I was suspended from Twitter recently. The Pope had tweeted out an opinion on how to end war, which is his right to do. I responded by saying that it was a stupid idea, which was also my right to do…but do you know what happened? Twitter shut down my account in response.
Unfortunately, this isn’t that uncommon. Tons of people, mainly conservatives, have been getting banned left and right by Twitter’s biased algorithms and human resources team—all for the terrible crime of having an opinion. Not for sending death threats, not for threatening violence, and not for racial slurs. No. Just for having an opinion.
This is a growing trend across all mainstream platforms. From YouTube to Twitter to Facebook, more and more online video-streaming and content sharing platforms are shutting down innocent users for the horrible, horrible crime of having an opinion that doesn’t kowtow to the mainstream narrative.
Fortunately for us, however, this won’t be a problem much longer. As I’ve discussed before, the age of decentralization is coming—and it isn’t too far away. Soon enough, everything we do will be decentralized, from our social media, to our income, to even our governments. Here’s how.
The Evolution of Power
Over the past 5,000 years or so, human civilization has made quite a few quantum leaps. We’ve gone from living in mud huts to living in air-conditioned apartments, from throwing sticks and stones to launching nuclear weapons, and from bartering with chickens and goats to paying with plastic chips.
We’ve evolved in many ways, but in many ways we haven’t. Power is still relatively centralized, and although we have made enormous progress compared to the ancient days where a handful of leaders could rule it all, there is a major shift in systems that will be arising very soon.
I call this shift the decentralization of everything, or the “Age of Decentralization.” So far, power (and information by proxy) has gone through three distinct phases:
The centralization phase has, for the most part, disappeared in first world countries. It may exist in some third world hell holes, but even so it’s becoming increasingly rare. Most organizations, governments, and corporations, currently operate based off of a distributed power system. Think executive boards, shareholders, and bureaucracies.
A select few people, however, have been able to see the tides turn towards decentralization. There’s a new trend of power not just being distributed among different individuals at the top of a hierarchy, but rather being completely decentralized in the hands of the people.
When I first discovered YouTube, I was ecstatic. “Holy shit…how is this even possible?” I thought. Millions upon millions of videos were uploaded onto that glorious video streaming platform, in a truly groundbreaking new way to share information. Before you had to tune into one of the corporation-approved TV shows. Now, you could access anything.
…but something began to happen. As YouTube grew larger and larger, their power became more and more centralized. Sure, it wasn’t one guy who was making all the decisions, but it became something that it had initially sought out to destroy. It became a curator of content. It was no longer about the creators anymore, it was about the corporation.
Since then, we’ve seen YouTube post ads everywhere, ban channels, demonetize videos, and completely erase videos from existence for violating their vague and hazy terms of service. As melodramatic as this may sound, the future of freedom of speech and the free exchange of information is at risk.
Yes, distributed power is certainly better than centralized power—it’s better for there to be a little bit of power distributed throughout a whole platform, where users can share and create content without that much oversight. But even so, we’re starting to see problems with this.
Google has come under scrutiny for blacklisting pages that they dislike, Twitter and YouTube have grown notorious for suspending creators and demonetizing them, and of course, the infamous Zuckerberg has grown increasingly hated due to his tendency to “zuck” popular Facebook pages.
Censorship? No Thanks.
What is decentralization, you may ask—and it’s a valid question. Never before has there existed a concept like this before in all of human history, because it’s only just become possible thanks to the power of blockchain based technologies such as Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies.
With decentralization, the rules are collectively created by the users. Take, for example, LBRY—a video streaming service similar to YouTube, except that it’s based off of blockchain technology and is inextricably linked to a cryptocurrency named, you guessed it, LBRY.
With LBRY, anyone around the world can download a simple application and start running it on their computer. You can then access and upload videos from all around the world, just like YouTube—but here’s the kicker. Rather than content creators making money from ads, they make money from the community.
Content creators can charge micro-payments, which is only possible using cryptocurrencies, to make money from users. So instead of being bombarded with ads, you can pay something as small as a penny to watch a high quality, two hour long video.
Just this alone will lead two content creators being paid as much as 10x more than YouTube pays them, which will lead to much higher quality content being created. This is in addition to the fact that due to the nature of LBRY, there will be no corporation to collect your private information.
Of course, content creators can opt to charge nothing for their content if they wish. Think of it like YouTube with all the benefits, but none of the drawbacks—no annoying advertisements, no information collection, and no content censorship and demonetization.
The Web of Connection
With LBRY, rather than all videos being hosted on a single database (such as with YouTube), content will be distributed amongst a network of hundreds, thousands, and eventually even millions of people. In return for hosting these videos, users gain a little bit of LBRY coin every single day.
As the network grows in number, the coin will grow in value. We will then see our first LBRY millionaires (similar to Bitcoin millionaires), once the network becomes mainstream. Because the content is completely decentralized, it cannot be censored.
I cannot stress the importance of this enough. In a technopolistic world where a handful of silicon valley corporations are very rapidly accumulating all of the power online, decentralization will play a key role in helping to return power to the people.
This is the key tenet behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Contrary to what the investment bankers, politicians, and media shills tell you, cryptocurrencies are not a mere fad. They’re changing the world, one step at a time, by decentralizing power. They’re bringing the power back to the people, whether governments like it or not.
Decentralization (Blockchain 101)
Over the next decade, we’re going to see increasing amounts of decentralization—and the heavily entrenched powers that be are NOT going to be happy. They will no longer be able to charge us ridiculous fees for transferring money to family in different countries. They will no longer be able to control and cater the information that we see.
You got banned from YouTube for having a controversial opinion? No matter, just download the LBRY protocol and start uploading, censorship free. You want to buy a gun to defend yourself, but it’s illegal in your country? No worries, just use an anonymous cryptocurrency such as ZCash or Monero.
…or maybe your country tracks your IP address and blocks certain website? Again, no worries—just use a decentralized, IP-masking cryptocurrency like Substratum when you browse the web. The applications of blockchain are practically limitless, and we’re going to see it change the world very, VERY rapidly.
“But Jon, doesn’t someone create the cryptocurrency? Doesn’t that give them all the power?” someone might ask. Yes, this is a good question—because someone does have to create a cryptocurrency, but do you know what the difference is? Cryptocurrencies are algorithms. They’re run by math and protocols, not by people.
Someone can’t come in and decide to just take over LBRY, because LBRY isn’t a corporation—it’s an algorithm. Someone can’t just come in and take over Substratum, because it’s not a company—it’s an algorithm. Nobody can control blockchain based technologies, because they CAN’T be controlled. There’s nothing to control.
Summary: The Next 10 Years
In short, the Age of Decentralization is rapidly approaching—and it’s quite a time to be alive. For millenia, civilians were subject to intense scrutiny by governments, churches, politicians, and businessmen alike. No more, however are we slaves. No more will we be governed by ridiculous, outdated laws.
While I’m very grateful for platforms such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, the time has come for us to take the next step forward in technological evolution. Unfortunately, any entity that’s governed by a select few people, will be subject to corruption—this is just the nature of humanity.
Cryptocurrencies will usher in a new age of decentralization, and will allow the individual to flourish. PayPal takes a 3% cut for every eBook I sell, but do you know how much of a cut Bitcoin takes? Virtually nothing, less than .01% if that. The time of distributed power has come, and the Age of Decentralization is here.
This article is a bit different than what I usually published, but I felt inspired to write this—so please let me know what you think. This is a very complex topic, so if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to shoot me a message down below. As always, I hope you guys enjoyed the article…and I’ll see you next time.