What Blockchain Means for the Sharing Economy
Look at the modus operandi of today’s internet giants — such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, or Airbnb — and you’ll notice they have one thing in common: They rely on the contributions of users as a means to generate value within their own platforms. Over the past 20 years, the economy has progressively moved away from the traditional model of centralized organizations, where large operators, often with a dominant position, were responsible for providing a service to a group of passive consumers. Today we are moving toward a new model of increasingly decentralized organizations, where large operators are responsible for aggregating the resources of multiple people to provide a service to a much more active group of consumers. This shift marks the advent of a new generation of “dematerialized” organizations that do not require physical offices, assets, or even employees.
The problem with this model is that, in most cases, the value produced by the crowd is not equally redistributed among all those who have contributed to the value production; all of the profits are captured by the large intermediaries who operate the platforms. Recently, a new technology has emerged that could change this imbalance. Blockchain facilitates the exchange of value in a secure and decentralized manner, without the need for an intermediary.
How Blockchain Works
Here are five basic principles underlying the technology.