Fake News Foe: How Blockchain Can Foment A Truthful Society

Reading Time: 2 minutes

There is no such thing as an “alternative fact” in a blockchain society. You can either prove it, or it’s false, that’s how the blockchain works.

At a time when even video evidence is becoming unreliable, and our institutions are openly corrupt, the blockchain may end up being the only direction for some endeavors, such as law enforcement and diplomacy.

In either of these, proving something did or did not happen can be a matter of life and death, and using the blockchain is a way to remove trust of sources from the equation. Blockchains are normally designed to be neutral. To perform their purpose and nothing else.

Prove It

Imagine if the US  president had to commit everything that took place in his office to a secured blockchain. Testimony would no longer matter; records would be secured indefinitely. Only a truly transparent civil servant would dare assume office in a world where everything was recorded on a permissionless, public chain — forever.

If one accepts that transparency helps build a better society, then a failure to embrace the blockchain is an act of hypocrisy.

The bottom line is that even the most opaque form of blockchain offers more concrete transparency — as well as personal privacy — than the most transparent form of traditional banking.

Imagine calling up a bank and giving them a transaction number that didn’t belong to you, expecting to get information about it.

Imagine asking the same bank how many dollars they had moved in the past 24 hours, or other information you can get from a blockchain-based transaction, such as how many dollars the bank holds overall.

In the near future, blockchain might be applied to investigative journalism. “Anonymous” sources would start registering proof in ways that are cryptographically verifiable but also protect their identity.

Beyond that, there are plenty of ways the blockchain can be applied to accountability projects. A blockchain-based tracking system could prove or disprove any cop’s story as to his own whereabouts, while another system could be used to verify the integrity of film turned in as evidence.

Transparency = Justice?

Combined with the prospects of artificial intelligence, technology may soon revolutionize our institutions for good — and for the better.

Short of an artificial general intelligence powerful enough to use a blockchain database to verify data, you could simply incentivize the truth.

It would be trivial, for example, to find a way to incentivize people to scrutinize journalism for bias and false statements. In many cases, people feel motivated to do as much already, so putting a price — in crypto — on the behavior would only formalize it.

Thus, while “proof” gets harder and harder for mere mortals to divine, the ability to create solid proof via cryptography advances and gets increasingly accessible.

Since we’re losing the forms of proof that most people find comfortable today, cryptographic proofs might become commonplace out of necessity.