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“Blockchain for good – a beginner’s guide”

Julio Alejandro is founder and CEO of Humanitarian Blockchain

Blockchain is a ‘magical notebook’. Its mechanism hardly destructible. Everything written can be eternally reproduced. It’s public for everyone to access and available so you can verify its authenticity at any time.

Blockchain cannot be censored, seized or modified by any nation, military, ideology or organisation – even if unaccepted or disapproved of by a government or hierarchical authority.

This means it offers enormous strength and power for any marginalised, attacked or disenchanted group, so they can maintain or create forms of communication, association and trade.

We at Humanitarian Blockchain, a DIY e-governance consultancy, have been analysing the humanitarian, political, social and global evolution of blockchain technologies, organisations and entrepreneurial ideas.

We’ve so far found around 30 cases in which blockchain has had a benevolent, non-neo-colonial, capitalist approach and produced significant ethical change within developing countries.

Whether that’s for minority groups or for endangered professions – like journalism – in oppressive regimes.

Egovernance

Blockchain is flourishing in several military invaded countries.

Peruvian Heran de Soto is on a pilot plan to notarise lands in Georgia, because there’s a lack of trust in the registration of any asset after Abkhazia and South Ossetia were invaded by Russia in 2009. Texan blockchain firm Factom has attempted – but has largely failed – to replicate the Peruvian Bitfury program in Honduras after its 2009 military coup.

The ‘e-vox’ Ukraine project in Vyshhorod Town, a suburb of Kiev, is using blockchain app platform Ethereum’s e-voting systems, including ‘e-plebiscites’, ‘e-petitions’ and other digital signatures, mobile IDs and fingerprints just a few months after the annexation of Crimea. A similar notarisation case, by Bitland, is helping 28 Ashanti communities in central Ghana.

Alternative digital and personal identities using blockchain are also emerging, with several interesting partnerships already created.

Microsoft, ConsenSys and Blockstacks are working together to provide legal identification around the world using blockchain “to help fight human trafficking and child exploitation”.

Redpatodos, with Colombian hactivist Pedro Rivera, believes that non-government blockchain IDs could also save journalists, human rights activists and political opposition from electronic death and physical disappearance.

Creating an Uber-like criminal background check service using blockchain IDs for formerly incarcerated African Americans has been discussed with Edward Jackson, from Blacks in Bitcoin and Hispanic US activist Joel Valenzuela.

Altcoins searching for power

Bitcoin currently takes a 79 per cent share of the $13.44bn market capitalisation of 646 alternative online currencies, or ‘altcoins’. The majority of them have little or no future but 52 of them have convinced hundreds to invest at least $1m into each.

Dozens of hyper-nationalist altcoins are currently searching for political secession, independence or privacy, and haunting central banks worldwide.

The ScotCoin in Scotland and the UK’s SterlingCoin will likely profit from #Brexit. MazaCoin is used by the Lakota Native Americans, while BolivarCoin is set to help Venezuelan immigrants in Miami send remittances without the threat of seizure by President Nicolas Maduro.

Environmentalists can get CarbonCoin or SolarCoin, the “first digital currency that rewards solar electricity generators” which in two months went from $800,000 to $3m of investment. There’s even a (Donald) TrumpCoin that has raised $126,253 for the Republican candidate’s campaign.

But the world’s best example of altfinance lives in Iceland, a country that held to account and ultimately jailed its bankers for their part in the 2008 financial crisis. Here, one in 10 members of the population, 33,000 people so far, possess the country’s local Auroracoin, an altcoin built to get around restrictions on the official króna, built by unknown creator Odin.

Along with blockchain, we believe that Estonia’s e-citizenships, Bitcoin Debit Cards provided by Mastercard and Visa and Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) models will all see significant use by threatened groups in oppressed nations.

Spontaneous order

These technologies and ideas are tested, manufactured or spread from the epicentre of political technology, the world’s largest intentional community in this area, Free State Project.

Its creation has encouraged 2,000 Libertarians to emigrate to live in its New Hampshire home and it has a flagship yearly event called Porcfest, the ‘Burning Man of Bitcoin’.

Free Talk Live, Anarchast and Coin Telegraph are popular mediums of communication, with Susanne Tarkowski, Jeffrey Tuckey and Vinay Gupta the self-styled ‘global resilient gurus’ and analysts. Holocracy, resiliency, decentralisation, DIY governance, scalability and voluntaryism (agorism), are all voguish and commonly discussed among them.

Blockchain is already forcing cooperation between two of the biggest actors in the internet of value – who might end up as the two biggest losers – private banks affected by fintech startups and transnational corporations hit by the DAO’s no-managers models.

This decentralisation, I believe, will also break two current political axioms of our era: internal wealth redistribution through taxation; and international, historical, or identity reparation where somewhere like Britain owes India, white Americans owe something to Native or African Americans.

It is also set to destroy the monopoly of the two biggest involuntary (and tyrannical?), forces of organised violence: central banks with cryptocurrencies; and the nation-state with a Bitnation-like government service provider.

NS Tech’s guest opinions are an opportunity for expert and interesting people to put their views to the test. They do not necessarily represent the views of NS Tech