The Rise Of Decentralized Protests

There are many different ways to protest. People resort to methods such as sit-in demonstrations, social media campaigns, hunger strikes, and other forms. However, throughout the last few years, a new protest mechanism has popped up. In a number of places – including France, the Middle East, Hong Kong, Chile – people are resorting to decentralized protest; often without even realizing it. If you were to take this mechanism and theoretically transfer it over to blockchain, these protests mimic the core concept of blockchain and the currencies powered by it – such as bitcoin.

How decentralized protests occur

Initially, you may not find any link between mostly unorganized, leaderless protests and bitcoin technology. However, by analyzing closely, you can spot the resemblances between the two. Often times, such protests comprise a large number of people – having beliefs in the same ideology and values. They rely on digital networks and not on specific leaders to organize these protests and movements. You can relate it to blockchain; where you have one main network (in this case, the internet) and a thousand different currencies (the media outlets and social networks). Of course, you also have the users (whom in this scenario are people of different ethnicities, religions, family traditions, types of smartphones, etc.). The French protests that took place in 2018 (and still on going) in Paris are a big example of this trend.

Analyzing the decentralized protests sweeping the globe

The tools used to organize a modern-day decentralized protest are smartphones and mobile networks. The protesters use specific social media services and apps to gather like-minded people and arrange the protests at specific places. VPNs and similar encryption tools are used to evade online surveillance. Telegram is one such app, and its secret chat feature has been used a lot. Using such covert services and apps, the protestors set up anonymous groups, and communicate without getting caught.

The process is not exactly smooth

While the decentralized protests have caught up with various radical and socio-political groups, they do not always hit the bull’s eye. Iranian authorities recently succeeded in defusing mass demonstrations by blocking web connectivity. The whole process resembles a cat and mouse game between the protesters and the government.

Authorities in Iran and Russia have put limitations on the use of Telegram to thwart possible protest-related incidents. However, that did not defer the protest groups for long. In Russia, most groups that, for some reason, are interested in continuing to take part in different illegal protests, bypass the ban by using VPNs. Pavel Durov, the Telegram founder, later successfully relocated the servers to other countries to up the ante.

What is the future of such a protest?

It is quite hard to predict what will happen to such a decentralized form of protest. These movements have been taking place in many countries, including developed countries and so-called third world nations. Authorities will try to suppress the voice of dissent, and protesters will find new means to bypass surveillance as well.

There is no denying the role played by web-based technologies behind the growth of these movements worldwide. As you might know, blockchain is also driven by the internet. Throughout the next couple of decades, we will see protests evolve over the years, much like blockchain and bitcoin; destabilizing different governments.

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