Cryptocurrencies are maybe the hottest topic these days. Breaking News show exploding graphs by the hour. People talk about it in public transport. Opinions are plenty, however, they are often faulty. We wanted to talk to an expert… and we did.
ENTER JAN HUBIK FROM PARALALENI POLIS
We took the number 12 tram deep into Prague’s Holesovice area. The threestorey black building stood out like Santa Claus on Easter Sunday. Before entering, one thing was already clear to me: something different is going on in this building… something that might have the power to change the way we live, forever.
The first thing I noticed when entering the cafe was the Bitcoin ATM on the far end of the hall; I’d never seen one before. Young guys sat with computers. People seemed content and happy. Then I looked at the coffee menu and swallowed: my money is not accepted herecryptocurrencies only.
A numeric code on a smartphone for a cup of coffee?
Well, not much different from a colorful piece of paper with the face of an old guy, is it? Exactly on time, Jan Hubik arrived.
We shook hands and he motioned me to follow him up the staircase to the top floor.
The first question was one I did not plan to ask, but couldn't help it....
JAN, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU GUYS DOING IN THIS BUILDING?
Well, we are a NotforProfit Think Tank, created to help people gain more personal freedom and protect their individuality against government restrictions. Basically, we educate people about defensive tools they can use to counteract harmful governmental measures, or disassociate from the state and live in a free society.
We’re not fighting government, we just give people the tools to live in a parallel society.
Right now, you are in the Institute of Cryptoanarchy, the center of ideas of Parlaleni Polis. Here we provide all the theories you need to know; the cafe is our gathering ground to socialise, and the basement is our hacker space, where we apply technology, handson.
We are working on shaping a new society, one of empowered individuals.
SO HOW DO YOU THINK SOCIETY WILL BE SHAPED?
With the rise of Blockchain (and other decentralised technologies), which I will explain in a minute, use of sheer force will no longer be a valid government tool. Also, if done right, Blockchain has the power to reclaim government functions, like money. This will make it almost impossible to abuse power, as central points will be removed and the power is literally put in the hands of the people.
We, the people will actually have a choice in the matter of money; we are no longer forced to use the governmentservice of money, which has proven inefficient in many cases, if you just think about inflations and crashes.
WELL, LET’S STEP BACK A BIT. HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN BLOCKCHAIN TO YOUR GRANDMOTHER?
Think about a book containing all financial transactions ever recorded, a chain of individual blocks, if you will. Now, imagine that this book would be impossible to fake, since it is secured and governed by the entire world, not one central authority.
That, in a nutshell, is Blockchain. So, cryptocurrencies are byproducts of Blockchain.
Within the Blockchain system, we are all equal and have the exact same position. Everything happens peertopeer, nothing is censored, nothing is governed by just one central authority. This system is as free as possible while, at the same time, being as secure as possible.
AND WHAT’S A GOOD EXAMPLE HERE?
Like I said: Money. Cryptocurrencies are an alternative financial service, provided from people for people. It is a free market solution. This removes one of the government’s core functions and provides a real alternative. Now, you have a monetary system that’s not governed by a few superior rulers. The separation of money from the State will probably have a bigger impact than secularisation (the separation of Church and State).
AND WHAT WILL BE THE BIG BLOCKCHAIN TRENDS 2018?
This is impossible to predict, since the whole thing moves at lightingspeed. However, I believe a few things will happen. Since Blockchain is the safest way we currently have to record any transaction, I believe we will soon see applications into other areas of life, like land registry, heritage or shareholder structures.
Also, a Blockchain can be used to track supply chain movement, or the general movement of goods. It’s a tool for freedom and everything valuable can be stored in it. Even banks are looking at it now to make their own transactions safer.
Further, I believe we will see major breakthroughs in terms of scaling transactions. Right now, Bitcoin can only handle a small amount of transactions in a given time. This will change and we will probably see an increase in Bitcointrade, as transactions fees will decrease and new solutions will make transactions faster and cheaper. In 2018, I expect a technological revolution that will mostly happen in the background.
Last, there will be a major shortage of people who understand blockchain and cryptocurrencies. It will be very challenging (bordering on impossible) to find people who can develop the projects that companies come up with.
SO ARE WE AT A TIPPING POINT RIGHT NOW?
We are at some point, but no one knows where things will flow from here.
We are looking forward to 2018 to see plenty of new startups and initiatives around blockchain