Is decentralization a feasible method to create prosperity among disenfranchised communities or just a shame driven by those who want to explore a new and fragile system?
As a part of the Ahead of the Curve Speaker series presented by Jim Clark, Founder/CEO of the World Technology Network, economists Nouriel Roubini and Alex Gordon-Brander debate whether cryptocurrencies are solutions to high concentrations of wealth or merely vessels for further fraud and corruption.
Though decentralization is ideal for those with a lower initial economic status seeking to benefit from this technology, both the fraud operations and the high concentration of wealth inherent in cryptocurrencies today means the risks may outway the reward. Roubini and Gordon-Brander agree this is because it is extremely difficult at this point to balance both decentralization and security. Gordon-Brander explains how a technology like Blockchain, where codes and standards are not yet clearly defined, users can create tokens without any clear value attached to them. For Roubini, decentralization simply grants self-interested individuals more freedom to expand their own capital. Taking the more pessimistic viewpoint, Roubini details how there’s a higher concentration of wealth in Bitcoin today than North Korea.
Though these problems are severe, it may be unjust to quickly point fingers at such a new technology—one that is really in its early stages. At the end of the day, as Brander attests, a technology is only as useful and righteous as the people who choose to use it. Not only should we examine the intentions of cryptocurrencies, but also the intentions of its players. Only then can we truly strive for an economic system with an equal playing field.