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2017年, 比特币, 以太坊等关键词在各大媒体新闻中频频出现. 而其背后的技术--区块链跟着火了起来. 当人们谈到区块链的时候, "去中心化"一词常常会被提到. 译者所翻译的这篇文章, 主题亦与此相关.


blockchain 区块链 crypto 加密 decentralization 去中心化 ICO initial coin offerings, 首次币发行 DAO decentralized autonomous organization, 去中心化自治组织 smart contracts 智能合约 P2P, peer-to-peer, 对等网络

在世界范围内, 没有其他技术可以在如此短的时间内引发全球的热潮. 就在十年前, 中本聪(Satoshi Nakamoto)制定了经过加密的安全链块如何应用于数字货币--比特币上的. 从那以后, 区块链技术及其应用吸引了企业家, 经济学家, 银行家, 风险投资家和公众的想象.

No other technology has created so much worldwide excitement in such a short period of time. Just ten years ago, Satoshi Nakamoto formulated how a cryptographically secured chain of blocks could be used to power a digital currency — Bitcoin. Since then, blockchain technology and its applications have captivated the imaginations of entrepreneurs, economists, bankers, venture capitalists, and the general public.

不可避免的是, 加密狂潮(crypto-frenzy)也吸引了大量投机主义者和骗子 -- 这有损于整个加密行业( crypto-space)的声誉. 然而, 这些小瑕疵只是这张宏图的一小部分: 这种技术能产生价值, 也会有破坏和社会影响.

Unavoidably, the crypto-frenzy has also attracted crowds of opportunists and scammers — somewhat damaging the reputation of the whole crypto-space. This, however, is merely a small distraction from the bigger picture: the value, disruption, and the social impact that the technology can make.

在今年主题为 “在破碎的世界中创造一个共享的未来(Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World)”的达沃斯会议(Davos)上, 来自世界各地的领导人一致认为, 全球化对社会有着积极的影响, 但需要采取更强有力的措施来确保产生的财富得到更加公平地分配.

In this year’s Davos, themed Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World, leaders from all over the world agreed that globalization is a net positive for society, but stronger measures are needed to make sure that the wealth it generates is more fairly distributed.

由于世界全球化进程的推进, 世界产生的大部分财富都归于那些已经富有的人手中 -- 这进一步加剧了社会不平等. 根据国际乐施会(Oxfam International)的报告, 奖励工薪阶层而非富有者(Reward Work Not Wealth)中指出, 去年创造的所有财富的82% 都去到了前1% 的富人手中.

It’s concerning that most of the wealth generated as a result of the world being more globalized goes to those already rich — further contributing to increasing social inequality. According to a report by Oxfam International, Reward Work Not Wealth, 82% of all wealth created in the last year went to the top 1%.


Let’s look at how organizations equipped with blockchains could impact society and inequality.


Do blockchains lead to globalization?

可以肯定的是, 区块链技术以及比特币(Bitcoin)和以太坊(Ethereum)等日益增长的无边界的网络, 会进一步推动世界走向全球化. 不过, 我认为区块链技术支持下的全球化如果做得正确的话, 将会带来更公平的世界和更少的不平等.

It’s safe to assume that the blockchain technology, with its growing borderless networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, will push the world into even more globalization. However, I think that blockchain-empowered globalization, if done right, will lead to a fairer world and less inequality.

让财富更加平等分配的潜在性在于其技术核心的重要属性: 去中心化. 例如, 比特币和以太坊是没有中央管理机构或中央银行监管其运营的. 他们在遍布世界各地的成千上万台机器上自主运行.

The potential for a more equal distribution of wealth lies in an important property at the core of the technology: decentralization. Bitcoin and Ethereum, for example, are cryptocurrencies that have no central authority or a central bank regulating their operation. They run autonomously on thousands of machines scattered all over the world.


Anyone can be an investor

采用区块链技术的行业具有去中心化和民主化的效果. 例如, 投资行业的创新之举, 首次币发行(ICO, 即initial coin offerings)在2017年席卷全球.

Blockchain has a decentralizing and democratizing effect on industries that adopt it. For instance, initial coin offerings (ICOs), an innovation in the investment industry, took the world by storm in 2017.

首次公开币发行, 即ICO, 源自股票市场的IPO, 首次公开募股(Initial Public Offerings,简称IPO)

ICO是区块链公司通过出售其密码令牌筹集资金的一种新方式. 与众筹不同的是, 在捐助者捐赠资金以换取津贴或产品时, ICO期间出售的代币是代表公司的股份的, 它们更像是普通公司的股份.

An ICO is a new way for blockchain companies to raise capital by selling their cryptographic tokens. Unlike crowdfunding, where contributors donate money in exchange for perks or products, the tokens sold during the ICO represent a stake in the company and they are more like the shares of an ordinary company.

在ICO到来之前, 为了投资初创企业, 你需要是成为一个风险投资家, 天使投资者或是以一个银行的身份. 今天, 你不再需要成为一个拥有数百万美元的有资质的投资者才能投资. 亚美尼亚的某个村庄里的人就可以投资缅甸的一家创业公司.

Before ICOs, to invest in an early-stage startup, you needed to be a venture capitalist, an angel investor, or a bank. Today, you no longer have to be an accredited investor, with millions of dollars, to be able to invest. Someone in a village in Armenia can invest in a startup in Myanmar.

通过ICO筹集的资金数量显示了当前存在的投资机会民主化但服务不足的需求. 2017年通过ICO筹集的总额超过50亿美元, 这是通过传统筹资机制投资金额的5倍.

The amount of money raised through ICOs has demonstrated an existing, but underserved need, for the democratization of investment opportunities. In total, over 5 billion U.S. dollars were raised through ICOs in 2017. That’s five times the amount invested through traditional funding mechanisms.

在某种网络效应中, 由区块链支持的资金机制--ICO(为区块链业务提供资金), 会进一步让其他行业去中心化并颠覆它们, 如金融业, 能源行业, 云存储领域和媒体行业

In a sort of network effect, a blockchain-powered funding mechanism — the ICO — provides capital for blockchain businesses that will further decentralize and disrupt other industries, like finance, energy, cloud storage, and media.


Social impact

由ICO提供资金的去中心化的产品可能会带来更加平等的财富分配. 让我们通过一个例子看看这将如何实现.

Decentralized products, funded by ICOs, may lead to a more equal distribution of wealth. Let’s look at an example to see how this would work.

Filecoin是一家在2017年创下2.57亿美元纪录的ICO公司, 它是一家像Dropbox, iCloud Drive和Amazon S3的公司, 可让用户将文件存储在云中. 然而, Filecoin不是将文件存储在大公司拥有的数据中心, 而是将数据存储在一个由其他人拥有的普通PC构成的网络上.

Filecoin, an ICO that raised a record-breaking $257 million in 2017, lets users store files in the cloud, like Dropbox, iCloud Drive, and Amazon S3. However, rather than storing the files in data centers owned by big corporations, Filecoin stores the data on a network of ordinary PCs owned by other people.

这种去中心化将通过利用以前未充分利用的资源(如空的磁盘空间)来创造价值. 更重要的是, 与其将大量现金送进几家大型科技寡头的账户, 通过Filecoin的网络所产生的价值将分配给成千上万的个体.

Such decentralization will create value by utilizing a previously underutilized resource — empty disk space. More importantly, however, instead of filling up the accounts of big tech oligopolies with ludicrous amounts of cash, the value generated by Filecoin’s network will be distributed to thousands of individuals.

首先, 由网络产生的财富将被分配给世界各地的共享磁盘空间的人们. 其次, 成千上万的投资者将通过出售ICO期间获得的加密代币(而不仅仅是几个风险投资者获得的传统资金)来获得投资回报.

First, the wealth generated by the network will go to people all over the world who are sharing their disk space. Second, thousands of investors will get a return on their investment by selling their cryptographic tokens obtained during the ICO (as opposed to just a couple of venture capitalists for traditional funding).

这种模式与许多其他区块链产品类似: 摆脱中间商, 将产品产生的财富分配给比传统公司更多的人.

This pattern is similar for many other blockchain products: getting rid of the middlemen and distributing the wealth generated by the product to a lot more people than in a traditional company.


这将带给我们一种称为去中心化自治组织(decentralized autonomous organization)或简称为DAO的新型组织结构. 这仍然是一个未来主义的想法, 但从长远来看, 它有巨大的潜力去影响社会.

This brings us to a new kind organizational structure called a decentralized autonomous organization or DAO. This is still a futuristic idea, but one with a huge potential to impact society in the long run.

DAO不需要管理结构或任何类型的等级制度, 因为它由运行在区块链网络上的智能合约(smart contracts)提供支持. 网络作为一种基础设施, 可以让全球不同的个体以点对点的方式(peer-to-peer, 或译为对等方式)共同工作.

A DAO doesn’t require a managerial structure or any sort of hierarchy because it is powered by smart contracts running on a blockchain network. The network serves as an infrastructure that lets different individuals, all over the world, work together in a peer-to-peer fashion.

想象一下连接司机和乘客的区块链. 任何人都可以连接到此公共区块链以成为司机或乘客. 没有任何组织配备CEO, 经理或销售部门, 因此司机使用智能合约技术支持的网络所要支付的费用接近零.

Imagine a blockchain that connects drivers and passengers. Anyone can connect to this public blockchain to become a driver or a passenger. There is no organization with a CEO, managers, or a sales department so the drivers would pay close to zero fees for using the smart contract powered network.

未来, 这些网络可以将人们与全球无领导者组织连接起来, 绕过中间商, 保证财富的更公平分配.

In future, these kinds of networks could connect people with worldwide leaderless organizations, bypassing the middlemen and guaranteeing a fairer distribution of wealth.


Challenges ahead

通过区块链进行全球合作的自组织网络可能看起来像是灵丹妙药. 然而, 区块链技术和整个加密生态正处于起步阶段, 需要几十年才能成熟.

Self-organizing networks of people cooperating globally through a blockchain might seem like a panacea. However, the blockchain technology and the whole crypto-ecosystem are in their infancy and it will take decades for them to mature.

区块链系统现在仍然非常缓慢和麻烦. 比如, 比特币每秒限制交易次数为7次, 消耗的电量比爱尔兰全部都要多. 相比之下, Visa每秒可以处理多达50,000笔交易.

Blockchain systems are still extremely slow and cumbersome. Bitcoin, for example, has a limit of seven transactions per second and consumes more electricity than all of Ireland. In comparison, Visa can process up to 50,000 transactions per second.

更重要的是, 区块链产品能使产业民主化, 并有可能获得更公平的财富分配是不够的. 为了在竞争中胜出并获得大规模采用, 他们必须比中心化的对手们更加经济高效.

More importantly, it is not enough that blockchain products can democratize industries and have the potential for a fairer distribution of wealth. To win a competitive fight and gain mass adoption, they have to become more efficient economically than their centralized counterparts.

用户不会仅仅因为产品是去中心化的就跳过Uber去使用点对点搭乘平台. 但如果它更便宜又好用, 他们可能会切换平台.

Users won’t use a peer-to-peer ride-sharing platform over Uber just because it is decentralized. But they would probably make a switch if it was cheaper and easier to use.


In summary

想象一个由点对点区块链组织驱动的世界是如此的迷人, 那个世界里的每个人都有平等的机会创造价值, 并且他们的贡献能得到公平的奖励.

It’s fascinating to imagine a world powered by peer-to-peer blockchain organizations, where everyone around the world has an equal opportunity to create value and they are rewarded fairly for their contributions.

即使技术人员, 企业家, 监管机构和加密经济中的每个人都面临着巨大挑战 -- 看起来人类已经准备好在未来几十年里探索更加去中心化世界的可能性.

Even if there are immense challenges ahead for technologists, entrepreneurs, regulators, and everyone in the crypto-economy — it seems humanity is ready to explore the possibility of a more decentralized world in the coming decades.

原文作者: Val Repsys
原文地址: https://hackernoon.com/can-blockchains-reduce-social-inequality-792653bc3623

欢迎指出错误, 技术交流 邮箱: fesonx@foxmail.com QQ: 994342122 题图: The Politics of Poverty 封面: 银翼杀手2049

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