When I joined the Bitcoin community late 2012, I thought I had joined the Rebellion. We weren’t going to rebuild the financial industry with new technology, but undermine it, returning financial power into the hands of We the People. We would build a global payment mechanism, circumvent central banks, do without central government regulation and service the unbanked while we were at it. The Bitcoin Dream promised to give people back ownership over their finances, freeing them from the financial slavery of the international banking system. But the pressing need for global adoption has now turned even early adopters and core developers over to the Dark Side. Rather than disrupting the status quo, they carefully suck up to the needs of big government, big business, and especially regulators, in hope of having them adopt Bitcoin’s underlying technology.
Leading members of the Bitcoin community have a conflict of interest. On the one hand they may privately support Bitcoin’s ideological roots, but they also have a tremendous stake in seeing Bitcoin’s global rise, and along with it the rise of their personal wealth. If only government and business adopted Bitcoin’s technology. If only lawmakers and regulators approved of important use cases. If only they could become the first Bitcoin billionaires. Although the public focus shifted from promoting Bitcoin to praising its underlying blockchain technology, as one core developer recently put it, “The blockchain is worth nothing without Bitcoin.” A deliberate lie, because any altcoin, any fork, or any private implementation of a blockchain-based ledger could suffice as a consensus tool.
Bitcoin, thus, already succumbed to greed. Everyone is for sale. The people lose. Again.
Blockchains for Autonomy
The Bitcoin community suffers severe tunnel vision, channeling all its energy to see the surge of another Bitcoin price bubble, so the invested can divest, leaving a new generation of suckers to pick up the inevitable crash. Had the majority of Bitcoiners been able to set aside their almost narcissistic need for greed, they would have long recognized the blockchain’s nearly unfathomable potential for human autonomy. We could liberate the masses from centralized control in under a decade.
A decentralized blockchain technology could empower the people. For the first time in history, people have a means to defend themselves against their centralized exploitation.
Using blockchain technology, we can disrupt the world:
- Disrupting government. Rather than paying taxes to the State, placing their economic productivity at the mercy of politicians, citizens can opt in to pay their taxes to a blockchain. Through use of smart contacts, this tax blockchain autonomously distributes available funds to hospitals, schools or public services, as measured by real-world and real-time demand. Blockchains serve to cut out the middle men — governments are the middle men.
- Disrupting the patent system. A blockchain patent ledger could hold public domain patents, making their inventions available for permissionless (re)use by anyone. The patent chain serves to defend its users and contributors in court.Blockchains can help the people defend against patent trolls.
- Disrupting central banks. Blockchains can act as ledgers to account for a national economy’s money supply, in a transparent manner. Economic policy suddenly becomes publicly accountable.
The list goes on. Blockchain technology can further disrupt stock markets, stock custodians, notaries, lawmaking, national lotteries, self-driving and self-owning cars, the distribution of public services, land ownership, and more. I for one am in favor of a return to Bitcoin’s core ideals. Let’s not put blockchain technology in the hands of our so-called ruling elites, but in the hands of the people against their elites.