It was 2047, not 2019, in ConsenSys CEO Joseph Lubin’s keynote address Saturday in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
To close out the 2019 Ethereal Summit in Brooklyn, he foresaw a future where assets had all been tokenized, the web was completely decentralized and networks organized around topical interests had become roughly as important to human life as nation states.
Notably, Lubin predicted President Donald Trump would win a second term in 2020.
He foresaw those following four years as marking a downturn in American civilization, marked by an increase in radical divisions and even hate crimes. The turnaround would only arrive, he predicted, when Facebook, “finally admitting its role in global radicalism,” broke itself into “Facebook Media” (the news feed) and “Open Book,” a decentralized social web that any startup could tap into.
Lubin foresaw a medium-term future where, as he put it from his 2047 perch, “Liberal democracy was on its death bed.”
Despite doubts about ethereum’s potential to change how data is shared, he particularly foresaw a new era in more sustainable, more valuable journalism. “Platforms like Civil triggered the recovery of the journalism industry, especially local journalism,” Lubin said.
Civil is a ConsenSys-supported project aiming to bring distributed verification and micropayments to the media industry.
He continued, “Divorcing news delivery from the influence of advertising dollars was the breakthrough that drove the turnaround of western democracies.”
Lubin described a decentralized era in which “ethics with respect to the truth, ethics with regard to the nature of facts” took hold, as opposed to our backwards era, in which “presenting balanced viewpoints and fostering critical thinking was anathema.”
By 2047 – with a decentralized open platform where former web giants had come to embrace a distributed ethos – “We are all as a society able to engage in direct democratic decision-making,” Lubin said.
“The dream has been made real and we are all in it,” the Lubin of 2047 said. He told the crowd:
“These days we don’t hear people talking about changing the world, just like we don’t hear people talking about breathing or walking. It’s just what we do.”
Update (May 14, 17:10 UTC): You can now watch the full speech below.
Joseph Lubin speaks at Ethereal Summit NY 2019 photo by Brady Dale for CoinDesk