Yesterday the London Futurists group hosted a meetup about the upcoming decentralization singularity, with Stephan Tual, COO of the Ethereum project, who highlighted some far-reaching scenarios, including the establishment of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations.
Ethereum is a worldwide, decentralized singleton in current development with a go live date of March 2015. Ethereum’s promise is to leverage this singleton to build a new web, but without the webservers, and therefore without the middlemen so costly to everyday’s transactions.
Stephan Tual joined the Ethereum project as CCO in January 2014. His current focus is on smart contracts/smart property and the development of decentralized applications deployed on top of a blockchain infrastructure. He is particularly interested in the potential for societal change engendered by users regaining control over both their funds and personal information.
London Futurists, organized by David Wood, is one of the best interdisciplinary meetup groups dedicated to future studies, the upcoming technological singularity, visionary emerging technologies, and their social impact. I often wish that I lived in London just to attend London Futurists events. Formal meetup presentations and discussions are followed by a drinkup in a nearby pub, with mind boggling discussions over good British ale in a typical central London atmosphere.
Yesterday’s event was was provisionally entitled “Where is the Bitcoin revolution headed?” The title was changed after discussing options with the speaker.
A Social Operating System
Ethereum can be thought of as a programmable distributed network, resistant to tampering and fraud. Besides financial agreements and transactions, Ethereum will permit a range of other solutions to problems regarding identity and verification, with applications to voting, registration of legal documents, reputation systems, and decentralized marketplaces based on smart contracts.
“A decentralized version of Ebay could for example interact with an escrow contract, a reputation service, a postal delivery tracking service and a distributed storage layer.”
Ethereum, which has been called a “social operating system,” can enable even more futuristic and revolutionary concepts, such as “Decentralized Autonomous Organizations” (DAOs) that operate automatically and transparently without human management for as long as they continue to offer valuable services to users and earn revenue sufficient to cover survival costs.
It’s becoming evident that the once free Internet can’t survive without a radical switch to a distributed, decentralized infrastructure without central point failures.
The meetup was attended by about 100 participants. Watch the London Futurists webpage for a video recording. I am waiting impatiently for the video – I am sure the presentation was great and, if the heated discussion on the meetup page is any indication, the discussion as well.
UPDATE – The video is available online:
Did you attend the meetup? What do you think of the coming decentralization singularity? Comment below!
Images from London Futurists and Shutterstock.