What comes to mind when you think of freedom?
Do you imagine being able to watch your favourite TV shows in the comfort of your living room? Maybe browsing Facebook without a VPN or going to the shops without having to worry about oppressive forces? Does it mean having the ability to vote for a government or choose how to live your life without someone trying to stop you?
It's clear that the concept of freedom is relative. In some places, it means being able to voice controversial thoughts and opinions without being arrested or killed. In others, it means being able to live in accordance with your own principles - as long as you are not hurting anyone in the process. Freedom is a word - and more commonly in modern times, a phrase - that has come to mean many things. Wars have been started in the hopes of gaining it. People march down the streets and protest to introduce it to their societies. Whatever the reason, it resonates in us with a long lasting and powerful impact.
Throughout history, we've seen many who dared to oppose freedom. We've also seen our collective ability to liberate the individual from tyranny. A pinnacle example of this was seen recently in China and its move to force a piece of spyware on Xinjiang, home to much of its Muslim minority population. According to an article by Mashable:
"Authorities sent out a notice over a week ago instructing citizens to install a "surveillance app" on their phones, and are conducting spot checks in the region to ensure that residents have it. Users who deleted, or did not install the app, would be detained for up to 10 days, according to social media users. The app reportedly scans for the MD5 digital signatures of media files in the phone, and matches them to a stored database of offending files classified by the government as illegal "terrorist-related" media. Jinwang also keeps a copy of Weibo and WeChat records, as well as a record of IMEI numbers, SIM card data and Wifi login data. The records are then sent to a server."
If you recall the tragic events of WWII, a similar thing occurred with the Jewish population who were forced to have a yellow star of David sewed to their garments. In history, people have been oppressed because of their ethnic background, or their religious, political and personal views.
What can we learn from history?
Whether we're looking at the ISP shutdown across Egypt in 2001 in an attempt to halt an uprising, or China's ban on Facebook, one thing is clear: we must uphold the individual's right to freely express their thoughts. A common fallacy is to think that such oppression occurs only in far-away nation states, far from "civilized" Western ideologies. The reality is that these issues also hit very close to home. An article regarding individual privacy mentions:
“In the United States, authorities have shut down mobile service to prevent activists from communicating, as happened a couple of years ago during a protest at San Francisco subway stations.”
The article goes on to mention similar things attempted in Europe - perhaps a place deemed to have a greater level of freedom:
“In 2009, the recording industry even persuaded France to pass a law—since declared unconstitutional—that cancelled the internet service of any household caught downloading copyrighted files more than three times.”
What can we do?
While you may consider where you stand on such issues, we must never forget that one of the most powerful aspects of freedom is freedom of speech itself. Something that has allowed us to debate, discuss and share knowledge without hiding in dark corners. Wikileaks and Snowden events have taught us that privacy and the ability to share information is of great importance in a world heading towards greater control and censorship. A place where transparency is limited and prosecution is used to silence those with opposing views.
The blockchain - be your own web
This is a good place to mention blockchain. A system where information is widespread, decentralised, immutable, uncensored and available to anyone with an internet connection - though there are ways to make the latter an optional process.
NEOS has been working hard to allow individuals to create their own websites, blogs and sources of information without censorship. This project has gained a lot of traction since its launch in August 2014, having captured a large audience and tackling greater issues faced in our modern world. Imagine a place where you can create websites, produce and share content, rate and participate within a completely decentralised web while being rewarded in the form of the NEOS cryptocurrency. As mentioned on their website:
“Neos V3 offers a wide range of features complementing its core purpose - a completely decentralized web. You'll be able to earn NEOS (the cryptocurrency) by participating in the community, authoring quality content, and playing a role in moderation. Within the network, we rely on our peers to come to agreements and make decisions as a whole - rather than having decisions made for us and rules dictated to us.”
At the user level, this means that we can earn free tokens by participating within the network - unlike Facebook and other existing social media platforms that reward the investors and central owners instead of the users who populate their websites. The tokens can then either be converted to other forms of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or be used on the platform for premium service.
Additionally, there is the secondary level where the masternodes reside. Similar to that of DASH - which has proven to be a highly sought after project - users can set aside 5,000 NEOS to be accepted as a masternode. To better explain the concept, we can compare this to purchasing land. The land is always yours - meaning you can always choose to sell it - and more impressively, you are rewarded for allowing people to use your land for certain tasks. In this case it would be the ability to perform anonymous and instant transactions - with more services to come later. At the moment, each masternode is given around 5 NEOS per day. To explain the cost and benefit:
Cost of masternode
1 NEOS = 0.00140701 BTC / $3.98 USD
5000 NEOS = 7.03 BTC / $19,900 USD
Return on masternode investment
Income per day:
5 NEOS = 0.00703505 BTC / $19.90 USD
You can always compare this with other masternode coins or even DASH itself. A more apt comparison would be Steemit, which has gone beyond blockchain to bring the average person into the cryptosphere.
There have been delays in the full launch due to health issues affecting the main developer, though it seems the community has a great deal of confidence and are standing by him. As mentioned by one user on Reddit:
"I would rate you and your work as one of the most transparent and honest. I'm sorry about your health condition. We all hope you can get better first instead of damaging yourself more to release this. Despite that, knowing you, you are doing your best to release V3 and that is why you are who you are :)
The level of integrity in NEOS in unparalleled. Much respect."
We hope to see the developer recover. We also hope to see more projects strengthen individual privacy and help those without a voice gain one in the process.
Featured image from Pexels
The views expressed here by the columnist are their own and do not represent the views of Crypto Insider
Never miss a thing and suscribe to our newsletter.
Amin has been working closely with the developers of some of the most hyped-about projects in the cryptosphere since 2013. A regular speaker at various locations throughout Europe and Australia (including the EU Commission in Brussels, UNESCO house in Paris, and the Ministry of Economics of The Netherlands) Amin has been helping share the truth, freedom, and choice that Bitcoin and its partner platforms have to offer. An advocate of P2P and decentralization in an otherwise centralized world.