Thanks to the Internet and more recently, blockchain technology, the world is waking up to a political, economic, social and technological renaissance. The next two decades will result in a fundamental shift in human interaction, sharing, and freedom. All aspects of vertical and horizontal markets will be affected, including Finance & Banking, Healthcare, eGovernment, Communications, Information Technology (IT) and the Internet of things (IoT).
This series is presented in three parts and will analyze society’s paradigm shift in behavior and present a vision for the future. In this first part, the creation of virtual communities is explored, fueled by blockchain innovation and explores the evolution of the crypto sphere.
With the proliferation of Pandemic Protocols, what is the recourse for states to enforce their laws? Can actors in these spheres be subjected to controls, restrictions or shutdowns dictated by a state authority? In other words, how can a state enforce their laws in cyber? This is a very complicated issue in view of the borderless phenomena contravening traditional world order. Enforcement has been traditionally based on the juxtaposition of sovereign State territories. In cyber, there is no juxtaposition because there are no borders.
In the persisting absence of unified global rules, the courts are witnessing ongoing chaos where States wildly apply their territorial, personal and extraterritorial jurisdictions to subject the actions of perpetrators to their laws. This leads to diverse conflicts of laws between States. In legal proceedings, the reality is much more complex and continues to be challenged by various states and institutions. In an attempt to simplify, there are the three main considerations used by the States to target perpetrators in cyberspace:
- Infrastructure States can enforce their authority when information technology and communication equipment reside in their country. This could mean complete shutdown, confiscation, or subpoena of equipment. In some countries, this means nation-wide censorship or other controls.
- Corporations States have recourse against corporations or other legally registered in their jurisdiction.
- Individuals Lawsuits may target citizens, whether they are resident in the country, or aboard, it could lead to extradition or deportation for legal proceedings.
State vs. Crypto
State control in crypto continues to be overwhelming. To disseminate this challenge let’s begin with a definition of a Sovereign state. According to Wikipedia[i], Sovereign states can be defined as:
- A defined territory
- Having a permanent population
- The capacity to enter relations with other states, and
- Consisting of an effective government.
In cyberspace, the notion of sovereignty is more abstract. In the era of Pandemic Protocols, state enforcement presents significant challenges to lawmakers because:
- There is no defined territory. The entire infrastructure in the cybersphere is virtual.
- Within cyberspace, blockchain has created a new virtual layer called the crypto sphere. Within this space, actors can behave with impunity under the guise of anonymity. Despite the potential for privacy, this capability has also sparked new forms of fraud that have been orders of magnitude higher than in the real world. Anonymity has led to abuse, misappropriation, and a complete disregard for
- The parallel to a state’s international relations is blockchain’s communities. They maintain their virtual debate and commentary on public forums such as Reddit[ii] or social networks such as Slack[iii] and Telegram[iv].
- Governance is the most controversial in cyber; Techno-libertarians advocate minimizing the oversight of central control whereby Cyber-anarchists want complete removal of government oversight. This leads to the assumption that blockchain achieves self-governance through programmatic means – or “code-based governance”. In other words, the underlying programming code is designed to eliminate the need for human intervention. Crypto popularized this approach by implementing programmatic rules to completely govern the system. With Bitcoin Nakamoto solved the double-spending[v] dilemma and this has since evolved into Smart Contract[vi] Code-based
governance has not been a silver-bullet[vii] in solving crypto fraud. In the following sections, we explain why.
Before proceeding further, it’s worth defining several poignant terms integral to this discussion:
- Blockchain ideologist is often associated with Techno-libertarians and Cyber-anarchists in the context of freedom and autonomy. They represent a strong undercurrent that resists centralized control, big brother surveillance, and authoritarian enforcement. Techno-libertarians and Cyber-anarchists may be split on whether crypto has a utopian or dystopian destiny. In the meantime, the-powers-that-be view cryptocurrency as a foe and blockchain as a friend. For this reason, there is a broader movement to support blockchain as a viable evolution to global information sharing.
- Meanwhile, Governance and Sovereign State control bring a sour taste to those who resist central control. The cyber movement advocates self-governance and self-sustaining ecosystems. While this plays out, states are trying to appropriate their control. To Cyber-anarchists this is like a bully entering a playground. But the playground is full of geeks, and they are no longer afraid of the bully.
- To cope with the bureaucracy of the real-world, Geeks are motivated to create an entirely new playground and flip the power hierarchy of society on its head. When it comes to virtual currencies maybe it is true that “the geeks have inherited the world”[viii].
“What may be tolerated today,
may become illegal in the future.”
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About the Author
Gabriel is the co-Founder and General Manager at Adel Ecosystem Ltd. He is a seasoned sales and marketing expert with over 25 years in senior positions at Motorola, VeriSign (acquired by Symantec in 2010), and SecureWorks (acquired by Dell in 2011), and Cognitive Security (acquired by Cisco in 2013). He is a blockchain entrepreneur, with strengths in international business strategy. Gabriel has a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from McMaster University in Canada and expert knowledge in blockchain incubation, cloud computing, IT security, and video streaming, and Over the Top Content (OTT). Gabriel also runs his own company, Euro Tech Startups s.r.o, creator of MyKoddi, and manages a professional blog.
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[viii] “The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth” (2009, Alexandra Robbins)