In the cryptocurrency’s decentralized network, Nozomi Hayase says those who seek to conspire in secret have no place to hide, as Bitcoin aids WikiLeaks’ mission to keep governments transparent and honest.
By Nozomi Hayase
George Orwell is reputed to have said, “In a time of universal deceit, speaking truth to power is a revolutionary act.” Over a decade ago in the spring of 2010, WikiLeaks burst onto the global stage with the publication of the “Collateral Murder” video that depicted the U.S. military gunning down Iraqi civilians and Reuters journalists on a street in New Baghdad.
WikiLeaks, through the method of transparency, exposed war crimes of the U.S. empire including spying, torture and human rights abuses the world over. Their publications triggered a global crisis of legitimacy, showing how democracy in the West has become an empty shell filled with lies and corruption.
In reaction to WikiLeaks’ disclosures, the U.S. government has waged an unprecedented war on whistleblowers. With the DOJ’s efforts to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the U.S., this has now escalated into an attempted criminalization of journalism. For more than two years, Assange has been locked up in inhumane conditions inside London’s maximum-security prison, facing several effective death sentences if found guilty of these politically driven charges.
Now in the Covid-19 pandemic, as the economic and political system further disintegrates, elites increase their control of public perception with the censorship imposed by Silicon Valley giant tech companies and their manipulation of algorithms. As the veil of deception thickens, a new force for truth has emerged on the internet. Bitcoin — revolutionary money — has arrived.
Conspiracy as Governance
Bitcoin, an uncensorable peer-to-peer digital cash, was invented during the 2008 financial crisis. In its 12 years of existence, it has attained the status of the world’s first stateless currency. In its infancy, Bitcoin formed an alliance with WikiLeaks when the organization faced the banking blockade imposed by Bank of America, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Western Union at the end of 2010 as a direct result of their publications. Now, the cryptocurrency that helped WikiLeaks bypass that economic censorship carries on WikiLeaks’ mission to keep the government transparent and honest.
Inspired by the vision of Cypherpunks, a loosely tied group that advocates social change by the use of strong cryptography, WikiLeaks created a platform through which ordinary people around the world work together to hold power to account.
WikiLeaks’ revolutionary journalism was built on Julian Assange’s understanding of the structure of power. Assange, in his 2006 essay “Conspiracy as Governance,” analyzed ways that authoritarian power is maintained through conspiracy, concluding that its primary planning methodology is secrecy. He described conspiracies as “cognitive devices” that give the members of a conspiracy special advantages over those acting alone:
“Conspiracies take information about the world in which they operate (the conspiratorial environment), pass it around the conspirators and then act on the result. We can see conspiracies as a type of device that has inputs (information about the environment) and outputs (actions intending to change or maintain the environment).”
Assange dissected conspiracy as “the agent of deception and information restriction.” He assessed that the key to dismantling such an unjust system of governance is cutting off the links between conspirators, thereby stopping the information flows that are required for them to maintain their collaborative secrecy. He envisaged that leaks (releasing concealed information) would induce fear and distrust among conspirators and, therefore, weaken their power.
WikiLeaks’ groundbreaking publications, with its pristine record of accuracy of documents, appeared to have been able to at least wound conspiratorial networks. Yet, as was shown with the government’s aggressive prosecution of truthtellers, the movement toward transparency has faced serious pushback.
Money Based on Trust
Now, Bitcoin, as a holy grail of Cypherpunks, may hold the solution to the problem of government secrecy and unaccounted power. The rise of Bitcoin has revealed a root cause of conspiratorial governance that has been kept hidden until now. Money supply has been the single greatest source of power that generates the patronage network of “In Each Other We Trust.”
In her book Web of Debt, attorney Ellen Brown explains how most people think money is issued by elected officials, declared to be legal tender by the government, but the creation of money has been taken over by private corporations like the Federal Reserve. Money managed by central banks functions as an agent of deception, giving power to “invisible hands” to change and manipulate the environment.
This centralized money relies on financial institutions serving as trusted third parties to process transactions. There is inherent weakness in this trust-based money. Human trust is easily exploitable by those who can act selfishly without concern for others —as demonstrated by the bailouts of Wall Street banks in the panic of 2008, along with the fraud and depravity exemplified in the top banks’ currency rigging. The underlying trust in this monetary system was completely broken.
Bitcoin now provides an alternative to this “trusted third-party” model of money that is prone to manipulation. The core invention of Bitcoin is a proof-of-work consensus algorithm — a decentralized trust that allows strangers to achieve consensus without intermediaries. This system, built by cryptographic proof instead of trust, effectively eliminates counterparty risk in a transaction, allowing individuals to exchange value directly with one another without a need for a central authority.
Money with Integrity
Bitcoin regulates itself through algorithms. Unlike central banks whose monetary policy is subject to printing at will, the open-source protocol of Bitcoin uses rules that are fixed and made clear at the outset. They include the total quantity of bitcoin that can ever be created (math caps the monetary base at 21 million BTC), a predictable issuance rate and automatic adjustment of mining difficulty.
In an open network where rules are applied to everyone equally, computers around the world (called miners) engage in a broadcast math competition. By using precious resources, miners work to solve difficult mathematics problems. Every 10 minutes, problems are solved and whoever solves the problem first wins a fixed number of bitcoins. This process leads to both creation of money and clearing of transactions.
Bitcoin brings transparency to the process of money creation. The option to trust math rather than politicians and bankers enables better security of the system. In Bitcoin’s decentralized network where there is no central vector, attackers cannot fake trust. In order to gain control over the network, they would have to compromise the mathematics on which the system is based.
Power corrupts, and the best way to check and balance power is to not have these points of control in the first place. Through distributing trust across a network and minimizing the necessity to trust a third party, the system removes the vulnerability that often leads to concentration of power. With careful balancing of risk and reward a network of “rules without leaders” incentivizes honesty and truth, maintaining its own integrity.
In combating the crisis of pandemic, the federal government has spent more than $6 trillion to fund the government rescue program, according to The Washington Post. While their money printing temporarily keeps the dead economy afloat, world leaders are trying to lock down the population as a new digital empire arises — one foreshadowed by the initiatives of “The Great Reset.”
As pretense of legitimate governance continues, with fake money propping up propaganda, Bitcoin’s new network of transparency has begun to break down this web of deception.
Authoritarian regimes derive their power from people’s compliance. Their game of monopoly, perpetuating slavery and oppression, can only prevail as long as we continue to play by their rules. Efforts to hold leaders accountable suck us further into the struggle of power. They amplify darkness, strengthening a system that has no legitimacy by allowing it to feed off our energies.
Bitcoin, an open-source technology of cooperation, can now be used as a tool for ordinary people around the world to create their own network of trust that is uncensorable, living under their own rules.
Through each of us simply exiting from the nation-state’s rigged system of “democracy” we can boycott “the system,” cutting off their chain of money supply and distributions. We can throttle conspiratorial connections of political elites, thereby defunding their resource wars, surveillance and extractive capitalism, and making their system of control obsolete.
In Bitcoin’s decentralized network that dissolves levers of control, those who seek to conspire in secret have no place to hide. We can now create a just and humane world where whistleblowers and publishers no longer need to sacrifice their lives — a future in which there are no political prisoners.
Bitcoin may be the most honest money ever invented. This money based on truth now calls all of us to take action inspired by love.
In a time of universal deceit, HODLing bitcoin is a revolutionary act.
Join Bitcoin’s peaceful revolution and become a part of creative destruction of conspiracy of governance!
To get a better understanding of how Bitcoin works and its real impact on the economy, watch Max Keiser’s interviews with Jimmy Dore on The Jimmy Dore Show and Lee Camp on Redacted Tonight.
Author’s note: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is facing up to 175 years in prison for publishing truthful information in the public interest. Check out the official campaign page, “Don’t Extradite Assange,” and “The Assange Defense Committee,” a U.S. coalition fighting to free Assange, to get information on how you can help stop the extradition. Also, please consider donating to the WikiLeaks Official Defence Fund.
Nozomi Hayase, Ph.D., is an essayist and author of WikiLeaks, the Global Fourth Estate: History Is Happening.Follow her on Twitter: @nozomimagine
This article is from Bitcoin Magazine.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
So you solved some mathematical problems on your computer and received recognition for this from the community of people who thusly “mine” bitcoins. Why should this be of any intrinsic value to me such that I would donate my goods and/or services to you in return for accepting your bitcoins as a medium of exchange, let alone as a legal tender (or its equivalent)? I don’t see any more real innate value in bitcoins, though limited in maximum number by the mathematical algorithms chosen for employ, than in the widely manipulated and open-ended fiat currencies. In both cases, they are worth whatever you can convince someone to give you for them, from zilch to castles in the sky. I’m no more interested in accepting your bitcoins than in the grade point average you achieved back in college as compensation for my goods and services. At least if your currency is pegged to some weight in gold bullion, tinned sardines or Panama Red I can enjoy the intrinsic uses or benefits of that, should your monetary system collapse. Bitcoin mania may well be nothing more than “Tulipmania” of 17th century Holland redux.
Revolutionary for whom? I don’t trust the crypto Ponzi racket either. It has wildly enriched the folks who got in early, and some wealthy speculators. While it may be beneficial in certain instances, in the big picture it solves none of our macro economic or financial problems. The vast majority of Americans can’t afford and/or not equipped to speculate in the crypto markets, or any other market.
(Refer back to the conversation between Pepe Escobar and Michael Hudson that was posted here last week for an interesting conversation on international politics, finance, balance of payments etc.)
The only thing that can save Assan,ge or any other political prisoner, is massive demands and resistance from the public. The only thing that will bring about any meaningful change is the resistance of the public to the status quo. Sorry, but crypto is no magic bullet to help the 99%, or Wikileaks or Assange. Revolution comes from a critical mass of the people, not from a ponzi racket for greedy speculators.
I hear “bitcoin” and I think, “Beanie Babies”.
Whoa! What a lot of BTC detractors we have in these comments. Some of the criticisms do make sense, I must admit, but there seems to be little appreciation of the primary function of BTC, namely to provide a refuge or “haven” from the ever declining value of all fiat currencies, and especially the EURO, USD, the British pound etc.. Nor does anyone seem to have much faith in the advantages of private digital transactions largely outside of government purview and controlled/manipulated fiat currencies which BTC also provides.
It is true that BTC has been slow to become a universally recognized and standard international alternative to various national fiat currencies, e.g. the roll out of BTC ATMs, while now finally increasing more quickly, has also been frustratingly slow.
Another problem is the long time it takes — roughly 5 to 10 minutes – for a BTC transaction to be checked over the web and approved.
There are also, indeed, as mentioned in some of the comments, big environmental costs to minting new BTC, although can be expected to drop as the limit of 21 million BTC in total is more closely reached from the 18+ million that have already been minted. The strictly limited supply of BTC is one of the factors in its meteoric rise in price during the last year since while the supply is increasingly constrained the demand continues to grow with several new corporations and financial houses, including PayPal, VISA, Mastercard etc. all taking ever larger positions in BTC.
The article also does not mention that there are dozens of other crypto coins now available for use. The leading competitor for BTC is, in my opinion, Ethereum, ETC, a coin with very different protocols, which can continue to issue new coins indefinitely and which has found favor in many typical business applications. Ethereum is a newer and in many ways superior technology to BTC. Just to cite one advantage, its transactions are processed in a few seconds, not minutes.
ETH’s blockchain is also far more flexible and can be utilized and modified for various new applications. Currently it is the ever growing “DeFi,” “decentralized financial” services industry that has taken Ethereum to heart and led to its rise to over $2000 per unit. Many people, including myself, expect Ethereum, to slowly supplant BTC as the largest and most used global crypto currency.
While it is true that being able to pay in BTC was of great use to Wikileaks once they were kicked off all standard donation exchanges, and while such clandestine applications are involved in some other “forbidden” transactions, BTC is hardly still a good coin to use to buy and sell drugs and other proscribed commodities since the US government does have ways now to crack down on such activities, as, say, when, a few years ago, they arrested a man who had hired a hit-man and paid him with BTC. Most of the disreputable and illegal transactions are now done in some of the many alt-coins, at present, most notably, Moreno, and these too are coming under deeper governmental scrutiny.
As for BTC helping in some way to liberate Julian Assange from his outrageous and miserable confinement in Belmarsh prison that link I too do not see. Far better to keep your letters and emails of protest directed toward the US Dept of Justice in hope of getting them finally to see reason, and abandon the ridiculous “espionage” charges placed upon Assange by the likes of Pompeo and Haspel. …. Oh yes, it is also very important to keep demonstrating in public for Julian’s freedom, as well as working one’s friends and acquaintances to make sure they all know the dismal story of his decade long “extraordinary detention,” torture and persecution. FREE THE PRESS!! FREE JULIAN ASSANGE!! NEVER FORGIVE!! NEVER FORGET!! and NEVER GIVE UP!!
[Full disclosure: I am a HODLer of both BTC and ETH]
Sounds nice, but somehow bitcoin exchanges keep going bust when the managers disappear with all the hard currencies.
So enlightening and clear. Thank you, Nozomi Hayase
More and more do I miss those heady political times of the late 2000s and early 2010s, when a burgeoning (if still marginal) cross-pollination of libertarian, progressive, and populist ideas and trends that were relatively less adulterated by astroturfing and demagoguery seemed to augur some approximation of a brighter future. This article brings me back to that era!
Yeah, kinda like during those heady days when there was a group of positive people who thought pro choice/anti-abortion ideas could really make a difference when fused together. You know, beyond “demagoguery” and “astroturfing” and such. You know, that point where any contradiction is dissolved in good libertarian vibes, man. Dig! Buy Bitcoin and go back to those groovy days!
Someone has drunk the Koolaid . . .The preferred money exchange for slave traders, drug kingpins and weapons dealers is our future? No Thanks. Wikileaks is getting shafted, but I’m not tying myself to crypto-miners and their fantasies of anarchistic utopia.
A giddy celebration of virtual gold? Really?
A currency with a fluctuating price in dollars? If you have to buy your money, is it really money?
Commodities can always be traded and this is a virtual commodity. Commodity money has always been dominated by the richest owners of the commodity.
Money plays 2 roles, 1. An exchange medium for facilitating economic activity (it is just money)
2. An instrument of power capable of dominating the market (the hidden hand)
If you can hoard enough money you can dominate a market, an industry, as the banks do today.
Also, a computer based internet money with a gargantuan energy footprint? A footprint that grows with its use.
Bitcoin is an investment vehicle exploiting people’s ignorance of money to market it as currency. Changing the monetary system is key, certainly, but as systems analysts often discover when they identify a system’s leverage point (a point where one small change changes the whole system) that there will already be lots of attention being put there but pushing it in the wrong direction.
Howard Switzer – that is why any currency must be one of substance in my humble opinion.
I don’t support the substance of mere “Good Faith” which is what fiat currency is based upon (I think it is diminishing rapidly), but even less do I support a mathematical construction that is based upon calculus, which should be known – is FLAWED at the edges. Good faith, just like everything else is limited, but imaginary mathematics suffers from the delusion that there are no limits. The energy it takes to run the algorithms will be the end of bitcoin if it doesn’t die sooner as a result of those who have subsumed it for their own nefarious purposes.
I advocate river rocks as a currency, but I know I’m biased cause I have a bunch of them on my own property. Still better a river rock in the hand than worthless bitcoin codes on the hard-drive in the landfill. Do you think they will actually spend the money to dig that old laptop hard-drive out of the landfill? I hope not cause it is a fool’s venture.
Bitcoin might be an idea for the future, but presently it causes more harm than good, and really, I’d just assume have a river rock in my hand. If nothing else, I could throw it at you if you tried to do something harmful on my property. Can’t do that with bitcoin – nor can you with fiat come to think of it.
I think money, aside from whatever currency represents it, is an abstract social power embodied in law as an unconditional payment system. Both commodity (substance) money and credit money have been dominated by private wealth. “Money exists not by nature but by law.” It is not just “faith” involved here and why it is important they we have a government that represents us that actually does. It is a political battle over the law that is required to change the money being originated only for public purpose as a permanently circulating asset.
There is a third use of money, the original use: paying taxes. The governments of the world from Sumer to Washington, DC, have always invoked means to provision themselves. They do so by demanding taxes. The insight of MMT is that spending comes first and the useful activity descends from the need to pay taxes with the money issued for the spending. As a corollary, we must see ‘taxes’ as a means to destroy the money issued in the first place; without sufficient taxation, we see the current inequalities in the financial system. Bitcoin will never serve to pay taxes. Nozomi Hayase does not address this because she does not understand money.
Thank you for these wise words!
I don’t trust Bitcoin.
It is nothing but a mathematical construct. Here today – gone tomorrow – in a HEARTBEAT!
Bitcoin is NOT the solution for anything. It is part of the problem cause it has been subsumed by those with bad intent.
The solution lies closer to understanding the history of the “FED” and then to audit them, and then to undo the coup they committed….or maybe I should say coups. There have been many. Some obvious, some not so much, but all of them coups nonetheless. Another aspect of the monetary solution lies in doing away with the US dollar hegemony. Now that is worth pursuing, but it won’t be done via mathematical constructs that have no underlying basis besides math. I’d rather use river rocks for currency than bitcoin.
A very sensible comment. Yeah in reality paper-based exploitators are being supplanted with cyber-based exploitators. Bits-based hyper-inflation would be worse than paper-based one because at least the paper could come in useful to swipe the butt, with the bit you will just get the boot !
This is a very important topic and can only hope you allow a full discussion of it here on your message boards.
Personally I think we should bring democracy to the economy. And libertarians, to say the least, think quite the opposite. They aren’t even so happy with the notion “democracy” at all, as can be plainly seen from noted libertarian billionaire Peter Thiel’s quote: “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”
If a secretive group of libertarians comes out with a disruptive technology I have no idea why I should consider it in my interests, the interests of my community, or the interests of the society in which I live, whatsoever. I am neither a billionaire, nor a so-called “bitcoin whale,” so the libertarian notion of freedom not only has no appeal for me. And not only that, I find the lack of regulation of capital to be diametrically opposed to the freedom of an average citizen such as myself.
Beyond the libertarian angle, as a computer programmer, I find the case for the blockchain vastly overstated. There is a reason the technology has not been widely adopted, it is because it is very inefficient and does not improve upon existing solutions. In other words, it’s a solution looking for a problem.
I think you should dig a little deeper into the crypto currencies.
It’s one thing for BitCoin to have enabled Wikileaks to overcome the outrageous and terrifying financial boycott perpetrated on its truth telling that the wrongdoers – the criminal operations that wage war and have so much power that they avoid accountability for their wrongdoing – enforced.
That surely was a very good thing.
It’s quite another to assume that the cryptocurrencies have their finances in order meaning that if one uses ones’ own sovereign currency to trade it for an equivalent value of the crypto currency to make an assumption of what that value means.
When the cryptocurrencies can only rely on a piecemeal “audit” performed by random computers without an overall comprehensive audit possible, if I understand even a little of what I’ve read about it, one is never sure that that electronic measurement has not been corrupted by a hack. Where’s the proof?
The sovereign currency of country is backed by the taxpayers of that country. Countries can and do mismanage their currencies by acting irresponsibly leading to escalating inflation and devaluation against foreign sovereign currency. And to the extent that a holder of that currency uses it to buy foreign goods at ever increasing prices it can be nasty.
But the holder of sovereign currency can make a deposit into a bank and receive a deposit slip verifying the amount of that deposit – and that bank is audited internally and also by an outside auditor on a regular basis in order for that bank to continue to remain in business. That’s the protection against fraud backed by the taxpayer.
I don’t think that crypto currencies have an audit trail that what is outstanding in bitcoin dollars really exists and can be accounted for based on the values of the sovereign currencies that were used to purchase the bitcoin, adjusted for fluctuations in exchange rates.
I think if you have an American dollar in your pocket it may not have the same value today as it did yesterday based on fluctuating prices but it is always 1 dollar of the total trillions of dollars outstanding. And always worth what a dollar buys.
The treasury issues dollars. There is a multiplier effect on those dollars based on the legislation that established regulated banking. According to that legislation a bank must hold onto a minimum legislated percentage of dollars received from depositors and is allowed to loan out the remainder. Say, for example that ratio is 10% retained therefore 90% eligible to lend out. That creates a cascading expansion of money supply as the 90% lent out gets deposited and the receiving bank loans out 90% of that deposit and that gets repeated over and over again causing a multiplier effect on those dollars in a well functioning economy.
What is the equivalent control for cryptocurrencies? Every now and then one hears of a hack where someone has stolen “value” whatever that may mean.
And as we know, in addition, the crypto currencies can be very volatile in price against sovereign currencies.
So even if the intent of BitCoin was admirable – which it was, IMO, I have not been able to find an equivalent assurance that one’s exchange of one’s Dollars or Peso’s or Deutschmarks or Francs or Rubles or Yen or Yuan etc etc for cryptocurrency is “safe” “provable” reliable” or whatever one expects from a sovereign currency.
I guess I just don’t understand the premise of this article. Bitcoin + ?? = Free Assange… Or maybe I could rearrange the statement like this: bitcoin + Collateral Murder Video = ??… No, it just doesn’t make any sense. If I were to buy Bitcoin its value would go up, benefitting those who already own it, and particularly the earliest adopters (or even its anonymous creators most of all).
I think it is safe to say this has nothing to do with the plight of Julian Assange, and would seem to have a lot more in common with raising the value of for the so-called bitcoin “whales.”
Thanks, I don’t get it either.
George Orwell did not say “speaking truth to power is a revolutionary act”!!!
Bayard Rustin coined the term “speaking truth to power.”
The quotation “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act” has been attributed to Orwell, but never verified.
You’ve got to be kidding me. Yeah, bitcoin is great if you want the world engulfed in a libertarian free market dystopia. Sure, the “conspiracy of governance” cannot be trusted in many ways, but one group who can’t be trusted even more are the secretive billionaire libertarians who manufactured the bitcoin pyramid scheme.
An interesting perspective with respect to something that to me has seemed a pyramid scheme
You could have said something about Bitcoin’s carbon footprint, currently over 30MT CO2 per year.
The secrecy meme of this article is so relevant, its scary? In just the last few days, a seismic event has happened at the Federal Reserve Bank? This has happened, seemingly by design, without any Media fanfare & flying completely under the Radar? The FED has apparently STOPPED REPORTING on its M1, M2 & M3 statistical data? Why. Because the FED doesn’t want anyone knowing about its recent & massive money printing which has increased by over 500%, printing Trillions & Trillions of fake money? They’ve started hiding the charts & the QE statistics, this is huge & is a indication that they have a lot to hide & don’t want to spook the Stock Market & cause a panic but the reality is the FED knows that this money printing has reached its tipping point & the endgame for the US dollar is near? Hyperinflation is coming & a massive Financial crash is now inevitable that will dwarf the 2008 GFC! Bitcoin is a dagger in the heart for the Central Bank madness of MMT & its out of control, counterfeiting of currency! The Weimar Republic is coming to America & the World, at a Town near you & the only ones who hold precious metals such as Gold & Silver & Bitcoins & Satoshis will survive the coming Financial collapse of the fake, Fiat money system of the Central Banks!
Unfortunately there is a downside to this story. Here is a link to research in Nature Magazine analysing the Carbon footprint of Bitcoin Mining : hXXps://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-22256-3
NYT– “Bitcoin supporters say that estimates of its carbon footprint are overstated. And if the computers that mine and help transact bitcoins are attached to an electric grid that uses wind and solar power, they add, mining and using it will become cleaner over time.”
“if the computers that mine …”
If. But most of them aren’t. And if and when they do switch to renewable energy, they’ll still be using pretty huge amounts of it.
Ian, you may be a right person to answer my question, while of course Bitcoin uses energy, does it or will it use more than the current system:
raw.materials, algorithms, intricate human assessment and input?
Perhaps I mean wouldn’t it be less energy intensive to decentralize?
There is a lot of debate on this topic, but it seems pretty clear that Bitcoin is uncontrollably inefficient right now and uses energy far more than anything equivalent, “currency,” or whatever else.
But energy is only one part of the Bitcoin story, even if it might be the most important. When you look at the case its proponents make, how does it really stack up as a currency? Is it really better than the fiat dollar? Well, if the dollar acted like Bitcoin, it would be worth ten dollars tomorrow, and then fifty cents the next. How is that an improvement? A currency needs to provide stability, and that Bitcoin does not is one of its fundamental contradictions. Libertarians by definition love free markets. What a free market provides is a pricing signal. What pricing signals do is determine cost. And in order for this mechanism to work, you need some entity like a government to provide currency stability.
These fluctuations would do nothing but provide constant inflation and deflation! You wouldn’t know if you were winning or losing from one day to the next. The thing is, rather than a currency, Bitcoin is better seen as an investment vehicle (or even better, the most rewarding investment vehicle for those who produced it and their early adopters, a pyramid scheme). Those who buy Bitcoin raise its price, thereby making those who already own them richer (and those who own the most very, very rich), and those who sell it make its value go down.
And personally, as a Socialist I think finance should be managed as a public utility. But what these Bitcoin libertarians propose does not even support their self-professed core values. I would go even farther and say what they say is nonsensical, such as all the rhetoric around “full-stack currency,” which is not a thing, and as a concept is blatantly pulled from the web development lingo of “full-stack development” (I know this because I am myself a programmer). So, what we have here is more like a snow job, a pyramid scheme (or “investment vehicle,” if you like), with a well-paid marketing department, so to speak; a public relations campaign to help inflate another useless billionaire’s bottom line, which does the opposite of helping for everyone but themselves.
So here is the impression I hope to leave you with after my long comment: thinking of Bitcoin as a way to get around the oppression and censorship of Wikileaks and Julian Assange comes at a great cost, and that cost is simply too high. Another way must be found, full stop. Because the path that Bitcoin has made for us will intentionally only lead us into the wilderness, and the contradictions hidden in the underbrush will ensure we will never find our way out.
NYT– “Bitcoin supporters say that estimates of its carbon footprint are overstated.”
Yet nowhere in that article does anyone offer any reason for that view, nor is anyone quoted as holding it. Several people say Bitcoin’s carbon footprint could be decreased in future, which is indeed possible. But if BC’s supporters think its carbon footprint is overstated, why doesn’t the article quote some of them or explain their reasons for thinking thus?
We appear to have a peer reviewed article in a prestigious scientific journal saying one thing, and anonymous unidentified sources saying something else, offering no evidence or reasoning of any sort to back up their assertions. Until they come up with something better, I’ll go with what Nature says about it.
Of course supporters are going to say carbon footprint estimates are overstated. It seems far more sensible to trust a peer-reviewed scientific journal like Nature than libertarian freebooters who have everything to gain from downplaying the negative effects of their source of wealth.
Saying bitcoin mining will become cleaner over time is quite a promise from a group who support a technology whose coders are so secretive nobody knows who they are.
Can we also say OWNED BY PRIVATE COMPANIES
The majority of Bitcoin mining is done in China by massive computer arrays that are powered by coal. When, if ever, these might be powered by clean energy sources is very much in question.
What happens to bitcoin (your money) when there is a quantum computer that can crack the code and exploit the cryptocurrency?