Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) should not have control over the content internet users access. Net neutrality rules, instituted in 2015, ensure that ISPs can’t charge higher fees or decrease connection speeds for specific websites, or block legal content.
As the United States Senate recently voted to maintain net neutrality, opponents are now calling for the effort to be killed in the house.
Net neutrality activists argue that overturning net neutrality rules could allow ISPs to block or throttle content that is not aligned with their economic or political interests.
They could also incentivize users to access ISPs’ own apps and services by charging less for them or charge a fee to websites who want exemptions from data caps or high-speed service.
WIRED journalist Klint Finley argues that while influential content providers such as Netflix can afford to subsidize their customers’ access, small and independent producers who lack the resources to sponsor data usage would struggle without net neutrality.
Video content providers play a massive role in the net neutrality fight because they require so much internet bandwidth. Cisco predicts that online videos could triple bandwidth consumption between 2016 and 2021.
Video content providers can only monetize content if users can access it, so any action taken by an ISP to restrict such access might have a significant impact on their business model.
Net Neutrality and Blockchain
Many blockchain proponents are alarmed by the possible loss of net neutrality. Internet providers could theoretically block or throttle “non-preferred” exchange or wallet services.
Cornell computer science professor Emin Gün Sirer asserts that many peer-to-peer services and applications that run on blockchain tokens could be snuffed out because akin to small video providers competing with Netflix, they aren’t highly popular destinations and don’t have the means to subsidize their users’ data fees.
If net neutrality is lost, forget being able to run peer-to-peer applications. Bitcoin, Tor, Ethereum and others will be out of reach for most.
— Emin Gün Sirer (@el33th4xor) November 24, 2017
Some supporters believe that the net neutrality fight’s high profile may introduce more mainstream users to adopt blockchain-based technologies. Start-up founder and venture capitalist Ryan Hoover speculated to CNBC that alarm over FCC actions could bring more users to blockchain seeking empowering and decentralized tools.
What Will The Future Hold?
Ian Bogost, a writer for The Atlantic, argues that the equal and democratic utopian ideal of the internet defended by net neutrality activists is more fiction than fact:
“Local retailers have to manage their searchability on Google, or pay for ads to compete with big companies like Amazon. Restaurants must make sure they’re listed on Google Maps and Yelp and OpenTable. Creating a mobile app requires payment of registration fees for listing products on the Google or Apple app stores, and a substantial commission on every sale or subscription. AT&T shouldn’t block FaceTime, but Apple has also disallowed the publication of apps that compete with its services. And as for the ‘next Netflix,’ so much capital is now required to acquire customers for a successful start-up, the very idea of a bootstrapped one might romanticize an ecosystem long gone.”
Power on the internet, in short, is concentrated even with net neutrality. Blockchain is a possible tool for breaking that power up and providing more usability to consumers.
The consequences blockchain might experience due to net neutrality’s repeal (or survival) are yet to be seen, but it appears unlikely that consumers will walk away from services that promise more reliable and cost-effective access to content, even if net neutrality actions get in the way.
Many video platforms offer quality content using reliable blockchain transactions, avoiding reliance on central gatekeepers such as iTunes or Netflix and passing monetary savings on to content creators and consumers.
SuccessLife is launching a blockchain marketplace for accessing personal development video content.
The U.S. Senate recently passed a resolution restoring the 2015 net neutrality rules. While the bill seems unlikely to pass the House, the resolution ensures that the public will not forget about the net neutrality battle for the time being.
Sponsored | Verma Media
Cover Photo by NASA on Unsplash
Disclaimer: Our writers' opinions are solely their own and do not reflect the opinion of CryptoSlate. None of the information you read on CryptoSlate should be taken as investment advice, nor does CryptoSlate endorse any project that may be mentioned or linked to in this article. Buying and trading cryptocurrencies should be considered a high-risk activity. Please do your own due diligence before taking any action related to content within this article. Finally, CryptoSlate takes no responsibility should you lose money trading cryptocurrencies.