Cryptocurrencies and the Distribution of Power in the Age of Google and Facebook
Originally published on: CCN
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March 15, 2018
Although Bitcoin has been able to prove it is possible to exchange value without the need for the centralization of money production and validation, cryptocurrencies have a long way to go.
Exchanging value freely online is probably the most important achievement since the internet actually came to existence. If you think about it, despite how many other technologies will influence, accelerate and improve the overall quality of living, like AI, VR, AR and machine learning, none can compare with cryptocurrency in terms of basic influence on people’s lives. This is, in a few years everyone will definitely use some sort of cryptocurrency for payments. Why would people still want to hold onto bank accounts that have fees to maintain? I’m not referring to companies or governments; I’m talking about people in general. The influence cryptocurrencies can have in daily things will happen much faster than other technologies, much like the internet.
— this article is not financial advisement, simply my opinion and thoughts. Most of my personal savings are in some form of cryptocurrency so please take whatever I say with a grain of salt. Do not invest what you cannot afford to lose–
Shall we address the not-so-transparent elephant in the room?
In my last article, I did mention all who gain power are afraid to lose it. How enjoyable it was when today I woke up and read Google’s also banning cryptocurrency ads! It wasn’t so long ago that Facebook also chose to ban any cryptocurrency related ad too.
“I’m sure they both had solid reasons to do that”
Oh man, if only that were true. If only companies actually cared about people, the outcome of so many strategies would be so different.
Today I have a simple goal: to show you how wrong people’s perception of these companies’ strategies really is.
When you hear a company is blocking certain ads, behaviours, actions, posts, whatever it is, the reasons are most likely competitive ones. This is, the easiest way for any company to dominate the market is by shaking off competition. Let’s use the two examples mentioned above.
“This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up across our platforms including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram. We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.”
“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumers harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution.”
Both companies mention more or less the same reason: to protect consumers from bad investments and scams. I mean, that seems fair right? Below we have google’s adwords user policy.
For extra details check the Financial Services section. Interestingly enough, companies are indeed allowed to advertise financial services, like personal credits, financial products, etc. So why exclude cryptocurrencies?
Demystifying Companies’ Behaviors
The most obvious answer is to block competitors with much more added value to advertise their products. There are people building decentralized search engines, decentralized social networks, decentralized supply-chains and decentralized everything. This means that economic incentives ARE included with the platform. You, as a user, will get money (in the form of tokens) for using those platforms or for sharing content on those platforms. The basic idea is that you always get something in return.
This is the true power of distributed ledger technology: when you associate it with economic incentives, virtually any product or company can be decentralized. Users of those products or companies will have more added value because there is an economic incentive working on the background to improve their experience by giving tokens for data, which can exist in many forms and shapes. Just look at:
Bitclave, a decentralized search engine: with this product you’re able to get tokens for sharing data. It is literally a web browser that pays you for searching and sharing data.
Do you think this was Google’s reaction?
Steemit, a social network where users get paid to post content. The steemit ledger has incredible mechanics where posts actually count as transactions making the blockchain move forward. Any post you share on steemit can be upvoted by community members and each upvote will entitle to some steem dollars.
Both projects are backed by incredibly talented people. For example, Dan Larimer, Steemit’s founder, is also coordinating the EOS project, which is considered to be one of the major contestants as a future player in the DLT protocol industry. There are many other cases of companies developing state-of-the art technology that can improve people’s lives everywhere around the world. We’re talking about the full digitalization of any asset with economic incentives. Meaning, any correctly implemented blockchain, with PoW as consensus mechanism, is infinitely more secure than Google’s or Facebook’s servers. This has been proven by Bitcoin and the blockchain, at least until now.
As users of Google and facebook, we have two options. Either we accept the policies and get on with our lives, or we refuse to accept them and either go away or make some noise about it.
Leaving those platforms is hardly the right solution, as forcing people to change is literally what I’m against. Raising awareness about the centralization of those platforms and sharing alternatives, that is what we should be doing.
At the end of the day, we all have a choice:
(a)We can accept these companies will forever own our data and monetize it for their own profits, creating unbalance in the content creation economy and lifting barriers for competitors to enter the market (because they can ban people from posting alternatives as it’s happening now);
(b) We can instead support other projects, not only by creating content on those platforms (profiles, articles, posts, etc) but also by sharing them with others. The more people, the merrier!
You are now allowing these companies, which actually profit from your data, to decide what you can and cannot see.
Remember: if you believe in cryptocurrency at is core, spend as much time as possible thinking about it and talking about it. It’s up to all of us to teach and share how this wonderful technology works and the numerous advantages it brings for its users.
Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy
Featured image from Shutterstock.