The Human Value of the Sharing Economy
Some people might ask what the endgame for bitcoin/cryptocurrency adoption is, and why is it better than fiat aside from its ease-of-use in a digital environment and it’s resistance to government control. In a world where digital currencies are adopted by the mainstream, how can cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology (DLT) improve living conditions and make our world a better place?
The real advantage of a decentralized digital currency paired with decentralized autonomous contracts running on a decentralized blockchain is the power of these technologies to create a global, self-regulated peer-to-peer economy (p2p). This type of economy, also called a “sharing economy,” would take all intermediaries out of every transaction and potentially make every person into an entrepreneur.
Let’s say you are a banjo player with two cars, three bicycles, and a few solar panels on the roof of your house. You could potentially become an entrepreneur in multiple industries. You could record your music through a production/distribution blockchain app using a smart contract as an escrow to sell copies of your songs/albums in exchange for bitcoin. You can put smart locks connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) on any of your cars and bicycles. Subsequently, you can rent them out through an autonomous smart contract which accepts payment in any cryptocurrency in exchange for unlocking the car or bike to make it available for rent for the time specified by the amount of the payment. Your solar panels could collect energy/electricity for your home and whatever extra power which you do not use can be sold and transferred to a peer in a peer-to-peer energy-sharing grid managed with sensors and decentralized applications on a blockchain.
A shift to a sharing economy requires re-thinking and re-conditioning ourselves to accept alternatives to the traditional hierarchical paradigms and systems. Since the start of human civilization, we have mostly been limited to hierarchies as our organizational models in just about every area of human activity. Hierarchy systems have ruled our world, and also our conscious and subconscious minds for so long, it will take a mighty effort of awareness and re-education to liberate people from this type of system as the only option.
There are other options, and we can see the hierarchy system failing in the world today. Authorities are not trusted anymore as they once were, and people are much more creative and productive in collaborative and cooperative type systems than they are in authoritative, patriarchal models. The change will not come all at once, it will take time, but the process has already started, and those vertical, pyramidal systems are breaking down and becoming new lateral, sharing, and collaborative systems. Blockchain technology, DLT, the IoT, decentralized cryptocurrencies, open-source software, social capital, crowdfunding, microloans, and other efforts to decentralize banking and business are contributing to this revolutionary shift to a p2p, sharing economy.
In this new model, people in all countries will have more opportunities to earn money and make a living. Nations that have traditionally dominated global industries by way of giant multinational corporations will have competition from local, decentralized suppliers of products and services which will lead to a more progressive market for everyone. A decentralized peer-to-peer economy is also a more human economy which adapts to each individual’s talent, personality, and schedule, thriving on mutually beneficial relationships rather than subordinate/dominant relationships. It fosters diversity rather than conformity, contrasting sharply with the legacy 9-to-5 corporate culture that many people find so draining and energetically taxing.
Another positive benefit is that creators, makers, and the people providing the products and services can make more money from their work. By using decentralized p2p technologies, we have the ability to cut out autocratic suppliers from the equation. Bitcoin and other decentralized cryptocurrencies allow for direct payments between individuals regardless of location without any need for expensive remittance services. A decentralized shipping app with access to a DLT can allow any individual to act as a deliverer of a product if he happens to be traveling in the direction of the package which needs delivery. By doing so, he could earn money which would help pay for his flight, serving as one example of product purchase/delivery in a sharing economy.
By allowing people to utilize decentralized technologies to free up barriers to entry and earn and trade value on their own without the need to subordinate themselves to the traditional corporate-controlled and confining systems, sharing economies prove to be more compatible with human values. By creating micro-earning opportunities where people can accumulate passive or near-passive income from everyday tasks which fit into their schedules, sharing economies improve liquidity and increase market activity.
By expanding and diversifying markets, earning potential is distributed to all locations whether urban, suburban, rural, first world, second world, or third world. More importantly, this type of economy values the human entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and ingenuity over the corporate chain of command and social hierarchies that encourage bootlicking, shun dignity, and restrict innovation and collaboration. In moving toward a sharing economy, we embark on a path resonating with a healthy, human business philosophy that will improve the quality of life for everyone regardless of location, skillset, or status.