Luke Stokes: Unlike the Early Web, Crypto Does Not Need State Patronage

Popular myth would have you believe the entrepreneurs and CEOs working in the internet and technology sectors have built up their companies from scratch. This, however, would overlook the enormous role government investment has played in making funds available for the research and development of the products and services these companies offer. 

The first computers were developed during the Second World War at Bletchley Park in England to crack the German Enigma codes. The iPhone depends on the internet, the origins of which lie in ARPANET, a program funded in the 1960s by the Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA), part of the U.S. Defense Department and later renamed. The Global Positioning System (GPS) began as a 1970s U.S. military program called NAVSTAR. Even SIRI, the iPhone’s voice-recognizing personal assistant, can trace its lineage to the government: It’s a spin-off of a DARPA artificial-intelligence (AI) project.  

Luke Stokes is the managing director for the Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO). He’s been a consensus witness for the Hive (previously Steem) blockchain since early 2018 and a custodian for eosDAC, a community-owned EOSIO Block Producer and DAC Enabler, since its inception.

The role of the state isn’t limited to just spending taxpayer funds. Setting supportive policies that enable companies to solve problems and flourish is fundamental to ensuring we solve climate change and many other pressing issues of our time.

While the impact of government investment in areas such as military research is clear for all to see, its impact on Silicon Valley and modern technologies is more opaque. By their design, digital currencies such as bitcoin (BTC) fall out of the jurisdiction and management of state and government bodies. This is how many crypto anarchists and early adopters believed it should be and would very much like it to remain. 

See also: Kevin Owocki – How DeFi ‘Degens’ Are Funding the Next Wave of Open-Source Development

However, if this industry is ever going to achieve its goals and gain mainstream adoption, it is unlikely to happen organically. Agreed principles and collective vision will be fundamental to ensuring the blockchain industry achieves aims such as greater financial inclusion, competition for the banking industry, and a reduction of costs and friction within supply chains. 

The blockchain industry needs to pursue collective policies that are bold, innovative and enable people to work together towards these goals. Currently, projects and teams are siloed, doubling up on efforts to solve almost identical problems with no means for sharing intellectual property or potential revenue, should the mainstream adopt their solutions.       

Private companies lack the resources to realistically compete with public funding.

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