IN 2014 DECENTRALIZATION IS THE NAME OF THE GAME!

And the Beautifully Chaotic Road to a Symbiotically Decentralized World

by Josh Blaylock

What began with the creation of the internet, followed by bit-torrents and social media, is now culminating with the dawn of crowdfunding, enhanced mobile computing, and potentially the most disruptive innovation of all – digital currencies.

The emphasis on the latter – specifically the digital currency Bitcoin, the originator that birthed many clones – is not just because it may be to the entire financial industry what Napster was to the music business and email to the postal system,  but because that’s only a SMALL portion of what it can do.

Why? Well, imagine a world where contracts, voting, trusts, property rights, stocks, and even dividend payouts can exist WITHOUT the need for intermediaries… or even the laws of a nation state. Imagine a world wherein these things are all possible through incorruptible algorithms. Sounds like Sci-Fi, I know.

The technology behind Bitcoin that allows it to safely transfer money from person-to-person across the globe, instantaneously, not only proves the concept that this is possible… it’s already built into the protocol.

Bitcoin (capital B) is a protocol, much like the internet is its own protocol for communicating globally with others. The world wide web lays atop that protocol and “huzzah,” the world has changed, while bitcoins (the currency the protocol spits out) are only akin to the first “app” born from this ingeniously concocted form of encryption.

Starting to sink in? Or… sync with your brain? Maybe not. It’s some revolutionary shit.

Some might compare this to Dystopian sci-fi epics where machines rule us all, in some technological affront against nature. I feel the opposite however, as with Bitcoin we’re finally obeying the hard coded laws of nature. That of DECENTRALIZED SYMBIOSIS. Through decentralization systems evolve to be incredibly resilient, and it’s only through centralization that corrupt powers are able to take hold.

But… well, shit might get VERY interesting in the next decade as all of these old systems crumble.

When the first shots were fired against the entertainment industry in the late ’90s, heads surely did roll, but at the end of the day what did it all matter? Did your Grandma give a shit that Tower Records was shuttering or that you held more songs on your iPod than she’d ever owned in her life? Probably not. And it probably didn’t affect her life much at all.

But this? This is different. We’re talking about a technology that has made some of our most powerful… RULING institutions obsolete. This means millions of ‘middle-men’ positions just became pointless, bureaucracy was just dealt a huge blow. It ensures chaos is going to be in our future. BUT, it also means that never before has there been so much potential for EFFICIENCY. For civilization to evolve. For the free market to thrive while crowd funding and like technologies lift social impact initiatives to new heights.

Thank the Source, God, and the Universe at large for giving me a front row seat to this show.

These individuals and companies get a B’lockHouse approved “Decent Award” for facilitating in what I like to call Decentralized Symbiosis.

Richard Branson

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Loooonngg before the internet, somewhere in between providing taboo sex/pregnancy counseling to 1960s Brit college kids and flying in Space alongside Elon Musk, Branson enforced a philosophy of decentralization within his Virgin brands. Yes, he IS a multi-billionaire one-man conglomerate, but Virgin’s philosophy is that the BRAND is what’s universal, while the companies each remain independent.

Before Napster ironically decimated his (central-system-thriving) Virgin Records, whenever the company grew to more than 100 people, Richard would swoop in with little notice and say to the second in command “You now run the NEW division of the company, as do half of the employees, and you’re now competing with the original company.” Thus creating a huge network of internally competing sub-companies.

That, and he insists on an environment of fun and levity within the companies and spearheaded the best God Damned airline on the planet. “Here here” for Sir Ricky B.

Seth Godin

Seth should kill all of the elevators in whatever NYC high-rise I’m sure he resides in. That way wanton aspiring entrepreneurs in search of advice could climb “staircase mountains” to reach the guru at the top.

Don’t let those glasses fool you – this bald little dude is one bad motherfucker. Seth has been shouting, blogging, and consulting on concepts surrounding the oncoming decentralized world for over a decade. If you want to prepare for the future, read his (MANY) books on the breakdown of the Industrial Age and tribal, viral, authentic branding. Then wait five or six years for your brain to catch up. Then go read those books again and learn a bunch more shit you missed the first time.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary’s a serial entrepreneur, most notably the founder of Wine Libary TV, a down to earth show about wine, which he grew into a $45 Million business. These days though he’s a touring speaker and semi-prophet laying it all out there for those who want to learn more about the way decentralized marketing and advertising is shaping the world.

Like Godin, he points out that it all comes back to how GENUINE the promotion is, and gone are the days of military style insincere advertising.

He reiterates that the internet, despite already having changed the world, is in its teenage years and hasn’t even begun to shine. Social Media is going to be an outdated term because it simply is the new internet. I will add to this that the BITCOIN protocol is the black swan that will swoop in and kick the internet up to the next stage of evolution Mr. V predicts.

The Founding Dads

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Talk about bringing down an outdated, central system. .The Founding Fathers were some serious pioneers of decentralization.  They sent the King’s forces packing using guerilla combat tactics ahead of their time and developed a method of rule by a democratically elected republic that would change the world for centuries.

The true genius of what they did, in my view, was create the “decentralized symbiosis” of a central authority (the Federal government) checked and balanced by very socially and politically different state governments. The Constitution sitting in the middle like an ancient algorithm that must be adhered to.

Probably the most “decentralist” of all was Thomas Jefferson, who passionately fought attempts at the formation of central banks. A battle lost for the past 100 years, but possibly shifting with the creation of digital, stateless currencies. I wonder if TJ could have ever hoped to wrap his head around that!

As we move into the future, John Adams may provide inspiration in his refusal to acquiesce to compromises with the King’s crumbling authority. As new doors open the a better future system, let’s not compromise. Let’s not fight the old system either. Rather, why not just divorce from the old, embrace the new, and see what can be built?

Zipcar

zipcar“Wheels when you need them” is their motto, and it’s exactly what they deliver.

If you live in a metropolitan area, where owning (and parking) a car is expensive and often unnecessary, Zipcar has come to the rescue. Again made possible by mobile technology, once registering customers can locate cars closest to them and place reservations from one to 48 hours.

Vehicles are accessed by a membership card, and insurance is covered by Zipcar. Need a moving van to pick up some furniture or a nice Audi for that hot date? They got those too.

The next evolution of this will be a decentralized network of self-policing, private groups of car owners linked together through a mobile network.

Über

uberlogo_large_verge_medium_landscapeThis is the cab company that’s not a cab company. After decades of disorganized, politically entrenched, dysfunctional cab services with insanely wreckless drivers, mobile technology swooped in like a banshee.

If you live in highly populated areas where cabs are common, chances are you can simply hop on the Über app on your phone and summon one of several cabs nearby.

Drivers must keep their cars to certain standards. Everyone’s information is already provided so there’s no need to exchange money in person. Both parties rate each other one-to-five stars after the experience. Everyone is incentivized to follow the Golden Rule, and services has never been better. And for drivers, funds are deposited directly into their bank accounts, without that headache of dealing with the cab companies.

Living in Chicago, I now ONLY want to take Über cabs as I know the service is going to be far superior, and there will be a record of the trip if I need it.

This isn’t true decentralization, as it’s still controlled by one company, but it’s a beautiful example of how applying these concepts can revolutionize seriously sub-par, outdated industries.

Über’s next plan? Democratizing private jet travel for the common person!

Air BnB

airbnbThis is the Über of hotels.

The fastest growing hotel chain isn’t a traditional hotel at all. It’s a decentralized network of privately owned homes and buildings offering daily reservations.

It works exactly the same way Über works for cab companies, and is so successful that it’s meeting resistance from the hotel industry as the value offered by this upstart is seriously challenging exorbitant lodging rates.

Kickstarter/Indiegogo

kickstarter-logo-k-colorOver $900 Million have been funded on Kickstarter alone, and Indiegogo was the original crowdfunding site that inspired them. And other similar sites are popping up all over.

Crowdfunding sites allow, for the first time in history, for the values of society to reflect what projects get funded rather than banks and investors.

B’lockHouse takes it a step further and integrates these tools into traditional product development, marketing, and distribution.

In the comic book publishing space, a $700 Million industry, they now account for over $25 Million in sales, not including what additional inventory makes it onto store shelves.

In 2014 and onward, crowdfunding is evolving further as IPO rules are relaxed and the average citizen can begin investing in COMPANY start-ups (not just products) that they would like to see thrive, receiving profit sharing dividends for their contribution. The USA is sadly lagging behind, but in the United Kingdom the laws (and tax incentives) are about to propel the innovative Bank to the Future to new heights.