Many of you out there are fans of Bitcoin, a decentralized monetary system that’s kind of unstoppable now since it’s hard to crush millions of nodes. Not sure how I feel about Bitcoin, but I’ve been reading up on Enigma, which essentially uses similar fancy math to create an almost perfect decentralized market, in theory. You pay a cent to get into the network, so the network can penalize you that cent if you misbehave, and use the money to repay whoever you wronged. More importantly, it uses an insane new encryption dynamic that allows you to run a script with normal inputs and outputs, except you have no clue what the encrypted inputs are, and no idea what then heck it is you’re outputting back to the person who requested you to run this script. In this way, you can leave your device on to run others’ computations for them, either with their own private data or a mix of that with your own. If you try to mess around and fake the output, the requestor will know because of fancy cryptography, and can prove you fiddled with the output to the rest of the network. That penalty cost will forever be written to the global, distributed block chain (same data structure BitCoin uses).
Replacing Uber with Viral P2P swarm?
So you could imagine, I pay micro-cents to send out a request to the network to run a script called “Are you available and close enough to pick me up?” with an encrypted location input. An available Uber-like driver could run the script mixed with the driver’s private location state and public “Available” state, rendering a “Yes” response that only the requester could decipher! As the driver, you literally wouldn’t even know that you just said you were within range, nor could you decipher the requester’s location! The requester could then select from nearby drivers to proceed executing more pickup script negotiations. Once the functionality is developed, most overhead would be on the devices themselves, exchanging actual money to trade requests.
With little dev overhead, every Uber driver in their right mind would switch over to the P2P network to make double or more with consumers switching likewise. The change, if it ever happens, would practically take place overnight, and supply/demand would theoretically even out to an equilibrium between wages and rates. Different “Sharing Economy” companies would then quickly fold into different flavors of new P2P networks, with producers and consumers signing up for multiple flavors of rules. Networks with cruddy rules stop getting used, newer networks with the best rules get used more by say, passengers and drivers both. In the Uber case, the only remaining constraints would be marketing and centralized insurance, let’s crack those enigmas too!