I recently came across the whole Ethereum ecosystem. Of course, I knew about the Blockchain and its promises. I knew this person convinced that she would make billions in crypto-trading, saw the rise of a disrupting set of technologies, meant to do to banks and fiat money what eMule and gNutella-based software did at the time to disk industry majors players - cutting the middleman. I also have been made very aware of its limitations and technical challenges it faces - high financial and ecological price, security, legals,... But more importantly, my background pushed me to be aware of its philosophical / political implications.
One of the most salient aspect of those technologies are the purely monetary ones. For a huge part of the population, bitcoin and cryptomoneys are just that - money. It is of course the most immediate use-case, with deep societal implications. Abusive monetary and economic policy have been perceived as the cause of misery and economical collapse, and some criticism have been raised against them - from non-governmental grassroots movements such as thedebt relief movement or Occupy Wall Street, but also from defenders of national sovereignty. Recently, right-wing Italian five stars movement have accused the French governement of being the cause of economical migration flow through the CFA Franc. Since the Breton-Woods agreements got terminated, fiat currencies have been subject to more and more distrusted. In this context of general need for a new financial system, this is a huge point of focus for those new technologies. Nevertheless, as they are ideology-agnostic, the exact way they're use and the ideology behind it is still to be defined.
But underlying that specific use-case, which will surely trigger its share lively debates about the future of money, is the technology itself. The blockchain have been a buzzword for a while now, and if some have expressed their cynicism toward it, I am more and more convinced that it is there to stay. Because beside the financial aspect, its revolutionary power comes from its capacity to become a decentralized, trustless database for any usage. Because the role of established institutions is often to take care of that trustful bureaucracy, those are at risk of disruptions in a near future.
Blockchain is a foundational technology: It has the potential to create new foundations for our economic and social systems. But while the impact will be enormous, it will take decades for blockchain to seep into our economic and social infrastructure. The truth about blockchain.
Lacking modern means of communications, societies have organized themselves in a hierarchic, bureaucratic, vertical manners. As humanity grew while communication technologies stagnated, the size of those bureaucracies have increased through history - the Napoleonic and British empires, the SSRU have all been characterized by a huge bureaucratic class. The same happened with corporations - that grew in size and slowly took over a bigger and bigger part of the economy. But like in a Deleuzian dream, the snake is currently eating its own tails. Mass-produced television have triggered the sixties counter-culture. Phone system automation created the phreakers. Internet created the hacker culture, the distributed web, the free software movement.
Those cultures disrupted, are disrupting and will disrupt the establishment. The emergence of the so-called "sharing economy" have already been attacking state monopoly, with mixed result. Indeed, the only value provided by those companies are in the trustful environment they provide. Their overheads are minimum compared to the margin they're taking on every transaction.
The same kind of phenomenon have been seen in the cultural production industry. Between the beginning of recording and the democratization of internet, a huge monolithic monopoly was needed to distribute cultural products. Given this monopoly, those companies could mobilize their bargaining power to submit both artists and general public to exaggerated costs and publicity. When the internet infrastructure became able to transmit music, bypassing their traditional function, the industry replicated with a "war on piracy", trying to force centralized solution to insure funding. Of course, they were right in a sense - musicians, artists, deserve to be redistributed for their works and passions. But are they still the best-able to distribute those resources? To this day, the amount companies like Apple or Spotify are redistributing is only a fraction of their margin.
Trustless transparenced brought by blockchain technologies is then a game-changer. With a public, unalterable ledger, there is no need to trust corporations anymore. Some experiments are ambitious enough to seek replacing the state itself. But some others have a (maybe) more realistic goals in mind. Aragon is one of them. It consequent stack is build to allow one to create any kind of organization on the blockchain, a Decentralized Autonomous organization - no matter its goals or governance models. Created on the ashes or the unfortunate original DAO, it leverage an Ethereum smart contract network - Aragon OS, to allow to create limitless, totally transparent and decentralized cooperatives and enterprise!
Even though it is under heavy development, it have an app-based structure that would allow any kind of logic to be implemented in your very-own organization, without relying on any institutionalized authority. They're doing a lot of research on governance process, and they have fours templates so far - Fundraising, Reputation, Company and Membership. It's already powering vibrant communities such as 1hive. On the top of that, there are discussion to switch to a POA-based blockchain, which would prevent them to rely solely on the (already overloaded) ethereum blockcahin.
So in conclusion, Aragon is a highly innovative and meaningful initiative, deeply rooted in the open-source world, with real-world applications and a huge potential to disrupt. It's a project that I'm proud to contribute to. Blockchains, as any technologies, are agnostic when it comes to their socio-politics implications. It's up to us to use it for the betterment of our social world! So, don't wait: start your DAO today or learn more.