From the surveillance economy to the Metanet economy

From the surveillance economy to the Metanet economy

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Throughout the history of human civilization, leaders and governments have sought to collect data that would provide insight on citizens of a given nation or state. Occurrences of this method, known as the census, are peppered in past records. For example, we know that censuses are mentioned in biblical old testament times. We know the ancient Greeks did similar, as did the Chinese and Romans. India’s oldest recorded census occurred in 300 BC.

The level of detail, particularly in those times acquired by governing bodies was rather minimalistic. Sure, at times there were instances of outright abuse of the process, but in general, controversies were limited in their regional scope and nature.

As the world progressed through the ages, things started to slowly change. World governments became increasingly obsessed with surveillance. Snail mail would very regularly be intercepted, opened, and assessed. Perhaps not surprisingly, this method continues to occur today in many countries. Following Snowden’s revelations, the U.S. Postal Service acknowledged that it took photographs the front and back of all mail sent through the U.S.

But the digital age has blown the doors wide open. Now, we have gone far and well beyond the snooping of the odd piece of snail mail, and into the collation of every word that passes through a mail server, and every word you type into a search engine. In fact even every mouse movement on a webpage is tract. Your movements are indeed capable of creating your own signature.

The state may have its own strategy for surveillance in the digital age. But the power of surveillance has moved drastically from being a state sponsored operation, to an industry that thrives it. Certainly, industry giants like Google and Facebook are now in many regards as powerful, and in some regards, even more powerful than the state. Not only do they have good numbers on every ‘citizen’ of their software, but they have tireless algorithms sifting through volumes of data about you, identifying your every like, dislike, emotion, search, secrets, geographic movement, weekly routine and much, much more.

Enter the ‘Surveillance Economy’.

The surveillance economy gets its name for good reason. Your data is worth a lot of money. Particularly when sold in volume.

This is still a foreign concept to many, but perhaps the easiest way to illustrate this is this primitive example which many are familiar with:

How many times have you created a new email address, signed up to a couple of services online, only to find you are suddenly bombarded with countless junk that you never signed for, or let alone visited… It’s likely, your active email address was sold in bulk.

The rabbit hole goes much deeper than the spam email you may receive however. While you load up your favourite search engine online, you may be searching for something, but an algorithm in the back is recording and researching yourself in return. It is analysing your location, your routine, your favourite search terms, your likes, your illnesses and medical conditions, your compulsiveness and other behavioural traits… Indeed, you are the product.

Perhaps the most naive of us may think that it is lovely that the internet is full of so many fabulous free-to-use services. The unadulterated reality however is that nothing in life is free. For every service that you perceive free online, there is a cost. Your data is valuable, and there is a buyer out there.

Likewise, if ever you see a crypto-currency that claims to be completely free on transaction costs, be sure to scratch the surface. Such claims are a mere side-show and an intentional diversion. This is a red-herring.

This is why the original Bitcoin protocol also charges per transaction. A micro-cent. This is astonishingly small in isolation, but in volume, it creates an economy that rivals the enormity of the surveillance economy itself, and much much more.

Bitcoin is incredibly important in this entire paradigm. If the internet can somehow commercialise every operation, then the monetary value comes directly in a wealth of transactions and interactions.

Dr Craig Wright himself has been working on an invention to enable this paradigm shift. He calls it the ‘Metanet’. The revolutionary idea is backed by ground-breaking methods that enable it all to work. Bitcoin SV will now see a secure alternative to the Internet, built on the blockchain.

This new model is indeed ground breaking, but we are at the tip of an ice-berg. The new economy still needs to be built, and it will take time. But there is a direct commercial incentive for all of this to happen.

Every interaction comes with a cost. BSV’s Metanet is the realisation of this in its most direct form – money. In return, you are provided with legitimate privacy, quality data, and an ad-free experience.

Enter the Metanet Economy.

In some economic sense, Metanet is a natural state of the internet, free from the shackles of the surveillance economy. I say ‘natural’ because this would have been the logical, intended pathway of the internet, if only micropayments were easily doable and could be administered easily through a single yet decentralized system. Alas, the commerce world was not ready – not technologically anyhow.

nChain’s Dr Craig Wright likes to use Coca Cola’s ‘coke can’ as an example to demonstrate profits in volume. This is precisely how Bitcoin and Metanet work. Countless transactions of all kinds, and all genuinely tiny in fees, having very little impact on a user’s wallet, but in volume generating an abundance of revenue for miners and businesses, creating not just a self sustaining system, but an ever growing secure system.

The Bitcoin SV blockchain has already seen social media apps make their presence well known. We have Keyport for example which enables private messaging on the blockchain…

Metanet takes it a leap further… We can have email, search engines and even facebook on the blockchain, and to further illustrate the power of it all, Dr Wright has even stated that the internet itself can be made into a side-chain for BSV. By this statement, he points out the intent of making Bitcoin SV the global public ledger that underpins the bulk of internet activity.

As Bitcoin is capable of disrupting the financial industry, so too, metanet is capable of disrupting the surveillance economy, and the internet itself. Internet searches no longer need to be delivered with targeted advertising. But instead will be delivered with quality results that are incentivised directly with micro-cent transactions. Advertising models across the web would be overhauled. Supply chain logistics would be securely backed with transparency and clarity. Quality control takes an entirely new meaning…

Metanet is a big vision project. Like the Apollo missions, we don’t get anywhere by thinking small. The world is paved by big thinkers, visionaries, and builders. Reaching a big vision sometimes takes years, and sometimes decades. Bitcoin itself is now a decade long project that has run into its own share of hurdles.

But always look for small wins to culminate in the end goal. This is why nChain’s CEO stated “The Metanet will initially enhance, then eventually drive the Internet”.

Eli Afram

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