BLOCKCHAIN, BEHAVIOR, AND COMMONWEAL
Thesis research questionHow can the principles of Blockchain technology serve as a guide to influence public behavior toward the achievement of the commonweal?
Research sub-questions-What are the universal and fundamental principles underlying Blockchain technology?
-What are the particular technological innovations of contemporary Blockchain technology that could be applied to the conceptualization and creation of new innovative systems? -How can applying the principle of Blockchain positively affect the way we consciously consider social issues?
AbstractBlockchain technology, representative technology of the 4th Industrial Revolution, has been primarily used for cryptocurrencies–like bitcoin. Now, there are lots of attempts to apply this emerging technology to wider fields. This thesis suggests that the crucial elements of the Blockchain technology can be applied to many situational contexts and systems of organization in society. We can use the principles of Blockchain technology to build a system that serves as a guide to public behavior toward the achievement of the commonweal–the interests that members of a community have that serve public benefits (Lee, Simon).
The idea of applying Blockchain technology to human behavior is theoretical. Therefore, while the role of Blockchain’s principle is crucial, this concept does not go into the technical details behind it pragmatically. Instead, it is used as a symbol, metaphor, and contextual frame model.
This thesis attempts to apply Blockchain technology with the notions of fractals and social construction inherently to social issues. Experimental models that expose the system to small test groups will allow testing of expectations when this framework is applied to concrete social, behavioral, and environmental circumstances. This thesis suggests ways to interconnect, reveal, and activate these values in society through communications design. Communications design facilitates the role of a bridge that connects society and the problems that plague society.
1. IntroductionCommunication design has been meaningful in delivering and interacting with information through various design methodologies. Now, communication design is expanding not only as a medium but also as a field that can solve social problems proactively by converging with various fields such as science and technology.
In order to respond to the expansion of the communication design’s role, this paper proposes a speculative system that can be expected to play a crucial role in positively affecting social construction. Thus, the thesis suggests the concept of the system based on the emerging technology–Blockchain.
Blockchain can be explained as an ever-expanding list of linked records which are, through cryptography, resistant to modification. It is a decentralized public ledger of transactions across P2P networks, where access to data is distributed among all the participants in the networks. (Nakamoto, 1).
This thesis sets the hypothesis that Blockchain technology can be applied to influence social behavior. Consequently, the aim of this thesis is to achieve commonweal.
The term commonweal is the same concept as the “common good,” in that it refers to the interests that members of a community have that serve public benefits (Lee, Simon). These public benefits can be categorized as being parts of the natural environment, such as shared clean water or the atmosphere, or they can be manmade, such as medical facilities and institutions of learning.
The application of Blockchain technology to social behavior is theoretical. Blockchain technology is expressed metaphorically through various visual experiments to explore and investigate applicable principles of Blockchain technology.
2. Contextual & Historical FrameworkBlockchain can be explained as an ever-expanding list of linked records, which are, through cryptography, resistant to modification. It is a decentralized public ledger of transactions across P2P networks, where access to data is distributed among all the participants in the networks (Nakamoto, 1). Consequently, it is impossible for stakeholders and outside agents to hack and manipulate the chains.
Blockchain was developed for cryptocurrency and mainly used as a function of currency for e-commerce. Various technologies were applied as the foundation for Blockchain technology. Therefore I categorized six different standpoints of Blockchain-technology functions: Record, P2P, Currency-wise, Decentralizing technology, Data management, e-commerce.
From murals to paper documents, letterpress, and flash drives such as CDs, HDDs, and SSDs, humans have developed various media for storing data. Recently, various cloud services have enabled data storage with relatively little time and space constraints. Blockchain is a technology that makes it possible for anyone to read the results of changes by accessing the managed data in a distributed data storage environment called ‘blocks’, formed by the connection of small-scale data in a chain form based on the P2P method. The block records all the transaction details that were propagated to users before the block was established, and is sent to all users so that the transaction details cannot be arbitrarily modified or missed. A block has a link to the date it was established and to the previous block, and this set of blocks is called a Blockchain (Lian, et al).
P2P(Peer-to-peer) is the sharing of files with individuals directly connected on the Internet (Techterms). It is a form through which all participants become suppliers and consumers by connecting and searching personal computers directly. It is a technology that makes it possible for anyone to read the results of changes by storing the managed data in a distributed data storage environment called ‘blocks’, formed by connecting small data in a chain form based on the P2P method.
Cryptocurrency is electronic information that can be used as money in certain networks encrypted with Blockchain technology (Frankenfield). Unlike traditional currency—also known as fiat currency—cryptocurrency is not issued by the central bank, but the financial value is digitally displayed. The cryptocurrency, unlike government-issued notes, has no face value and for the purpose of investment. Therefore, it is traded at a price formed through market exchanges.
D. Decentralizing technology
In distributed storage, one of the core principles of Blockchain, data is distributed across numerous network nodes (such as personal PCs) around the world to store originals and numerous copies. Therefore, even if an attempt is made to change data on one node randomly, the data does not match the copies stored on the other nodes, so other network participants can easily identify that the data has been corrupted. Decentralized systems are much more resistant to errors and cyber attacks because they do not rely on a single data center such as in traditional centralized systems.
E. Data management
Data management software based on Blockchain technology provides an environment for easily managing a database for the purpose of data sharing and usage by multiple people. The database management system (DBMS) through Blockchain is a decentralized system that ensures transparency for all parties through shared transaction books. This has the disadvantage that existing central servers or a large-scale infrastructure must be built, and centralized data can be forged or modulated. But through Blockchain technology, data can be stored and managed more safely without going through a centralized infrastructure (Kim).
e-commerce is a transaction system that enables the buying and selling of services on a network such as the Internet through computers. That Blockchain functions as a currency means transactions on such networks are possible. This allows direct network transactions between buyers and sellers (bitcoin.org). Nevertheless, since these ledgers are distributed and stored and managed within the Blockchain, there is no need to worry about cancellations and double payments, and these distributed ledgers are automatically encrypted to enable secure transactions. This means fewer transaction fees and faster and more secure crypto transactions on the network such as origin management and authenticity checks.
3. DelimitationThis thesis presents the concept of Blockchain as it relates to human behavior and its modification toward the achievement of the commonweal. While it is based on the understanding of Blockchain technology and is driven by that informational platform, this thesis does not address the technical aspects of Blockchain; instead, it is used as a symbol, metaphor, and contextual frame model. Thus, while the role of Blockchain’s principle is crucial, this thesis does not go into the technical details behind it pragmatically.
4. Contribution to the discipline statement
4. Contribution to the discipline statementThis thesis proposes a conceptual framework for human-centered activities that use the principles of Blockchain technology as a methodology to address select social and environmental problems. This thesis’s main argument is that the systematic application of Blockchain principles can be used to positively influence public behavior. Further, this thesis attempts to determine the particular innovations of contemporary Blockchain technology that could be applied to the conceptualizing and creation of new innovative systems for achieving the commonweal.
There are three main principles of Blockchain: encryption, open-sourcing, and decentralization. Encryption is the process of encoding a message or information in such a way that only authorized parties can manipulate it. Anyone could potentially view the data, but no one, not even the creator of the data, can change it. This process is a failsafe measure against tampering. By using this principle in society, all of the attempts to solve various social issues requiring any data transactions would be transparent and tamper-proof.
Open-sourcing allows everyone easy access to information. Software or hardware released with open-source licensing affords users access to the data content of the product, and the use of that content for free. While a user can make changes to the product (for example, editing a Wikipedia page), a user cannot hide the fact that changes have been made, because all changes are recorded and encrypted.
The concept of decentralization refers to distributing the actions of an organization away from any fixed point (Merriam-Webster). There is no need to acquire permission from any main body, because there is no main body, and this means that anyone can contribute to the system at any time. This would let users participate in the system without being under any single governing entity while seeking to achieve commonweal.
By applying the principles of Blockchain technology, this thesis suggests the procedures for influencing public behavior by utilizing them for social construction. Blockchain technology’s essential features, such as encryption, open-source and decentralization can act as catalysts for social change. This thesis suggests ways to interconnect, reveal, and activate these values in society through communications design.
Communications design facilitates the role of a bridge that connects society and the problems that plague society. By affecting public consciousness, communications design confronts these issues squarely and becomes a tool that identifies the appropriate methods to shift public attitudes and simultaneously solve larger social problems. Through this system and communications design, this thesis surveys the positive impact of social behavior and effects to result in the common good. This paper can serve as an example of how fellow designers can implement new concepts to facilitate communication about social problem solutions.