Across the planet, new technologies and business models are decentralizing power and placing it in the hands of communities and individuals.
"We are seeing technology-driven networks replacing bureacratically-driven hierarchies," says VC and futurist Fred Wilson.
Some that stood out to me:
- Open Garden, a product of the Open Garden Foundation, provides mesh networking through an app that creates a wireless mesh network, enabling everyone to have faster downloads, and stronger and cheaper connectivity.
- Commotion Router is free, open source software that allows for communities to build their own mesh networks.
- Twister is a peer-to-peer alternative social network operating on a decentralized framework, designed in a way that prevents other users from knowing too much about your whereabouts and online habits.
- BitCloud is only a concept for now, but it’s basically a proposal to replace the entire internet with a decentralized system.
- WunderBar is a starter kit for developers, hackers and makers looking to test out ideas and contribute to the Internet of Things.
- Smart Contracts: What if contracts could enforce themselves, obviating the need for contract law and lawyers? The idea of smart contracts was introduced by Nick Szabo in the 1990s, but recent advancements in cryptography may be moving the idea closer to reality.
- Peer to Peer Payments: Services like Square Cash, VenMo and Dwolla are cutting out the bank by creating a platform and framework for online payments between peers.
- Peer to Peer Lending: Services like Lending Club, Zopa, and Prosper are cutting out institutional lenders and big banks by enabling people to make loans directly to each other. Over $2.4 billion in peer-to-peer loans were issued in 2013.
- Crowdsourcing Civic Engagement: What if getting your city planner’s attention was as easy as tacking a note to a digital bulletin board? With crowdsourcing platforms like Dear City, citizens can do just that, and others can up-vote or down-vote the concern.
- Civic Crowdfunding: With public budgets slashed, urban planners and community groups are turning to sites likeCitizinvestor, ZenFunder and neighbor.ly to pay for civic projects and infrastructure.
- Decentralized Urban Farming: Services like BK Farmyards, LandShare, hyperlocavore and Sharing Backyards use social media and Google maps to connect urban landowners with urban farmers. But this is just scratching the surface, an entire alternative agriculture system is emerging that’s based on local production, processing, and distribution.
- Online Learning Platforms: Technology-based decentralization of education promises to be a game-changing, disruptive force for the future. Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCS) have the potential to be great equalizers, decentralizing education to the extent that college become accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford it, while online learning communities like Duolingo and CodeAcademy have established peer networks to help people learn from each other.
Resistance is fertile!
Check this out! We pulled the plants from the hydroponics system and the roots grew like crazy! Apparently plants are more alive than we think, their roots move around looking for food… Just as we would walk around, they are just muuuuch slower. Interesting..