Blockchain in the Knowledge Based Economy

If you asked me three months ago what blockchain was, I would have simply told you it’s something to do with Bitcoin, which is something to do with online currency. Over the past weeks, my knowledge and interest have expanded greatly, and I have come to the realisation that its use and significance in society extend far greater than just this. In my last post, I attempted to unpack the innovative ways blockchain is being used to help progress societal change for the better, with a case study focusing on the Brooklyn Microgrid.

As Morabito argues, the paradigm shift associated with the implementation of blockchain is highly relevant heading into the future. Additionally, the “technological concept” behind blockchain is described my Morabito as “closely identical to that of a database” (Morabato, 2017). Hence, if it is possible for this decentralised technology to be used in the transaction of resources from prosumer to consumer without control by a single entity, what is to say it couldn’t be applied to the sharing of knowledge?

My research in this area lead me to the blockchain based start-up – Knowledge.io. This initiative aims to “incentivise knowledge sharing”, whereby users of the decentralised network will be able to offer their knowledge in any given area to those who desire it. The founder of the company, Steven Englander, explained that the process of knowledge sharing is democratised through the use of what are labelled “knowledge tokens”.

“By rewarding people with Knowledge tokens, we are able to provide a decentralised knowledge sharing ecosystem where knowledge flows between advertisers, partners, and users for the benefit of the entire community’s decision making in areas such as commerce, education, and employment.”

In keeping with the model of a blockchain, this case study demonstrates the way in which people can validate each other’s knowledge and expertise. The ‘knowledge ecosystem’ uses what is known as a ‘knowledge score’ which is a way for people to prove their competency and knowledge by answering questions which are in turn verified and recorded through this blockchain technology.

The implication of this technology is hugely pivotal in the equity and and fairness associated with availability of information, and breaking down certain barriers that may prevent people from obtaining knowledge. The OSCE (2016) argues that access to information is a human right, a “fundamental freedom”. They state that without it, “governments cannot be held accountable for their actions, nor are they open to public scrutiny”. Whilst it might be argued that the internet has already allowed for the open source production and dissemination of knowledge, this technology differs in that it enables users to test the veracity of statements by providing a “standard metric that openly demonstrates a user’s knowledge on topics” (OSCE.org, 2016).

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Photo by Andrii Nikolaienko from Pexels

In my own experience in the academic sense, I have encountered moments where I have been unable to access knowledge online without making a significant financial contribution. And while my ‘membership’ to the University of Wollongong has no doubt opened numerous doors for access to academic material and papers, it is not without its limitations.

For those members of society who are not studying at a higher education institute, what does this mean for them? A decentralised knowledge network such as Knowledge.io might just be the answer in helping break down any socio economic, financial or class related factors which may prevent access to knowledge.

The Knowledge.io blockchain system is full of potential. While it does not solve the lack of availability to information caused by a digital divide, it is a stepping stone in the way of equality and impartiality when it comes to the sharing and accessing of knowledge.

 

References:

Morabito, V 2017, Business Innovation Through Blockchain, Springer, Switzerland.

NullTX. (2017). Knowledge.io to Launch Blockchain-based Platform Rewarding Shared Knowledge – NullTX. [online] Available at: https://nulltx.com/knowledge-io-to-launch-blockchain-based-platform-rewarding-shared-knowledge/ [Accessed 11 Sep. 2018].

Osce.org. (2016). Access to information: a universal and human right! #AccessToInfoDay | OSCE. [online] Available at: https://www.osce.org/fom/267746 [Accessed 10 Sep. 2018].

 

 

 

 

 

Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

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