In a world of Facebook exploiting users’ data, Xi Jinping censoring WeChat, and Russia blocking the use of Telegram, the time has come for a viable solution to the data ownership crisis. In this increasingly globalized and hyperconnected age, we have incredible tools with which to conduct business, communicate with loved ones, and disseminate information. Unfortunately, these platforms are oftentimes misused by their creators, or by government actors.
From data breach after data breach to the open secret that these technology giants are selling our data to whistleblowing efforts, a part of our consciousness seems to know we are being taken advantage of. However, with a gridlocked Washington, D.C., the light of effective regulation seems to be dimming and most of us are so glued to the connectivity we have access to with these platforms that we have resigned to complacency.
With the onset of blockchain technology and decentralization, we are beginning to see the promise of what’s to come. In simplest terms, the blockchain is a decentralized, distributed ledger that records all public transactions. Because there is no central server, it is virtually impossible to hack, surveil, or harvest data. However, libertarians need not be the only ones enthused by blockchain and its anti-government, anti-corporation allure. Really, anyone who is tired of the NSA, CIA, or any other government force tasked with nosing around our conversations, or the behemoths of Silicon Valley inappropriately profiting from the sale of our personal information should be immensely excited about blockchain.
While platforms such as Uber or the Facebook family of companies—including Instagram and WhatsApp—have undoubtedly added a level of convenience and connectedness to our daily lives, we are paradoxically more reliant on these applications despite their claims that we are actually freer than ever before. The more we use and depend on these platforms, we become a slave to them because we cannot perform daily functions without them. And when we’re so dependent on these platforms, we become the de facto product and exploitation is bound to happen, as the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal led to the harvesting of 50 million Americans’ personal data.
Blockchain technology provides a potential solution.
Blockchain offers many benefits—including greater security, transparency, trust, and immutability—and is sure to have equalizing effects, although we are still in its infancy and the technical infrastructure will take more time to get up and running.
But rest assured, it will happen.
Some of the greatest minds in the world are devoted to making blockchain widespread, and the fruits of their labor are slowly beginning to show. Soon enough, we’ll be able to circumvent these intermediary platforms, allowing concertgoers to hail a ride without Uber, foreign workers to remit money sans Western Union, and enabling those 2 billion people without bank accounts worldwide to have a private, secure, and trusted place to hold their savings.
Of all the blockchain projects I’ve read about and studied, Skrumble Network appears to be one that will go mainstream in the not-too-distant future. A secure, private, and decentralized communication application powered on a unique blockchain has mass appeal. No longer will oppressive governments be able to spy on and censor their own citizens’ sensitive conversations, or keep tabs on those wishing to freely speak.
Likewise, multinational companies such as Google and Skype will finally have met their match in the face of an application that provides users true privacy and protection where their data cannot be exploited and sold off.
Centralized communication platforms are at risk of becoming obsolete as more and more people realize the benefits of decentralized networks and become users themselves. Finally, we have an answer with blockchain coming to the rescue to instill a desperately needed check on many of these conglomerates by posing a direct threat to the very business models that made their pockets so deep. With Skrumble Network, users are taking back control of their personal data and can sleep easy knowing their conversations are protected.
The applications and extensions of blockchain technology and decentralization are truly limitless, which should provide us with much optimism for the future. We are seeing the pieces begin to come together for a new world order, one consisting not merely of technical decentralization, but more importantly, the decentralization of power, authority, and information.
Jonathan Greenspoon is a Business Development Intern at Skrumble Network, a blockchain project focused on ushering in a new era of communication.