Metaverse and Web 3.0 revolution
I've written about the technical possibilities of blockchain at length before in my Metaverse Explained series. This article series will be different in that it focuses on cultural, social, and political impacts I believe this technology will have.
Blockchain Technology Will Help Us Fight Internet Censorship, which concerns censorship resistance via decentralized internet routing. The second was A Decentralized, Privacy-Centric Social Networking Platform Built Entirely on Top of Blockchain. This third one is how I think VR/AR/MR technologies are going to become more tied into blockchain tech over the next decade. My last article on blockchain explained some ways it can help fix college sports. For this one, I'll be focusing more on the future of warfare and the nature of international relations.
First, let me say that if you don't know what blockchain technology is or how it works, you should read my previous articles here and here. If you follow bitcoin news at all, you shouldn't be surprised to hear about decentralized internet routing (part 1) and a privacy-centric social network (part 2). The reason why we haven't heard much about these sorts of things before is that they aren't well suited to generate page views. However, as this technology begins being used in ways people are interested in, expect to see an explosion of interest/investment/ownership in the space.
Just last week, Coinbase opened up its Bitcoin exchange to Canada and Singapore, with more countries coming this year. This is a good sign since it means consumers are using these services. Blockchain technology has incredible implications for everything from finance to real estate to social networks...and even warfare!
A lot of these ideas may seem crazy - but so did many of the things we have today when they were first introduced (like Bitcoin). International relations is changing rapidly as Russia invades Crimea and China invests heavily in Africa . As it becomes clear that what happens in one country can affect others far beyond where borders end; decentralized network routing could be an important tool in the future. The heavyweights of the internet are already preparing for this new frontier - you can read about it here .
With blockchain-based virtual worlds, people could be represented by avatars that contain their online identities, reputations and social graphs. This is similar to how an anonymous person on bitcoin forums may choose to post under a handle instead of revealing their identity. Decentralized services built upon blockchain technology could also help improve networking across borders for existing companies while creating entirely new business models that didn't exist before (like Uber or AirBnb ). One company called Trustatom will even allow you to create your own "blockchain passport", verifiable through your public key. This means you can prove who you are through cryptographic signatures without revealing your digital identity to strangers (a problem "Snow Crash" predicted in 1992).
With technologies like these, countries (and people) may be able to keep more of their sovereignty while emerging economies gain the tools they need for economic security. If so, this would break up some of the power relationships between superpowers and emerging markets by making borders less important when dealing with digital currencies, e-commerce or virtual worlds.
There's no way China or Russia could censor internet traffic if all of its banking is done in Metaverse! Neither country could prevent Apple Pay from being used within their borders if each transaction was verified by bitcoin's blockchain.
This would also put emerging markets on more equal footing to participate in the global economy without having to fight for their place at "the big kid's table". With or without these shifts, it's clear that established powers are already taking steps to prepare for an inevitable future where technology will play a larger role in economic and political power.
The sad truth is that you can't really do much today with these technologies since they haven't been adopted (or even legally recognized) by most countries around the world. A decentralized DNS system like Blockstack could enable censorship-free web browsing...but only if people use it. The same goes for digital currencies - there's no compelling reason to use them if you can't easily buy or sell goods and services. With the rising stakes in cyberwarfare, it's clear that blockchain technology is an important next step in international relations. Whether it comes from a startup or a nation-state, we should prepare for its arrival...because it will come.