Great summary of the largest three fears. Here are how I see them:
Censorship resistance: This isn’t a property of blockchains, but of information online. Once that shameful picture of you leaks online, it can live in personal hard disks, it can live in burned cds, it can live in small obscure corners of the globe. What we really need is a change in attitude: stop shaming people for their sexuality, past behavior and substance abuse. Understand that by sharing a picture of someone being bullied or hummiliated, you are also helping the hummiliation. Forgive people for their past mistakes. This isn’t a tech challenge, but a social one.
Financial Freedom: It’s true, privacy can help hide corrupt acts and laundering of money. But does giving extraordinary powers of omniscience to the powerful actually help prevent that crime? Or does it simply empowers them as they can use their influence to selectively police some transactions but not others? It’s my opinion that the past decades have proven that this has been the more likely outcome: the rich and powerful will always find ways to launder their money. What can we do to prevent this? By taking their power away. Where does that bribe money comes from? A large part comes from money collected in taxes that should fund health and education is instead siphoned away into corruption, mostly because of a total lack of transparent accounting in governments. So I believe the way to fight corruption is at the source: make governments radically transparent, make so that governmental programs are automated with blockchains, tools that blockchain enable.
Tax Evasion: Common mistake that financial privacy means governments can’t collect taxes anymore. For the longest part of the last many thousand years of the history of taxation, money was untraceable (gold, stones, etc) and taxes were collected anyway, it’s only for the past 50 years or so that govenrments started to having omnicient power over their citizens finance, and we already believe they would crumble? The good news is that blockchains allow taxes to be automatically collected. Most of the stuff that government deals with is basically databases (property, identity, etc) and we can automate those taxes. Vlad and me both attended a london workshop about ENS where the consensus was to create some sort of “tax” on domains to make sure the owners would optimize their utility: here’s an example of a voluntary, non-violent system that allows taxes to be deducted and that deals automatically with those who don’t pay, by auctioning off the domains after a year.
Evil DAOs: if evil decentralized organizations are able to outcompete evil centralized organizations, then it’s true that there will be many of them, and they will likely take over as they drain the profit out of traditional mafias (as evil DAOs don’t spend money on yatches and prostitutes, only on their own growth). But if this happens, it also means that the concept of DAOs are so successful that they apply to all society, and that most of what we think of the way we are organized will be disrupted. It means that policing, investigating and combating the evil daos can also be automated. I have no idea what the result will be, but it will interesting to watch.