The following opinion piece on building a decentralist culture was written by Max Borders, director of Social Evolution and author of The Social Singularity.
Some people have made good money buying and trading tokens. And on net, that’s a good thing. Whether you’re a trader or lucky hodler, you’re contributing to human progress.
But it’s not enough.
Satoshi Nakamoto did not write the seminal 2009 white paper in order to get rich. He (or they) wanted to commit arson against the old order; a rigged game. Satoshi sought to “change our relationship to power,” as Brian Robertson might say.
In other words, it’s time we put mission before money.
The Great Open Source Project
In an unpublished chapter of Holacracy, Robertson writes:
Perhaps this then is the next step for our current societal governance. Perhaps it’s time to allow the centralized power of current governments to give way and dissolve, and allow new methods of achieving order to emerge from the ashes—ones that don’t have legislators and regulators to buy, or the power to make aggression legal or peaceful exchange illegal. Ones that are themselves subject to the forces of evolution and selection based on the value they add, rather than holding themselves outside of that process as monopoly providers.
We should remember that with every trade, investment, or new line of code, we are doing more than benefiting ourselves. We are participating in a great open source project that will forever change our relationship to power.
And we need to build culture around that fact.
The Core Tenets of Decentralization
The Social Singularity is my contribution to building a decentralist culture. I figured we needed to start with a manifesto. Whether in this book or some other works, we have to develop and propagate our ideas, whether through film, art, or our version of scripture. After all, culture, rules and tools work together in co-evolutionary fashion toward societal change.
“We shape our tools and then our tools shape us,” social theorist Marshall McLuhan is credited with saying. Likewise we we shape our rules and then our rules shape us. Cryptocurrencies rules and tools in one. And with mass adoption, new culture and new values follow. Humanity evolves.
But culture need not be a lagging indicator of technological change. We can continue to develop the decentralist culture along with some core tenets. Maybe something like:
Seek to maximize sovereignty for the individual;
Create protocols that allow for individuals peacefully to self-organize;
Innovate in parallel with power in order to “underthrow” it;
Develop virtuous, mutually beneficial ecosystems that extend to all humanity;
Find ways to assist the least advantaged in our society, without creating dependency;
Strive for mass adoption through simplicity, security, and low transaction fees;
Engage in collaborative relationships and healthy interdependencies;
Generate overwhelming value for the many, as opposed to taking advantage for the few;
Bring a healthy skepticism of experts and authorities;
Attack power’s weak joints and leverage points;
The Moribund Nature of Politics
Notice how there is nothing in all of this about politics per se. That’s because politics is dying. And decentralists are killing it.
Politics is a zero-sum system of dominance and hierarchy. And DOS — our democratic operating system — is mostly a spectacle designed to keep people pliant, willing to cling to a dying order.
Experimentation with new socio-economic systems is not political in the way we traditionally think of politics. It is about creating a market of governance models and communities, which will generate a condition in which the best systems win.
In this way decentralism is post-political, which is why you find former progressives and libertarians locking arms in solidarity around crypto.
Some, like writer/developer Justin Goro, say it’s post-ideological, because within any token economy (as well as within any ecosystem of tokens) ideology is an “engineering problem.” And solutions to engineering problems either succeed or fail.
Evolve or Die
All systems must therefore evolve or die. This Darwinian matrix doesn’t give a shit about your ideals. You have to criticize by creating.
That’s what we’re up to here. We’re not just making money. We’re realizing a mission fundamentally to change our relationship to power. And every single new line of code is an act of subversion.
Do you think we will build the fully decentralized system? What do you think abut the phrase “you have to criticize by creating”? Let us know in the comments section below.
Could blockchain be a much bigger revolution than it seems?
What would happen if we could go back to the Athenian democracy, participating directly in the most important decisions for our cities and countries? But this time through the Blockchain. Could you imagine that? In some way, it’s starting!
Crypto Valley’s Zug to Run Switzerland’s First Blockchain-Based Municipal Vote
The Swiss city of Zug will conduct a blockchain-powered trial municipal vote this summer, local media outlet Swissinfo.ch reported June 8. The event, which is scheduled to take place between June 25 and July 1, will reportedly be Switzerland’s first municipal vote using blockchain.
According to the report, the upcoming trial vote will implement the city’s digital ID (eID) system that was launched in November 2017. The system will allow citizens to vote via their mobile devices.
Apart from voting on minor municipal matters, citizens will also be asked if blockchain-based eID system should be used for referendum votes in the future. Since the upcoming vote is a trial, its results will be non-binding for city authorities, Swissinfo.ch reports.
Having established “Crypto Valley”, a global hub for crypto and blockchain development, Zug has become one of the centers of “world’s leading ecosystems for crypto, blockchain, and distributed ledger technologies.” In 2016, Zug launched an initiative accepting Bitcoin (BTC) as payment for certain municipality services.
Thanks to the presence of “Crypto Valley” and the country’s tax-free policy for crypto investors, Switzerland is reportedly the number one most blockchain-friendly country in Europe.
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Have you heard of the “Exploitation” genre, exploitation film or fiction? It was created by authors tempted to, well, exploit themes that some might consider taboo. Others won’t, but in any case, exploitation works are often pushing against the limits of “the appropriate” in their respective times.
Sex, drugs, and violence are all part of the “exploitation” intended to attract attention. It’s basically the pulp fiction of the second half of the 20th century. Blaxploitation is a subgenre, which for the first time placed African-American characters and communities in the spotlight. The 1972 crime drama “Super Fly” is a good example which has been recently remade.
Chasing 6,000 Bitcoins on a PC Sold to a Pawn Shop
While some heroes are making money, others are losing it. A movie whose storyline revolves around a bitcoin-related plot, is being shot in Russia. Two young guys from the city of Kazan are chasing a crypto fortune. While trying to trace and retrieve a hard disk with the keys to 6,000 bitcoins, the main characters – college students Igor and Artur – find themselves in a series of comic adventures but also life-threatening situations.
A comedy titled “Bitcoin” tells the story of a suburban father who, after losing his job, sets off with his deadbeat brother to convert an anonymous bitcoin account into the hard cash he needs to support his family. The two brothers from Arizona get their hands on a Bitcoin wallet worth $20 million and try to sell the crypto on the black market. “Bitcoin” is the debut feature of filmmaker Christian Cashmir. It’s produced by Lauren Cribb and starring TV comedian Theo Von. The shooting was expected to start by the end of April, in New Mexico. According to IMDb, the comedy is still in pre-production.
Also, featuring Bitcoin
A couple of comedies are also featuring Bitcoin. In an episode of HBO’s series Silicon Valley, one of the characters reveals to his colleagues that he mines the cryptocurrency. Gilfoyle, the systems architect of the Pied Piper startup, has created a price alert that blasts out the death metal song “You Suffer” by Napalm Death whenever the price of Bitcoin rises above or drops below a certain value, so that he can remotely toggle his rig at home to mine only when it’s efficient. Hilarious! Bitcoin can be very volatile, as Gilfoyle says.
Facebook is exploring the creation of its own cryptocurrency, a virtual token that would allow its billions of users around the world to make electronic payments, people familiar with Facebook’s plans told Cheddar.
Facebook started studying blockchain almost a year ago, when a member of its corporate development team, Morgan Beller, began looking at how the social platform could use the emerging technology.
Executives at the company regularly talk about future initiatives with their employees, and they tout the company’s 10-year roadmap in public presentations. But plans for blockchain have been omitted from that roadmap, and top executives have been tight-lipped about any plans for crypto, the people familiar with the discussions said.
Facebook’s work on blockchain technology and cryptocurrency will likely take years to materialize. People familiar with the matter said the social network doesn’t have plans to hold a so-called initial coin offering (ICO) by offering a limited number of virtual tokens for the public to buy at a set price.
Facebook will likely need to make acquisitions in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space to develop its own virtual currency, one of the people said. Blockchain technology could also be used to help Facebook verify the identity of accounts and encrypt data.
The social platform has experimented with virtual currency before. In 2009, the company released Facebook Credits, which could be used to purchase virtual goods in popular games like Farmville. But the feature never gained traction, and Facebook shut it down two years later.
"Payments using crypto right now is just very expensive, super slow, so the various communities running the different blockchains and the different assets need to fix all the issues, and then when we get there someday, maybe we'll do something,”
Argentina, that forgotten land of sunshine is seemingly trying to catch up with this century by no better method than rolling out some 4,000 ethereum, bitcoin and litecoin bi-directional ATMs.
Following a change of rules by the Central Bank which now allows new ATM entrants, Odyssey Group is trying to disrupt the market through an innovation that includes cryptocurrency.
From what we can gather, they have apparently furnished the ATMs with what we can call a wallet. In addition to its primary aim of withdrawing bank money, the ATM can also “speak” to a smart phone, thus providing micro-loaning services, or of course cash for eth and bitcoin, as well as vice versa.
Sebastian Ponceliz, CEO of Odyssey Group, told local media according to a very rough translation:
“They are not going to be just cashiers for people to get money, they are also going to issue prepaid cards, they can be used for e-commerce, transfers through blockchain, cryptocurrencies and microscoring linkeo for microcredits.”
As can be seen in the featured image, in 2016 they incorporated crypto-money and facial recognition technology.
Some 250 such ATMs were installed in October 2017 according to previous reports, with Ponceliz now stating “we have pre-agreements to install 4,000 ATMs, the plan is to have 5,000 in two years.”
The cost for one such ATM is only $8,500 dollars, with return in investment through fees expected in just six months they say.
So seemingly making it quite appealing going by their recent orders, especially as this is the only ATM as far as we are aware to serve both bank money and crypto-money.
Moreover, it is one of very few to also serve ethereum, in addition to the far smaller litecoin, as well as, of course bitcoin.
With it thus providing new infrastructure in a country that often suffers from very high inflation and monetary mismanagement leading to bankruptcy only recently.