Bitcoin’s blockchain technology is touted for its potential to decentralise power and disrupt existing socio-economic structures. Yet, it is also feared for its capacity to create a ‘techno-Leviathan’, an all-seeing, inescapable authority. The technology’s transparency and immutability, while promoting trust and accountability, can also enable total surveillance and control.

The blockchain’s decentralisation is not necessarily democratic. Its consensus mechanism, where power is proportional to computational resources, can lead to centralisation of authority in the hands of those with significant resources. The technology’s libertarian ethos also disregards the need for collective decision-making, potentially undermining democratic processes.

The potential of blockchain to disrupt existing power structures is yet to be realised. Its applications so far, such as Bitcoin, have not significantly challenged existing financial systems. The technology’s transformative potential is also limited by structural and cultural barriers to adoption.

Blockchain’s potential for decentralisation and disruption needs to be critically examined. Its limitations and risks, including the potential for centralisation and surveillance, must be acknowledged. Its applications should be developed with a view to enhancing democratic processes and social justice.

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