Centralized establishments have long devalued the input of individuals, skewing the balance of power in favor of government and corporate influence. The decentralization movement now has the power to challenge this status quo by using blockchain technology to distribute authority to individual contributors within any given platform.
Financial decentralization was the first step. Here are just a few more components of everyday society that are being, or may soon be, improved upon by decentralization.
The decentralization of commerce is allowing for individuals to interact without trust, with no need for a middle man, or the fee’s associated with using the services of a corporate entity. Users are able to buy and sell most anything they please, without fear of being surveilled. While organizations such as ‘Open Bazaar’ are only pseudo-anonymous out of the box, a reasonably savvy user can take steps to ensure their privacy. Much of their data is distributed and encrypted, with personal information only shared between merchants who choose to interact.
Peer-to-Peer exchange platforms will allow individuals to buy and sell blockchain-based currencies securely. An additional benefit of decentralized financial platforms is that it allows each independent part to address the regulatory concerns of their specific jurisdiction without the hindrance of implementing global restrictions in small businesses or informal value transfer networks.
Soon to break above the horizon of the Free Market are leaderless corporations run on smart contracts. Such businesses would rely on their employee’s, and perhaps customers in some cases, to decide how a company should operate. One such example my be a co-op credit union, governed entirely by the electronic mandate of its membership. Instead of a Board of Directors with 10 people, high level strategy and mission could be voted on by the entirety of the community membership.
One of the greatest flaws of a Democratic government is the reliance on the few to represent the many. Originally, this was a necessity as the means to communicate and seek input directly from the electorate were geographically prohibited. However, technology has overcome this barrier so do we still require the same type of representation? Decentralization may some day return the power to govern a nation to its citizens. Rather than solely trusting elected representatives to act in our interests, politicians could be forced to ratify the will of the people using smart contracts, or a tax budget controlled by a DAO.
As technology progresses, the decentralization of all facets of everyday life will likely continue gaining momentum. This is important for the future of governance as the people now have a choice on how actively they want to participate. We can continue to assign our vote to an elected official or we can embrace the responsibility and voice our ourselves directly.