DOWN WITH POWER
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Number 953, December 24, 2017

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Cryptocurrencies for the Win
by Jim Davidson
jim@vertoro.com

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Specialto L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise

"I'll tell you what I think about the way
This city treats her soundest men today;
By a coincidence more sad than funny,
It's very like the way we treat our money.
The noble silver drachma that of old we were
So proud of, and the recent gold coins that
Rang true, clean-stamped and worth their weight
Throughout the world, have ceased to circulate.
Instead the purses of Athenian shoppers
Are full of shoddy silver-plated coppers
Just so, when men are needed by the nation,
The best have been withdrawn from circulation."
— Aristophanes, "The Frogs," 400 BC

 

Of the top 100 cryptocurrencies in the world today, every single one is experiencing a dramatic drop in its dollar-denominated price except for Bitcoin Dark, Agoras, Burst, and Sentiment, as I write this sentence. With 1,375 currencies now trading on over 7,700 exchanges, there is a lot of activity in this area of monetary innovation. It seems appropriate to discuss it, now, while there is a "correction" going on, because if past performance is any basis for future results (and it isn't always) we can expect cryptocurrencies to move "sideways" for a time, form pennants to go with their flagpoles as the technical analysts sometimes say, and break out again to new heights in the coming year.

In this time of somewhat-reduced dollar values, it seems useful to consider some overall statistics. The total market capital of all 1,375 cryptocurrencies tracked by CoinMarketCap.com is $495 billion. The annual transaction value of all currencies as traded on all exchanges, by today's 24 hour volume (just over $48 billion) would be, if it persisted for the 365 days of a year, about $17.5 trillion.

By way of comparison, the annual gross domestic products of all European Union countries combined is $16.4 trillion, and for the USA alone is $18.6 trillion. The crypto-economy is bigger than the EU economy, bigger than China, bigger than any other country in the world, by 24 hour transaction volume, except the USA. And it is breathing down that neck right now.

Paul Rosenberg's Views

Recently my good friend and adviser to the Resilient Ways Foundation and the Digital Cash Alliance, Paul Rosenberg, was interviewed by RT.com and posted his own essay to Freedom's Phoenix. Paul is a prolific author. If you've ever done basic electrical contracting work, you probably read one of his books. He may be most famous amongst the crypto-anarchy community for A Lodging of Wayfaring Men.

In his RT interview, Paul was asked, " How much of a threat is the rise of cryptocurrency to the global economy and world banks?"

He answered, "I think it is a tremendous benefit to the world economy, not a threat at all to the real economy, we are talking about: carpenters, electricians, nurses, truck drivers, and people who run data services – it is a tremendous benefit to people who do real things. It is only a threat to the institutions that are rooted in the past. What this really boils down to at the end of the line is the coercive institutions of the past being threatened by the voluntary institutions of the future. So, those institutions are worried about this but for the average person who works, this is a tremendous benefit, and it is a magnificent benefit to a billion of the world’s poor who have no access to any sort of banking system."

It seems obvious that Paul understands, as I know he has for decades, the importance of individual liberty and communications privacy, especially when we consider that economic transactions are basically messages. And if a transaction is another kind of message, we can apply encryption to that messaging, and have total financial autonomy for every individual on Earth.

In his Freedom's Phoenix essay, Paul relates the following story:

"A couple of weeks ago one of the best Bitcoin advocates, Andreas Antonopoulos, rather publicly admitted that he had serious money problems of his own making. (If you don't think that takes guts, imagine doing it yourself… after first imagining yourself way out and alone in front of millions of people… including plenty of immature trolls.)

"And Andreas did get critical comments. But then something else happened: Hundreds of people – many hundreds, I think – stepped up to help him. Andreas has been working full time to promote Bitcoin for years and has done it well.

"And people had noticed.

"And they remembered.

"And they cared.

"Over the following days, hundreds of people signed on to be his patrons and lots of people made Bitcoin donations… in some cases giant donations. (Emphasis his.)"

Paul then points out that the crypto-economy is a frontier, and the people on frontiers take care of their own. We just proved it. So, Paul suggests, "So, acknowledge problems in the crypto community when you see them. Fix them if possible. But don't go negative. Once you start "fighting the threats," inertia will carry you forward into finding one new threat after another, and you'll end up like Inspector Javert, feeling ever so righteous about enforcing purity. Killing the bad, I'm here to tell you, is a dead end. Your job, rather, is to build the good."

Dan Doesn't Get It

Then we come to Dan of EOS. Dan is not thoughtful, has not been well-informed, and is saying really foolish things. His terrible essay is found here.

In it, Dan says that governments are reacting to cryptocurrencies the way they always do, by blaming everyone for some terrible things that, in recent months we have seen convincing proof that many involved in government are actually doing: engaging in organised criminal behaviour and participating in child rape. Dan says that governments are going to crack down and hurt people in the crypto-economy, and to prevent that from happening, we should abandon all private property, all privacy, and let governments see everyone's logins, be able to reverse any transaction, and make EOS and other crypto-currencies "safe" for the sheep who gutlessly comply with the government. He even wants to require your fingerprints before you can access the wallet app he's building.

Why? Because, in my opinion, he's nuts. In his essay he notices the terrible actions by governments, and notices that they are never transparent. The constitution, by the way, requires that the government of the United States publish every single expenditure of public funds, but it doesn't do that for the "black operations budgets" of the CIA and the military agencies, and it hasn't for decades. Dan's solution is to demand that everything everyone does be totally transparent in the foolish belief that such an example of compliance will make the governments of the world change their ways.

Dan's approach, to be candid, is really disgusting and evil. Dan lards his essay with analogies to aikido and claims that by suddenly changing our behaviour we'll throw governments off balance. The analogy is utter bunk and like most analogies, breaks down on close evaluation. Dan also thinks that he is like Gandhi in seeking utter, dog-like compliant obedience from everyone. That is not, at all, what Gandhi described as non-violence. In fact, Gandhi repeatedly disobeyed British laws and was imprisoned again and again. He disobeyed his jailers and went on hunger strikes and was released again and again. Gandhi was not a coward, he was not obedient, and he led his people to greater freedom beyond the British empire.

Moreover, Gandhi pointed out that the greatest crime of the British was disarming the entire people of India. Again and again in his writings, Gandhi noted that non-violence takes enormous courage. It is not obedience, it is not compliance, it is disobedience and refusal, which is all the more challenging when you know that you are going to be beaten and arrested by the scum British filth.

Change Is Coming

To say that change is coming to the world's economies is understatement. Not only is change coming, a lot of storms are coming. I should know. I'm one of the storms.

If you want to be a part of these changes, I suggest you look into cryptocurrencies, the dark web, encryption, and apps like Signal and Enigmail. You'll find that the world of tomorrow is here today.

Jim Davidson writes business plans and white papers for cryptocurrencies. He is a world traveller, entrepreneur, story-teller, and teacher. You'll find his blogs at ResilientWays.net and elsewhere in digital space.

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