But even if we could, do we want to centralize power and its money so thoroughly? Do we really trust those in power to act in the interests of our personal sovereignty and financial well being?
Even if we could trust them, a government with a monopoly on money spends that money developing its institutions which, presumably, trickles down to us in the form of jobs. That’s great. But wouldn’t it be better if the production of currency was tied to individuals not to states and their institutions? We need to move past this anachronistic model and past a commercial banking system that can create money out of thin air.
Meanwhile, the fascist image is the most likely default position — a micromanaging of our health, our temperatures taken everywhere we go, any economic or medical handouts given with all sorts of mandates that curb our ability to act freely.
So what if we went an entirely different direction? What if rather than centralizing the power of the government and extending its monopoly on money, we decentralize power and currency?
The beautiful thing about this is it’s not some future science fiction. The rails of this decentralized reality already exist are being refined and optimized every day. This is blockchain and other decentralized technologies along with the rise of multiple, indeed thousands, of currencies. Bitcoin may be the most well known but look at CoinMarketCap to see how many currencies there are today.
What does this mean? Imagine currencies being competitive so they are accountable. You can see and know how that network is governing itself, how its distributing value. How can you see all that? That is how the blockchain works: all transactions are visible, the network transparent, the rules of the network immutable. This means there is little opportunity for lies, subterfuge, or the capricious actions of the few. Imagine being able opt out of US dollars because you don’t like that they’re spent to bomb other countries and fund failing banks and cruise lines.
Now picture using a currency which is aligned with your values. Don’t like the way a network is run? Change network currencies. Picture participating in how that currency is used. Decentralized networks have their own terms of governance and participation. You choose one that fits your values, needs, desires. As a network, you could all decide how to allocate funds during things such as a pandemic — for those out of work, for masks and ventilators, for food or rent. You’d actually have a say as you’d be a member, a participant, not a customer.
These decentralized networks have the ability to define their rules. For instance, the Anatha network which we’re building has a global rebate system in which all monies generated on the network are returned to the community every 24 hours according to pre-defined terms. This way, those participating profit together. There is no central board or executives extracting value and hoarding it. Quite the contrary, all value generated by the network goes to the network, a regenerative economy (rather than an extractive economy as we have now where profits go to those at the top).
Why are we doing this? Because when people are not stressing about housing or food, they can be their best self — which benefits them and those around them. For so much of the world, the day to day is defined by poverty, hunger, sickness, and war not to mention everyday anxiety and insomnia. This is so much lost talent, lost contributions to the cultural commons, so much wasted energy. It is a radically inefficient system. A better economy is one in which everybody prospers so they’re free to contribute, to flourish, to self-actualize. This is how to foster personal sovereignty and collective prosperity: you build a system of abundance in which everybody wins.
This may sound farfetched but such is the promise of the Information Age Economy. Today, information is the most valuable resource in the world, surpassing oil. And we all generate this data, each of an endlessly generative supply. In a decentralized network, the value of your information goes to you, not to the execs at Facebook.
So picture this. You’re part of the Anatha network which is at once a social and financial network, a place to share content and message friends and do all your finances. You get to decide what information you share with third parties who are all eager to have it. You then share the value that your own information generates. Now, rather than the execs at big companies selling your data for their own profits, you profit from your own data. So does everyone else in the world. Suddenly, we move from an economy of extraction and scarcity to one of abundance and collective flourishing.
The infrastructure is there. It exists. Today. The present banking system could never offer you that even if it wanted to as every transaction is mediated by so many parties — banks, processors, governments — each taking a little for themselves. It’s as inefficient in terms of time as it is in terms of money. With a decentralized economy, payments are immediate, automated, and peer-to-peer. They ask for your data; you say yes; they pay you right then and there. All automated. That’s what decentralized technology can do — today!