice. There are risks associated with every investment and trading transaction, and readers should do their own research before making a decision.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in this document are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.
Donald Bullers has worked in the technology industry for over 10 years, from Vice President of Digital Marketing to founder of Tuum Technologies. He is interested in digital identity and Web 3.0 and leads several teams developing software for a fully decentralized Internet using Elastos technology.
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