Alex Gladstein, an advocate for Bitcoin as well as the chief strategy officer of the Human Rights Foundation, is of the opinion that the cryptocurrency helps mend democracies that are broken and combats government corruption by limiting the capacity of governments to influence the citizens of their respective countries. In other words, Bitcoin makes it more difficult for governments to manipulate the citizens of their respective countries. Bitcoin, in other words, makes it harder for governments to control the people living in their different nations by making it more difficult for them to do so.
During an interview that took place on the 20th of February, Gladstein expressed his belief that the decentralized nature of Bitcoin (BTC) may serve as a defense mechanism against tyranny and corruption. This conversation took place in the United States of America, which served as the location.
“I do feel that it is very simply related to fiat money, and I do think that Bitcoin answers this in some way,” he added. “I do think that Bitcoin answers this in some manner.” “In my opinion, there is a very clear connection between what you’re describing and fiat money,” you said. I have no doubt that Bitcoin will, in some fashion, figure out a method to overcome this obstacle. The author makes the claim that he thinks “I do feel that the use of fiat money is very simply tied to the decline of democracy in those countries,” and he is certain that this is the case.
Since 2007, Gladstein has been working at HRF, a charitable non-profit organization, in which capacity he has held the position of chief strategy officer. The Human Rights Foundation is referred to by its abbreviation, HRF. The mission of the organization is to advance and protect human rights all throughout the globe, with a particular emphasis on countries in which the population suffers “under authoritarian tyranny.”
It is stated in Gladstein’s profile that he often participates in events that are organized by Singularity University. During these occasions, he also gives speeches on topics such as the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and the development of future monetary systems.
Cryptocurrency made an appearance at a global online summit for world leaders in a speech from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
At Friday’s events for the Summit for Democracy hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden, Modi said India would be willing to offer other countries “innovative digital solutions” to facilitate free and fair elections and governance. In addition, the Prime Minister called for a global standard on cryptocurrencies and major social media platforms, likely referring to the impact some have had on politics in India as well as many other countries:
“We must also jointly shape global norms for emerging technologies like social media and cryptocurrencies so that they are used to empower democracy, not to undermine it […] By working together, democracies can meet the aspirations of our citizens.”
As the Prime Minister of India, Modi represented roughly 1.4 billion people at the summit, the largest democracy in the world by a large margin. His remarks came as the Indian government prepares to consider a bill that could ban certain cryptocurrencies in the country, but also encourage the creation of a digital rupee.
Different reports have suggested that the legislation is aimed at regulating crypto rather than banning it. The same bill has previously appeared on the Indian parliament’s agenda but has not yet led to a vote. The Reserve Bank of India also had a blanket ban on crypto on the books until March 2020, when the country’s supreme court overturned it.
Related:Lines in the sand: US Congress is bringing partisan politics to crypto
Despite the lack of regulatory clarity in India, Modi has called on countries to work together on crypto and blockchain, and urged others to consider the ethics when using the technology. The next general election in India is expected to occur in 2024, when citizens will choose new members for the country’s lower house of parliament.
“It is important that all democratic nations work together on [crypto] and ensure it does not end up in wrong hands, which can spoil our youth,” said the PM in a Nov. 17 tweet.
A group of five Democratic senators has reportedly rejected President Joe Biden’s nominee, Saule Omarova, to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).
Omarova’s nomination as a bank regulator was initially opposed by three members of the Senate Banking Committee — Senators Jon Tester, Mark Warner, and Kyrsten Sinema — on a phone call with panel chairman Sen. Sherrod Brown, as reported by Axios. The opposition was further supported by Senators John Hickenlooper and Mark Kelly.
Omarova is known for anti-crypto sentiments who has previously worked as Special Advisor for Regulatory Policy to the Under Secretary, Domestic Finance. As a result of the opposition from five Democrats and all Republicans, the White House nominee requires every other Democratic candidate to vote for her appointment.
Senators questioned Omarova regarding her nomination on Nov. 18, including Senator John Ossoff of Georgia, who had specific questions for Omarova about cryptocurrency. Her comments recognized some of the utility that cryptocurrency brings to financial markets, but she focused on the potential for cryptocurrency to undermine the US dollar, aspects of which the Comptroller of the Currency is charged with regulating.
What happens next is one of two things. Either the Biden administration persuades the democratic senators who object to Omarova’s nomination to change their minds, or the administration picks a new nominee for senate confirmation.
In October, Senator Pat Toomey pressured Omarova about her missing Marxism thesis, and in early November, the acting Comptroller of the Currency, Michael J. Hsu, singled out Tether and Binance as risky players in the blockchain space.
Senator Hickenlooper’s Denver office did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.
Related:Senate Banking Committee chair seeks information from stablecoin issuers and exchanges, suggesting possible hearing
Turning up the regulatory heat, Sherrod Brown, the chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, issued notices that require crypto firms to release information related to consumer and investor protection on stablecoins.
As Cointelegraph reported, Brown’s notice was directed to Coinbase, Gemini, Paxos, TrustToken, Binance.US, Circle, Centre, and Tether, who now require to hand over the requested information by Dec. 03. The crypto businesses will need to share information on purchasing, exchanging and minting stablecoins.
Additionally, the firms are expected to also share the number of tokens in circulation and how often users exchange them for U.S. dollars. According to the senator, investors “may not appreciate the complexity and distinct features and terms of each stablecoin.” According to the letter:
“I have significant concerns with the non-standardized terms applicable to redemption of particular stablecoins, how those terms differ from traditional assets and how those terms may not be consistent across digital asset trading platforms.”
I recently read “Isaiah’s Job” by Albert J Nock. It’s an essay that inspired generations of anarcho capitalists and libertarians such as Rothbard and Rand, so if you’ve not yet read it, do so now or bookmark it for later:
“Isaiah’s Job” by Albert Jay Nock
I was introduced to it by Francis Pouliot at Bitcoin 2021, on a roundtable with Russell Okung, MVDEX, Matt Snow and a few others. I finally got around to reading it three weeks ago, but it struck such a chord with me that I feel like I had known it from a past life.
The piece is dense, eloquent and describes “the Remnant,” a character or archetype which you might know instinctively, but may not yet have put into words.
You may have heard the term “Remnant” being used by Pouliot, myself or others. It’s how “those who matter” were described by God to Isaiah, and is a reference you’ll find not only in the Bible, but in meaningful literature from across the ages.
This is my homage to it. The modern day Remnant are the Bitcoiners.
It is they who matter. It is they who will deliver the mindless masses from the jaws of hell, servitude and despair. And they will do it not only without the support of the masses (who are all too ready to enslave themselves), but literally despite them.
Bitcoiners, I dedicate this to you. Wherever you are. Whoever you are.
If you’re reading this, you know who you are.
Before I get into my overview of “Isaiah’s Job,” I want to (hopefully) challenge you. Few phrases, ideas or statements enrage me more than the following:
“It’s for everyone”
“We’re all in this together”
“We are all one”
I don’t need to remind you of the last two, because you see them plastered all over the media (in every form) and drilled into your brain via a never-ending deluge of Orwellian messages on repeat at airports, shopping centers, train stations and public venues.
Despite their seemingly-innocuous injunction, we know all too well what they mean, and where they lead. We see the ramifications all around us. Mindless zombies walking alone in the park or driving solo while wearing face diapers, led by maniacal authoritarians who want to inject first and “study the long-term effects” later.
The idiocy of “equality” I have bashed in the past, and you can learn more on that here: “Equality Breeds Conformity”
The phrase that I want to point my literary shotgun at today is the one that’s driven me crazy for years now:
I wrote an essay a couple of years back called: “DO NOT BUY BITCOIN,” and in there I mentioned the idea of “selective adoption.” In fact, I’ve spoken about this multiple times at conferences and meetups, to a mixture of either strong support or hesitant agreement, as if what I said was blasphemy…
“Did he just say that?” “Is this right?” “What about all of the unbanked people?”
So, let me be clear and blunt: Mass adoption is never the goal for anything transformative, because the opinion or behavior of the masses does not matter.
The masses, aka, “the herd,” by definition come last. They do not set the trend, but follow it. They are the laggards. What they want is not important because they either have no idea what that is, or they simply default to what is available.
As Henry Ford famously said:
Today, we have the calendar, the engine, the computer and mechanical flight thanks to Remnants such as Galileo, Newton, Einstein and Bohr. The same goes for Tesla, Rockefeller and Jobs.
They all changed the world because they did not build for the masses.
They built for the future and those who could see that future. The Remnant.
The masses came later, and by that point, the Remnant was building and converging around what would come next.
So, here’s my contention:
For Bitcoin, or any other grand invention for that matter, to succeed, it needs selective adoption.
It needs to be built for the game changers. For the revolutionaries. For the 1%. For the trendsetters. For the leaders and for the Remnant.
We are the ones who make it into a default, because we have the courage to buck the trend.
If we depended on the masses, the default would be Gulags, and they’d be happy with their lot:
Yes, “Bitcoin is for everybody,” but “everybody” will come not because they understand it or know why it exists. They’ll come because it’s the only choice left. They’ll come once we’ve already won, and when truth has prevailed.
Have I challenged you a little?
Have I perhaps rubbed you the wrong way?
Are there any cracks in that “mass adoption” message you‘ve heard over and over and over again?
I hope so. Because what follows is why the above is not just an opinion, but a fact of life.
Thank you once again to Pouliot for the intro to this essay and, of course, to Nock for writing it, may he rest in peace.
An Homage To Albert Jay Nock
Unless otherwise noted, the following excerpts are from “Isaiah’s Job,” and commentary is by yours truly:
Has a better paragraph describing modern society versus Bitcoiners ever been written?
I mean, for 12 years, Bitcoiners have been laughed at. Not just by the mainstream but by blockchainers, shitcoiners, no-coiners, the media, governments, the intelligentsia and even so-called “freedom fighters” like Chris Sky.
And now, against the backdrop of a world genuinely going to hell, we’re fighting to build a Noah’s Ark so that the Remnant can get out with their lives and rebuild.
When I’m asked, “Why do you write?” or, “Why do you speak out?” or, “Why do you run a Bitcoin-only company? You could make so much more money by listing [insert shitcoin],” the above quote and the below quote are the answers why.
In fact, whether Bitcoiners know it or not, this is deep inside all of them. We are the Remnant and we know that when we speak, there are those who will listen. Yes, I am talking to you right now.
For every one Remnant who gets it, there are tens of thousands of those in the masses who don’t. And whether it’s more nature or more nurture, it doesn’t matter because the precise blend is impossible to know. What counts is that one in every ten thousand or hundred thousand will always rise above the rest.
The mid-wit is the modern memetic representation of this.
PS, If you’re feeling good reading this, you are probably on one of the tail ends. If you’re offended, you’re probably in the center.
The shitcoiner, the blockchainer, the venture capitalist trying to sell you their next pre-mined pump and dump, wants to create a “message for the masses.”
Diluted, ephemeral, miasmic, vague, vanilla and lost in the ether of platitudes heard daily from the politically-correct intelligentsia that the masses have been brainwashed by.
In the same way that Bitcoin does not just “change” under the pressure of a Roger Ver who wants bigger blocks for his vision of a base layer payments network (i.e., a slower, more broken variant of PayPal), a Bitcoiner does not look to skew his message for mass approval or to sound nice such that he can be more accepted by “the government” or the “academics” or “the masses.”
Yes, Bitcoin is for everyone, and Bitcoiners can come from any and all walks of life, but the purity of the message and the incorruptibility that is Bitcoin never wavers. It never dilutes.
This is why many have likened Bitcoin to an objective truth. You cannot dilute the truth because it becomes a lie, and when it becomes a lie, you can only fool the masses; not the Remnant.
The best you have, the best you are, and the best you can be. This is not only what the Remnant will produce, but what the Remnant will demand.
It’s similar to just focusing on accumulating bitcoin while you work on what you’re good at. The modern, fiat world we live in, where incentives are broken at every level, fools the masses into thinking they must “invest” to keep up with inflation, catch the next shitcoin pump before it dumps, watch the “news” to keep up with the mindless affairs of the world, get “likes” to feel validated, take photos and share your private life with the world so you can keep up with the Joneses and “follow” faux celebrities as if they matter.
It’s all noise, and it all comes from a place of internal lack. A feeling that you might miss out or that you’re not enough, so you try hard to be something you’re not.
Bitcoin is signal, and much like the truth, it is a source of deep fulfilment. The Bitcoiner goes about their business, secure in the knowledge that the product of their sacred labor is not dependent upon the flimsy promise of man, but rooted in the fundamental laws of the universe. They are the humans who don’t have to pretend.
This excerpt reminds me of the movie “Fight Club,” and once again reminds me of Bitcoiners as a group of people. We have infiltrated every layer of society. We signal this in subtle ways that only other Bitcoiners would appreciate.
So, if at times you feel alone, remember that there are others just like you out there. We are everywhere, all the time, and just like an idea, we cannot be stopped.
As I said earlier. For every one member of the Remnant, there are 100,000 of the masses. But, just as importantly, when you think you’re the only one, remember there are “7,000 back there” who you’ve not yet heard of. They exist, and they will find you so long as you remain true.
No group of people exist on earth that has more consistently and successfully called our frauds, scammers, LARPers and idiots from all walks of life. Some of my favorite Bitcoiners in this regard are DeaterBob, Pouliot, Saifedean Ammous, John Carvalho and Giacomo Zucco.
Contrast them to the many “influencers” out there spewing the same old artificial beyond-meat manure about “mass adoption” and “building followers” by “trying to make it accessible for everyone.”
Fuck that. It’s disgusting.
The former is organic. The latter is fiat.
A Bitcoiner is allergic to bullshit, in the same way the body is allergic to the fake foods designed for the masses.
As a Bitcoiner, diluting your message and your mission to “appeal to the masses” is the greatest fraud you can commit. It’s the pathway to emptiness, to regret and to deep meaninglessness… into the abyss of the masses.
Those who want the best for you are by definition those who demand the best from you.
These are your true friends. These are your community. These are the Remnant. In order to be among them, you must be the best and most honest version of yourself. There is no greater aspiration in life.
Ever wonder why we all seem to converge onto such profound truths separately, individually but collectively? It’s that synchronicity some have recently spoken of.
Bitcoiners plant seeds. We write code, we produce content, we discuss ideas and we remain committed to truth and first principles. As we do this, we not only plant seeds in other’s minds, but we create fertile ground for seeds of truth to grow in ours. This is part of the reward for the path we must walk.
Nock’s piece is truly one of the all-time greats, and you can see why it helped shape the thinking of the greats like Rothbard. I can only hope I’ve done it justice above.
I’d also like to add that while it is profound, it’s essence is not entirely unique. You’ve seen, heard or read the same kind of message in the great speeches, powerful music and texts that have shaped humanity throughout history.
The Remnant have always been present, in some capacity. All of the great stories were written about them.
The Great Stories
There is a reason why the greatest stories are those in which a hero or group of heroes prevail against insurmountable odds.
There is a reason why the Bible is full of stories in which God speaks with a member of the Remnant, e.g.,; Noah so he could build an Ark, Moses to Mt. Sinai, etc.
There is a reason why Homer wrote of Odysseus, and not one of the forgotten soldiers in the army.
There’s a reason why we have zombie movies, in which the protagonists fight for survival amongst the hordes of the mindless running rampant through the streets.
There’s a reason why apocalyptic movies show a world engulfed in chaos with millions slain, while the protagonists not only escape and survive, but often discover a way to thrive.
There is a reason why Morpheus was looking for Neo in “The Matrix,” and why “The Construct” was developed:
These people. These masses. They are everywhere. They make up the construct, but are not players in the game. They are like the background; always there in some shape or form.
At best they don’t really matter, and at worst they make up elements of miasmic, ephemeral “construct” which The remnant must rebel against. At least until they’ve transformed and are “unplugged.”
The masses resemble inertia. The dumb, deaf, blind default that will not change unless a new force is applied. They are the 80% of the Pareto distribution that make 20% of the difference.
The Remnant are the foreground.
The focal point. The tip of the spear.
The force that initiates and re-directs the inertia.
The 20% that makes 80% of the difference.
This may sound harsh to some, but it’s like gravity. Whether you like it or not doesn’t matter; it’s reality. You can either use it, or lie to yourself and walk off the cliff.
Instead, one must make peace with the facts. To do so, realize that for there to be a 20%, there must be an 80%. There must be a contrast, or as Alan Watts would say, “The foreground exists because there is a background.”
Inertia exists in the background, but it is downstream of the initiating force.
The masses must exist for there to be a Remnant. They have their place, as much as the Remnant does. The only question is, who are you, and what role do you play in the grand game of life?
A minor detour, but very related is the idea of democracy. A form of rule supposedly “for” and “by” the masses.
The following image comes to mind immediately:
I find democracy to be abhorrent, and it’s frustrating that the source of human flourishing and progress, i.e., free exchange, property rights and individual ingenuity/productivity, has been conflated with dEmOcRaTiC rule.
The reality is far harsher. Democracy is more accurately the parasite which has benefited from the prosperity of free markets and continued to leech resources, capacity and energy alongside human flourishing.
We’re only now seeing the ramifications of it.
Democracy emerged in the West as a reaction by the masses, to the prosperity created by the free markets of the Remnant. The rising tide lifted all of the boats and with it came a wave of new capital that the parasitic masses could feed on. Hence, they created, rather mindlessly, a more sophisticated way of stealing from people. The idea:
Give the Remnant enough space to innovate and produce, and then just take all their shit after the fact.
The way of the masses is always a tragedy of the commons.
Democracies create legal, public monopolies, run by popularity contest winners with no skin in the game. They appeal to and always devolve into rule of the masses where morality and the consequences of stupidity are socialized, and often carried or paid for by the productive members of society.
The sales pitch sounds nicer on the surface, but in reality it’s a much greater burden on society because it, a) has the capacity to last, and b) empowers the masses to think they’re somehow in charge, while they proceed to blindly obey their parasitic overlords.
Monarchies are at least run by hereditary title holders with skin in the game. Hence why they can fail or correct much faster. I believe Bitcoin will usher in a new age of natural, competent elites, many of whom would be considered “royal” in the classical sense.
Anarchy is the realm of the Remnant. The idea that society is voluntary, fragmented and localized, where people make decisions for themselves or in groups built on common values.
Alas, Democracy is a topic for a future piece. For now, Osho’s short but brutally hilarious take on Democracy can have the final word:
Speaking To The Remnant
In the beginning of this piece, I mentioned that I was not aware of the “Remnant” terminology until I had met Pouliot, and did not appreciate its meaning until I’d read “Isaiah’s Job.”
In saying that, I seem to have understood its essence somewhere deep inside of me. Looking back on the following two pieces from 2020 and 2019, I can literally see myself grasping for this idea and searching for the words.
This is likely the same for you. Reading this now. Yes, you.
If you feel as I feel, and if you see the world as I see it, you too have felt this in your bones. You too are part of the Remnant. You may not have had words for it, but the feeling has been there all along.
It’s once again Morpheus reaching out to Neo:
The blue pill is for the masses. The red pill is exactly the one a member of the Remnant would seek out and take. In fact, they are the only ones who would actually hear the call, while the masses remain oblivious.
Bitcoiners are heeding that call today. Bitcoiners are the Remnant
Bitcoin is for the Remnant.
Crypto is for the masses.
The masses are generally on the wrong side of history because of the madness inherent in crowds. They only find themselves “right” when it’s the default position. After the truth, forged forth by the Remnant, finally prevails.
By the time they figure out what’s happened, the trend is over. The upside is gone. This is why the masses don’t, never have and never will make a difference, nor really matter.
By the time they’re all finally using Bitcoin in the same way they breathe oxygen, the Remnant will be building cities and citadels, terraforming new lands, unlocking intergalactic energy and inventing cosmic teleportation.
The Remnant are the 20% that make possible the 80% in the Pareto distribution.
And don’t fret. Despite my tone, this is a story of hope for all. The masses will always benefit in the end, and a select few will rise to the occasion and join the ranks of the Remnant. They shall be unplugged
Remember that Neo saved all of Zion, Tesla lit up the world and Satoshi has delivered energy money to us all.
Just because I don’t care for what the masses have to say, doesn’t mean I don’t care for making the world a better place.
In the end, they will get their piece of the pie, so long as we remain true and build Bitcoin for the Remnant.
But if we try to build it for them, if we dilute our message and our mission to make it palatable to the masses, we will miss our chance and send the world directly into hell.
So, stay true. Take on the often thankless job as a prophet of the Remnant, for the Remnant shall prevail so long as an existence exists. The dark mass of the masses cannot eliminate the light, no matter how vast, menacing and omnipresent it is.
This is a guest post by Aleks Svetski of www.amber.app. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.
Throughout history, there has been a cyclical phenomenon characterized by Neill Howe and William Strauss as the four turnings.1 The basic premise of the theory is that civil unrest and major war is cyclical and occurs about every four generations. This is due to the fact that, by the time we reach the fourth generation post-war, society is simultaneously in a state of desiring change yet far enough removed from the atrocities of war that they end up repeating the mistakes of those four generations before them.
As it stands, we are in the fourth turning, the final saeculum before the cycle resets. What’s unique about the fourth turning is that it has historically been an era of destruction, often involving war and revolutions. Based on this theory, it is no wonder we are seeing social unrest. It doesn’t take much browsing of social media or news to see that people want change. People are starting to speak out about the issues within our society: wealth inequality, rising house prices, increasing cost of living, systemic malinvestment and the great concentration of monopolies.
However, as with anything, it can be difficult to decipher the root cause of the issues we face. The millennial generation feels disconnected as it will be the first generation in history to be poorer than its parents.2 The middle class is fed up as it slowly erodes away while asset prices become more unobtainable.3 This unrest is resulting in people voicing their opinions and looking for a way out of this mess. As it stands, capitalism and its lack of governance appears to take the brunt of the blame. As a result, in recent years, people have been more drawn to regimes such as communism or socialism to promote liberation and equality within society (40% of Americans have a favorable view of socialism, up from 36% in 20194). But, this begs the question, is a shift in regime really the best course of action? And is capitalism really to blame?
Before we can answer these questions, let’s first define the various economic systems:5
– Capitalism: “An economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.”
– Democracy: “A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.”
– Socialism: “A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”
– Communism: “A political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.”
From the outset, one could easily conclude that capitalism is incredibly flawed in relation to communism, socialism and democracy as it appears to be focused on private enterprise and profit. On the contrary, communism, socialism and democracy seemingly value the people, liberation and equality. However, if we remove democracy from the equation and take what we have learned from history, we realize that the communist and socialist facade of liberation, equality and a focus on the people could not be farther from the truth. Here are a few historical examples:6
– Mao Zedong, China, 1943–1976 (Socialism): 70,000,000 died by mass murder and government policies (largest death count in history).
– Joseph Stalin, Soviet Union, 1922–1952 (Communism): 28,000,000 died by war genocide and famine (second largest death count in history).
– Adolf Hitler, Germany, 1933–1945 (Socialism): 12,000,000 died by war and genocide (third largest death count in history).
– Kim Jong-il, North Korea, 1993–2011 (Socialism): 2,500,000–3,500,000 (10–19% of the population) died during 1990s famine in part caused by government policies.7
– Pol Pot, Cambodia, 1975–1979 (Communism): 1,700,000–1,900,000 (21–24% of the population) died by government policies and famine.8
– Provisional Military Administrative Council(Communism), Ethiopia, 1974–1987: 1,200,000 died from famine in part caused by government policies.9
It quickly becomes apparent that many of the major genocides, famines and deaths caused by war were all under communist and socialist regimes. Are these regimes really creating a happier and high quality of life economy?
Let’s look at the chart below (sorted by the happiness index, with the happiest nations at the top). There is clearly a correlation between democracies, happiness, freedom, quality of life and currency purchasing power.
What is it about communism and socialism that leads to such atrocities, and why do they tend to fail?
Supply and demand: One of the major pitfalls of communism and socialism is that creating a centrally planned economy with the goal of equality, influences the labor force and destroys the natural forces of competition. Inadvertently, this distorts supply and demand. What is forgotten is that through supply and demand, we gain valuable economic insight that allows our economy to error correct, grow and innovate.
Inadequate knowledge and a concentration of power: Within communist and socialist regimes, society tends to rely on the knowledge and experience of an individual or select group of individuals. The central planners believe they understand what is needed to move a country forward. The fallacy in this belief is that humans have many natural biases, such as the need to maintain and secure power, wealth and safety for themselves, their offspring and those closest to them. The result of these biases is that both communism and socialism are prone to authoritarian and totalitarian rule. Once the central planners start to accrue power, they don’t tend to let it go easily. Ultimately, this has led to some of the worst inequality, human rights abuses and social unrest in history. Instead of centralizing power, we should be taking advantage of the population’s collective knowledge.
Suppression of innovation: Communism is built on the belief that we should have a classless society. Although this may appear to be a step forward, diversity among our population prohibits this from playing out as intended. Our society is composed of family-oriented, entrepreneurial, sport-focused and business-minded individuals and we must allow them to explore interests that resonate with them. People are motivated by the belief that they will benefit from the fruits of their labor and this is what creates the perfect breeding ground for creativity and innovation to flourish. When we centrally plan, remove private property rights, and dictate individuals’ careers based on their skills and knowledge, we disincentivize individuals to think outside the box in an entrepreneurial and innovative manner.
Furthermore, innovation doesn’t tend to come from large centralized powers but rather it emerges on the fringe. It is through the free flow of information that creativity and innovation thrive. When we restrict competition and silence people, we end up severely inhibiting innovation and creativity, as this prevents factual, non-mainstream data from percolating to those who can use this information meaningfully. Humanity should promote creativity and innovation as this is how we will solve poverty, climate change, pollution and more.
For these reasons, in the long run, communist and socialist regimes have tended to break down and have led to some of humanity’s worst atrocities. However, no economic system is entirely flawed; otherwise, we wouldn’t see communism and socialism initially implemented. On paper, communism and socialism have many benefits, as both aim to promote security and equality. Socialism, in particular, has given the world universal healthcare, education and welfare. While communism, when effectively implemented, assures that you will have employment when you finish school and eliminates food insecurity. Every economic system has its pros and cons. Thus, we must implement what works, while admitting to ourselves what doesn’t and adapting accordingly.
Where Do Democracy And Capitalism Fall In All Of This?
It can be easy to pin capitalism as the cause for the issues we face due to the fact that all of these issues revolve around the monetary system, and is it not money that drives wealth inequality and capitalist monopolies? However, if we objectively dig a little deeper, capitalism has unfairly been the scapegoat for everything the government doesn’t want to be held accountable for. The reality is that the victims of so-called capitalism are, in fact, the people who have lost capitalism due to increasing governance, regulation and control. In other words, the more control government is given, the more these issues are exacerbated.
The Misdirection Narrative
The notion that our societal and economic issues stem from the government may initially be difficult to believe. The mainstream narrative consistently frames capitalism for the corruption, greed among private corporations, and detrimental monopolies within our economy. However, this is all just a narrative pushed as a form of misdirection. This narrative gives the general population something to blame for the issues we are facing.
Why is this anti-capitalist narrative pushed? The government doesn’t like to relinquish control. You don’t have to spend much time looking through history books to conclude that governments have a lust for control and rarely, if ever, give it up. Therefore, it is not in the government’s best interest to attribute the issues within our economy to its own decision-making. It would only further destroy its population’s faith in government. To better understand this, let’s delve into the various issues we are facing.
Rising House Prices And Cost Of Living
Many tend to attribute increased cost of living to the big corporations raising prices and the escalating house prices to the benefactors of capitalism buying up property. However, the reality is that these are issues with our monetary system. The problem is that the government controls the monetary system via the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury. This gives them some significant benefits, such as regulating who can and can’t use the currency, hidden taxation via inflation and financial repression, and the ability to self-fund without having to offer value (such as it would in a free market capitalist economy). We see this abuse of the monetary system in plain sight. In the last 18 months, 37%14 of all dollars in existence have been created, and the Federal Reserve has purchased 76.4%15 of federal debt. They no longer need to rely on income generated through taxation but rather to just purchase their own government debt.
Ultimately, this allows the government to act in its own self-interest, directing capital to where it feels necessary, which seems to be toward growth at the expense of the economy. It does this via inflation, which is the suppression of interest rates and the injection of capital into our economy to stimulate growth, spending and consumption. The by-product of this tactic is an increase in the money supply, which leads to a rise in consumer prices, cost of living, house and asset prices, and inequality.
Monopolies, in a general sense, are not detrimental to society. They become harmful when they stifle growth and innovation by suppressing competitors in an attempt to maintain their monopolistic position. In a free market, a monopoly is in its position because it adds value to society. Individuals have chosen to purchase their products and services, which allows them to grow and expand. When they stop offering value and/or a superior product or service comes to market, these monopolies are naturally replaced with the newest technology and services.
Unfortunately, this is not the case in our current system. Due to the lobbying environment among most democratic nations, monopolies have the ability to donate large sums of money to politicians and those in power to sway regulation to their benefit. This regulation aids these monopolies by increasing entry barriers and thus reducing competition. Harmful monopolies are not an issue of capitalism, but rather an issue of giving the government too much control and allowing private corporations to influence regulation.
As people become overly comfortable that the Federal Reserve will intervene during times of stress, we see a rise in excess borrowing and speculative leverage in an attempt to maximize returns. This excess borrowing has two main negative side effects:
1. Excess borrowing creates a surplus of capital in the system. In an attempt to find a home, this capital finds its way into higher risk malinvestments, which leads to amplified fragility in our economy. What would generally be considered a benign market event instead triggers much greater volatility and systemic problems.
2. A zombie company is one that is unable to support itself financially.16 This signifies that the product or service the business offers either does not have enough demand or that the business has been fiscally irresponsible and unable to service its debt. This business should, therefore, restructure or dissolve. With the Federal Reserve backstopping the economy and making it cheaper and easier to access capital, you increase the number of zombie companies in the economy. We should allow the natural life cycle to play out rather than propping up unsustainable companies. When a new business has to compete with an ever-increasing number of zombie companies, it becomes ever more challenging for that business to succeed and prosper. Instead of focusing on innovation, the business must use a portion of its resources to compete. As of July 2020, 19% of listed companies in the U.S. are zombie companies, and this number is rising.17
It should now be evident that the issues we face within our economy today are not to do with capitalism but rather the opposite. They are a by-product of government intervention and control.
What Needs To Change?
No economic system is perfect. Therefore, it is important to avoid getting bogged down analyzing which system is best. Instead, we should focus on what’s within our control to create an economy that prioritizes its people, promotes innovation and encourages creativity. To do so, we must first look at what must change in our current part-democratic, part-capitalistic system:
Monetary system: As should now be apparent, to reduce the centralization of power, the negative by-products of inflation and systemic malinvestment, we must separate the monetary system and the government. Doing so removes the government’s controlling capabilities, ensuring they act as a service provider with the population’s interests at heart. If the government is not acting in the best interest of the population, it will not receive capital in the form of taxes and will be unable to fund itself. Additionally, removing the monetary system from the clutches of government would allow a monetary system chosen by the people to emerge, one that is not corrupted by those in power and allows the true deflationary state of the world to surface.18 As Aaron Segal concisely states, “deflation is a measure of success in creating economic value as innovation creates more for less.”19
Transparency: Nations fail when there is a lack of trust in government, resulting in coups and revolutions. The fastest way to break trust within a nation is to remove transparency. One of the major flaws we face today is a lack of transparency. If we promote transparency within our economic system, we can rebuild trust amongst the population and the government. This will help drive the economy forward by reducing our wasted productive energy spent fighting amongst ourselves.
A Potential Solution
It can be difficult to separate democracy and capitalism, as they have generally been intertwined throughout history. One could go as far as to say that we have never seen a true capitalism-based economy. This makes it challenging to pinpoint the benefits democracy has brought to the table and likewise for capitalism. However, if we want to promote innovation, productivity, sustainable growth and freedom moving forward, it is in our best interest to adapt as an economy and take on benefits from the various regimes:
Socialist welfare/healthcare/education: We live in a world of inequality. Individuals enter this world disadvantaged, and we have unforeseeable events that take a toll on our lives. Whether this is on a monetary, health or educational level, it is a fact of life. Thus, we must have access to resources that allow us to feel a part of society and obtain the necessary assistance to grow and thrive. With this in mind, the best option would be to adopt the socialist welfare, healthcare and education system, ensuring everyone has access to these core amenities.
Decentralized democratic decision-making: Democracy is essential to ensuring that the general population has a say in political decision-making. However, we must ensure that this doesn’t result in a concentration of power, lack of transparency or the potential for bad actors. To promote transparency and take advantage of the collective knowledge, we should focus on the decentralization and dispersion of centralized government power down to the lower state, municipal and individual levels. This would ensure that more people would have a say in how our country is run and that regulation is upheld.
Capitalist free market: The capitalistic free market is an incredible source of creativity and innovation. It rewards individuals for putting themselves on the line and bringing their ideas to life. Additionally, free market capitalism promotes natural supply and demand, allowing us to extract crucial economic information, error correct more effectively and thrive as a nation.
How can Bitcoin play a role in all this? Bitcoin offers a way to bridge democracy and free market capitalism by providing a true decentralized currency that is:
– Permissionless: No one is excluded from using bitcoin. There is no gatekeeper deciding who can and can’t use it.
– Open-Source: Bitcoin’s source code is open-source, allowing anyone the ability to read, propose a modification, copy or share.
– Pseudonymous: Since no ID is required to own and use bitcoin, this ensures privacy for individuals.
– Fungible: All coins are treated as equal and should be equally spendable.
– Immutable: Confirmed blocks/transactions are set in stone and, therefore, cannot be changed at a future date.
– Fixed Supply: With a fixed supply of 21 million coins, bitcoin is proving to be one of the best stores of value due to its inability to be devalued through supply expansion. This is key to providing accurate supply and demand data.
Bitcoin has the potential to remove the monetary system from the clutches of the government, allowing us to operate a true capitalistic free market. This would enable us to obtain accurate supply and demand information, allowing our economy to grow, innovate efficiently and error correct. Bitcoin would also give the general population security, knowing that their hard-earned savings will not fall victim to inflation.
Additionally, Bitcoin gives us a great example of the power of decentralization. If we can take what we know from Bitcoin’s decentralized blockchain, we can greatly increase transparency within our economy. Two areas which may benefit the most are:
Government: By implementing a decentralized blockchain within the government, we can increase transparency and remove the potential for self-interested bad actors. Furthermore, promoting decentralized transparency would allow everybody access to accurate, immutable consensus data, decision-making and economic information. That way, individuals and the government could better use this information to innovate and progress.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs): Just like other economic systems, free market capitalism still has the potential for bad actors. By using blockchain technology, we can build the next generation of organizations using the DAO framework based on open-source code. Furthermore, without a typical management structure or board of directors, we are able to operate decentralized organizations. This gives investors a real say in the direction of the organization and gives the public transparency regarding the organization’s goals and motives.
It should now be clear that many of the reasons individuals are pushing for communism and socialism are not due to flaws in capitalism but rather increasing governance, regulation and control. Looking back throughout history, if we give way to these propositions, the consequences may be detrimental — the fallacy to consolidate and centralize power has led to some of mankind’s darkest days.
Instead, we should step back and look at capitalism and the other economic systems from a more holistic viewpoint. Let’s take the welfare/healthcare/educational support system from socialism, implement democratic decision-making, and give more power back to the people to let free market capitalism run its course. By doing so, we may be able to resolve many of the issues we currently face.
Lastly, instead of pointing fingers at capitalism, we should be educating people about the benefits that it has brought to our economy in the form of increased innovation, private property, privacy and human rights.20 Furthermore, we should be trying to better integrate new technology such as Bitcoin into our ever-evolving economy.
Humanity is in the middle of a turning point where it is shedding much of the old inefficient technology and practices and making room for the new era. With this in mind, we should be focusing on what matters. Let’s come together and build the economy we want to see tomorrow instead of directing our energy toward each other in the form of aggression and criticism. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
This is a guest post by Sebastian Bunney. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.
1 Howe, Neill, and William Strauss. “The Fourth Turning.” Crown Publishing Group, 1996.
2 Lowrey, Annie. “Millennials Don’t Stand a Chance.” The Atlantic, 2020,
Hong Kong cyber-activists are not giving up on the freedom of speech and are backing up articles from the pro-democracy tabloid newspaper Apple Daily using blockchain technology.
Following a national security probe, Apple Daily printed its last edition on Thursday. But Hong Kong activists took it from there and uploaded the publication’s articles on a distributed network, Reuters reported.
21-year-old Ho, an anonymous activist working in tech, started uploading Apple Daily articles on decentralized file storage platform ARWeave this week. Backed by investors like Andreessen Horowitz, the platform deploys a blockchain-like structure called blockweave to enable the permanent storage of files across a distributed network of computers. According to sources, more than 4,000 Apple Daily articles have been uploaded on ARWeave as of Thursday.
Apple Daily is one of Hong Kong’s most vocal pro-democracy newspapers, known as the biggest critic of Hong Kong and Chinese leadership. Last week, police froze the assets of several companies linked to Apple Daily. In addition, they arrested five executives, which led to the tabloid printing its final edition, shutting down its website and erasing all its social media accounts on Thursday.
“I’m not doing this because I love Apple Daily. It’s what needs to be done,” Ho said. “I never thought that Apple Daily would disappear so quickly.”
Related:Global banks reportedly limit service in Hong Kong for political reasons
The people of Hong Kong have previously fought against government censorship using blockchain technology, archiving content by public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong through LikeCoin, a blockchain-based decentralized publishing infrastructure.
Since 2009, the crypto and blockchain industry has become a symbol of greater freedom, enabling people worldwide to resist centralized powers by building decentralized networks that are essentially impossible to shut down. Apart from helping to resist state censorship, distributed ledger tech and crypto also empower people with financial freedom.
Recent political developments in the United States demonstrate the critical challenges that centralized technology platforms pose to democracy — in stark contrast to the powerful role social media played in pro-democracy movements in the Middle East and Hong Kong. U.S. election misinformation and disinformation, as well as white nationalism, spread throughout online groups, and prominent political and social leaders found means to amplify falsehoods through technology platforms.
Within both the public eye and darker corners of the internet, organizers, including members of the Proud Boys, planned the storming of the U.S. Capitol to stop what they believed to be a rigged election. The U.S. events, however, are not isolated. They fit into a broader pattern of centralized social media platforms being used to promote violence, disinformation and insurrection as evidenced in places such as Myanmar and the Philippines.
A byproduct of these events, among others, has been heightened fear that more private decentralized and peer-to-peer, or P2P, technology will offer a new and more powerful tool for domestic terrorists. While these concerns are not unfounded, privacy-focused decentralized and P2P applications can, in fact, protect democratic governance and help us move away from centralized platforms. The key reason is that unlike centralized platforms, they are not in the business of creating echo chambers — targeting users with specific content that suits their interests and potentially amplifying harmful content in order to increase user engagement. This gives us a better way to manage social technology’s impact on public safety, similar to how we’ve previously governed more traditional forms of interaction such as speech, telephone calls and mail.
On one hand, the biggest digital media tech companies espouse free speech, but on the other hand, their business model is predicated upon collecting data, creating behavioral profiles and targeting specific content to specific audiences. In the best light, this technical underpinning serves to surface content and services that an individual user would want to see or consume. But more importantly, and of concern to democracy, centralized platforms deliberately seek to get users hooked on the platform through algorithms designed to mass-direct content targeted toward specific audiences. This model allowed Russian intelligence operations to undermine the 2016 U.S. elections through centralized social media platforms, and Islamic terrorist organizations to radicalize and indoctrinate people through YouTube.
Related:Social media giants must decentralize the internet… Now!
After facing public backlash following the Capitol insurrection, the biggest U.S. social media companies stepped in to permanently or indefinitely ban former President Donald Trump’s and others’ accounts. Some have hailed this as a much-needed, minimal show of accountability, especially given how lenient tech companies have been in regard to white supremacy.
I agree that our biggest tech companies did what was needed to protect democracy, albeit in a much-delayed, inconsistent manner. The same calls for regulating social media content, however, are also stoking fears of private and decentralized tech as a new dangerous bogeyman, despite the fact that their business models and technical underpinnings are substantially different.
The case for privacy-focused decentralized and peer-to-peer technology
The key concern of private decentralized and P2P technology is that influential and controversial people who are being regulated on centralized technology platforms will have access to well-designed alternatives with little to no oversight. And this fear is not entirely unwarranted. Telegram, for example, has been found to be a haven for illegal activity and a source of misinformation and hate speech, leading to riots and lynchings in countries such as India. Privacy-focused technology always faces the trade-off between protecting user privacy and ensuring broader public safety and security. The key question, however, is whether democracy and public safety are actually at greater risk if those harmful influencers turn to more novel and private applications.
Privacy-focused decentralized technology solutions offer a better alternative to centralized platforms because their incentives are different. First, designers of privacy-focused applications will find it more difficult to curate content, given the fact that they are collecting little to no data. Second, a P2P design makes it more difficult for users to widely circulate content. This is not to say that decentralized systems entirely prevent users from quickly sending information to many people (e.g., LimeWire), but rather that the outreach is more limited and focused. Furthermore, outreach can be reduced through technical changes, such as limiting group sizes or the ability to forward content.
Dipayan Ghosh, co-director of the Digital Platforms & Democracy Project at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, wrote that regulatory change is sorely needed to “institute the right incentives for companies to act in the public interest without forcing the government to get directly involved in the decision-making process over which kinds of content should be deemed socially unacceptable and as such taken down by the companies.”
While privacy-focused decentralized technology has been historically framed as the means to avoid oversight by Big Brother, it can also fit a broader movement to bolster new regulations, such as changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Specifically, private decentralized and P2P technology gives us the ability to turn away from technology platforms designed to surveil, categorize, curate and amplify. The surge in Signal downloads in response to WhatsApp policy changes, for example, demonstrates the growing demand for more private alternatives. Regulation is needed to limit the roles of centralized tech platforms, but it cannot work alone. We need technology to bolster this effort in order and help us realize new technical designs that do not endanger democracy.
Centralized platforms are here to stay. Decentralized and P2P platforms are unlikely to completely replace centralized platforms. To combat extremism, content moderation and regulation will be needed to ensure that centralized platforms live up to the ideals of the internet. An effective way to prevent misinformation or disinformation from spreading out among the public commons is the ability for moderators to quickly disprove and/or block this content in the event it incites violence.
A graver concern around decentralized and P2P platforms is that misinformation and disinformation can continue to spread without the ability for a central body to step in. This is an undeniable challenge. The risk to democracy, however, is dampened by the fact that there is less scope for mass-sharing through P2P and decentralized systems. Research shows that disinformation and misinformation thrive off scale. Removing the targeted outreach and amplification of content can prevent harmful content from proliferating.
American democracy was not undermined and lynchings in India did not happen simply because people communicated misinformation and disinformation through internet technology. This type of information has been circulating well before the creation of the internet, stemming from historical cultural divisions, racism and government failures — see documentation of racial terror in America between the Reconstruction and World War II as an example.
When it comes to the role of technology, we must define the real danger to democracy: centralized technology platforms that enable people to communicate harmful and violent content to a wide audience, and that are based on a business model that directs billions of dollars to magnify content through targeted curation.
Private decentralized or P2P technology poses undeniable dangers, just as the telephone, letters and word-of-mouth. But the beneficial differences between this technology and centralized platforms can be best summarized by the following example: It is illegal for someone to yell “fire” in a theater if there isn’t one, but it is not illegal for that person to falsely tell their neighbor that there is a fire. Private decentralized and P2P applications will be used for illegal activity. But stopping this illegal activity cannot involve infringing on privacy or stopping communication. Instead, we will need to address the underlying causes of these activities.
The Proud Boys storming the U.S. Capitol stems from a history of white supremacy and racial injustice. Violence against Rohingya minorities in Myanmar dates back to the 1950s and a legacy of colonialism. Looking at more privacy-focused technology as the new danger misses the point. Instead of creating a tech bogeyman, we need to address the root causes of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech. And in the meantime, we must regulate our existing platforms and promote alternatives that do not in and of themselves undermine democratic norms.
The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Nikhil Raghuveera is a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center and a project manager at the Equal Justice Initiative. His research focuses on the intersection of technology, social inequality and systems of oppression. Nikhil graduated with an MBA/MPA from the Wharton School and the Harvard Kennedy School. In graduate school, he focused his studies on racial justice, social movements and technology policy.
@Klefeker @nicolasmendo These leftists don’t understand that the fate of the Republic/Democracy hangs in the balance here. Everyone assumes some cheating but this was crazy.
But to then “The Ends Justify The Means”