TARTLE’s mission is to put power and control back in the hands of individuals. Put simply, our mission is decentralization. Decentralization is defined as the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision making are distributed or delegated away from a central authority, location, or group.

That definition is a perfect description of what we do at TARTLE. We want to encourage people and organizations to stop hoarding data and instead use it to benefit others, even while retaining greater and more direct control over their individual data.

It goes without saying that this sparks certain objections. One of the first that is brought up is that we are advocating for anarchy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anarchy implies chaos. That is definitely not what we are doing. TARTLE and other decentralized systems are still systems with rules that have to be followed. The main difference is that information and benefits are not partitioned off into tiny silos in which only a handful can experience the benefits of various advancements. By decentralizing, we spread out those benefits to anyone using the system, a system that can still be used and navigated by anyone wanting to participate.

Another objection is that blockchain, the main decentralization technology used by TARTLE and other companies can be used for nefarious ends, such as terrorism or human trafficking. As it happens, there was recently a case involving human trafficking that demonstrated how blockchain technology can actually be used to not just prosecute one criminal but expose a whole network of them.

You might recall the Backpage scandal of a few years ago. It was a site being used as a front for human trafficking of the worst kinds. It relied on “add purchases” to literally purchase people and attempted to hide it via blockchain. If you aren’t familiar with that technology, it functions on a truly decentralized global network of nodes, in which each node can verify the activity of another. It is encrypted in such a way that the information is virtually impossible to hack. Yet, it can still be tracked. That is, activity between nodes can still be tracked even if you don’t know the identities of the buyers or sellers.

By tracking the nodes associated with Backpage, authorities were able to not only identify the node that was getting all the purchases but all the other nodes around the country that were interacting with it, allowing the entire human trafficking network to be exposed. Having to rely solely on traditional means of investigation to break up the horrifying activities of Backpage would have taken years to show far less impressive results.

And now, this doesn’t mean that blockchain isn’t secure. Your identity remains secret as do your purchase and all the information is stored in such a way that it can’t be falsified, it can’t be stolen or manipulated in the way that information at your bank can. Having information stored in one location, on one server means that breaking into one bank’s computer system can lead to the corruption of thousands of people’s data. With blockchain, you literally have to take down or hack into every node. In short, you’d have to take down the internet.

Blockchain therefore is clearly a tool not just to protect your bitcoin but to help encourage a decentralized network of information, one in which information can be shared by and with all, and yet individuals can still maintain control over it because the power is also shared. Essentially, TARTLE is seeking to level the playing field, allowing individuals to be able to interact with global corporations on a more equal level. In the world we are building individuals share the power, the risk and the benefits of their information and the developments that come from it.

What’s your data worth?