Did Karl Marx Conjecture Blockchain Revolution About 100 Years Ago?

Karl Marx is said to be the person who changed the world forever, a man so ahead of its time. Communist Manifesto is the book where his genius insights about the world (as he perceived it) are recorded. He predicted that ‘conflict’ gives rise to capitalism. Capitalism would eventually result into socialism and finally communism. Even though he failed to show how and when the transformation will take place, but he predicted it would definitely happen.

As a reader, you may wonder how is Karl Marx even closely related to blockchain technology! Well, he is. If he was alive today, he’d have seen blockchain as a perfect apotheosis of his theory. So without any further wait, let’s dive into it right away.

The rationale behind invention of blockchain technology engenders from Marxism.

1. From Disruption to Revolution

What Marx said — In a capitalistic milieu, there is concentration of power in few hands which leads to abuse of power. As a result of this abuse of power, working class has to suffer. BUT sooner or later working class would become fed up and rise to revolt. That’s how new political, economic, social structure of a new society will evolve.

What blockchain touts for — In today’s age aphorism of data is the new oil is gaining more and more awareness among people. Data as well as money is being concentrated into few hands leaving the people vulnerable to loss of privacy, increase in fraud and scandals. One scandal which shook the world was the financial crisis of 2008. This gave rise to a noble soul — Satoshi Nakamoto who came up with the groundbreaking, life-changing theory of Bitcoin: a peer to peer system. There have been so many banking scandals that people have started to find it very normal. People’s data is used without their consent, their finance may get mishandled without their knowledge. As utopian as it may sound, the world today seeks a more egalitarian society.

Banks should be as transparent to their customers as their customers are to them.

2. If control is divided, will it result in chaos? Anarchy?

What Marx said — Gradually, capitalism will be overthrown by the more intelligent class (the working class) in order to gain control which had been taken away from them unrighteously. The final stage is Communism. Power will be decentralised from central authorities and will be distributed among regular people. Bureaucracy will come to an end.

No disruption will be there after communism.

What blockchain touts for — The key feature of blockchain technology is the fact that the entire ledger on which transactions are recorded is distributed in nature. Everyone can see it. It’s transparent. No single entity (say a bank) controls it. With advent of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum, central banks will lose their control over fiat currencies thereby liberating people.

For the first time in history, everyone can see ALL transactions a bank does. Gone are the days, banks could enjoy scandals.

3. End result is classless society where everyone is equal

What Marx said — The revolt will ultimately lead to a classless society where everyone will be equal. There would be no possibility of abusing power. The gap between capitalist class and working class is only becoming wider and wider as we see it today. This gap would eventually disappear as the very fundamental idea of class would be eliminated because everyone will have equal stake in the society.

What blockchain touts — Blockchain sees everyone as equal. In an era of cryptocurrency, concept of class doesn’t exist at all. The owners of cryptocurrencies are anonymous participants in blockchain network. Everyone is considered to be the same, yet everyone is different. Everyone has equal chance of mining. Everyone is offered equal opportunities.

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