Blockchain News

Social media giants must decentralize the internet… Now!


Big Tech has been in the news a lot over the last decade. Initially, the coverage focused on the new possibilities that were created around communication and information sharing and the benefits that these would bring. New tech networks offered unprecedented tools, offering everything from reuniting families separated by emigration to assisting in the overthrow of autocratic regimes and restoring power to the people. 

Next, we heard about the tremendous value Big Tech was creating, bringing billions of dollars to founders and workers, as well as the pension funds that invested in them. We knew they were a force for good in the world, not least because they never missed an opportunity to tell us this fact.

The sentiment toward Big tech changed near the end of 2016, fuelled by an unexpected result in the United States presidential election. Big Tech platforms were no longer tools to promote individuality and self-expression; they had swiftly become enablers of hatred and lies. Seemingly overnight, these companies went from darlings to pariahs, from bastions of free speech to being weaponized by malicious interests and rogue states to sway elections, planting false narratives. Individuals in control of the platforms went from defenders of freedom to being likened to dictators. Journalists wrote that Big Tech now had more capital than many governments and greater control of speech than any media outlet — without any democratic checks and balances or regulation to curb their worst impulses.

These events brought to the fore the amount of power that currently resides within Big Tech companies, along with the need to consider how we define speech in the modern world and how it should be amplified and regulated. That, in turn, touches on how the platforms that determine modern speech should be governed.

From decentralization to streaming

To address this, we should examine how the early internet unleashed so much creativity in its early days. Back then, the web was decentralized in its own way, with each website representing its own space, resulting in a vast network of nodes threaded together by hyperlinks. Some nodes were bigger than others, but none so big that they would distort the landscape or require specific regulation. The internet could be viewed as a vast garden, being added to with each additional website.

As both the network and the number of users grew, there was increasing demand for this network to be organized and made more efficient. Google capitalized on this by building an algorithm that searched the web and returned results and, in the process, kicked off a new internet that was defined by algorithms. Content was suddenly being recommended and defined by algorithms across music (Spotify), news (Facebook and Twitter) and entertainment (Netflix). The garden became a stream, and suddenly, we were all being influenced and directed by black-box algorithms that we knew very little about.

It is this new stream model of the internet that has caused such vitriol to be directed toward Big Tech. Big Tech companies dictate what content is acceptable to share and what should be promoted often by considering what is most beneficial to their bottom lines. Content controls are described as moderation for those who approve of them and censorship by those who disagree. The loudest voices dominate the conversation, often disproportionately favoring the Big Tech workforce and the traditional media — a small group with identifiable biases.

Back to the decentralized internet

What is the correct way to govern these massive platforms? Centralizing the power of founders is far too limiting, and outsourcing it to Californian employees and western media is only slightly better. Instead, we should look back to the decentralized internet of the past and see how we could recreate the period many older heads look back on with such nostalgia. Many claim that it is impossible to put this genie back in the box, given the enormous economic value that derived specifically from centralizing digital content and making it more accessible.

Blockchain has enabled decentralized governance of companies, allowing a form of democratic decision-making that is weighted toward those with skin in the game. Individuals buy governance tokens in a network, such as decentralized finance product suite, which provides them with votes on the governance of that ecosystem while also holding independent value and/or providing dividends. Companies can be natively decentralized like Yearn, or transition to this model over time, like DeFi lender Aave. This model provides returns, aligns strategy with ownership, and removes the principal-agent problem that is rife in public and private organizations. Companies can use it to distribute admin fees to owners as well as make strategic decisions.

Public discourse on content moderation often draws from legal and philosophical concepts, with a liberal sprinkle of America’s first amendment, to construct a top-down solution. This presumes that a small number of people knows what is best for millions, even billions, of users. But decentralized governance, proven effective by the booming DeFi industry, may allow for a bottom-up solution that puts the power in the hands of users. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey even announced his interest in such an approach at the end of 2019.

Decentralized governance could be achieved by providing tokens to users, as described above, which, in turn, would allow them to vote on principles of moderation. This could even be calibrated to the issue at hand — members of minority groups might have a greater weighting in issues related to discrimination or religious groups on freedom of religion. Power users might have greater weighting to their votes than casual ones. By trusting the broader issue of moderation to the wider community, users are engaging in a social contract that will make them far more likely to buy into principles that are adopted. As well as making moderation more efficient, this would likely repair some of the reputational harm suffered by social media companies, creating a clear distinction between censorship and moderation.

The biggest tech platforms have user populations bigger than the world’s largest countries, but none of them have the equivalent democratic checks and balances that we look for in governance. Identifying complex pain points, such as censorship and moderation, and finding ways to empower users to own these processes gives them skin in the game and access to create a flexible policy mechanism to help heal the bruised reputations of Big Tech. It is in the companies’ best interests, too, as the reputational hit of poor content policies has led to antitrust speculation and calls to break up Facebook, for example.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Luis Cuende is a co-founder of Aragon, a platform for building and running DAOs. Luis started his first open-source project at age 12. He got into Bitcoin in 2011, having been inspired by how crypto can bring freedom. In 2014, aged 18, he co-founded the blockchain timestamping startup Stampery. He holds multiple recognitions, including Forbes 30 under 30, MIT TR35, and best underage hacker of Europe by HackFwd.


Leave a Comment

You may also like


What are the Digital Asset Custody in 2021

Retail and institutional buyers everywhere in the world have began investing extra curiosity in digital property, thereby resulting in extra demand for digital asset custody choices. The continual evolution of digital property has resulted within the arrival of various kinds of custody choices. On the similar time, new gamers available in the market need to construct constructions and controls which might be aligned completely with their goal markets and worth propositions. 

The always altering definitions of custody of digital property alongside rising constructions have led to formidable uncertainties within the regulatory frameworks for custodians. Moreover, the altering panorama of the digital asset custody market has additionally invited the addition of extra controls to the prevailing frameworks. The next dialogue makes an attempt to replicate on the potential of options for custody of digital property in 2021. Allow us to discover out what 2021 holds for custody of digital property. 

Enroll Now:

View More Article

Listing of seven Finest Blockchain Explorers

After studying all the pieces in regards to the fundamentals of blockchain explorers, it’s affordable to grasp their significance within the blockchain ecosystem. As the elemental instruments for navigating blockchain platforms and purposes, blockchain explorers usually are not ‘nice-to-have, however vital for the final consumer to view and handle transactions on blockchain networks.

In a current article, we found the definition, working, and purposes of blockchain explorers intimately. So, how are you going to discover the perfect blockchain explorer in keeping with your wants? Since they’re vital for viewing your transactions on blockchain networks, you must be fairly cautious in regards to the alternative. The next dialogue outlines the seven greatest blockchain explorers that you would be able to depend on for monitoring and administration of purposes on blockchain.

Enroll Now: Ethereum Growth Fundamentals Course


View More Article

Hashing and Digital Signature in Blockchain

Need to know the way the very best stage of safety is carried out in blockchain? Hashing and Digital Signature are the vital phrases that convey desired safety stage in blockchain with cryptography. Let’s study what’s hashing and digital signature in blockchain.

Safety is likely one of the outstanding necessities within the current occasions, with companies questioning about modern approaches for safeguarding info. One of the crucial modern options which have emerged not too long ago for serving to companies in safe info alternate factors in direction of blockchain. Blockchain know-how brings functionalities of distributed ledger and ensures that unauthorized events couldn’t see the data exchanged in a particular transaction. 

It makes use of cryptography to supply the specified safety whereas bringing consideration in direction of hashing and digital signature in blockchain. Each hashing and digital signature have an enormous function to play…

View More Article

Push and Pull Technique in Provide Chain Administration – A Complete Information


Provide chain administration is undoubtedly one of many vital and core operations within the portfolio of a enterprise. You may come throughout numerous elements in your provide chain administration method with a profound affect on enterprise and backside traces. Subsequently, many enterprise homeowners sit up for alternatives in deciding on the best different amongst push and pull technique in provide chain

Even folks with none thought concerning the significance of provide chain technique can vouch for choosing best provide chain methods. Nearly all companies, starting from giants like Walmart and Amazon to small companies, rely largely on provide chain administration. So, allow us to take a deep dive right into a complete understanding of push and pull technique in provide chain administration

Enroll Now: Enterprise Blockchains and Provide Chain Administration Course

Significance of Provide Chain Technique

Initially, it is very important…

View More Article

Key Use Instances and Advantages of Blockchain in Provide Chain Administration


Do you wish to hint the origins of your cell phone? Or, do you wish to know concerning the place the place your favourite garments come from? The shops promoting these merchandise to you might be part of an enormous provide chain that begins from the place of amassing uncooked supplies. All industries have their very own mannequin of provide chain operations that contain planning and execution of various processes concerned in acquiring completed merchandise. 

Mainly, totally different entities, organizations, applied sciences, assets, and companies come collectively to fabricate a product alongside making certain that it reaches the factors of distribution. So what are the advantages of blockchain in provide chain administration? Blockchain has emerged as one of many newest technological interventions and has discovered promising functions within the growth of decentralized options. Alternatively, it’s affordable to suppose whether or not blockchain may revolutionize

View More Article

Know Every part about Blockchain Explorer


Blockchain know-how or popularly generally known as distributed ledger know-how typically works within the type of a peer-to-peer community. The person nodes or computer systems are beneath safeguards of cryptography with the help of various blockchain-specific protocols for conducting transactions.

Even when blockchain was developed as the inspiration know-how for cryptocurrency platforms equivalent to Ethereum, Bitcoin, and others, it has discovered functions throughout a number of industries. The unbiased and clear verification processes on blockchain are the foremost cause for its wide-ranging functions in numerous sectors.

Nevertheless, the commonest elements of utilizing blockchain embody the administration of digitized belongings and execution of transactions. Blockchain explorer is likely one of the distinguished examples of specialist instruments for viewing and managing digitized belongings. The next dialogue dives into an in depth overview of the definition, working, and methods to make use…

View More Article