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27 September 2020

Kevin Werbach: How Data Centralization Ends - CoinDesk

Kevin Werbach: How Data Centralization Ends - CoinDesk


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Blockchain believers often talk as though today’s early-adopter use cases, such as cryptocurrency trading and decentralized finance, will lead straight to mass-market adoption.

Governments will lose control over money, and blockchain-based smart contracts will replace court-enforced legal agreements.

The Ubers and Facebooks – and yes, even the banks – tame complexity and produce coherent, convenient, de-risked experiences that no decentralized community can ever match.

And the need for trust disqualifies decentralized solutions that are havens for criminals, incapable of effective compliance or vulnerable to catastrophic attacks – which, regrettably, means virtually all of them today. .

The trouble is that once we share, we lose control to centralized data hogs. .

Blockchain allows participants to trust the results they see without necessarily trusting any actor to verify them.

The need for transformative approaches to data will become acute in the next five years.

For instance, users who posted photos under Creative Commons licenses or default-public settings were shocked they were sucked into databases used to train facial-recognition systems.

Once people have identities that belong to them, not to banks or social media services, they will use them as the basis for other interactions.

These entities won’t replace state-backed legal systems; they will operate within them

They will participate in the decentralized data economy because it provides benefits for them as well, cutting down on fraud and reinforcing user trust, which is in increasingly scarce supply

Governments will focus on making data available and defining policy objectives for services that take advantage of the flow of information

Data will be treated not as property but as a renewable resource, with the competition for economic value in the applications built on top of it. 

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