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The Intellectual Tension Between Social Networking and Blockchains

There is an interesting irony that social networks and blockchains, two of the most important information technologies of the day, sit in fundamental intellectual tension.

The core idea of a blockchain is that there is a common shared “memory” on which all nodes choose to agree. In a blockchain-based world, consensus is both the goal and the value. If you as an individual choose to disagree with the majority, you are an outcast and thrown out of the system.

The key is to understand that each technology is suitable to its own type of content. What we should choose to centralize or decentralize in the future virtual world is actually inverted from what we would have chosen a century ago.  

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Esther Dyson, Ken Seiff and 6 others commented on this article.
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Joe Lonsdale
Joe Lonsdale
Founding Partner, Eight
Chamath Palihapitiya
Chamath Palihapitiya
Founder & Managing Partner, SocialCapital
Tina Sharkey
Tina Sharkey
CEO, Brandless
Jonah Peretti
Jonah Peretti
CEO, Buzzfeed
Adam D'Angelo
Adam D'Angelo
CEO, Quora
Brit Morin
Brit Morin
Founder & CEO, Brit + CO
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Dustin Moskovitz
Co-Founder, Asana
Christina Miller
Christina Miller
President & General Manager, Turner
Max Levchin
Max Levchin
CEO, Affirm
Adam Mosseri
Adam Mosseri
Director of Product, Facebook
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Alex Mather
The Athletic
Martha Josephson
Martha Josephson
Partner, Egon Zehnder
James Murdoch
James Murdoch
Co-Chief Operating Officer, 21st Century Fox
Andrew Kortina
Andrew Kortina
Founder, Venmo
Ben Chestnut
Ben Chestnut
Co-Founder & CEO, Mailchimp
Ruchi Sanghvi
Ruchi Sanghvi
VP Operations, Dropbox
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If blockchain technology had been invented and deployed before social networking existed, would we be in the opposite position—decrying the forced consistency and lack of nuance of blockchain-based truth?