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Social media giants must decentralize the internet… Now!

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Big Tech has been in the news a lot over the last decade. Initially, the coverage focused on the new possibilities that were created around communication and information sharing and the benefits that these would bring. New tech networks offered unprecedented tools, offering everything from reuniting families separated by emigration to assisting in the overthrow of autocratic regimes and restoring power to the people. 

Next, we heard about the tremendous value Big Tech was creating, bringing billions of dollars to founders and workers, as well as the pension funds that invested in them. We knew they were a force for good in the world, not least because they never missed an opportunity to tell us this fact.

The sentiment toward Big tech changed near the end of 2016, fuelled by an unexpected result in the United States presidential election. Big Tech platforms were no longer tools to promote individuality and self-expression; they had swiftly become enablers of hatred and lies. Seemingly overnight, these companies went from darlings to pariahs, from bastions of free speech to being weaponized by malicious interests and rogue states to sway elections, planting false narratives. Individuals in control of the platforms went from defenders of freedom to being likened to dictators. Journalists wrote that Big Tech now had more capital than many governments and greater control of speech than any media outlet — without any democratic checks and balances or regulation to curb their worst impulses.

These events brought to the fore the amount of power that currently resides within Big Tech companies, along with the need to consider how we define speech in the modern world and how it should be amplified and regulated. That, in turn, touches on how the platforms that determine modern speech should be governed.

From decentralization to streaming

To address this, we should examine how the early internet unleashed so much creativity in its early days. Back then, the web was decentralized in its own way, with each website representing its own space, resulting in a vast network of nodes threaded together by hyperlinks. Some nodes were bigger than others, but none so big that they would distort the landscape or require specific regulation. The internet could be viewed as a vast garden, being added to with each additional website.

As both the network and the number of users grew, there was increasing demand for this network to be organized and made more efficient. Google capitalized on this by building an algorithm that searched the web and returned results and, in the process, kicked off a new internet that was defined by algorithms. Content was suddenly being recommended and defined by algorithms across music (Spotify), news (Facebook and Twitter) and entertainment (Netflix). The garden became a stream, and suddenly, we were all being influenced and directed by black-box algorithms that we knew very little about.

It is this new stream model of the internet that has caused such vitriol to be directed toward Big Tech. Big Tech companies dictate what content is acceptable to share and what should be promoted often by considering what is most beneficial to their bottom lines. Content controls are described as moderation for those who approve of them and censorship by those who disagree. The loudest voices dominate the conversation, often disproportionately favoring the Big Tech workforce and the traditional media — a small group with identifiable biases.

Back to the decentralized internet

What is the correct way to govern these massive platforms? Centralizing the power of founders is far too limiting, and outsourcing it to Californian employees and western media is only slightly better. Instead, we should look back to the decentralized internet of the past and see how we could recreate the period many older heads look back on with such nostalgia. Many claim that it is impossible to put this genie back in the box, given the enormous economic value that derived specifically from centralizing digital content and making it more accessible.

Blockchain has enabled decentralized governance of companies, allowing a form of democratic decision-making that is weighted toward those with skin in the game. Individuals buy governance tokens in a network, such as decentralized finance product suite Yearn.finance, which provides them with votes on the governance of that ecosystem while also holding independent value and/or providing dividends. Companies can be natively decentralized like Yearn, or transition to this model over time, like DeFi lender Aave. This model provides returns, aligns strategy with ownership, and removes the principal-agent problem that is rife in public and private organizations. Companies can use it to distribute admin fees to owners as well as make strategic decisions.

Public discourse on content moderation often draws from legal and philosophical concepts, with a liberal sprinkle of America’s first amendment, to construct a top-down solution. This presumes that a small number of people knows what is best for millions, even billions, of users. But decentralized governance, proven effective by the booming DeFi industry, may allow for a bottom-up solution that puts the power in the hands of users. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey even announced his interest in such an approach at the end of 2019.

Decentralized governance could be achieved by providing tokens to users, as described above, which, in turn, would allow them to vote on principles of moderation. This could even be calibrated to the issue at hand — members of minority groups might have a greater weighting in issues related to discrimination or religious groups on freedom of religion. Power users might have greater weighting to their votes than casual ones. By trusting the broader issue of moderation to the wider community, users are engaging in a social contract that will make them far more likely to buy into principles that are adopted. As well as making moderation more efficient, this would likely repair some of the reputational harm suffered by social media companies, creating a clear distinction between censorship and moderation.

The biggest tech platforms have user populations bigger than the world’s largest countries, but none of them have the equivalent democratic checks and balances that we look for in governance. Identifying complex pain points, such as censorship and moderation, and finding ways to empower users to own these processes gives them skin in the game and access to create a flexible policy mechanism to help heal the bruised reputations of Big Tech. It is in the companies’ best interests, too, as the reputational hit of poor content policies has led to antitrust speculation and calls to break up Facebook, for example.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Luis Cuende is a co-founder of Aragon, a platform for building and running DAOs. Luis started his first open-source project at age 12. He got into Bitcoin in 2011, having been inspired by how crypto can bring freedom. In 2014, aged 18, he co-founded the blockchain timestamping startup Stampery. He holds multiple recognitions, including Forbes 30 under 30, MIT TR35, and best underage hacker of Europe by HackFwd.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/social-media-giants-must-decentralize-the-internet-now

Blockchain

Circle K to Host Bitcoin ATMs Across its Convenience Stores

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Major bitcoin ATM operator Bitcoin Depot has inked a long-term partnership deal with convenience store chain Circle K to install Bitcoin kiosks in the United States and Canada.

Bitcoin Depot and Circle K Partner to Install Bitcoin ATMs

Bitcoin Depot announced the deal via a press release on Thursday (July 22, 2021). According to the company, there are more than 700 Bitcoin ATMs already installed in Circle K locations in 30 states across the U.S.

The partnership provides individuals with a more convenient way to purchase bitcoin, thereby encouraging widespread adoption of the flagship cryptocurrency. Bitcoin Depot already has over 3000 BTC ATM kiosks located in almost every state in the U.S. and also allows users to buy more than 30 cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, and LTC.

Speaking on the latest development, Brandon Mintz, CEO of Bitcoin Depot, said that the partnership deal with Circle K enables the crypto ATM company to expand its services internationally. Mintz also said that the installation of the Bitcoin ATMs would grow the number of customers visiting the convenience store chain while providing financial access to “underserved communities.”

Circle K’s Senior Vice President Global Merchandise and Procurement, Denny Tewell, also made a statement, saying:


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“At Circle K, we are passionate about making our customers’ lives a little easier every day, and we are continually looking at ways to enhance their experience in our stores and be their favorite shop for a growing range of needs and occasions.”

Tewell  added:

“Our partnership with Bitcoin Depot further builds on this commitment, giving our brand an important, early presence in the fast-growing cryptocurrency marketplace as a convenient destination where customers can buy Bitcoin.”

Bitcoin ATMs Continue Exponential Growth

The growth of crypto ATMs globally signals an increasing demand for bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets. According to data from Coin ATM Radar, there are currently 23,915 crypto ATMs in 75 countries, up from 11,665 ATMs recorded in November 2020. This shows that the number of machines has more than doubled in eight months.

Statistics further show that the United States continues to lead with over 21,000 Bitcoin ATM locations, controlling more than 86% of the market. Canada comes second with BTC ATMs installations in 1696 locations, amounting to 6.8% of the world total.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/circle-k-to-host-bitcoin-atms-across-its-convenience-stores/

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Jack Dorsey Sees Bitcoin as a Big Part of Twitter’s Future

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Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter – one of the largest social media platforms on Earth – said that Bitcoin will be a big part of the company’s future.

  • Yesterday, July 22nd, Twitter published its Q2 2021 letter to shareholders, as well as its Q2 Earnings Conference Call.
  • During the call, Jack Dorsey discussed many things, but Bitcoin and digital currencies took somewhat of a central stage, especially in light of current events and the fact that he’s been talking about it quite a bit.

I think this [read: Bitcoin] has a big part of our future. I think there’s a lot of innovation above just currency to be had, especially as we think about decentralizing social media more and providing more economic incentive. So I think it’s hugely important to Twitter and to Twitter shareholders that we continue to look at the space and invest aggressively in it. – Said Dorsey.

  • He also stressed on the fact that if there were a global currency of the Internet, Twitter would benefit a lot because it could move quickly with some of its products such as the Tip Jar, Subscription, Commerce, Super Follows, and so forth.
  • The CEO has been quite vocal about the importance of Bitcoin and its mass adoption.
  • Earlier, as reported by CryptoPotato, the CEO revealed that his financial services company, Square, plans to build a hardware Bitcoin wallet to improve and spread its adoption.
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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/jack-dorsey-sees-bitcoin-as-a-big-part-of-twitters-future/

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‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Jordan Belfort: Elon Musk Is Filthy Rich To Pump And Dump Bitcoin

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Binance CEO CZ Lambasts Tesla CEO Elon Musk For 'Irresponsibly' Manipulating The Crypto Market

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Jordan Ross Belfort, best known as the “Wolf of Wall Street” portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, doesn’t believe that Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk really manipulates crypto prices contrary to countless claims.  

Speaking with Fox Business on Thursday, Belfort posited that Musk is stinking rich to be pumping and dumping dogecoin, bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies in order to make a quick buck off of it. 

“I like Elon Musk and I think he’s rich enough. He doesn’t have to make an extra few dollars pumping and dumping.”

Jordan Belfort, the former Wall Street penny-stock broker who pleaded guilty to stock market fraud in 1999, explained that while Musk himself might not be pumping and dumping, traders might be using his endorsement and they pump and dump around the hype that the billionaire tycoon creates.

Musk, famous for his odd-timed tweets, has constantly been accused of being a master manipulator. Notably, his tweets on major cryptocurrencies like DOGE and BTC, have sent their prices up and down within seconds.

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At The B Word conference held on Wednesday, Musk shared details of the three cryptocurrencies that he personally owns as well as the cryptos held by his two companies. He also admitted that he might occasionally pump crypto prices, but he doesn’t dump. “If the price of bitcoin goes down, I lose money,” Musk explained.

The Tesla chief went on to state that he is interested in seeing bitcoin succeed — not just getting the price high and cashing out at higher prices.

Belfort, however, maintains that Musk is most likely “inadvertently being used” to pump and dump cryptocurrencies. 

Belfort Is Hoping Bitcoin Price Rips Lower

During his interview, Belfort also affirmed that he is invested in bitcoin (BTC), and ethereum (ETH) and is in it for the long haul. In fact, he hopes the price of the bellwether cryptocurrency falls again to as low as $5K per coin so that he can grab some more.

“I would love it to go lower because I’m a long-term investor so I don’t care if it goes up or down in the short term. I would love it to go back to $5000 and buy a ton of it here and that would be a great thing.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a0l8zUyF.png
BTCUSD Chart By TradingView

At the time of publication, the bitcoin price is in the process of attempting a sustained breakout above $32,400 where the price has been hovering for 48 hours or so.

The Wall Street criminal-turned-author also noted that no one actually knows where the price of bitcoin goes next and if anyone says they do, they are definitely lying.

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Source: https://zycrypto.com/wolf-of-wall-street-jordan-belfort-elon-musk-is-filthy-rich-to-pump-and-dump-bitcoin/

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