Source: ARK Disrupt Issue 106: January 8, 2018. By @juliahARK

Happy New Year from the Fintech team! As he does every year, Mark Zuckerberg published his New Year’s resolution, this year resolving to fix Facebook’s “errors, enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools.” He also wrote:

With the rise of a small number of big tech companies — and governments using technology to watch their citizens — many people now believe technology only centralizes power rather than decentralizes it.

There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands. But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.

We do not believe that Zuckerberg is interested in decentralizing Facebook and destroying its “valuable” role as a data aggregator, but cryptotokens could be integrated into the community and potentially become part of its capital structure. For example, a “Facebook Token” could be used to verify identity or to pay for content. While advertisers might not be thrilled to “pay for play”, users might enjoy a gamified system in which they exchange micropayments for posting and receiving content (though TwitterTWTR might be the more interesting play on that front). Facebook potentially could use the blockchain to track advertising impressions as well.

We are intrigued that a leader in the increasingly centralized internet space is focused on a technology that aims to decentralize and distribute economic power.  Facebook is unlikely to destroy its economic model by giving users control over and the right to the monetization of their own data.  That said, it could enhance its model if the gamification associated with micropayments increases user engagement, and if blockchain technology enables it to track that engagement more precisely.

View original article and other research here.


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