Applications and Use Cases

Can Blockchain Change the Very Fabric of Society?

October 06, 2021

Fans of cryptocurrency and blockchain have touted the technology as a way to transform and reorganize society. Now the "crypto commoners" movement has emerged, a left-leaning group of activists and technology activists who believe blockchain has the potential to make our highly competitive society more cooperative.

The first Crypto Commons Gathering was held in the Austrian Alps at the end of August this year. The event consisted of a two-day conference followed by a five-day retreat including workshops and community building activities. The gathering centered on addressing the challenges posed by cryptocurrencies and blockchain to established industries and practices as well as building community and commoning strategies for the technology centered on cooperation.

Crypto commoners are focused on building a global movement to expand the technology and integrate it into the fabric of society. That's no small task, considering some of the backlash cryptocurrency receives fairly regularly. Even so, it appears a number of technology gurus are on board with the group's vision, with Twitter head Jack Dorsey professing that the ultimate aim of bitcoin is to create world peace. And Michael Saylor of MicroStrategy, which owns more than $5 billion in bitcoin, is on the record as saying crypto "represents the apex property of the human race."

"There's also this other track of people who have been working on making the world a better place, protecting the environment, helping with workers' rights and fair trade," said Sarah Manski, a George Mason University professor who attended the recent Crypto Commons Gathering.

"They see [blockchain] as a way to enable greater cooperation among humans, enable us to create shared wealth and distribute it more equally," said Manski. "They want to develop a world where the economic system is regenerative, rather than extractive."

Manski offered up Uber as an example of how blockchain could create a more equitable working environment. The technology could transform the company into a worker-owned cooperative where a distributed ledger would handle the accounting, verification and organization. Workers would fairly distribute profits among themselves and decide their own working conditions.

The cooperative global vision of the Crypto Commoners is in stark contrast to many of the criticisms and generalizations of cryptocurrency. The technology is often touted as capitalist tool, and dogecoin founder Jackson Palmer lambasted it in July as an "inherently right-wing, hyper-capitalistic technology built primarily to amplify the wealth of its proponents."

The disparate visions for blockchain and cryptocurrency point to a powerful technology with the potential to transform society. How it will be ultimately implemented on a global scale remains to be seen, but it's safe to say that blockchain is already a major disruptor with the potential to significantly impact society.

Edited by Luke Bellos



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