by Jake Anderson, The Anti Media:
2017 was an incredible year for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Bitcoin doubters are apologizing for their disturbing lack of faith while tech moguls are waking up in droves to the revolutionary potential of how a truly decentralized blockchain could help end corruption and market manipulation by untrustworthy central actors. The newest voice on the scene with regard to decentralization is none other than Mark Zuckerberg, whose recent Facebook post has many thinking the social media magnate is considering entering the crypto sphere.
Zuckerberg, who starts each new year with lofty public goals for where and how he wants to steer Facebook, had some interesting things to say for 2018.
“[O]ne of the most interesting questions in technology right now is about centralization vs decentralization,” Zuckerberg wrote. “A lot of us got into technology because we believe it can be a decentralizing force that puts more power in people’s hands.
“But today, many people have lost faith in that promise. With the rise of a small number of big tech companies — and governments using technology to watch their citizens — many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it.”
While it is more than a little ironic that Zuckerberg — who prides himself on tackling humanitarian problems — has the audacity to talk about giant tech companies using their technology to monitor people, he is at least acknowledging that a centralized corporatist technocracy might not have all the answers and that it may be necessary to destabilize that system.
“There are important counter-trends to this –like encryption and cryptocurrency — that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands,” Zuckerberg continued. “But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”
While it may strike some that Zuckerberg was merely branding Facebook as a technologically progressive company, he did get around to some decent points, one of which is that the most disruptive technologies with the capacity for good are encryption and tools that promote decentralized peer-to-peer infrastructures, namely cryptocurrency. Encryption and cryptocurrency, he said, allow people to use technology to counter those with power.
Maybe Zuckerberg read Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother over the holidays and is suddenly interested in the idea of using technology to flip the script on authoritarian regimes. Or maybe the Zuck sees the writing on the wall and knows Facebook has some major trust issues going on with its core users. He seemed to even suggest in the post that encryption and cryptocurrency could be a way to “fix Facebook.”
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