Tuesday, 24 December 2013

The unstoppable rise of crypto-currency and the establishment of a secure technology for global voting

In my last post nearly a year ago I outlined the emerging power of Bitcoin (BTC) and foresaw the amazing growth of this technology, a growth illustrated by the value of each BTC increasing from around $20 to $1200 and now temporarily stabilizing at about $700 before its inevitable next leap upwards.

The American technologist Andreas Antonopoulos is one of the clearest exponents of this emerging technology, and like myself, he was active in the early 1990s on the Internet and foresaw its enormous future at a time when many dismissed the Net as a foolish irrelevance.

In a YouTube video released on December 22nd 3013, Antonopoulos describes how incredibly disruptive BTC is as a technology, and how this technology is far more than another mere currency but that it has established something never before seen in the world - a globally-distributed, consensus-based asset-ledger technology based on proof-of-work, a technology manifested by the BTC blockchain - a global database of all BTC transactions which is updated every ten minutes.

In the early 1990s there was much FUD (Fear, uncertainty, doubt) spread in the mainstream media about the emergent Internet - and today it is no different with BTC - still often but wrongly characterized as a playground of drug-dealers, scammers and criminals.

BTC cannot be stopped however, it cannot be uninvented - and the technology behind it - based on unbreakable cryptography - is so resilient that thousands of hackers from around the world have been unable to break it or threaten it - despite the currently over $1 billion bounty awaiting anyone who succeeds.

Antonopoulos correctly states that national governments and central banks will not survive the rise of BTC unchanged - because BTC is a manifestation of millions of aware individuals from around the world who are consciously gaining economic power as that power leaks away from national governments - nicely illustrated by such sites as fiatleak .

As he says "The business models which underpin the financial services industry which is able to extract 8% of GDP (USA) for an inferior, politically corrupt and in the end harmful to consumer service - with crypto-currencies that industry is gone - only they do not know it yet - they haven’t noticed it yet."

Of course the powerful, established players behind the central banks will not easily permit their power to be taken away from them - there will be an almighty battle fought in the political, economic and media spheres - yet that battle has already been lost by those central powers, lost because the very nature of decentralized, consensus-based, globally-active power is always of a higher quality and has more resources than any kind of centralized power - history has always attested to that.

Such a technology cannot fail to reset the power relationships between people and their governments - but before critics chime up about the dangers of mob rule it will be fair to point out that this technology in reality is being taken up by those who wish to take up their responsibilities as global citizens - a sort of global, modern version of the Athenian free citizens - and not by the masses of "idiotes" who, however decent they be as human beings are generally - due to their life-situation - going to be much more concerned with their personal interests than matters of national or global governance.

The BTC Blockchain is an almost perfect instrument to track global voting in a provable, incorruptible, transparent and highly visible time-stamped matter - and it will only be a matter of time before the Indignados in many countries will set up easy-to-use systems to utilize the Blockchain in their territories.

I would expect that such adoption - small at first, perhaps in cities first, then smaller nation-states will first occur in those countries with less stable political or economic systems, and ultimately spread around the entire world - and much sooner than anyone thinks - due to a combination of a rapid global uptake of crypto-currencies and an ever more failing QE and unpayable debt-addled fiat currency system in nation states.

Today one does not even need to be connected to the Internet to make good use of crypto-currencies, an ordinary non-smart mobile telephone will do thanks to the intelligent gateways springing up all over the developing world.

If one bears in mind that there are about 7.1 Billion people on earth of whom maybe 1 Billion have access to bank accounts and financial services, 2 Billion have access to the internet but there are 6.85 Billion mobile telephone subscriptions - rapid adoption of BTC via these simple devices will mean a huge increase in the use of BTC.

Central bankers and leaders of nation states will have much to fear from the vast increase in BTC awareness and adotion that we will see starting in 2014 - but for us ordinary global citizens this can mean real progress - a change from hidden, archaic centralized money and democratic procedures to open, secure and transparent systems the like of which have never before been seen in the world.

Welcome to a fully aware, globalized world where every citizen who wishes to actively participate in the new political and economic process will have the ability to do so - of course with BTC we already have the beginnings of that - its just that most of the world hasn't noticed yet.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A new order is being built by people every day

Real direct democracy now is an idea which represents a goal to be achieved and at first sight the high hopes of 2011 embodied by groupings such as the spanish indignados seem now to have sunk into insignificance.

The reality however is that a completely new world order is emerging ever more quickly and with an unexpected sure-footedness - an order being built up not by governments, not by shadowy institutions but by millions of ordinary, internet-savvy people all over the world.

In an article published by the Laissez-Faire Club on February 4th 2013, Jeffrey Tucker outlines how this process of people-power has already reached a stage where it is completely beyond the reach of any national government or international institution.

He writes "This emergent reality contracts everything that was assumed at the start of the 20th century. States were supposed to plan. Societies were to be managed. The global order was to be organized by nation-states that would negotiate as if they were homogeneous units with interests and goals. The only planning, communication, and substantial action was to be regime planning, communication, and action.

A century later, this whole system is blown up. And the situation is even worse for all prevailing regimes. Fiscal policy as conceived by Keynesian theory is proven worse than useless. It has saddled the world with unpayable debt and trapped governments in an impossible situation of having made ridiculous promises that can’t be kept.

Similarly, its monetary policies are ineffective and dangerous. Central banks of the world are devoting all their efforts to saving their client banks from market pressures, rather than conducting the “scientific” monetary policy envisioned by technocrats a century ago."

But perhaps the most powerful system which has emerged within this new paradigm is that of the crypto-currency monetary system. Bitcoin is a prime example of such a monetary system based on mathematical rules and unbreakable cryptography rather than on plans and decisions by central bankers. 2013 looks set to be the year when such currencies really begin their exponential climb from a geeky obscurity into mainstream use.

Such peer-to-peer currencies embody the idea of real direct democracy now in a field which affects all of us directly, economics. As more and more people begin to feel the exhilaration of handling their own money which is in the hands of individual users like themselves and realize that they do not have to suffer the constant devaluation of their money by ever more devious central banks, then the use of these currencies will spread like wildfire.

One interesting consequence of such wide adoption of course is that taxation will be harder and harder to collect - because - whatever others may say - crypto-currencies are really anonymous in practice and states with any sense will not even attempt to tax such a system.

It is surely clear that once such a distributed non-governmental monetary system emerges as a dominant economic force in the world then systemically speaking the introduction of direct democracy is just a matter of time.