Our Future: A Decentralized Autonomous Society, Fueled by the Metaverse
Conceiving of the metaverse as nothing more than a social media platform with built-in virtual reality fails to appreciate how it could change our social, political, and economic order. At its core is blockchain technology that could pave the way towards a decentralized autonomous society. Anything but a state of anarchy, this model would allow us to become global citizens with our digital identity and will enable us to create our economies without the need for intermediaries.
More than a fascinating thought experiment, decentralization is a lever that, when pulled, could give way to unprecedented changes for our social and economic order. For his part, Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled the science fiction side of the metaverse — a virtual world where users can interact, game, and experience things as they would in the real world.
While that certainly has its place in our discussion, I want to focus on the technologies and innovations that underlie our post-digital turn towards identity, property, transactions, and “direct democracy” — i.e., direct participation in government decision making.
A future without intermediaries: Blockchain and tokenomics
Blockchain acts as a secure, decentralized, and transparent data container. The information it stores is protected by cryptography — i.e., a unique string of numbers that link various blocks and that is virtually impossible to crack. In this way, transactions can be fully controlled without intermediaries.
While its role in the metaverse is to guarantee that data is reliable, blockchain also allows us to perform transfers of value and gives proof of the digital ownership of assets. After all, these cryptographic techniques have paved the way for what we know as cryptocurrencies.
Thanks to smart contracts — the business process enablers for blockchain — these same innovations have given rise to digitized, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO). Although they function like paper contracts, smart contracts are agreements between counterparts that are self-executed, pre-programmed, and written into lines of code (click here to learn more about smart contracts).
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs): the virtual enterprise
Technically speaking, the purpose of a DAO is to encode an organization’s operational rules into a computer program (or…