There is much untapped potential for digital cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. Both have not scratched the surface of the “sharing economy. The sharing economy is a form of economic interaction that relies on collective resources, modern communication outlets, and a distributed network of information. It is the apotheosis of shared resources and commodity allocation in a more efficient form than economists have ever envisioned.
Many people see a disturbing similarity between “communism” and “sharing economy,” though. This is only superficially true. Property ownership is voluntarily pooled to raise value of consumer goods, and modern sharing economies only come into existence as a result of wealth creation through capitalistic endeavors and the production of excess goods and services. Another difference is that no one is forced to adopt sharing economy business models. Property ownership is also not seen as evil as in ideological communism. Sharing economies are benevolent and noble since they rely on sharing rather than coercion. If communists come to see this, they will understand how capitalism can justify their views in a consensual manner.
These sharing economies also have a defining characteristic: they are decentralized. Today, they have been implemented via app-based functionality on smart phones and other hardware. They involve the random participation of disparate people offering a service versus those needing a service, without the shackles of a centralized institutions and regulations, from either the business itself or regulatory bureaucracies.
Uber and the Future of Share-Sourcing
Uber ridesharing service is a great example.
It is true that Uber has a central headquarters, but their services are decentralized to the extent that their businesses manages to evade many government regulations that traditional taxicabs have to suffer. This has caused massive backlash toward Uber by government, leftist thinkers, and those with vested interests in saving the old cab services. However, this backlash is unnecessary and destructive. What Uber has done is innovate. It has propelled the economy forward. Uber has given people the ability to quickly and efficiently link up with a driver and find a ride without going through a headquarters or facing strenuous wait times. Disruptive businesses models like Uber, as well as Air BnB are just the tip of the iceberg. These decentralized undertakings are in their infancy.
What will be really exiting is when sharing economy technologies link up with decentralized protocols via the blockchain. This would not only streamline the decentralized nature of these companies, it will add an element of anonymity and ease of purchasing power. There is also the possibility of micro-payment solutions with Bitcoin that will initiate a movement towards “share-sourcing,” where people can collectively micro-pay these decentralized companies, thus continually pooling resources and funding them while keeping quality and efficiency high. All of the potential ways these businesses and technology will interact is manifold. This is a sprawling new field of discovery that is being torn open.
The Marriage of Sharing Economies and Smart Contracts
Another interesting way the sharing economy combines with blockchain technology is through the upcoming invention of smart contracts. If companies like Uber and Air BnB adopt smart contracts with customers who decide to continually use their services, or with customers who have problems with the company, then the notion of “trust” in third parties is abolished, and people can rely on absolute decentralization. However, this does not mean that dispute resolution organizations or other arbiters may not be needed in some scenarios. This is just speculation about where this technology can drive humanity. The possibilities of the sharing economy translate as pure wizardry not only for technology, but for social culture as we know it.
Everyone will have to wait and see what will happen when smart contracts get released, cryptocurrencies grow up, and more businesses test decentralized application processes. The frontier that lies ahead is filled with wondrous innovations for completely freeing humanity from the clutches of power and central mechanisms of control. The time is upon us. The sharing economy is breaking the horizon, and the world is changing, yet again.
Can you imagine other ways the marriage of blockchain tech and sharing economies will help free humanity?