Most of the hype concerning blockchain revolves around its applications in finance, as well as in business. The cryptocurrency market and the ICO are still dominant in new technology, and billions of dollars continue flowing into space, but the focus has been directed towards the use of blockchain for the public good.
People usually tend to gloss over the possible applications for the public good from deploying blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT).
It can be seen as quite unlucky when considering that the safety, as well as transparency and immutability that technology provides,makes it a prime and independent tool for such efforts. While Bitcoin has been conceived in reaction to the financial crisis of the late 2000s and slated to be a digital currency free from the influence of financial institutions, not many of them today are familiar with these roots.
So, the thing that some projects are pursuing this “for-the-people” viewpoint, as well as offering mechanisms to promote fairness and equality should be seen as something positive. To this end, many initiatives in the space have sprung, and they also appear now to be gaining some traction.
For instance, pioneering blockchain-based platform Horizon state has recently announced several partnerships where its voting mechanisms are going to be put to use to encourage public good engagement. Sapien, the decentralized social media platform, has also secured $11 million from its ICO, which allows it to buy its goal of providing equitable means for content creators to publish content.
Take the example at Substratum. It is a U.S-based software development firm which has architected, as well as developed and deployed software solutions from Fortunate 100 companies like Apple, Disney Facebook, and HP amongst other; together with DIF which is building an open-source, decentralized identity ecosystem for people, organizations, apps, and devices, aim to provide decentralization to network infrastructures, as well as digital identity, respectively.
Three areas where such projects are helping address modern societal issues, as well as promote the public good;
Despite the growth of democracy around the world, the mechanisms which are used to facilitate the democratic process are far from perfect. It is just lately that governments have adopted electronic voting to facilitate elections.
In “e-voting,” the voters use an electronic device to make and record their ballot choices. After that, the voting choices are recorded on the machine itself or the machine can also generate a token on which the choices are recorded.
A lot of countries and localities though still rely on manual paper-based methods that are vulnerable to manipulation. However, even when electronic means were adopted, some issues can again arise where software or hardware errors can lead to disastrous results, as well as undermine the integrity of the process.
For instance, Horizon State is promoting the use of blockchain for consensus-building. The venture’s platform enables organizations to vote on matters securely through digital ballot boxes. Then, the votes are recorded on the Ethereum blockchain ensuring permanence and immutability. The identity of the voter is also kept anonymous and confidential to prevent potential coercion.
Nowadays, the democracy is also under threat. Growing influence of centralized platforms over free speech and the rampant use of disinformation campaigns on social media are the problem. Not only limiting what kinds of viewpoints are made accessible to the public, but they also affect constituent opinion, as well as behavior.
Centralized social media usually exerts authority over the content that is published on their sites and services. The producers of content can even feel exploited since these platforms readily obtain perpetual licenses to user-generated content that they can monetize solely for their purpose. Being a social media platform, it encourages free speech and the creation, as well as sharing of high-quality content while discouraging fake news in the process.
Also can permits users to switch between public and private browsing to ensure the safety of private data. All chat, as well as personal data, are encrypted to prevent leaks.
Free speech is undoubtedly one of the most fundamental rights which we have as humans. It grants people the ability to express their opinion, as well as critique one another, and have meaningful discourse. It enables people to reflect on the quality of their thoughts and actions. When they are exposed to contrary evidence, they are given a chance to reassess their morals and even amend their understanding of reality.
The creators of content can also make premium content available on the platform through a content marketplace. The goal is to inspire users to focus on the quality and to interact with each other reasonably.
Privacy and data ownership
Privacy has also become one of the main problems for users today. A large number of governments even go as far as monitoring and regulating Internet activities, which actually limit what citizens can do online. When we talk about protecting data, many also have failed to display the same zeal they bring to policing user activity.
The projects of Blockchain are touted as seeking to correct this. The Substratum, for example, provides a respite for territories which have repressive Internet access policies. As an open-source network which uses blockchain this venture’s technology permits users to use a distributed infrastructure.
Their mission is touted as bringing forth the free and fair Internet of the future by combining what is described as proven technological building blocks with developing technologies innovatively and holistically.
Users will have the ability to host and access websites, as well as applications without the need to rely on centralized data centers or use virtual private networks, privacy browsers or even onion routers.
Apart from government, commercial services are also quite guilty of being invasive when it comes to user data. Famous networks, for instance, rely heavily on the personas that they have derived from user activity to fuel their advertising engine.
Sometimes, enterprises can be irresponsible. The massive hack on Equifax which compromised 147.9 million Americans’ personal. Financial information underscored the weak points of relying on centralized authorities to comprehensively store and hold this kind of data.
Indeed, problems that surrounded privacy also had ratcheted-up and dominated the headlines, as well consumer interest of late.
Privacy is more important than ever before, so the users are seeking the complete anonymity.
Some projects like Decentralized Identity Foundation aim to give the users better control over their personal information. Towards the final, DIF is also creating a universal verification system which would permit users, applications, as well as devices to validate identities without the need for a centralized party.
The initiative of DIF permits users to register self-sovereign identifiers, as well as store identity data securely and choose what kind of information they share with others. Having a self-sovereign identity, which is actually a smart one, enables the holder to present verifiable credentials in a privacy-safe way. Such credentials can represent things as diverse as an airline ticket or a driver’s license.
The use of blockchain and Zero-Trust data stores on the part of DIF helps to mitigate breach risks, as well as prevents other parties from exploiting user data for their own gain. Now, the project has received strong following even from enterprise blockchain players such as IBM and Hyperledger project, as well as various groups in the crypto space.
In essence, the Zero Trust is actually a security concept that is based on the belief that organization should not automatically trust anything that is inside or outside its perimeters. They must instead verify anything and everything which seeks a connection to its systems prior to granting access.
Doing the right thing
As we mentioned before, the growth, as well as the success of these projects should help spread awareness that blockchain is not about cryptocurrencies, but that it is a tool for public good too. The blockchain projects continue challenging the power from the centralized authorities over other facets of human activity, as well as ensure the democratic process prevails.
The mechanisms of voting based on blockchain can encourage the citizens to participate in elections and the decision-making processes too. Even those typically disenfranchised can now confidently participate, knowing that their votes are counted. Also, with the encouraging of decentralization and data ownership, such blockchain platforms minimize the influence that the government, as well as large other enterprises, typically has over the users and citizens. The upshot is that the users are given back control over their data, privacy, as well as intellectual properties.
Blockchain has encouraged parties to be accountable for their actions. Transparency and immutability enable concerned parties to readily know the status, as well as the history of transactions, making sure any suspicious activities can be monitored and challenged too. And, the participants are ultimately compelled to do the thing that is right in their choices. So, create business insurance.