Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology hold enormous promise for apps like MyCurrency but the technology is not ready yet for mass consumption
Before we get to how and when MyCurrency intends to migrate to the public blockchain, we need to explain why we would want to.
Why the blockchain matters
With traditional websites and web apps, users completely trust the party that owns the web service and that party gains overwhelming power over the personal and business relationships users develop on the web platform.
A perfect example would be Facebook. Facebook totally controls the social data on its platform, and users become reliant and dependent on Facebook because of this control.
In contrast, the blockchain is a database, along with a fixed set of rules for interacting with it, operated by a network of computers not owned by any single entity. The network of computers that operate a blockchain is amorphous: any computer can join, and any computer can leave this network. There is no central authority restricting who can participate, but the blockchain’s economic incentives ensure that the copies of the blockchain database on all the computers in this network remain synchronized so that it can act as a ledger for global apps.
When we say it can ‘act as a ledger for global apps’, we mean that the blockchain can theoretically enable any application, whether it’s the electronic ledger of nation-state financial institutions like central banks, online wallet services like PayPal, social media sites like Facebook, or web-based marketplaces like Amazon, to be placed on a neutral platform that is operated collectively by the public, in accordance with rules that are widely published and disseminated.
The architecture of the blockchain represents a critical leap over the traditional server-client model, because when the processes that make up a platform are run by large numbers of people in a distributed and publicly verifiable manner, the platform becomes phenomenally reliable/predictable, and less susceptible to abuse.
For example, with a decentralized blockchain-based application, there is no Facebook Inc that can single-handedly decide to censor or de-platform users, sell their data, or subject them to intrusive advertisements. There is no PayPal Inc that can freeze user funds, charge exorbitant fees, or close their account for reasons totally outside of their control, like the country of their residence. There is no Amazon Inc that can increase its commission once it has driven all competition bankrupt.
MyCurrency does not leverage any of the opportunities to decentralize control and build trust in processes that the blockchain offers. MyCurrency is a traditional web-based app, where users of MyCurrency are trusting the platform’s owners with total control over how the platform is administered and developed.
So while MyCurrency strives to empower individuals, we cannot deny that we are at the same time setting ourselves up as a new centralized web authority, with the same power that other web-based businesses attain when many come to depend on their platform.
If MyCurrency were to be re-developed to run as a decentralized app on the blockchain, it could instead leave all power in the hands of individuals, and by doing so, eliminate any concern users might have that it could one day become another internet giant that gains undue control over critical aspects of its users’ lives.
MyCurrency’s plans for blockchain integration
Clearly the blockchain offers a path for MyCurrency to fulfil its core mission. In light of this, we strive to embrace cryptocurrency and blockchain as soon as the technology has matured to the point where it is consumer ready.
By mature, we mean able to be securely used by the ordinary consumer. We do not believe the blockchain is there yet. Until it is, the most productive path for MyCurrency is to focus on building a traditional web app for the ordinary consumer.
We cannot emphasize enough how much potential we see in blockchain technology, and how much we hope to see that potential realized.
We believe the distributed consensus protocol of the blockchain represents a fundamental shift in the technological paradigm. In socio-economic terms, its potential impact is no less significant than removing the powerful role of a centralized delegate for the masses — that civilization has historically conferred to groups like politicians and corporations. In place of the centralized authority, it relies on distributed consensus via formal (meaning mathematical or automatable) validation of rules, that enable coordination through cryptographic and economic means.
So it bears repeating that the technology aligns perfectly with MyCurrency’s vision of distributing power and vesting it in individuals.
But as mentioned earlier, MyCurrency plans on remaining a centrally managed application for the time being, as opposed to making the leap to blockchain technology. Emphasizing once again: this is owing solely to the immature state of blockchain technology, as opposed to any inconsistency between the ethos of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology, and MyCurrency’s mission.
Our role in bringing about a more decentralized and empowered world will, for the time being, be to gain users, and accustom them to the idea of every individual and business issueing their own currency, and fully realizing the potential that a personal or store currency offers them.
Once blockchain and cryptocurrency technology have the key components for mass-adoption in place, in particular scalability (it needs to be able to handle far more than 7 transactions per second), privacy in user’s on-blockchain activity (we need the blockchain’s public validation of ledger transactions without public disclosure of private user information), and more user friendly interfaces, MyCurrency hopes to begin to work to decentralize the application’s backend by fully transferring the ledger that stores user data to the blockchain, and transferring control over how MyCurrency is administered and developed to a fully decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).
Ideally, this transition to the decentralized blockchain-based backend would be completely seamless for users, with users not even noticing that they’re on a new platform.
MyCurrency would then progressively introduce options in the front-end interface to allow users to take control of their own data. This gradual expansion of options for personalized control of user data would continue until, eventually, MyCurrency has no privileged administrative role at all in how the platform operates.
But that day is years away. What MyCurrency can do until then is onboard as many people as possible into the world of self-issued currencies, so that by the time the blockchain is ready to allow users to take technological control of their blockchain-based financial assets, they are already accustomed to the new paradigm of issueing their own financial assets, and thus have some reason to exercise that technological control.