International Blockchain — How Decentralized Technology Can Bring the World Closer Together
In all spaces over the past few years, there has been no shortage of discussion topics surrounding the phenomenon that is Blockchain. The technology has swiftly moved to dominance in every major country, while its ramifications are yet being felt and discussed in smaller, developing nations. While finance has been the leading industry to create and implement use cases for the system, it has served as an eye-opener for researchers to the present and future potential of Blockchain.
Global Change makers
So many institutions, both private and public, have already become deeply invested in the study of Blockchain and its applications. Completely new entities have even been formed to specifically work on building the technology to be a more robust mainstay in the way business is conducted. What is perhaps most interesting about these developments, is that most of them are being worked on by geographically diverse members. The Blockchain Research Institute (BRI) is one example of a research-driven organization that is working to accelerate the implementation of Blockchain into our society. This independent think tank contracts researchers from across the globe to pursue and develop insights based on their individual interests or areas of expertise. This has created an international network of thought leaders contributing to and strengthening this single body of knowledge surrounding Blockchain.
In 2019, the now annual International Congress on Blockchain and Applications was launched, bringing scholars of all nationalities together to share ideas on how to advance the science and technology we now have. Even the INATBA — International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications has pulled together nearly 200 interdisciplinary members representing 32 countries to drive policy and regulation for Distributed Ledger Technology to the next level. As noted in a previous article on recognizing the benefits of a Crypto Economy, developing stable regulations for the use and deployment of Blockchain would be a major step, not only in establishing the tech as a feasible means of executing work in today’s economy, but also in persuading the critics and nay-sayers of its potential.
How Practical Is This Agent of Change?
Globalization has been a huge buzzword for — let’s face it — generations. Global flow or trade has historically been measured and tracked by the volume of people, resources, services and information transferred across borders. In this millennium, the internet and other digital technologies have played a major part in its actualization, giving rise to the phenomenon of ‘digital flows’. According to a McKinsey analysis, the amount of bandwidth used across global borders has increased by 45 times since 2005 in the early years of the internet. Today’s economy is filled with companies, large and small, which are all able to operate as global businesses thanks to the digital technologies we now have. Because of this commerce-led growth, the way currencies are handled between nations becomes a major sticking point for further expansion. The various country-specific regulations that dictate how money is used can make it pretty difficult (read: costly and time-consuming) to carry out international transactions. In addition, political volatility in countries often leads to currency manipulation and inflation which, while damaging international relations, can also easily destabilize the cash flow of a business operating across borders. For these reasons, the decentralization of currency exchange through Blockchain and cryptocurrencies offers great potential for expansive growth in international trade. Lower rates and fees, more inclusivity, easier connectivity and a more multilateral approach to legal frameworks and policies surrounding currency transfer can even the playing field and lower the barrier of entry to many participants globally. While you may not agree that money is the root of all evil, it is definitely difficult to deny that it appears to be at the root of just about everything we do in this modern world.
Beyond just the numbers though, Blockchain technology has created new ways of managing and sharing content and value. It is a technology that is likely to work for everyone, not just the most privileged members of society. The decentralized framework gives broader access to data ownership and privacy, bringing new meaning to social equality. In the shared economy that is already being developed, disparate companies, organizations and services exist that allow patrons to provide and partake in valuable offerings. Blockchain can help bring these all together and increase participation by eliminating the middle-man. We may be returning to the older systems of trade and barter, where the goods and services themselves serve as the payment. Each person or entity is aware of what else is being offered in the market, and can engage to the extent necessary, when necessary.
What Does This Mean for the World?
By putting this power for integration into the hands of more individuals and businesses, regardless of size, location, industry or value, it allows for more widely distributed exposure and connection than we have seen possible to date. Collaborative, remote influence on projects affecting multiple countries becomes more possible and, as we’ve seen at least in the near-term, appears to be quite appealing to many. We’re able to directly interact with someone offering a service we have interest in within moments, although they may be thousands of miles away. Thoughtfully executed, this could very well be the shift for global coalescence we thought would never come.