On Red Fire Ants & the Power of Decentralization

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Solenopsis invicta is a fascinating little creature.

Originally from the flood-plains of South America, the Red Fire Ant has been accidentally introduced to numerous other places across the globe. When a flood comes, the Red Fire Ants are able to bind themselves together and build a raft from their own bodies that allows the group to ride out the flood.

So…Red Fire Ants (RFAs) seem like a pretty remote subject when it comes to blockchain and cryptocurrency. But the same behavior that allows RFAs to survive an environmental cataclysm could be why cryptos end up taking over the global financial system.

Red Ants Decentralization

There is no central control structure for the RFAs. True, they have a queen, but she doesn’t tell the colony to form a raft, or how they should actively adapt to their environment. Recent research from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that RFAs form a material that displays remarkable qualities in a totally decentralized way.

Transcending our Specialization-Corruption Paradox

Given how much work has already been done on the topic of social philosophy, I wouldn’t be surprised if I am describing an idea that has been covered already.

Our ability to specialize is a direct result of our centralized power structure. In order to move out of a society that centers on small-scale agriculture, we need to have some form of delegating resources. Until now that has taken the form of a government, which also regulates trade and money.

Unfortunately, the same centralized power structure that gives us our ability to specialize also engenders corruption. It is a paradox that is seemingly unsolvable, without the help of decentralization.

Let’s Deal With People

We have some pretty high ideals when it comes to how people should act, and what the world should be. Too often we are let down by how reality unfolds because we simply don’t want to accept that humanity is extremely weak in the ethics department.

As Johann Gevers explains in this amazing presentation, we live in a social construct that is very different than the one our mind evolved in. We deal with a massive, interconnected world on a daily basis. Our poor mind evolved to know around 150 (Dunbar’s Number) people, which makes the modern social condition impossible to deal with rationally.

The results of this situation are incredible to see. We are capable of amazing things, but when it comes to honest governance of any form, we fall short as a species. It seems like the only way forward is a move away from centralized power structures.

Today, we have to tools to do just that.

Take a Lesson From The Red Fire Ant

Decentralization is a lot bigger than Bitcoin. It isn’t hard to see that we are reaching our limits within the centralized power model that brought us to this point.

Today, crisis and corruption are commonplace in every important organization, including FIFA!

The political solutions at our disposal don’t seem to make much of a difference. The EU was a move towards centralized power on a scale never before seen in European history. Now Paris is burning, and it looks like farmers in the UK won’t be able to sell their products across the channel.

These are the fruits of centralized power taken to the extreme.

The good news is that there is no need for violent revolution. Much like the RFAs, we can be smart enough to embrace a suite of technologies that will allow us to specialize at an even greater level, without the need for any sort of centralized power whatsoever.

Reasonable Outcomes

There is no doubt that decentralized technology is still in its infancy. Cryptos shot into the public eye when they shot up in price exponentially. Their true value, or potential, may not be fully understood at the moment.

Cryptocurrency engenders human freedom in a way that we have never known before. Instead of trusting in obviously corrupt centralized power structures, cryptos give people the mechanism to link together, and form structures that only need data connections to survive.

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Nicholas Say was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has traveled extensively, lived in Uruguay for many years, and currently resides in the Far East. His writing can be found all over the web, with special emphasis placed on realistic development, and the next generation of human technology.

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