BLOCKCHAIN BORN AGAIN

Idea: a blockchain fart app. That way, whoever dealt it can’t deny it.

Wait. Would Apple banish a blockchain fart app?

Speaking of Apple, China, where your iPhone is made, the device that better than anything or anyone knows everywhere you go, everywhere you’ve been, all your contacts, all your purchases, all your searches, all your downloads, the country that imprisons political activists and that makes anonymity on the web literally illegal, is now demanding that Christian citizens remove images of Jesus from their homes.

“Well, they showed you a statue, told you to pray. They built you a temple and locked you away.”

Apple is the richest corporation in the world. Apple has parked tens of billions of dollars, maybe hundreds of billions of dollars in off-shore tax havens. Apple outsources its manufacturing to China.

Will this American-born corporation even consider standing up for our values?

Should China ever allow gay marriage, I suspect Apple’s CEO will very publicly praise them — while remaining cowardly silent on how China treats all who dare think or speak differently from the party view.

It is always illuminating to discover wherever there is power and wealth — and surrender.

“You got a brand new soul. And a cross of gold. But Virginia they didn’t give you quite enough information.”

But no surrender for me. I have not yet begun to fight.

I expect us to force Apple to pay its fair share of taxes.

I expect us to get Apple to move manufacturing to inclusive, democratic nations.

There’s more.

It’s not only Apple.

Google, Facebook, Twitter and others get rich off our data. That’s a bargain we make, free stuff in exchange for our information. Fair enough.

What’s not fair is that we are expected to cede full rights to our data in perpetuity.

This must change.

We each are and always should be the sole owners of our personal data. We can delete it, re-sell it, and demand it be handed over by anyone who may possess it.

This right, however, could be under permanent assault not (only) because of greed and policy failures but because of the blockchain.

The blockchain is essentially a widely distributed, digitized ledger that records online transactions and interactions and, it is believed, records them fully and correctly forever. A purchase you make, a home you sell, a contract you sign, a promise you give — via the blockchain — is now proof. It is verifiable and can’t be altered.

Meaning, the blockchain has tremendous potential to rid ourselves of gatekeepers, to tear down high barriers to entry, to banish centralized powers to the 20th century, to throw out those that charge exhorbitant fees to “verify” and/or “record” and/or “archive” any transaction.

Wonderful!

Blockchain is what powers bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies and it’s potential — potential — cannot be over-emphasized. It could rival that of: the Internet Protocol meets cash money. Blockchain has the potential to be so individually empowering that it should be no wonder that China seeks to shutdown bitcoin and blockchain.

There is a problem, however.

Blockchain can obviously be used for transactions where we buy and sell — cars, houses, used furniture, our time. But it can also be used to record our health information. Theoretically, it can be used to make a ledger of our tweets, our searches, our likes, our ratings, how others rate us, any of our online interactions, whatever they may become.

How can this data be erased?

How do we take full control — full ownership — of our data when all the world’s gone blockchain?

Declaration: We must not allow blockchain to be used in any manner where we cannot ensure that we can engage an interaction fully anonymously or where we cannot take back our involvement.

Everyone has the right to be born again.

“They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait. Some say it’s better but I say it ain’t. I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun.”

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