P2P networks have changed the way data is transferred on the internet. Recently they have also changed money.
Bitcoin and Bittorrent are the great examples of P2P networks that have been successful with extreme growth. They actually become better as peers join the network.
Government has not adapted to extreme growth well if you look at history. We have run up extreme debts in America as government tries to provide services and regulate the economy. Civilizations have collapsed repeatedly when they expand beyond their means.
Bittorrent swarms increase in efficiency as more peers join the network. Data is both sent and received. The incentive to contribute is increased download speeds the faster you upload. This prevents freeloading. This is explained well in a paper from Tsinghua University:
"Because of this change, the peers that are concurrently downloading the same file are exchanging lots of pieces with each other and are thus playing a “repeated game on the piece level,” which allows for new kinds of cooperative strategies. Indeed, the BitTorrent client implements a reciprocation policy that resembles TfT. The client is designed to promote the phenomenon that the more upload a peer provides to other peers, the faster it will be able to download pieces of the same file. This provides users with an incentive to upload to others, and discourages free riding.
This incentive alignment, designed into BitTorrent, is one of the primary reasons for BitTorrent’s success. In 2013, BitTorrent was by far the most popular file-sharing protocol, responsible for more than 80% of world-wide P2P file-sharing traffic."
Bitcoin is a money system where the incentive to provide processing data to the network is actually money. Bitcoin peers who contribute more receive more rewards in the form of actual Bitcoin. Explained well in the ACM Queue magazine:
The key aspect of the Bitcoin protocol is its decentralization: no single entity has a priori more authority or control over the system than others. This promotes both the resilience of the system, which does not have a single anchor of trust or single point of failure, and competition among the different participants for mining fees.
To maintain this decentralization, it is important that mining activity in Bitcoin be done by many small entities and that no single miner significantly outweigh the others. Ideally, the rewards that are given to miners should reflect the amount of effort they put in: a miner who contributes an α-fraction of the computational resources should create an α-fraction of the blocks on average, and as a consequence extract a proportional α-fraction of all allocated fees and block rewards."
If we modeled government off a similar system of incentive we would not have the issues we face today. Civilization is rife with people freeloading creating imbalances causing the debt burden.
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