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ETC Proof of Work Course: 8. POW Promotes Basic Rights

Donald McIntyre
Education, Series

You can listen to or watch this video here:

In the first 7 classes of this course we learned how Proof of Work (POW) works, its four revolutionary benefits, the fruits of these benefits; which are decentralization, permissionlessness, censorship resistance, and trust minimization; and how this plus programmability makes Ethereum Classic (ETC) so valuable with regards to Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

With this knowledge we can now study what are the implications for the entire world of POW based Nakamoto Consensus.

In this class, 8, we will talk about how POW promotes basic rights on a global scale.


The Precursors of Basic Rights on POW Blockchains

The most fundamental feature that enables basic rights in a society is enforcement of those rights. After enactment of rights, it is necessary to establish and preserve them through the use of force. This means that whoever breaks the rules must be punished against their will.

On blockchains these things work peacefully with the mere cryptography and the design of the system.

The components that constitute the precursors of basic rights on blockchains and their enforcement are:

Proof of Work: The work required to reverse accounts and balances is so large that it makes these kinds of breaches practically impossible. Also, the information of the POW is what keeps the system decentralized.

Sound money: Few understand this, but the fact that hard money does not lose value over time preserves the value of the savings of people, thus preserving property rights.

Programmability: In the case of blockchains such as Ethereum Classic, programmability is a key to enhancing basic rights because more diverse use cases may be implemented in their highly secure environment other than just money.

Full replication: The fact that the ledgers and smart contracts of POW blockchains are fully replicated makes the accounts and balances redundant in many servers around the world, making them practically impossible to damage, tamper with, or take down by man or nature.

Composability: Composability means that all the applications enabled by programmability are inside the same system, thus making them equally secure and also able to interact with each other in single complex transactions. This integration enhances security and reduces costs, and apps reinforce each other with increased network effects.

Size: The larger a blockchains is, and even if it is the largest in its category, makes the system eve more secure.

The Components that Enable Basic Rights on POW Blockchains

Accounts and balances and smart contracts are the components that enable basic rights on proof of work blockchains.

Accounts and balances: The addresses and accounts in blockchains such as Bitcoin and ETC are the actual property registries. These accounts with their balances and other assets assigned to them enable users to exclusively control their wealth and applications through their private keys.

Decentralized applications (Dapps): As smart contracts are unstoppable and provide general programmability, dapps (which is the the name applications inside these decentralized systems) enable a more ample number of rights that are very difficult to tamper with, attack, interrupt, or intervene.

The Security Attributes of These Components

All the precursors and components mentioned in the previous sections combined provide a level of unprecedented security in POW blockchains.

Trust minimization: Because they are truly decentralized, meaning that nodes may join and leave the system whenever they want, in their own isolation, from anywhere in the world, then the dependency on trusted third parties, thus their risk, is significantly diminished.

Immutability: Because through their private keys users are the only ones who can control their addresses and the balances, dapps, and assets attached to them, and trusted third parties are practically eliminated from these systems, then the ledgers in these networks are immutable.

Censorship resistance: With the practical elimination of trusted third parties, and because cryptography makes it impossible to access the addresses inside the system, then these blockchains are practically impossible to censor.

Permissionlessness: With the practical elimination of trusted third parties, and because POW enables the free access to the system, these blockchains are very difficult to control and restrict access to.

Finality: As transactions are practically final and very difficult to reverse after a number of confirmations, the reliability of POW blockchains is much higher than traditional systems.

Auditability: Since software is complex and may have bugs or glitches, and to reduce the possibility of fraud by core programmers of these systems, their transparency and auditability is a key feature that enhances their security.

Fungibility: If hard money directly impacts property rights, then fungibility of the units of the money is a critical feature that enhances its quality. Fungibility guarantees that any unit is worth the same as any other, minimizing the risk of losing value, while enhancing the value and usability of the currency in general.

How Basic Rights Are Upheld

In summary, basic rights are represented on POW blockchains by means of ledgers with accounts, balances, assets, and smart contracts, which cross all borders and reach everyone in the world regardless of their country, culture, ideology, beliefs, gender, race, or any other human condition.

Protecting those basic rights, sound blockchain principles, such as trust minimization, immutability, censorship resistance, and permissionlessness, must exist as norms within public blockchains and their extended ecosystems to assure their integrity and continuity.

Not only must the internal systems of these networks protect these basic rights but the ecosystems around them naturally uphold them by rejecting nefarious proposals and changes. This is a hallmark of POW blockchain incentives.

Basic Rights Upheld by POW

A few of the basic rights that POW blockchains enable and distribute globally are:

Life: By protecting the money, balances, addresses, and applications, users can save the fruit of their work, conduct commerce, and preserve their lives by providing to themselves and their loved ones with much less uncertainty.

Property: With hard money and by protecting the addresses with their attached balances and assets, blockchains act as property registries and ownership records that are orders of magnitude more secure and transparent than traditional systems.

Liberty: As people’s money and applications are censorship resistant and permissionless, then users have a level of freedom and use of POW blockchains that is not possible in centralized systems.

Freedom of contract: Because POW blockchains such as ETC are programmable, then complex contracts may exist inside these systems. These may be from corporate contracts between clients and providers, to employee terms and conditions, to debt or equity securities, amongst many others.

Free speech: If any kind of application may exist inside programmable POW blockchains, then social media and communications applications may be built on them. These will have much higher guarantees of free of speech than traditional tech company apps.

Freedom of assembly: If freedom of contract and freedom of speech exist in these systems, and are distributed globally, then freedom of association, of assembly (at least online), and petition are enhanced worldwide.

Religion: If freedom of association and speech exist, then freedom of religion is a natural result.

Thank you for reading this article!

To learn more about ETC please go to: https://ethereumclassic.org

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