Big Tech’s War on CryptoDate Written: December 17 2018 Written By: Samantha Joule Fow
Cryptocurrency markets are struggling, and whether there’s any recovery in sight is anyone’s guess. But the benefits of blockchain technology and the fintech revolution that it’s inspired are unquestionable, and plenty of big businesses are figuring out ways they can monetize this growingly-popular public technology.
Blockchain technology is reliable and transparent, and the potential for it form the basis for a decentralized world-wide financial system is enough to send shivers up any economists’ spine. And while this sounds like a pretty solid deal for the billions of people around the world in need of financial services, it also threatens industries that rely upon operating within our current centralized network. This particularly includes the FAMGA big tech oligopoly: Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. As a result, it’s no surprise that big tech is mounting a war on crypto that’s fit for the pages of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.
Big Tech Sees Decentralization as a Threat
FAMGA is threatened by cryptocurrency and blockchain technology because it may put their business at risk. The very basic reason these industries are threatened is because companies working in social media, advertisement, or data collections rely heavily upon collecting user data. They take this information and apply it in some form or another to turn a profit. A decentralized network potentially places this model in jeopardy. After all, in a decentralized world, user data would no longer be filtered through a centralized mechanism.
The internet is coalescing around the FAMGA monopoly, meaning that it’s becoming growingly centralized. Companies that rely on the information that is sent through their severs – including Facebook, Amazon, and Google – are thriving as a result. In a decentralized world, however, data is not owned by an individual, company, or government. Instead data is owned, regulated, and distributed by individuals that operate independently from a centralized network.
Internet Giants Try to Crush Crypto
Facebook, the social networking giant well-known worldwide for its aggressive business tactics, has recently made clear its intentions to hinder the coming of tech’s decentralized age. Facebook released a statement on anti-cryptocurrency policies earlier this year, which banned cryptocurrency ads from the platform entirely. While the policy outwardly targeted financial products that are deemed by Facebook to be associated with scams or misleading practices, lumping all cryptocurrencies into this categorization reflects a clear bias.
Facebook is not alone in the fight against a decentralized age of technology. Google and Twitter have also made moves against cryptocurrency and the furtherance of blockchain technology in the public domain by banning the promotion for ICO’s and token sales. While the tech giants’ true intentions are anyone’s guess, these advertising bans undermined the legitimacy of blockchain and cryptocurrency in the public eye.
Where’s The Beef?
FAMGA got rich by finding innovative ways to apply modern technical developments. So what’s big tech’s beef with cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency and decentralized blockchain networks that power them would users to control their own data. Returning control of economically-valuable user data to the hands of the users throws a wrench in the works of many social networks’ monetization strategies. And in a day in age where can’t trust FAMGA and its fellow tech giants to safeguard our user data, many of us are looking towards the blockchain as a way to keep private data secure while maintaining important information in the public domain.
Anyone who uses social media should know by now – if you’re not the customer, you’re the product. Our “free” social media profiles are actually charging us in the form of valuable user data. Tech companies collect and sell this data, or use it to make targeted advertising platforms. Basically, a decentralized society threatens to eliminate centralized databases, where data is possessed and controlled by corporate monopolies, due to the natural transparency of decentralized technology. Change is in the wind, and big tech is defending its aggressive data collection zealously. But regardless of what battles big tech may bring crypto, there’s no doubt that blockchain tech and the fintech revolution it started is here to stay.