By Chris Barnett
Why crypto-currencies are important when it comes to safeguarding freedoms.
As all hell is unleashed in Ukraine, money can be reliably sent to a disparate group of people, that the Russians will never be able to lay their hands on.
A new technology, built upon many others, can easily be a complicated rabbit hole to dive down, so I’ll keep this article as short as I can and on point.
Just about everyone alive today, who grew up to the West of Berlin, takes freedom for granted.
It’s easy to forget, that we are all just one election away from tyranny.
Many people died so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have. If we take the time and the effort to safeguarding our freedoms, we won’t have to pay the same price they did, to get our freedoms back from someone who robbed us because we set ourselves up as an easy target.
With all the modern luxuries and distractions and comfort, it’s very hard to invest in safeguarding our freedoms, when we are free, or at least have the perception of freedom.
The internet is wonderful. It allows us all to have a voice.
It started out as a project to allow scientists to collaborate with each from various remote locations.
The network expanded and it’s amazing what happens when people can collaborate in real time.
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee, a humble Englishman, created the HTTP, the markup language used to read webpages and the world wide web was born.
It’s very sad in our times, that so many people who weren’t around in the early 90s, simply don’t understand one of the important goals of the internet.
Everyone was excited that they would get their say, that everyone would have a voice.
The internet was almost totally decentralised, and it was that decentralisation that was creating so much excitement.
With our first world pleasures and our first world problems, normal people don’t have much motivation to invest in their safeguarding their freedoms.
But if we invest in safe-guarding our freedoms now, then we won’t have to fight to win them back off someone who robbed us of them, because we laid them out on a silver platter to steal them like taking candy off a child.
Blockchains and cryptocurrencies are about far more than NFTs and NFTs are about far more than digital art being traded around the place for eye-watering amounts.
When we look at newer cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, that can be programmed to do just about anything, we have to understand that the end result is worth way more than it’s parts.
What many many people do not realise, even many cryptocurrency investors, is that the private keys used to access funds can be memorised in the form of a 12 or 24 mnemonic words.
This means, someone who perceives themselves as under threat can store an awful lot of their wealth in their head!
Whatever your views on actual crypto asset, it should be noted, that on a network like Ethereum ANY asset can be tokenised, including your home fiat currency – US dollar (USD), UK Sterling (GBP), Swiss Franc (CHP), gold etc.
Any fiat currency, such as the GBP is referred to as a stablecoins.
Most stablecoins are issued by a central entity with a banking license, however there are completely decentralised stablecoins out there, that use interest rate mechanisms for borrowing and lending to keep the value of the coins shadowing the value of the real world currency.
To summarise on the important features of cryptocurrency, in particular Ethereum and it’s mostly positive effects in the fight for free speech and other freedoms.
- Opensource. The code for the nodes and wallets in these blockchains re completely opensource – there is no hidden code. Everyone can see how it all works and contribute to hardening the code to protect the network security wise.
- Thousands of nodes across the world agree on the transactions to be added to an open ledger. The nodes are owned by many different people. It’s practically impossible to hack the network because more than 50% of the nodes would need to be comprised.
- The developer communities that maintain those nodes is diverse. It would be impossible to get something bad past them and even then, if the developer community for a blockchain community came up with bad or nutty ideas or code, those who run the nodes, simply wouldn’t implement it.
- Immutable – The transactions can’t rolled back on a mature decentralised blockchain. Once a transaction is written, it’s secured by every transaction after it, because every transaction after it, wouldn’t even make any sense if your transaction was deleted. It is after all, a blockchain – each block of transactions is linked by a special hash. Change the contents of a block and it doesn’t match its hash – and the rest of the network will ignore it.
- Permissionless – No one needs permission to participate. In many parts of the world, rightly or wrongly, people need to provide ID to open a bank account. If people don’t have ID or are out of favour with an authoritarian government, they can’t participate in their economy.
- Trustless – There is no central intermediary that anyone has to trust in order for a transaction to go through.
- Fast development and innovation – Because blockchains are opensource, anyone can simply join a team of developers and cut code. This is more important and profound on Ethereum, because programmable “smart contracts” can be coded on the blockchain as a transaction. Once the smart contract has been written to the blockchain, other users who know of it, can interact with it.
- The above features combined, are extremely powerful. An opensource, decentralised, immutable, permissionless, trustless economy is being built before our eyes, in which an individual can create a product that others can use. That economy, built on top of protocols, cannot be switched off. People can build upon with excitement, knowing that their work isn’t going to be destroyed on a whim by people with conflicting interests.
The ramifications are profound.
People who are oppressed and under siege, can build an autonomous decentralised organisation, on the blockchain, that allows a group of people who each hold a secure key, to run an organisation in a secure manner under the most stressful and brutal conditions.
One great example as I write is, is the Ukrainian resistance, under siege from the advancing Russians has advertised the address of their DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation).
We as nationalists, have been persecuted a lot over the years.
We’ve had bank accounts shut down, impoverished officials and infiltrators run off with money that’s not theirs. Fundraising platforms shut us down, with web hosting providers pull the plug on our websites.
Time and time again, we’ve tried to build, for our enemies to destroy what we have, with other entities not caring about democracy unless it’s them.
It’s time for nationalists to run localised DAOs up and down the country, with small groups of people who trust each other run them. They need not be affiliated to any party.
Hundreds of nationalist DAOs, would be a force to be reckoned with. The financial power of such DAOs can be pooled when the time is right if it’s the will of those DAOs.
DAOs are extremely powerful. No outside entity can get at the funds, without getting the private keys off the majority of those who participate in that DAO.
If society, not only nationalists, understands the power within their grasp, they’ll understand, that a better world is around the corner, where we can guard ourselves against tyranny for a low price.
The alternative is for our rights to be eroded, just as the Russians and the Chinese citizens have had to endure. Decentralised technologies may ultimately win them back their freedom, but it’s going to take time, because their only hope, is for the technology to spread to the rest of the planet.
Nationalists will win, because we would (hopefully will) be living in a world where we are free from economic wars that create economic migrants. Those would be migrants win, because they have peace and prosperity in their lands, negating the need to migrate just to earn a living.
Around the world, people will be able to participate in a hyper innovative global economy, with no one giving a damn about what race, religion, age, sex or sexuality of those who they are indirectly dealing with.
And we haven’t even started on privacy. Data will be owned by the individual, no one else.
For example, we can entrust our medical data to whomever we want, with local authorities still having access to statistical data and nothing else.
A future using zero-knowledge proofs, an individual can prove to an adult only website, that they are an adult, without giving up any personal data.
This might sound like its pie in the sky, but the technology is proven, it just hasn’t been widely adopted yet.
It would have been very hard to explain a micro-wave to someone in the 60s.
Even in the early 90s, just explaining the internet to people, never mind what it would become, would have been met with laughter and distain.
Some of us are old enough to remember people being mocked for getting a mobile phone out of their pocket in a pub!
Let’s embrace this technology, using simple baby steps if we must, before we have to.
The sooner, the cheaper the price of freedom.