The Web liberated information, blockchain to liberate transactions

The Web democratised publishing

Before the Web, publishing and mass communication were only available to professionals with lots of capital. Today, anyone can be a mass communicator.  

In former times, you needed expensive printing machines, logistics networks and broadcasting licenses to reach out to large audiences. Today, all you need is an Internet connection and a smartphone.

In the past, only a few had the means to communicate information to the masses. Today, anyone can publish information to a potential audience of billions.  

Access to publishing technology and mass audiences used to be sold as a product or service. Today, publishing technology and reach is a commodity.

Without the Web, publishers and TV stations were the gatekeepers to the communication channels; they controlled who was allowed to communicate and what information was published. Today, everyone with a smartphone can publish any information on the Web without asking or paying anyone for permission.

Before the Web, intermediaries like publishers and advertising agencies had high profit margins. Today, the businesses of intermediaries in the media sector are shrinking rapidly.  

Speeding up information through printing, publishing, and ultimately through the Web led to immense cultural and intellectual innovation and revolution.

Blockchain is democratising finance

Before the blockchain (even on the Web), only large financial institutions had the power to make global and/or digital financial transactions. With the blockchain, everyone can transfer digital money on a global scale.  

In the past, organizations needed lots of capital and a banking license to execute digital financial transactions. Today, all you need for a digital transaction is a smartphone and a Bitcoin address.

Banks and credit card organisations used to be gatekeepers to the financial system. They controlled who had access to a checking account or a loan. With Bitcoin, everyone with access to a computer or a smartphone can take part in the digital financial system.

In former times, banks were powerful and mandatory intermediaries when companies wanted to raise equity or debts in the financial markets. Today, it is possible to raise funds on the blockchain, for example with an ICO (initial coin offering) that works entirely without banks.

Without the blockchain, banks, notaries, and similar institutions had high profit margins. The blockchain is now making them entirely obsolete.

Will the blockchain lead to financial and commercial innovation just as the Web gave rise to the information revolution? The first signs are indicating that.

Author: Collin Müller
Online professional for over 20 years, more than 10 years in the communications and media industry.