Scary autonomous corporations powered by Bitcoin

Sometimes the stuff I see as speculative thought pieces online blows my mind. Take this article entitled Dawn of Autonomous Corporations, Powered by Bitcoin, for example:

Bitcoin can be thought of as the first real autonomous ‘corporation’ although you probably don’t see it that way. Think about it – it provides a payment protocol and employs miners to maintain that protocol. The employs are rewarded with ‘stock’ that is split at most into 21 million units. You don’t have to think of Bitcoin this way to get to autonomous corporations, though it will help.

Reading the article it sounds kind of utopian and wonderful. And in fact, the author seems to have drunk his own kool-aid:

The idea is the same – this corporation has revenues, expenditures and profits. However, once again, no one owns this entity, it owns itself. The reason it exists is to provide a service at an extremely competitive price that no human-based corporation can provide, so they’ll work higher up the chain to provide ‘value-added’ services.

All of this is possible because of the way Bitcoin (and other, similarly organised systems) are entirely decentralised:

The last pieces of centralization are removed with a system like Namecoin that is decentralized DNS system that the autonomous corporation uses as its website/front where it interacts with people. There will ideally be a decentralized identity system, like the Keyhotee system Communication can take place through something like Bitmessage or through the Keyhotee mailing system that is decentralized. The autonomous corporation cannot afford a central point of failure for essential functions.

While I'd love to see such a system do things for the benefit of humankind I've also experienced human greed, malice and unfairness in my time. I can't help but think, therefore, that while such systems would certainly be working autonomously it would be a kind of Matthew effect on steroids for the already-wealthy.


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