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Summary: Bitcoin was invented by the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto as recently as 2008, but it is backed up by a rich intellectual foundation. For instance, The 1776 First Amendment separates church and state, and contemporary American liberation psychologist Nozomi Hayase (2020) argues that money and state should similarly be separated. Just as Isaac Newton’s study of alchemy gave rise to the international gold standard, so has the anonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto's desire for a “modernized gold standard” given rise to Bitcoin. Indeed, Bloomberg's 2020 report confirms Bitcoin to be gold 2.0. Montesquieu (1774) asserted that laws that secure inalienable rights can only be found in Nature, and the natural laws employed in Bitcoin include its consensus algorithm and the three natural laws of economics (self-interest, competition, and supply and demand). J.S. Mill (1859) preferred free markets to those controlled by governments. Ludwig von Mises (1951) argued against the hazards of fiat currency, urging for a return to the gold standard. Friedrich Hayek (1984) suggested people to invent a sly way to take money back from the hands of the government. Milton Friedman (1994) called for FED to be replaced by an automatic system and predicted the coming of a reliable e-cash. James Buchanan (1988) advocated a monetary constitution to constrain the governmental power of money creation. Tim May (1997) the cypherpunk proclaimed that restricting digital cash impinges on free speech, and envisioned a stateless digital form of money that is uncensorable. The Tofflers (2006) pictured a non-monetary economy. In 2016, UCLA Professor of Finance Bhagwan Chowdhry even nominated Satoshi for a Nobel Prize.
Separation between money and state
The 1791 First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enshrines free speech and separates church and state, but not money and state. "Under the First Amendment, individuals’ right to create, choose their own money and transact freely was not recognized as a part of freedom of expression that needs to be protected," Japanese-American liberation psychologist Nozomi Hayase (2020) points out (1).
The government, banks and corporations collude together to encroach upon people's liberties by metamorphosing their inalienable rights into a permissioned from of legal rights. Fiat currencies function as a medium of manipulation, indulging big business to generate market monopolies. "Freedom of expression has become further stifled through economic censorship and financial blockage enacted by payment processing companies like Visa and MasterCard," to borrow Hayase's (2020) words.
Satoshi is a Modern Newton
Although most famous for discovering the law of gravity, Isaac Newton was also a practising alchemist. He never managed to turn lead into gold, but he did find a way to transmute silver into gold. In 1717, Newton announced in a report that, based on his studies, one gold guinea coin weighed 21 shillings. Just as Isaac Newton’s study of alchemy gave rise to the international gold standard, so has the desire for a “modernized gold standard” given rise to Bitcoin. "In a way, Satoshi is a modern Newton. They both believed trust is best placed in the unchangeable facets of our economy. Beneath this belief is the assumption that each individual is their own best master," as put by Jon Creasy (2019) (2).
J.S. Mill: free markets preferable to those controlled by governments
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) the great English philosopher would be a Bitcoiner were he still around today. In On Liberty (1859), Mill concludes that free markets are preferable to those controlled by governments. He argues that economies function best when left to their own devices. Therefore, government intervention, though theoretically permissible, would be counterproductive. Bitcoin is precisely decentralized or uncontrolled by the government, unconfiscatable, permissonless, and disinflationary. Bitcoin regulates itself spontaneously via the ordinary operations of the system. "Rules are enforced without applying any external pressure," in Hayase's (2020) words.
Ludwig von Mises (1958): Liberty is always Freedom from the Government
In The Free Market and its Enemies, theoretical Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises (1951) argues against the hazards of fiat currency, urging for a return to the gold standard. “A fiat money system cannot go on forever and must one day come to an end,” Von Mises states. The solution is a return to the gold standard, "the only standard which makes the determination of the purchasing power of money independent of the changing ideas of political parties, governments, and pressure groups" under present conditions. Interestingly, this is also one of the key structural attributes of Bitcoin, the world’s first, global, peer-to-peer, decentralized value transfer network.
Actually, Bloomberg's 2020 report on Bitcoin confirms that it is gold 2.0. (3)
Von Mises prefers the price of gold to be determined according to the contemporaneous market conditions. The bitcoin price is, of course, determined across the various global online exchanges, in real-time. There is no central authority setting a spot price for gold after the which the market value is settled on among the traders during the day.
Hayek: Monopoly on Currency should End
Austrian-British Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek’s theory in his 1976 work, Denationalization of Money, was that not only would the currency monopoly be taken away from the government, but that the monopoly on currency itself should end with multiple alternative currencies competing for acceptance by consumers, in order "to prevent the bouts of acute inflation and deflation which have played the world for the past 60 years." He forcefully argues that if there is no free competition between different currencies within any nation, then there will be no free market. Bitcoin is, again, decentralized, and many other cryptocurrencies have tried to compete with it, though in vain.
In a recently rediscovered video clip from 1984, Hayek actually suggested people to invent a cunning way to take money out of the hands of the government:- “I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government, that is, we can’t take them violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something they can’t stop” (4). Reviewing those words 36 years hence and it is difficult not to interpret them in the light of Bitcoin.
Milton Friedman Called for FED to be Replaced by an Automatic System
Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman (1994) was critical of the Federal Reserve due to its poor performance and felt it should be abolished (5). Friedman (1999) believed that the Federal Reserve System should ultimately be replaced with a computer program, which makes us think of the computer code governing Bitcoin (6).[\](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_Federal_Reserve#cite_note-:2-12) He (1970) favored a system that would automatically buy and sell securities in response to changes in the money supply. This, he argued, would put a lid on inflation, setting spending and investment decisions on a surer footing (7). Bitcoin is exactly disflationary as its maximum possible supply is 21 million and its block reward or production rate is halved every four years.
Friedman passed away before the coming of bitcoin, but he lived long enough to see the Internet’s spectacular rise throughout the 1990s. “I think that the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government," said Friedman in a 1999 interview with NTU/F. On the same occasion, he sort of predicted the emergence of Bitcoin, "The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash, a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B, without A knowing B or B knowing A." (8)
“Of course, Friedman didn’t predict the block chain,” summed up American libertarian economist Jeffery Tucker (2014). “But he was hoping for a trustless system. He saw the need.” (9).
Bitcoin Computer Code as Constitution in the Buchananian Sense
American economist cum Nobel laureate James Buchanan (1988) advocates constitutional constraints on the governmental power to create money (10). Buchanan distinguishes a managed monetary system—a system “that embodies the instrumental use of price-level predictability as a norm of policy”—from an automatic monetary system, “which does not, at any stage, involve the absolute price level” (Buchanan 1962, 164–65). Leaning toward the latter, Buchanan argues that automatic systems are characterized by an organization “of the institutions of private decision-making in such a way that the desired monetary predictability will emerge spontaneously from the ordinary operations of the system” (Buchanan 1962, 164). Again, "Bitcoin regulates itself through the spontaneous force of nature, flourishing healthy price discovery and competition in the best interest of everyone" (Hayase 2020).
Shruti Rajagopalan (2018) argues that the computer code governing how the sundry nodes/computers within the Bitcoin network interact with one another is a kind of monetary constitution in the Buchananian sense. One of Buchanan's greatest inputs is to differentiate the choice of rules from the choice within rule (Buchanan 1990). One may regard the Bitcoin code as a sort of constitution and "the Bitcoin network engaging in both the choice of rules and choice within rules" (Rajagopalan 2018) (11).
Tim May: Restricting Digital Cash may Impinge on Free Speech
Cypherpunks are activists who since the 1980s have advocated global use of strong cryptography and privacy-enhancing technologies as a route to social and political liberation. Tim May (Timothy C. May [1951-2018]), one of the influential cypherpunks published The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto in September 1992, which foretold the coming of Bitcoin (12). Cypherpunks began envisioning a stateless digital form of money that cannot be censored and their collaborative pursuit created a movement akin to the 18th Enlightenment.
At The 7th Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, Burlingame, CA. in 1997, Tim May equated money with speech, and argued that restricting digital cash may impinge on free speech, for spending money is often a matter of communicating orders to others, to transfer funds, to release funds, etc. In fact, most financial instruments are contracts or orders, instead of physical specie or banknotes (13).
Montesquieu: Laws that secure inalienable rights can only be found in Nature
In his influential work The Spirit of Laws (1748), Montesquieu wrote, “Laws ... are derived from the nature of things … Law, like mathematics, has its objective structure, which no arbitrary whim can alter". Similarly, once a block is added to the end of the Bitcoin blockchain, it is almost impossible to go back and alter the contents of the block, unless every single block after it on the blockchain is altered, too.
Cypherpunks knew that whereas alienable rights that are bestowed by law can be deprived by legislation, inalienable rights are not to be created but can be discovered by reason. Thus, laws that secure inalienable rights cannot be created by humankind but can be found in nature.
The natural laws employed in Bitcoin to enshrine the inalienable monetary right of every human being include its consensus algorithm, and the three natural laws of economics (self-interest, competition, and supply and demand) as identified by Adam Smith, father of modern economics.
Regarding mathematics, bitcoin mining is performed by high-powered computers that solve complex computational math problems. When computers solve these complex math problems on the Bitcoin network, they produce new bitcoin. And by solving computational math problems, bitcoin miners make the Bitcoin payment network trustworthy and secure, by verifying its transaction information.
Regarding economic laws, in accordance with the principle of game theory to generate fairness, miners take part in an open competition. Lining up self-interests of all in a network, with a vigilant balance of risk and rewards, rules are put in force sans the application of any exterior pressure. "Bitcoin regulates itself through the spontaneous force of nature, flourishing healthy price discovery and competition in the best interest of everyone," to borrow the words of Hayase (2020).
A Non-monetary Economy as Visualized by the Tofflers
In their book, Revolutionary Wealth (2006), futurists Alvin Toffler and his wife Heidi Toffler toy with the concept of a world sans money, raising a third kind of economic transaction that is neither one-on-one barter nor monetary exchange. In the end, they settle on the idea that the newer non-monetary economy will exist shoulder-to-shoulder with the monetary sector in the short term, although the latter may eventually be eclipsed by the former in the long run. What both the Tofflers' The Third Wave (1980) and Revolutionary Wealth bring into question is the very premise of monetary exchange. The vacuum left over by cash in such a non-monetary economy may be filled up by Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency.
Satoshi Nakamoto Nominated for Nobel Prize by UCLA Finance Prof.
UCLA Anderson School Professor of Finance Bhagwan Chowdhry nominated Satoshi Nakamoto for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics on the following grounds:-
It is secure, relying on almost unbreakable cryptographic code, can be divided into millions of smaller sub-units, and can be transferred securely and nearly instantaneously from one person to any other person in the world with access to internet bypassing governments, central banks and financial intermediaries such as Visa, Mastercard, Paypal or commercial banks eliminating time delays and transactions costs.... Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin Protocol has spawned exciting innovations in the FinTech space by showing how many financial contracts — not just currencies — can be digitized, securely verified and stored, and transferred instantaneously from one party to another (14).
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Last week we talked with our adviser and CEO at Nusantara Trust Dr Walter Tonetto. He answered a number of questions that interest our customers.submitted by digitalgoldcoin to golderc20 [link] [comments]
How did you land in the cryptocurrency / blockchain space?
I was advising startup businesses in the technology space, and when 2016 came around, I asked Scotty, the feisty chief engineer of the U.S.S. Enterprise, to beam me into the heart of the finance system; I felt more and more the irresistible tug towards remodeling the current toxic financial system. Purposive remodeling, of course, is going on all the time, and it’s a knife that cuts into two directions. The vast majority of the ‘woke’ crowd actually believe that they can ‘disrupt’ the power of the elites that control all money flows. Bathing limestone statues – registering about 4 on the Mohs scale and 0 on the scale of reason -- of past leaders in district waters may give you a feeling of breathing the air of revolution and tiring unknown muscle-groups in your shanks, but think of it like a father watching his child toss around shovels of soil in a sandbox; he smiles benignly from afar, knowing it won’t change a thing; all the luxurious appointments at home won’t get touched. It is a grave illusion to suppose that by playing around with payment systems and technologies we will actually change the role and the emission of money. You may be permitted to become the shoe-shine boy in the royal household, but don’t think you will marry the princess and dilute the royal blood! But understanding the constitutive parts of power aggregation, and working over significant time-frames, allows for approaches and solutions; -- but these should come not from another adversarial position, thus merely marking a displacement of the incumbent, a change of guard, but from an authentic re-orientation, of making benefits much more widely possible and not creating monetary systems that are grossly imbalanced and highly destructive. That, and not building tech stacks, is the challenge!
What was your initial reaction to bitcoin?
Well, I was following the file-sharing service Napster since it started, around 1999 – when the U.S.S. Enterprise was sitting pier-side at Huntington Ingalls Newport shipyard, rusted and gutted, and to me the P2P sharing paradigm was always present in my mind, shining buffed and radiant, so even the centralized Napster was something wholly natural to me – Dr Sheldrake calls it morphic resonance. We live with a great deal of blurriness, though. On the one hand, we think of the virtues of sharing; on the other, there is a seemingly indefatigable impulse to control and dominate. Sean Parker, after founding and floundering with Napster, became a cocaine-snorting egotist and president of Facebook. Collecting money for a charity, he gets aggressive with people who do not follow suit. A control-freak in overdrive. Notwithstanding the technical variations, BTC, seemingly freeing us up from fiscal controls and yet showing our craving for money, exemplifies the flawed perception at the root of things. Monero, which sounds like a much faster, highoctane vehicle, a CV8-Z of the crypto-track, beats BTC in regard to privacy and fungibility, though BTC has advantages in other areas.
Which is a much more common trend nowadays?
It’s hard to make out the shapes of wild-life in the current kangaroo market we’re in. The bulls and bears have mauled one another, and the kangaroo, bereft of oxygen on account of wearing a tight mask, is hopping wildly everywhere. But clearly the possibilities of digital currencies became un-tethered via Bitcoin and the querulous and hidden Satoshi. I like to think of him more as an idea rather than as a person; an idea is generally more malleable and consequential. For instance, rather than laud the benefits of crypto for FX and cross-border payments, the possibilities of a central-bank issued digital currencyENCOMPASS THE POTENTIAL to inscribe new roles for programmable money; for how money is issued, how it is used, and what role custodial mechanisms (traditionally in the hand of commercial banks) might have. I see HUGE potential for private firms to enter the equation here, but we need more open-minded and intelligent regulators that do not always look for the rungs of the career-ladder in any move they make! A DAO could be most helpful here, but we are currently under the terror of algorithms that are not concerned with the welfare of the greatest number of people. If I had the time I would coauthor a book on this theme with a skilful mathematician (perhaps with my son, who is completing a Ph.D in near-term Quantum Algorithms).
In 2018 I was keynote speaker at the BlueWhale forum in Seoul, and I spoke about an Algorithm of Peace. I had a clutch of people approach me straight after the talk, some from Korea, others from the U.S., and ask me to develop my ideas in book form.
Where do you see the price of bitcoin going over the next few years?
I wouldn’t speculate, but since everyone is shilling it, it is bound to keep pushing north, occasional blockages otwithstanding. I always look for twists and incongruities in the usual narratives on offer. Many BTC fans talk about the unbanked, but BTC is held by what will become another elite in due course, and the unbanked will later be serving them the chilled drinks between innings, as usual.
Do you think that there’s a time for altcoins to break out and move away from the movements of bitcoin? What’s that tipping point that needs to take place?
I have some notions under which alt-coins can take the lead and leave bitcoin behind, but it’s too complex to explain the conditions for that to occur. Once very solid use-cases have been established with a clutch of alt-coins, bitcoin might begin quavering in his boots. That alt-coins should take BTC as a benchmark speaks volumes about the lack of maturity of this young and over-eager market. The fuzzy umbilical cord is always present like a foot-tangle; alt-coins must find their own ground, and clip the connection to a vagrant father. Finance needs clarity and not fuzziness. Keep in mind that many sovereign nations bridle at the calamitous influence of the US on payment systems, so nations are building their own messaging systems outside SWIFT, and their own securities exchanges are following. But remember: these are all crumbs: the U.S. can shut down payments to any recipient accounts by informing the payments company and doling out threats. And since all alt-coins and fiat currencies are connected to payment gateways in some form, the U.S. would have to begin reforming its archaic ACH structure to enable efficiencies in the financial pipes, which does not offer real-time payments functionality. This accounts for the relative simplicity (and success) of the PayPal business model (which Venmo and Dwolla later emulated without using credit cards). But understand that the elites will always protect the real crown jewels, and incite wars (or street battles and racial squabbles, as we’re witnessing in the U.S. in mid 2020) so that they can get away with major financial heists in broad daylight. It’s all smoke and mirrors, and scorched talons if you look closely: you cannot trust the reflection you will receive on a smoky pane. Only the big players know the predetermined outcome.
One fundamental misprision occurs amongst alt-coin apologetes: they fail to understand how markets move and what the designated role of money is in markets. Even if you want to displace something, you first need to understand exactly what you’re dealing with, but that is rarely the case. Yes, banks are structurally and constitutionally part of the problem, but no government will dare cross swords with them: there is still too much aggregated power. Ripple and Stellar are two Blockchains that are working with, and not against, banks, and that likely makes them much better candidates for wide acceptance.
What’s one must-read book you recommend to everyone?
That depends so very much on who’s sitting opposite me! I wouldn’t push what is not naturally aligned. But I would push a couple of films urgently, as essential viewing for everyone:
“Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe” (and a sequel), which profoundly shocked me, but confirmed my suspicions. Talking about books: one gets a good sense of the kind of books I would counsel people not to touch, unless an overweening impulse bade them otherwise. For instance Steve Pinker, a favourite author of Bill Gates. Pinker in Gates’ hands explains a lot about the character of the reader, the latter of whom I consider one of the most dangerous people on the planet at the moment. If we stay with Pinker for a moment, since he’s famous and fashionable (Harvard professor with a Medusa hairdo and an effete libertarian air, who in “Better Angels of Our Nature” has affirmed that man is not innately good), we note in his presentation in regard to his ineptly titled book “Enlightenment” that he falls prey to the very flaws he chastises, the classic Münchhausen trilemma (in Jakob Fries’ phrase). Picture Baron Münchhausen pulling himself out of quicksand by his own hair! That he is beholden to neoliberal befuddlement becomes clear when two of the opening images of his talk show Vladimir Putin with a rifle andDonald Trump speaking on a podium. The classic neoliberal Harvard think-tank shows reason to be failing and drowning in pious gestures to the cognoscenti and anointed. I like to look for effective counters for specious and shallow argument: for instance, Rupert Sheldrake’s “The Science Delusion” is a splendid book that bucks the Dawkins’, Pinkers and other materialists of this age. You see, if one listens to Pinker with the head alone, his pedestrian epistemology might not irk, and some ideas might appear plausible enough in a desultory encounter, but if you really want to know the meaning of things, and discover how it relates to the heart, you feel betrayed and given short shrift by him. Among the platitudes he gives out in carefully parsed syllables, the movement of his forehead and eyes betray the spirit behind the façade. Yet I always look, like Yeats, for those who “had changed their throats and had the throats of birds”!
What’s the rainbow trout of the year? Nut-like flavour, the eye still gleaming, with tender, flaky flesh? There are many books I could cite for different genres. The vast majority of modern writers, for all their accomplishments, lack genius, don’t really understand the art of writing, and so cannot hold my attention for long. For those who are open-minded and spiritual, “A Course in Miracles” cannot be bested, but don’t touch it unless you’re really willing to dive deep. There is no need to save the world, since it is nothing but projection; there is no world. You might experience the deepest sigh of relief, as if Atlas had cast off a burden after the Titanomachy. Paul Celan once remarked that “reality is not simply there, it must be sought for and won.” Snorkeling near the surface and blowing bubbles won’t cut it.
We are living in times of great manufactured unrest, which will only heighten in coming months and years, and so I would offer a guernsey to Seamus Heaney. I had met him many years ago, alas cursorily, at a symposium at Waseda University where I was working as a Gaikokujinkoshi, an Associate Professor, where another Nobel laureate, Kenzaburō Ōe and he were giving a reading. Heaney was inspired to write “The Grauballe Man” on the basis of the bog man that he had seen in a book of prehistoric times, but the troubles in Ulster were alive in him, too:
As if he had been poured in tar, he lies on a pillow of turf and seems to weep
the black river of himself. The grain of his wrists is like bog oak, the ball of his heel
like a basalt egg. His instep has shrunk cold as a swan’s foot or a wet swamp root.
Talking of Japan here, methinks, is an aculeate observation of Japan:
Cross the intersection at Shibuya Station in Tokyo on a forbidding wintry evening — touted as the world’s busiest cloverleaf — and you will feel this is Eliot’s London Bridge revisited, with quaggas (think half zebras) preserved in the tar of the five crossings; — flattened ebon bones dreaming the dreams of Pleistocene mammoths — as the mass of the dead mill past you, chasing some mirage, and often accompanied by a revenant that must have been disgorged from a Pachinko parlour. Blanched lilacs float in minarets of light beyond these bituminous quaggas, bidding the odd-toed ungulates in their psychotropic dernier cri and fuddy-duddies in theirstygian suits to sup here or buy over yonder: all tethered to their devices. One might be surprised that no cracks are forming at these arced crossings with strange requisitions folding into the hiemal air. And yet it is still more odd that so few people see this as a primped and pimped potter’s field, a graveyard for those who’ve lost their way. We’re living in an age where the multitude of the dead are pacing among us in perdurable trysts with other zombies.
The above text is from one of my unpublished works; again it speaks to me – and perhaps to you – about the quiddities of this age. There is a distinct sense of zombification taking place on the planet at the moment. Is your lineage that of Dolly, or are you magnificent and free?
Do you have any theories about who Satoshi is?
I don’t really, though I follow the haughty chit-chat at times, especially in the jejune forums LinkedIN provides. I think the person has a good reason to remain concealed (forever), but that is also a major factor why I have never fully trusted bitcoin as an investment proposition.
Keeping the provenance concealed suggests a number of things, none of them conducive to embracing bitcoin as a common form of payment.
What do you think about the prospects of gold in connection with the uncontrolled money printing by different Central Banks?
Gold is what BTC can never become, especially when its provenance remains totally unclear – as well as its likely endgame! Central Banks engage in quasi-criminal activity – and one hopes the future prudent regulator won’t be making it too difficult for people to hold gold bullion. The Perth Mint might be a splendid little dot on the global map, but beware of holding your assets in the form of gold coins: many governments will regard them as forms of payment, and may impose all manner of restrictions on the possession of it.
Let's dream a little. How stablecoins can be used after 5 years from now?
I believe the great RESET is coming – even Davos and the U.N. are alerting us to that. The Covid19 panic has been declared by more than 1500 German physicians as a “global Mafia-style deception”, and while Big Pharma and Bill Gates will likely earn trillions of dollars by the useless and potentially dangerous vaccines that will be foisted on “free” citizens, the finance system as a whole will need to be RESET. We are already receiving an inkling of how draconian and void of reason and concern for the people most governments of the world are reacting to a harmless lab-manufactured virus (virologist Prof Luc Montagnier, Nobel Laureate in medicine in 2008, said that), so it’s possible that regulators may become more tyrannical, and under some pretext or other forbid the use of alt-coins. STABLECOINS can be over-collateralized, allowing absorption of pricing fluctuations, but it will be hard to call. I believe many are bound to fail, and that even earlier, despite all their most valiant efforts: as soon as the RESET comes, which is likely to come with all manner of encumbrances. There are many reasons for the issuance of stablecoins, some having opposing views, but all are dependent on trust – and we don’tknow yet if digital currencies that governments will issue will by regulatory over-reach (including absurd compliance requirements) displace other contenders, but you can assume that the tyrannical forms of governance we are currently experiencing suggest that all kinds of skullduggery are possible.
Do you see the problem of fiat stablecoins in the fact that annual inflation constantly depreciates them? An investor who bought $1000 USDT now and sold these tokens in 10 years for $ 1000 will receive much less money.
The problem occurs if we’re converting things back into payment forms that are fundamentally flawed. Inflation and Black Swan events are the major threats to stablecoins, and tethered crypto-values to natively burdened propositions recalls my earlier idea that we have not yet cut the umbilical cord to bitcoin. On the other hand, stablecoins in their current flavour are perhaps best viewed as transitional schemata that will need later revisitation.
You are a very successful Crypto and ICO Advisor, what is the secret behind this success?
I’m not sure if I’m very successful, but I always try to shoot a straight ball. Here are two instances where my input has not been heeded in any way.
I recall one of the first ICOs I advised. I was sitting with the owner on a Telegram Channel, and after some power Q&A sessions online, we were literally hearing the millions of dollars tumble in neat digital hashes into the inbox within a couple of hours of the ICO opening. He had a bottle of Scotch on his table, and by the end of the session he had reached his hard cap and was besotted to boot! The age of digital money had placed the foolscap on his pate, but the script was no longer legible. I cannot determine if his sobriety ever returned. The prudential advice I had been giving him previously – and that we had discussed in great depth -- was over coming weeks thrown out of the window, and I assume other bottles of Scotch ended up on his desk and didn’t last long.
Here is another example. At one time a well-known ambitious individual in the U.S. cryptospace, a young lawyer, asked me if I wanted to start a crypto compliance organisation with him.
When I think of him now and the feathery assistants he congregated around him, I think of the lines in Dickens’s “Bleak House”: “Mr. Tangle’s learned friends, each armed with a little summary of eighteen hundred sheets, bob up like eighteen hammers in a pianoforte, make eighteen bows, and drop into their eighteen places of obscurity.”
Simply to continue serving wine from the same sour vats won’t do. I saw that as a prospective idea, and offered some important advice to get the ball rolling. Soon we had recruited many eager beavers to the exercise, and there was talk of it becoming an influential body. I was naïve enough to assume at the time that my co-founder, a black college asketballer with body tattoos who had a write-up in a major paper on account of his ambition and aggression, was actually interested in asking some fundamental revisionary questions about compliance in relation to the freedom of the citizen. When I suggested we don’t just copy the traditional compliance template and rather probe more deeply, he became insolent and very aggressive. That confirmed my instinct that most ambitious players in the crypto-space are actually dyed-in-the-wool bourgeois, and don’t care about improving the system itself.
What is your advice for upcoming Crypto startups and investors?
You might know the technology well, but do you know the business? Does it really deeply address, even solve, a problem? How much life experience do you have, and how well do you know the market? Can you create a market for your product or services? If yes, how will you do that? Have you only got yes-men around you, or are you willing to listen to those who speak Tacheles to you? If you’ve come to water the plant of your ego, your business will flounder. Most achievers keep their ego initially in check, and get the work done.
For investors the answer I would give is rather complex, but here’s a brief response: often the mandate of investors is very narrowly girded, and they trust their old boy networks, and rarely venture out and follow their instincts. That is foolish, and also the recipe for a dull life.
Perhaps a general observation that everybody might ponder with profit is the idea that we know really so very little of the world; that the news and information we are are offered and digest, even when it is tendered by so-called ‘experts’, is often seriously ignorant. It seems our perspective is getting narrower all the time, as if our mind is shrinking and we block out knowledge.
Let me give another current reference point. In 2020 everyone is fearful of viruses. Viruses currently have a bad rap! We have no idea what they actually are. We are always hobbling around with our fearful partisan gaze, and what is good today becomes bad tomorrow. Yet viruses are adroit and malleable messengers of inter-species DNA, in some sense regulating vast populations of organisms. Think of them as cellular simpletons: mere protein shells with few genes, but endowed with the ability to replicate easily despite their paucity of genetic instructions! They form alliances, you might say, with other forms of life. And they are deeply mysterious to our acquisitive and ignorant segmenting intelligence: how can the papillomavirus cause horns to grow on rabbits; and at the same time cause hundreds of thousands of cases of cervical cancer every year? Is one good and the other bad? It would seem so. Such simple summary, like Pinker’s reductionist view of the world, might becalm for a moment, but does not offer lasting satisfactions. To read the world along the axes of like and dislike, as the Buddha had warned us, leads to great suffering.
I’m told by someone who met Bill Gates a long time ago that the man was apparently even then obsessively fearful of viruses (imagine a pendant to Lady Macbeth, continually cleansing his hands). But do we have any clue what viruses actually are, and how they benefit us all in so many incalculable ways? When the child crawls around, it picks up antigens (bacteria and viruses) and on that basis builds its immune system. At various points of that contact and exchange new forms grow, and other forms decay and die. Like CO2, viruses are suddenly declared dangerous and that we need to shield ourselves against them. Yet how many people know that marine phages rule the world, and rule the sea? This was not discovered until 1986. An electron microscope showed that every litre of seawater contained up to one hundred billion viruses, almost as much in dollars as BillGates expects to make off vaccines in 2020. If you put these viruses end to end, they would stretch out forty-two million light-years! Viruses offer stunning genetic variety, and they are the very pulse of life! When viruses swallow oceanic microbes, they release a billion tons of carbon every day: imagine squalls of marine snowfalls, powdering the porous sand of the deep. Imagine the white nights of St Petersburg under water, celebrating the magic of life with the same skill and abandon as the Mariinsky Theatre, to an audience of gastropods, deep-water fish and lovelorn mermaids.
Seamus Heaney, when he passed in 2013, spoke the word Noli timere (“Do not fear”) to his wife as he breathed his last. Instead of being fearful, we might do well to assert that we understand nothing of the manifold wonders of this world! Let us cultivate the virtue of wonderment, and fear will find no habitation in our house:
And lonely as it is that loneliness Will be more lonely ere it will be less— A blanker whiteness of benighted snow With no expression, nothing to express.
They cannot scare me with their empty spaces Between stars—on stars where no human race is. I have it in me so much nearer home To scare myself with my own desert places.
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