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Has Decentralization Unleashed a New Renaissance?

Decentralized Finance

Medieval Europe, ravished by the black plague, emerged out of its darkness seeking new ways to live.

Frustrated by the old systems of feudal economics, absolute monarchies and religious fundamentalism, people began to devise new ways to survive and thrive outside feudal religious monarchies.

In the 15th century, everything changed with three key events that would create the world we know today.

Branch Banking Begins

In 1429, the Medici Bank expanded its operations, creating a branch system located in multiple principalities throughout Europe.

This expansion was made possible by significant Medici bank innovations like, the double entry-bookkeeping system (Luca Pacioli is no longer considered the inventor of double-entry bookkeeping – just the first to publish), as well as:

  • operating companies
  • letters of credit and bills of exchange
  • hold deposits
  • making loans

Medici Bank solidified their presence and trust across Europe, just as global banks do today.

As a result of Medici Bank’s innovations, merchants no longer needed the royal treasury to account and protect their transactions. Power shifted from absolute monarchies to merchants and bankers – ushering in the age of capitalism.

The Printing Press Revolutionizes Learning

In 1440, Johannes Guttenberg invented the printing press, a tool that revolutionized learning. Its positive effects were far reaching.

With the printing press, the Christian Bible could be manufactured quicker and cheaper, rather than having scribes write out pages. As a result, many books were published, including the ancient and forgotten Greek and Roman literature, once considered hierarchical and hedonistic to the church.

The seeds of the Renaissance were sowed by the press and financed by the bank, forever changing western civilization.

People no longer needed clergy to read and educate them at church. Once a person learned to read, they could teach themselves. Knowledge was set free, and the protestant movement began.

Power shifted from the Catholic church and its absolute monarchies to principalities and protestant churches. The yoke of ignorance was broken and the feudal economic system ultimately collapsed.

A New World is Discovered

In 1492, everything seemed possible for Europeans, with the discovery of the New World.

Europe set sail and began its journey to conquer the oceans and the western hemisphere, bringing its innovations with it and establishing merchant cultures at every port.

People no longer saw the world as flat, insufferable, and hopeless. The hallmarks of the Medieval age dissolved, and people were free to conduct business, accrue wealth and share knowledge.  

But in 1945, it all ended with a big bang at Hiroshima.

Humanity came to realize that too much power in too few hands is dangerous.

The Internet & Decentralized Finance = New Renaissance World

New inventions and discoveries continue to marvel our world:

  • 1969: the United States puts a man on the moon and for everybody everywhere, everything seems possible.
  • 1993: the Internet is made public. World Wide Web software invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 is put into the public domain allowing everyone, everywhere to add and share all of humanity’s knowledge.
  • 2008: Satoshi Nakamoto invents Blockchain and Bitcoin, creating the Crypo-Universe
  • 2015: Vitalik Buterin creates Ethereum, bringing programmable contracts and programmable money together to form decentralized finance (DeFi).

Where does all this lead? I can only guess.

Decentralized Finance Set Free

What I do know is that the forces of decentralized finance have been set free because too much power in too few hands is dangerous to all of us.

Perhaps we’ve been living in the dark ages and are just now witnessing a new Renaissance for all of humanity.

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