In a recent talk at the Seoul Bitcoin Meetup in South Korea, Andreas Antonopoulos took the audience through his top five pillars of open blockchains.
Making the case for blockchains to be open, public, borderless, neutral, and censorship-resistant, the technologist and serial entrepreneur went on to explain why decentralised systems of organisation and the separation of money and state are important factors to enable a transition to what he describes as an “unclosable” ecosystem of commerce.
Andreas said: “If you take the banks and the government and you bring them a bit too close together, they start getting very corrupt.”
He gave a common example that he thinks is happening today where “the banks corrupt the government, then the government corrupts the banks, and then they all destroy the economy together”.
However, he explained that with open systems like Bitcoin and Ethereum, “we now have this system that is open, borderless, neutral, censorship-resistant, and public” to challenge such legacy institutions and relationships.
He said that we now know for the first time in history that we can have these capabilities not just for money (with Bitcoin), but other technologies “like smart contracts that are used in systems like Ethereum”.
Not just open, but ‘unclosable’
“Interesting things are happening, and I want to focus a bit more on the idea of open that most people misunderstand,” said Antonopolous.
“This is a type of radical open where it’s not simply the fact that you have been allowed to access the platform, it is the opposite – you cannot be stopped from accessing the platform. It’s not just open, it is unclosable.”
He went on to say: “This is a really radical idea, and what it does is it means you can write an application connected to this network and make it do things nobody had considered before and you don’t need to have too many users.”
In fact, “you only need to find one other person who wants to run that application”, and between the two of you, it will be possible to run it.
“Everybody is building on top of everybody else’s idea without asking for anyone’s permission, and what happens then is really astonishing because we’ve seen it only once before.”
A tsunami of innovation
Antonopoulos said that this exact scenario happened with the internet, claiming: “It wasn’t that we had some great companies that made some great platforms, but what happened was you didn’t need anybody’s permission to launch an application and so you could launch one and then let other people use it.”
He explained that “it created this tsunami of innovation that completely overwhelmed all of the possible competitors so they couldn’t compete, and this is going to happen to banking”.
He thinks that centralised entities like banks cannot compete against this “because there’s no way you can do (inside a company) the amount of innovation of the entire world put together all operating to serve their own special purpose without asking for anybody’s permission”.
Concluding with his thoughts on how the world views most open blockchain applications today, he exclaimed: “It’s not an app, it’s a platform. It’s a platform for radically open, borderless, public, neutral, and censorship-resistant commerce.”
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