Since its introduction in 2009, Bitcoin has been widely promoted as a digital currency that will revolutionize everything from online commerce to the nation-state. Yet supporters of Bitcoin and its blockchain technology subscribe to a form of cyberlibertarianism that depends to a surprising extent on far-right political thought. The Politics of Bitcoin exposes how much of the economic and political thought on which this cryptocurrency is based emerges from ideas that travel the gamut, from Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, and Ludwig von Mises to Federal Reserve conspiracy theorists.
This could be taken considerably further, actually …
There’s a complete lack of theoretic elegance — or even basic structure — to this, but it still strikes me as basically right.
The image is over two years old. but I’ve only just seen it (via). The text pinned to it is from February this year, and also makes a solid forecast. The basic direction of capital teleology hasn’t been this pronounced for a century (at least).
At least superficially, under-funding is the strict reciprocal of hype:
The blockchain industry is either hugely under-resourced or hugely over-optimistic. Probably both.
Bitcoin rigorously formalizes the common insight that words are cheap (it emerged out of spam-filter solutions). So this analysis is intriguingly ironic, as well as obviously thought-provoking.
Fernandez on the escalation of irreversibility:
In Orwell’s view the mutability of the past was the foundation of tyranny. “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” To ensure this the Ministry of Truth was honeycombed with Memory Holes into which any inconvenient fact could be dropped and be disappeared. […] But just to illustrate how things have changed for the State we now know that Orwell was wrong. The mathematically dominant method for recording transactions, whether they involve the transfer of financial assets, intellectual property, health records or any type of information is probably going to be the blockchain. It has three important properties. First the entire record can be reproduced by anyone from a Genesis cryptographic starting such that all records will have the same signature if and only if they are the same. Second, no part of the record can be altered without regenerating the entire block chain from the beginning. Third, it is impossible to rewrite the block chain without incurring enormous real costs in electricity and computing power, as guaranteed by the laws of thermodynamics. […] The first property means that blockchain by nature it is a public ledger. The second ensures the database can only be falsified in its entirety. The third makes it prohibitively expensive to do so. …
There are still countless fools advising Cnut the Great to defy the waves, but time is not on their side.
From James C. Bennett’s indispensable book The Anglosphere Challenge: Why the English-Speaking Nations Will Lead the Way in the Twenty-First Century (2004), on the genealogy of the Neocameral State (though he doesn’t call it that):
The lowering of transaction costs for international financial activities in the 1960s started to allow major corporations and banks to take advantage of the lower tax and regulatory burdens of tax havens such as the Netherlands Antilles. Corporations became sophisticated consumers of “sovereign services,” in this case, venue of incorporation. In doing so, they built on a trend started by 1920s shipowners, who had increasingly sought Panamanian and Liberian registry for their ships.
XS wishes all its readers a productive Bitcoin Halving Day. (It’s only the second ever — with the first falling on November 28, 2012, when Block 210000 was solved.)
Bitcoin likes Countdown numbers (only 21000000 will ever be produced).
(Countdown = 210.)
XS has received a firm (but fair) scolding for not linking to this development in yesterday’s Chaos Patch (or elsewhere).
Here’s the website and a nested blogpost (containing a deeper link to the whitepaper (which is good)). The (minimalistic) manifesto is an ideological mish-mash which has been worked-over by PR imperatives and demands cold scrutiny to extract its real content.
From the whitepaper:
A word of caution, at the outset: the legal status of DAOs remains the subject of active and vigorous debate and discussion. Not everyone shares the same definition. Some have said that they are autonomous code and can operate independently of legal systems; others have said that they must be owned or operate by humans or human created entities. There will be many uses cases, and the DAO code will develop over time. Ultimately, how a DAO functions and its legal status will depend on many factors, including how DAO code is used, where it is used, and who uses it. This paper does not speculate about the legal status of DAOs worldwide.
The XS prediction is itself predictable: This only goes in one direction (and eventually its going to be vast).
ADDED: When the marketing aesthetics go in this direction, we’re done.
ADDED: Andrea Castillo comments.
This is a joke, but it’s also onto something serious:
This might understandably seem like a gratuitous wind-up, given recent discussions —
therefore but it’s irresistible:
(Time-travelers from the future might need to know that it’s responding to this.)
A singularity is crossed there, whether or not it’s widely noticed.
ADDED: Some Bitcoin thoughts from Jim.