(David Menidrey/Unsplash, modified by CoinDesk)
When Satoshi Nakamoto invented Bitcoin in 2009, we began to envision decentralized finance as an alternative to traditional banking. A little more than a decade later, we are starting to see that technologies behind Bitcoin can be used to create a fully reimagined internet – one that leverages our collective computing capacity, data and devices to become far more powerful and resilient than it is today.
To say the internet has created astounding pathways for opportunity and success is an understatement. It has democratized access to information, created boundless economic opportunities and connected people worlds apart. In 1990, of the world’s population was online. Thirty years later, that number has jumped to of the world’s ever-growing population. Even narrowly defined, the internet today contributed of the U.S. economy. It is undoubtedly one of the most important technologies ever invented.
This growth has come at a price. Today’s internet looks less like its inventors’ visions of a decentralized, democratic information network and more like an oligopoly controlled largely by the companies that own the data. Big Tech platforms know for whom and what we search, who are our friends and family, what we like and dislike. These companies capitalize on our digital identities for their lucrative advertising-based business models, capturing enormous value at the expense of the privacy of their users.
Most users accept the privacy and opportunity costs because of the convenience and value these services provide. But we have to ask ourselves: Do we want our personal data to continue as the engine of the internet economy? Is there a better path forward for the internet of 2030?