New technologies never happen by chance. They come together, one after the other, in a clear logical sequence. And one would have to be blind not to see it as such: liberating mankind from the most arduous tasks; giving him artefacts. However, at the same time, it will gradually turn him into an artefact—and into an object, a sellable object.
And blockchain will be a major step in this evolution.
Innovations settle into the social life of people in a logical sequence: the lever before the gearshift, the mill before the steam engine, the train before the automobile, the telegraph before the telephone, the radio before the television and the plane before the rocket. Each time, it is about allowing men to do the same thing with less effort. And with more energy coming from elsewhere.
For these innovations to develop, men must be incited by the necessity of an effort, by the awareness of something lacking, of a rarity. So nothing is more contrary to the dynamics of progress in the market than abundance: the market can only sell what is rare.
To this point, by nature, the markets strive to make rare what is abundant. This applies to seeds, whose reproduction is now forbidden.
Moreover, it applies to information or data, which are abundant by nature (when I give information, I still have it), but then we subsequently artificially make it rare through patent and copyright; similarly on the internet, through the sale of subscription to a catalogue.
This appropriation of data, however, remains uncertain; and such is the revolutionary utility of the blockchain: it allows the irrevocable transfer of ownership of information. We already see the premises of such transfers in countless areas, where blockchain brings great progress by allowing everyone to be better assured of the trustworthiness of the information he receives, as well as their traceability; and not to give up one’s own data without consent.
First, it is the case for money. It is information, made rare artificially, through the monopoly of its production, which is delegated to a central bank. Blockchain overcomes this. We see it with bitcoin and other similar crypto-currencies. But, even further, because of blockchain, Facebook and Amazon, and so many other companies will be able to, and some can already do it, create their currencies in the global market. These currencies will rival the Dollar and the Euro, whenever these firms decide to do it. We will then shift to what I called “the hyperempire of the market,” that is to say a global market without global rule of law. Hence, it is absolutely chaotic.
This will also be the case for all other information: music, cinema, video games and data of all kinds. Everything will become private property—rarer, safer and more expensive.
Moreover, in contrast with things that are abundant, producing rare things requires a lot of energy consumption. The rarefaction of information will therefore add amounts, to world energy consumption, that are much higher than the savings gained by the very use of information…
Let’s imagine this world. Do we want it?
To make it liveable, it is urgent to regulate it: like any technology, its destiny depends on its relationship with political forces that will determine its use. If well thought out, blockchain will, like previous innovations, be put to the service of the global good and freedom. It is urgent that we begin concerning ourselves with it.