Cryptocurrency, Resistance and The Internet
“Give me control of a nation's money supply and I care not who makes its laws.”
“It's technology that solves problems – not money, politics or religion. These are false institutions.”
“The only way to deal with living in an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
One of the major innovations of cryptocurrency is that no individual nor group of individuals is in control of it.
In fact, it goes a long way towards making our traditionally “trusted” legacy institutions obsolete. When the code works and is secure, no politicians nor central banks need to be trusted. They suddenly become slightly less relevant to individuals and society and much of the power they have taken from humanity is redistributed as a consequence.
They can't ramp up inflation on a whim by printing money out of thin air. They can't block transactions because they don't approve of your politics. They can't seize or close accounts because of some unpaid debt or because you’ve exhibited the wrong behaviour, etc.
For the first time in known human history, full control over a person's own finances is being offered to the individual – within the range of functioning tech in the Cryptosphere.
In 2020, the IRS started its war against this innovation with a $625,000 bounty for anyone who could successfully crack the airtight encryption of a cryptocurrency called Monero (XMR). While many traditional cryptocurrencies work on an open ledger that allows every transaction and a great deal of metadata to be traced in realtime, Monero offers complete privacy to its users. It should come as no surprise that the IRS won’t embrace this, as not only does it threaten the stranglehold that various business and financial powers have over populations, but they also want their cut.
With the “dark web” slowly losing its outdated reputation as a place purely for criminals, and with more and more news outlets and social networking platforms now offering mirrors of their websites and services there, the need for privacy, security and control over our own information is being recognised and becoming more readily available.
Whistleblowers, defectors, victims of modern slavery, people fleeing religious and non-religious persecution, activist groups, etc., are now able to find safe havens for the sharing of information and financial value on the dark web. On top of that, more and more casual internet users are turning to security- and privacy-oriented alternatives to their regular apps and services, altering their daily habits in the wake of an endless barrage of information exposing mass-surveillance systems, privacy violations, data leaks, data mining, hackers, etc.
With trustless, decentralised design, cryptocurrency has become one of the strongest tools of self-empowerment and resistance available to us today – and one of the most important things about these protocols is that they are available to everyday users, rather than just a handful of financial and political powers. It's also useful to recognise that many services that are built on top of crypto protocols, such as chat/messaging clients, data storage and sharing, marketplaces, and even full social networks, require no monetary investment just to be used.
What's more, there are many different protocols out there and the technology underlying them is evolving rapidly. Some might say that there's just too much choice in the cryptosphere, which is partly true, as a lot of people don't even know where to begin and all the jargon can be off-putting. And so long as people constantly focus on the capitalist venture aspect of cryptocurrency and speak of it in those terms, adoption from the masses will be stifled, and there will be a growing tendency to overlook and reject the technological utility and advancements of crypto protocols because people are just sick of hearing about it.
Some recognise the world we human beings have made for ourselves as an endless source of reasons to be anxious, angry, cynical or depressed. So long as the majority of humanity go on believing that the way to affect true change is through one political ideology or another, none of those pressures will be substantially relieved.
But when we take a step back and stop seeing through the lens of the establishment, we can find a whole world of people working on solutions to problems that require no permission from any State, no middle-men to function, that don't rely on policies that can be changed on a whim, and which are fully decentralised and open-source. This means that we don't need to trust that the devs haven't embedded lines of malicious code in their software or hardware – we can verify it ourselves.
Governments, corporations and central banks across the world have been getting away with failed social experiment after failed social experiment for far too long, and the cost is never theirs to bear. For all their inadequacies and corruption, they are being quickly made obsolete in the face of emerging technology and education. They know it, and are desperately scrambling to remain relevant and in power, but thanks to the relatively (and questionably) free-flow of information the internet has been able to offer up to this point, their tactics are easy to see through and growing ineffective.
The tendency towards authoritarianism can now be challenged to an unprecedented level. The lies and the corruption of the power-hungry pseudo-leaders are now public domain, and I suspect that a widescale, open-source collaboration of unified human beings will fulfil their stated aims much more effectively than those who seek to keep us divided and subservient ever could.
“From hunters and gatherers, to the agricultural revolution, to the industrial revolution, the pattern is clear. It is time for a new social system which reflects the understandings we have today. The monetary system is a product of a period of time when scarcity was a reality. Now, with the age of technology, it is no longer relevant to society; gone with the aberrant behaviour it manifests.” – Peter Joseph