A Dystopia for Data
Let’s face it, the internet as we know it isn’t exactly the safest place for data. Today, we’re facing an onslaught of hack headline after hack headline. Common websites we all use are either getting sloppier with our pet names and credit card info or perhaps hackers are just getting more sophisticated. Either way, it’s becoming clearer that the data infrastructures we blindly trust are actually… well, not so great.
Earlier this week, Quora (a popular question and answer social platform) announced that a hack had compromised the data of 100 million users. Hacks in the hundreds of millions have become a common thing. It’s costly too, in 2016 cyber hacks cost companies in the United Stated upwards of $109 billion dollars. Sloppy data is all around us and it’s hurting everyone.
Blockchain is most popularly known for serving as the backbone-tech for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Now, one of the most exciting aspects of cryptocurrency isn’t the price action (or potential to “moon”). It’s actually much less sexy and much more about the efficiency and security of data. On a blockchain, your data is stored across a network of multiple parties instead of a single over-heating server in a closet. At this point, it’s important to say that most people don’t like the concept ofdecentralizing stuff. The baby boomer generation and all generations prior have a kind of “vault” mentality when it comes to money and important things. Meaning, one simple and single place with a big lock is best.
But there’s a big problem with the vault-mentality in the internet age. Hackers only have to dig in one place.
Think of this centralization problem in terms of a password. If you whisper your password to a single person, then the bad guys only have to track down that one character. But imagine if you whispered just a piece of that whole password to thousands of different people. Bad guys would have to track down each and every person and piece together a riddle. Blockchain technology distributes trust across a community of stakeholders. While it’s eyebrow-raisingly transparent, it’s also a stronger and more secure methodology to relay information (and value) in the internet age.
The “Dark Web” is Today’s Internet
Most people look at cryptocurrency as a feature of the dark web, but perhaps it’s the other way around. The apps and internet we all use on a daily basis are increasingly opaque and bubbled off by big private companies. Many of these companies are either selling our data for insane amounts of money or announcing that their vaults have been hacked. Blockchain is different. It integrates ownership across a network and daylights data where it might otherwise have never been visible.
Blockchain technology distributes trust across a community of stakeholders. While it’s eyebrow-raisingly transparent, it’s also a stronger and more secure methodology to relay information (and value) in the internet age.
So, what if the web today becomes the black market of tomorrow? What might the internet look like in 2029? Networks fueled by blockchain software might end up being the healthiest and safest place to be.
cover image illustrated by @ferjart