I confess I knew little about bitcoin, and had little interest, until I saw Nick Land call it “essentially an experiment in Austrian monetary theory”. Cool idea. I got excited too. No inflation! Then I recalled that I didn’t believe in Austrian economics anymore. I’m a Mannian. I believe everything is politics. And I also believe in Jim A. Donald, that ever greater leftism is the fundamental arrow of political time.
Somebody put it more succinctly, decades ago.
First law of O’Sullivan: Any institution that is not explicitly right wing will become left wing over time.
Now let me check… is the Bitcoin Foundation explicitly right wing?
No, it is not. So it surely follows that, with enough time, the Bitcoin Foundation will be swallowed by the ever growing Cathedral behemoth, and bitcoin itself will eventually be found a use to promote Cathedral causes.
A commenter at Nick Land’s spells it out:
I don’t think this is true. My disagreement with Moldbug’s thesis is twofold:
1. I don’t think it is totally implausible that a bitcoin changer might implement satisfactory Know Your Customer procedures and thus be a legitimate ‘money transmitter’ under FINCAN regs.
1a. The bitcoin community may voluntarily do this themselves. The nature of bitcoin — transactions are secure because they are publically broadcast — lends itself to bitcoin users voluntarily maintaining a blacklist of bitcoins known to have passed through wallets known to be owned by e.g. child pornographers.
I am not very aware of how bitcoin works, but another commenter, at Moldbug’s, explains it further:
> These requirements will increase and expand to other parties over time, until bitcoin, not actually being anonymous in the first place due to an extremely naive cryptographic design, becomes the most non-anonymous currency around.
This. This is what will happen. The government already hates 100$ bills and 20$ bills. The government will be able to issue “bitcoin-backed” “fractional reserve” loans, and confiscate bitcoins if needed; maybe they’ll force people to use bitcoin software that accepts new issues of bitcoins. But they certainly won’t make bitcoins actually anonymous.
Bitcoins are like 20$ bills whose serial numbers are recorded at almost every transaction. You get bitcoin #1234 from your employer it’s later confiscated from a drug dealer, so the police ask you where you spent it. If you had spent it at the laundromat or the donut shop or the train station, that would be a matter of public record. If you had given it to your buddy for fixing your bike, where it went from him would be a matter of public record.
Suddenly piracy really does fund the drug trade: anyone who buys an unlicensed DVD from a street vendor runs the risk of having to explain where they spent that bitcoin when it reaches a drug dealer, because no one wants to give bitcoins that can be traced to them to drug dealers.
So I take it bitcoin’s can be reliably traced back to their users. So first you blacklist child pornographers, then drug dealers, then wife beaters, then racists, then misogynists, then homophobes, and eventually all heterosexual white men.
People are getting reeled up about the USG shutting down bitcoin, and whether that would succeed, or the backslash from the uber-smart hacker heroes would eventually expose the USG incompetence and cause the collapse of fiat money. Cool story bro.
May I ask why would the USG want to shut it down, risking a hacker backslash, when it can just co-opt it? Bitcoin can be nationalized and put to use to the benefit of the Cathedral. In the name of fighting discrimination and all things nasty. “Alternative, non-traceble virtual currencies will arise!” you might say. Oh but then the USG will really shut them down. Crash them mercilessly. You surely can’t tolerate a currency used by child pornographers, can you?! There you go.
The common people, now willfully ignorant of what bitcoin is and means, will be made to known about it, and mobilized to have an opinion on why bitcoin is superior, why all moral people must use government bitcoin, and why we have always been at war with Eastasia. For details on how they’ll do so, check out Moldbug’s latest.