One week ago, the inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners- Lee, announced his new project Solid. For quite some while he was talking about how the internet was broken, and now he brings the solution, together with MIT. Solid “aims to radically change the way Web applications work today, resulting in true data ownership as well as improved privacy.”
This project, which aims to give data-control back to people, comes in a time where data is the new oil and the data organizations are the new oil barons. It is telling that we call the companies that trade data “barons”. The word “baron” expresses the balance of power between those companies and the individual user. The five largest organizations – Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft – are even called “The Frightful Five”. With half of the world’s population online Tim Berners- Lee, now wonders whether it is wise to connect the second half of the population. What is going on here?
Tensions about the further course of the digital revolution are rising sharply. One of the current reasons for this is the manipulative practices of Cambridge Analytica. The company is accused of data theft and unlawful interference in democracy through psychographic influence on voters. That they were able to do this is partly thanks to Facebook, which saw it all happen right in front of them. “It is a trust issue”, says Mark Zuckerberg. But there are many more trust issues. The old institutions and brands are also experiencing a trust crisis. For years on end, trust in organizations and governmental bodies has been dropping. There is, however, a glimmer of hope on the horizon: blockchain is now used to organize trust differently. Trust has become such an important part of the current tech-debate, we decided, therefore, to investigate the concept more in depth.
In this report we address three urging trust issues: the abuse of monopoly power, manipulation with fake news, and the lack of sovereignty over one’s own data and identity. Since there is a great deal of money being invested in blockchain, use cases are abundant, and the crisis of trust is playing into the hands of blockchain. It is actually the perfect storm: blockchain can play an important role on all three fronts of the crisis. ‘In Code We Trust’ explains this perfect blockchain storm and explores the latest relevant use cases in blockchain and solutions for the Trust Crisis. You can download the report here.