If you’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, then you are a fan.
In the third book in the trilogy of five (that’s part of the joke) Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect ride a couch through an intertemporal disturbance from earth, two-million years in the past, and get caught up in some sort of intergalactic cricket war.
The baddies are a group of Golgafrinchans who, according to the book, “were a race of humanoid beings who split their population into three distinct groups and sent their third group, the middlemen, on a spaceship which eventually ended up on planet Earth.”
So, according to The Hitchhikers Guide, we earthlings are the descendants of those banished Golgafrinchans.
Could be true. I don’t see how Earth-based natural selection allows a middleman gene to perpetuate, so it must have come from outside the system.
But the leap forward humanity’s about to take with blockchain might put middlemen right back on a one-way trip outbound from Earth…
Banks are intermediaries – middlemen by design. A baked-in-the-fiat-cake bureaucratic gatekeeper and processor.
Crypto, however, blows that design up. It eliminates the middlemen, allowing fully electronic, peer-to-peer payments that can’t be stopped. That’s why Bitcoin inspired the motto “Be Your Own Bank.”
But money was just the first step. Next came smart contracts enabling decentralizing exchanges like UniSwap, dYdX, and now Thor Chain.
And, if that’s not enough financial disintermediation for you, the ICO boom of 2017 proved that you can raise money for new business ventures without investment banks getting between the wall and the wallpaper.
Smart contracts also allow for distributed asset management, horizontally controlled insurance pools, and – since blockchains record all transactions – can even produce autonomous accounting.
And with upgrades underway for the biggest smart contract ecosystem on the planet, blockchain might soon set its sights on the most inefficient, ineffective, and costly middleman on the planet – centralized government.
The Point is Governance, Not Government
One of the primary breakthroughs of blockchain are the methods used to achieve consensus.
Proof-of-work mining provides a way for the Bitcoin network to arrive at consensus as to what transactions belong in the blockchain. Ethereum’s move to proof-of-stake arrives at consensus by allowing token holders with the biggest balances to determine what those transactions should be. Algorand employs a random process called sortition to choose new transaction validators with each new block.
Proof-of-work, proof-of-stake, sortition – these are all governance mechanisms. They enforce the rules of the blockchain without a centralized authority.
And which transactions go where isn’t the only type of governance blockchains can help provide.
Dear God, You’re Talking About Sheer Anarchy Man
The rules that govern a blockchain can be used to determine the rules that govern society.
Consensus mechanisms not only controls who gets a vote, they also can be used to figure out exactly what to vote on.
Prediction markets, or futarchy, offers one model – which is what the Augur token is all about. DAOstack developed a process they refer to as holographic consensus by letting only proposals with the most support rise to the top for a vote, keeping the system from getting flooded with proposals. And Algorand’s sortition can be applied as equally to proposed law as it can transactions.
And somewhere in all these attempts at decentralizing authority lies a solution that could replace all three branches of government.
“Anarchy” you say.
Well, yes. But not in the bomb and a mustache sense of the word. Anarchy doesn’t mean chaos, though everyone seems to use it that way.
Anarchy means “without a top” in Greek. It refers to a lack of hierarchy and, by extension, no centralized government. Imagine rules without rulers.
None of this negates a justice system, police or military accountable to society. It just removes centralization from government. It yields governance without big government. It strips government down to the last bureaucrat.
I know, that’s a lot to take in. But I want to challenge your assumptions just like I’ve challenged my own since Bitcoin hit the scene.
And with the new cryptocurrency project I’ll be launching soon, I’ll not only explore the incredible implications of open source, permissionless, cryptographically secure blockchains, you’ll also get regular actionable advice on how best to participate in and profit from the greatest decentralizing force ever unleashed on humanity since the third class of Golgafrinchans descended to Earth.
So stay tuned — and if you’ve not already joined my free, private Prosperity Pub Telegram channel, click here to join now. It’s one of the first places you’ll be able to get the details of my new project.