Today, we stand at a crossroads, where we could go down a centralized path, or a decentralized one. If we give in to centralization, all of our interactions will be monitored and policed. If we choose decentralization, we can preserve our rights and freedoms. This seminar discussed how decentralized blockchains like bitcoin are possibly the next revolution in how humans interact with each other.
WeChat, the instant messaging software launched by China’s Tencent, exemplifies the centralized path. WeChat users can send messages, call, shop, order food, consume, play games and so on. It’s the epitome of modern convenience. However, the Chinese government uses big data to surveil all of this activity. If a problematic message is posted through WeChat, it can be censored and the user can be persecuted.
Gladstein will emphasize that bitcoin is a decentralized money network that no single person controls or owns. It is also the first currency in history that is censorship-resistant. For the first time, Bitcoin allows people all over the world to transact with each other without trusting or knowing each other — a revolutionary concept. It is an insurance policy against an Orwellian future and the doorway to a new and different age.
Alex Gladstein, the Human Rights Foundation CSO who will build on a career of working at the intersection of technology and human rights and share his perspective on why bitcoin matters for freedom.