Anyone Who Goes To Work For A Central Bank Coin Is A Traitor

There’s a time and place for just about everything, and this is a time to be blunt:

Anyone who takes a job for a central bank or any similar entity, building a cryptocurrency, quasi-cryptocurrency or kind-of-blockchain-thing, is a traitor.

Not just a traitor to Satoshi (though that’s very certainly true), and not just to the crypto community, but a traitor to mankind.

This is how rulers enslave us. When we build some great new thing, they try to get rid of it. And if they can’t, they just hire us, build a version that suits them, and order everyone to use it. If compliance isn’t immediate they post a few heads on pikes.

It has happened over and over, but we can’t fall for it this time.

Anyone who builds a central bank coin will be forging the chains of mankind for mere paychecks.

Say it loud and say it proud.

Bitcoin and the Power Grid

BPowerGrid

“Bitcoin is evil” articles exist in profusion, and these days I pretty much ignore them. But one of the recent types – raising awareness of Bitcoin’s environmental unsustainability – has engaged me. As it turns out, I have an unusual background to bring to this topic, and I think I should contribute.

So, here we go:

Another Apocalypse?

Let’s be honest and admit that most of the “environmental movement” sells fear of an apocalypse. And as we should all realize by now, humans have an innate weakness for fear.

More or less every apocalyptic environmental prediction has failed. (I’m talking about those that could actually be measured, obviously.) That won’t stop the fear-sellers of course, and now Bitcoin has come into their sights.

The fear is that because crypto mining uses so much power, it will bring down the grid or cause various environmental disasters. The advocates of this fear throw around scary sounding numbers (measured in terawatts) and assorted scientific terminology. (“They understand it and you don’t… don’t expose yourself to ridicule.”)

But it’s mostly just fear. Sure, proof-of-work sucks up power, but that’s nothing new. How much power do you suppose all those millions of air conditioners suck up every summer? I haven’t dug up the figures, but I’m ready to take bets that it’s several times more than crypto mining. Shall we now fear the air conditioner?

Further Factors

I worked for decades in the electrical industry, and so I’d like to give you some facts from that perspective:

  • Power use has been going up since the beginning. These days most houses get 200 amperes of electrical service. But there are still thousands of houses that are wired with only 60 amperes. That was plenty 60 years ago. New loads (devices using power) come along all the time. In just my time, we’ve added air conditioning, microwaves, and lots of computers.

  • Mining is a nice, steady load. The kind power companies thrive on. What makes their lives crazy are seasonal loads like air conditioning, which occur only a few months per year.

  • Power failures happen every year, especially in summer due to the aforementioned air conditioning load. It’s a good bet that several fear-sellers have press releases ready to go for this summer.

  • The utilities are making money on this. More power use means more income.

  • If people use too much power, the providers will raise their prices. Econ 101.

And the Big One

Cryptocurrencies don’t finance war.

The public hasn’t actually paid for a war since WW2. Since then the whole game’s been run on credit. (The same goes, more or less, for everything Big Guv does to save us poor, helpless sheep.)

With Bitcoin and all the cryptos that I know of, you can’t do such things. If you want to throw a war in a crypto-based economy, you’ll have to convince people to pay for it. Good luck.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

ROSC 17: The Rise of the Elderly

rosc17

Under the mindset of the factory era, old people were expected to move quietly to the side after they stopped working. From there they were to quietly dote on grandchildren, then get sick and die. That, however, has changed.

For one thing, people are living longer and retaining their health into advanced ages. Also, old people never really were fit to be pushed off the stage. Certainly old people tend to slow down, but “slower” is a long way from “no movement at all.” Old people are more than capable of many things, and they frequently have piles of massively valuable experience.

Anyway, what we learned as the sanitarium (and now Crypto House) opened back up last week, was that Esther and the sanitarium refugees have been busy. While they were away, they spread their new ideas to at least three different old folks’ homes. Contrary to the system’s assumptions, the people there – or at least a decent percentage of them – don’t want to disengage from the world, and they do want to continue making an impact in it. Three cars full of such people have visited the sanitarium/Crypto House this past week, and more are expected.

On top of that, the Swedes (wonderful people) are settling in, and the Bitcoin Bus family is slated to stay at the house for a month. As a bonus, the musicians (a few will remain in an extra room for a while) are going to put on weekly concerts in the factory parking lot next door once weather permits. The factory manager ended up being a pretty cool guy, and he thinks his workers will enjoy it after the last shift on Friday. The cops will probably find some permit violation to shut it down with (or rather, their bosses will… God forbid someone might have fun without paying them first), but the manager is game for it as long as the musicians are.

So, lots of good things are happening. But I’m straying from my main subject: the old folks.

Old and Smart Go Together Really Well

The status quo system we all grew up in made a major error by ignoring the abilities of old people. These are people who spent long decades developing important skills. To simply ignore that was ridiculous. Worse, the assumption that they should be moved to the side has been encoded in laws for Social Security, health care, professional regulation, business insurance policies, and more. The legacy system forcibly ejects old people from the pool of the productive.

In the crypto-world, however, they can do whatever they want, and no one need ever even know their age. There are many in the old-age homes who take comfort in filling the role assigned to them by the status quo, and we really have nothing to offer them. But we’re finding a pretty strong percentage of oldsters who don’t want to tread water for 10 or 20 years and then die. They may not want to work full days or weeks, but they do want to work… they don’t want to give up being productive until they need to.

I’ve talked with only five or 10 of these people so far, but here are the things I know they’re up to:

  • An elderly lawyer has taken up online arbitration work on the Open Bazaar system.

  • Three sets of old ladies are setting up to work as sales agents for anonymous buyers, working through Open Bazaar. They’ll wear cop-type body cameras and drive from one estate sale or garage sale to another, taking live bids from remote purchasers. They already have a dozen or more customers lined up.

  • Two retired engineers and a retired programmer have just acquired their first customer for anonymous drone delivery. Their drones (they have two at the moment) are being programmed with a set of maps, GPS, and a memory system using ephemeral key encryption. And so, a client enters his or her address, which goes directly to the drone, which verifies it to be within its flight radius. But it does not share those details with anyone else. The “Tech Elders” team (that’s what they’re calling themselves) then attaches whatever goods are to be delivered (within a specified weight limit) and sends the machine on its way. They are never told where it will go. Once the delivery is completed, the keys that encrypted the address are automatically dropped from the system. It is known that the drone delivered something somewhere, but only the purchaser knows where.

  • Two friends of friends who really are past their ability to do much have offered their postal addresses for deliveries. If something forbidden gets delivered, what are the enforcers going to do, put them on trial? They’d hardly be considered fit for trial, they’d have no information to give up, and by the time a trial could be arranged, they’d likely have checked out anyway.

All of this will be done behind walls of cryptography. A variety of cryptocurrencies will be used (Bitcoin will mainly be a settlement currency between the other currencies), all communications will be encrypted, and only pseudonyms will be used. But for customer comfort with pseudonyms, they’re using realistic names (Sean W. Thornton, for example) rather than the purposely quirky names we used in the old days of crypto-anarchy.

The Purpose of It All

The entry of the old folks really made me happy. The deep purpose here isn’t to make money or even to escape tyranny. Rather, it’s to help life function in the world. And these old folks still have life in them. They should be able to use it any way they wish to. Crypto gives that to them.

More next time.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

The Essential Goodness of the Crypto Community

CryptoCommunity

Quite a few people have been complaining about the cryptocurrency community lately. And to be fair, they have legitimate reasons: Many get-rich-quickers, corporate sellouts, and outright scammers have shown up recently.

But it’s far too easy for us to focus on the malicious and the misguided. The bulk of the crypto community are decent people, even if they’re unsure of the best paths forward. (No surprise in that, with perfect knowledge remaining scarce on this planet.)

What I want to point out today is that most of these people are caring and decent. And here’s why I say that:

A couple of weeks ago one of the best Bitcoin advocates, Andreas Antonopoulos, rather publicly admitted that he had serious money problems of his own making. (If you don’t think that takes guts, imagine doing it yourself… after first imagining yourself way out and alone in front of millions of people… including plenty of immature trolls.)

And Andreas did get critical comments. But then something else happened: Hundreds of people – many hundreds, I think – stepped up to help him. Andreas has been working full time to promote Bitcoin for years and has done it well.

And people had noticed.

And they remembered.

And they cared.

Over the following days, hundreds of people signed on to be his patrons and lots of people made Bitcoin donations… in some cases giant donations. (Emphasis his.)

As a result Andreas will not have to worry about money for a long time. He can continue (and expand) as an independent voice for cryptocurrencies.

Out Here on the Frontier

Cryptocurrencies, while gaining some measure of acknowledgement, even if not acceptance, remain a frontier technology. For those of us out on the frontier, there is no one to help us when we fall except a few others like ourselves.

A few weeks ago, one of us fell… and the other frontier-dwellers ran to him and helped him back up.

The people on the frontier are good people. They just proved it.

So, acknowledge problems in the crypto community when you see them. Fix them if possible. But don’t go negative. Once you start “fighting the threats,” inertia will carry you forward into finding one new threat after another, and you’ll end up like Inspector Javert, feeling ever so righteous about enforcing purity.

Killing the bad, I’m here to tell you, is a dead end. Your job, rather, is to build the good.

So, evade errors as they appear. But far more importantly, help each other, improve each other, find better ways, and share what you find.

Keep building a better world. All else is detail or distraction.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

ROSC 15: Building Ourselves a City

ROSC15

Theorizing is one thing; doing is quite another. No matter how good you think your theories are, applying them to the real world is always a revelation. More than that, actually doing is far more fun that theorizing. And right now hundreds of thousands of young people (and a lot of older ones too) are building the economy of the future. It’s a magnificent thing to be part of.

The sanitarium is well on its way to becoming a Bitcoin House. The renovations proceed apace and the musicians currently living there, and their friends, are thoroughly intrigued not only by Bitcoin, but by the concept of decentralization. They’re writing songs about it.

At the same time, the members of our little group have their own projects blooming: decentralized exchanges, drone delivery, biohacking, OTC Bitcoin exchanging (that is, buying and selling Bitcoin for cash, usually at a Starbucks), and of course lots of ridesharing and apartment sharing.

I think Johnny and his uncle are about to launch a crypto-based certification agency for home remodelers. Municipal regulation of construction has gone insane over the past two decades, adding thousands of dollars to even the smallest construction projects. And so, a workaround that still delivers quality is something people are willing to take a small risk on.

The New Plaque

You may recall that there was a rather depressing plaque that used to hang on the wall of the sanitarium. As several of our group reviewed the remodeling work last week, they decided that a new plaque would be nice. And as it happened, Nikos had stumbled upon something just days before.

At one point, as we sat at Jay’s bar discussing books and authors, I mentioned that I enjoyed the work of Eric Hoffer, the “Longshoreman Philosopher.” Later, Nikos remembered the conversation and started checking into Hoffer. One of the things he found was an interview Hoffer did in 1967 with Eric Sevareid. (Sevareid was a famous broadcaster of that era.) In the interview, he talks about a poem that he found written on a wall at Pier 35 on the San Francisco docks. He recited it in the interview:

Build yourself a city; found yourself a state.

Do not cry for pity; grab a master fate.

Grab a swamp and drain it;
cut a log and plane it.

Make the hills and valleys fields.

And on the manmade plain,
breathe your last complaint.

Slay your shame;
forget your name.

Do not strive for pity; build yourself a city.

That of course is what’s going onto their plaque – a large plaque – and that’s exactly what these young people are doing.

“It’ll go back down”

The day after Nikos sent me the link to the interview and told me about the plaque, I received an email from an old friend. This guy has seen dozens of hotshot investments come and go, and so I think he can be forgiven for thinking that Bitcoin is just another of them. In this email he said something about it going up, then coming back down. And that got me thinking: Could Bitcoin – and cryptocurrencies in general – really crash back to the ground?

But before we can address that question, we have to specify something: Bitcoin is not an investment. Rather, it’s a revolution in currency. That’s a fundamental difference, and it set my thoughts in the right direction. Here’s what I wrote back to my friend:

Honestly, I don’t think this one’s “coming back down.” There will be choppy times for sure, but the underlying technology is simply not going anywhere. This is not a company or a strategy; it’s just a protocol.

That’s a very different thing from past “hotshot investments.”

Bitcoin has withstood endless attacks from people who hate it (more or less none of whom have taken the time to understand it). And more than that, it has survived its friends acting stupidly.

I think it’s important to stop and think about this for a moment.

Bitcoin has survived under extremely hostile conditions, taking blows from both enemies and friends, and it has remained standing. And the core reason is its central feature: It’s decentralized. There is no center to grab and no controller to be corrupted. Cryptocurrencies are simply protocols… protocols that establish trust via applied mathematics.

A protocol doesn’t disappear when some ruler declares it a danger to nation and motherhood. It doesn’t even disappear if people ignore it. It just is. Using a protocol as money is a new and different thing and utterly unlike any investment of the past.

Here’s how I finished the email:

It’s hard to imagine how Bitcoin could actually “go to zero.” There is no center to kill, and it’s simply better at doing what currencies are supposed to do. A demand for it will remain, no matter what.

To actually kill Bitcoin would involve breaking the encryption (which is really unlikely) or for governments to kill every person caught using it. (And that’s pretty unlikely as well.)

And Now…

Cryptocurrencies are simply different. They are not investments. They have no center. They have operated for nine years under hostile conditions, starting from nothing at all. They were born into a world that rejected them from the outset and has attacked them nonstop.

In addition, they’ve survived the foolish behavior of some of their biggest advocates.

Cryptocurrencies, in the end, are decentralization protocols. They provide no privileged position from which controllers can control transactions or take money by force. They have no tools for setting interest rates. No one is forced to use them.

With apologies to Ecclesiastes, this really is a new thing under the sun.

My young friends are embracing this, and they’re spreading the concept to their friends, who are spreading the concept to others. And now Bitcoin Houses, Institutes of Cryptoanarchy, innumerable Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain meetups, and God knows what else are spreading everywhere. We’re actually moving quickly through the “new concept” pattern attributed to Arthur Schopenhauer:

All truth passes through three stages.

First it is ridiculed.

Second it is violently opposed.

And third it is accepted as self-evident.

It’s awfully hard to know what the future holds of course, but the enforcers of the old way seem to be running out of time, being busy with troubles of their own and with all the usual wars, financial manipulations, and general mayhem.

And so a new world is taking shape. Slowly, erratically, even sloppily… but sinew is joining to sinew… and they are building themselves a city.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

Advice To Bitcoiners Who Are Finding Themselves Rich

Bitcoiners

A lot of Bitcoiners are waking up to find themselves rich these days, and I suspect that most of them have little experience handling significant amounts of money. And so, having been around the block a few times, I think I should pass along some lessons.

  1. Shut your mouth. Seriously. Tell your spouse, of course, and if there’s someone else you trust deeply, but after that shut up. If asked (your friends must know that you have Bitcoin) be vague. And do not be the schmuck who buys the Lamborghini. Repeat these words: Low Profile.

  2. Go ahead and buy a house. You’ll always need somewhere to live, so go ahead and buy a home. But notice that I said a house, not mansion. (Again, Low Profile.) Buy a nice, comfortable place where you can live pleasantly. Make sure you’ll have good neighbors. Think about maintenance. Think long term.

  3. Buy assets. An asset is something that brings money in. A boat, for example, is an not an asset, it’s an expense. A functioning business is an asset. Buy assets.

  4. Put your extra Bitcoins to work building the crypto-economy. We need an entire, functioning, cryptocurrency ecosystem, and Bitcoin was just the start. Find a project you can put your heart and soul into (or start your own), and pursue it.

  5. Understand that money management is a skill. If you haven’t spent years building up that skill, be clear on the fact that you don’t have it. Find professionals to help you. Don’t give anyone “the keys to the kingdom,” and don’t give away any of your decision-making power, but do get advice from experienced people.

  6. Don’t get cocky. Having more money than your friends can make you over-estimate your genius. Your money came from both insight and luck, not from insight alone. Don’t forget that. Now your job is to earn your luck.

  7. Don’t let money define you. If you start thinking about status… if you start enjoying people paying deference to you because you have money… you’ll get sucked into a miserable life of “he has a yacht and I don’t.” It never ends and it’s a miserable way to spend decades.

So, decide right now who you want to be, how you’d like the world to be, and how you’d like to be remembered. Use your money for those things. Start getting wise. It takes time and effort, but you’re as able as anyone else.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

ROSC 14: The Bitcoin House

It’s been a strange but recurring theme in my life that when a cluster of bad things hit, something good follows close behind. Often, I learn later that the good thing was initiating just as the bad things struck.
But whatever that is and however it works, it happened to me again. There is currently so much going on that I barely know where to begin.

BitcoinHouse

It’s been a strange but recurring theme in my life that when a cluster of bad things hit, something good follows close behind. Often, I learn later that the good thing was initiating just as the bad things struck.

But whatever that is and however it works, it happened to me again. There is currently so much going on that I barely know where to begin.

Creative Commerce

Chester Cruz, as it turns out, chose his friends very well. The sanitarium, we learned, was actually owned by a land trust, and the trustee, now quite elderly, is still a member of Chester’s old law firm. The group that opposed young Esther had contacted this man, wanting to kick Esther, Stanley, Sophie, and two others out of the sanitarium. The trustee and lawyer, a Mr. Medansky, explained to them that he would not do that, but if they were entirely serious about the matter, he could arrange to sell the property and distribute the proceeds to everyone living there.

And so the sale began. But after Esther and the others were notified of the upcoming sale by Mr. Medansky, they put together a new plan: to buy the trust themselves, and of course the sanitarium with it. The lawyer cleverly worked out all the details for them (which allowed them to keep all the sanitarium’s legal advantages), but it would require a cash payment.

This is where we all thanked God for the rise of Bitcoin. While none of our group (so far as I know) had a huge number of bitcoins, they had all accumulated some back when the price was low, and now (the price is hitting $8,000 as I write this) that translates to a lot of dollars… and so they’re buying the trust and property outright. The offended group will get their payout and go live wherever they wish, and the others will get to move back in. (They moved out once the sale was forced and are currently living in an Airbnb.)

The question then was what to do with the property. And that’s where things get really interesting.

First of all, the group will give the building a facelift. Being that no one is currently living there, this is a good time. But there’s more than that. The last month at the sanitarium was pretty ugly, and the group that forced the sale had been getting pretty dark anyway. More or less everyone agreed that the place needed a fresh start.

Now here’s the fun part:

As I discussed the remodeling with the group at Jay’s one day, I told the story of the very first agriculturalists of Europe and how they burned out their houses upon leaving them, even when giving them to new occupants((You can find more detail on this is FMP #73.)). We can’t use actual fire these days of course, but they liked the idea, and last week they came up with a cool version of it.

Adam’s youngest brother is in a band and knows a lot of other poor, young musicians. The group decided to let them have free run of the sanitarium during the remodeling, provided of course that they don’t damage the structure, don’t bother the neighbors (rather hard to do anyway, as their closest neighbors are a factory and a parking lot), and don’t interfere with the remodeling crews.

And so the sanitarium is now being “burned out” by members of four different bands, who are living there, rehearsing there, and entertaining there, and often all three at the same time. They’ll probably have only a month or two, but they’re already having a great time and have been respectful to all involved.

Enter the Swedes

“Synchronicity,” as we used to say way back when, “happens.” And it still happens. Just as our group had to make long-term plans on using the sanitarium, I got an email from a group we’re now calling “the Swedes.”

I ran into the Swedes at a cryptoanarchist conference in Europe a year ago, and they intrigued me. They’re actually two families from Stockholm who are traveling around the world, visiting “Bitcoin Houses.” How they can afford to do this, I didn’t ask (it’s really none of my business), but both families have young children and they’re educating them as they go. They had taken up residence in central Europe for a while, had been in Japan for some time prior, and were on their way to a Bitcoin place in India next. I was surprised that they had so many actual places to stay, each dedicated to cryptocurrency.

“It’s not just here in Europe,” they had assured me last year. “These places are springing up everywhere.” And lately I have seen others forming.

As I say, these people intrigued me, even though I didn’t have much time to spend with them. I couldn’t help feeling that a century ago they would have been Christian missionaries, traveling the world and “bringing light” in a somewhat different way.

Now, as it happens, they want to come to the Central US. Not to the glittering coastal cities, but to someplace where Americans still do productive work. And so, beginning in two months, they’ll take up residence on the second floor of the sanitarium, their purpose being to turn it into a functioning Bitcoin House. (Esther and company will use the top floor.) They’ll stay for six months at least, and they’ll have access to the sanitarium’s front room and rather large basement for any kinds of meetings and gatherings they wish to arrange. The backyard too, once spring hits.

This should be fascinating. More next time.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

ROSC 4: The Sanitarium

TheSanitarium
When I walked into our latest TCM lunch, I saw a few new members, two of whom were young women. That made me feel good, because there had been a flaw in most 20th century liberty movements, in that they never drew many women. Liberation movements of the past featured lots of women, many of whom showed more courage than the men.
So, I took it as a healthy sign that women were showing up at our lunch, as indeed they do at Bitcoin meetups.
The group discussed a new ridesharing service that seemed to be an improvement (Libre Taxi) and decided that they were worth checking out. Nikos volunteered for the job, and the rest of us gave him a list of things to look into. After that, we moved into a discussion of recent events in the cryptocurrency world.
But through all of this one of the young women, Esther, jumped in with questions, mostly directed to me, on side subjects. That was odd. And they were odd questions like, “Why do people care about beauty?” and, “Have you ever spent time with mentally challenged people?” She was polite and tried to avoid derailing the main conversation, but she clearly had some alternative purpose. So, I answered her as best I could and waited to see where she was headed.
I soon found that she was going nowhere I had imagined.
As the meeting broke up, she asked me to stay and talk, and so I did. We sat at the empty end of the bar.
“I had reasons to ask you those questions,” she said.
“I was pretty sure of that,” I responded, offering a small smile, which she returned ever so briefly. Then she handed me a card that read: Mueller Sanitarium for the Chronically Ill.
“That’s where I live,” she added. “Myself, my mother, and about dozen others. We want you to come help us.”
I was lost and could only reply, “I’d be glad to help, but I’m not a doctor.”
“That’s okay,” she said. “We’re not really sick.”
And if that wasn’t enough to send my mind reeling, she added that the people at the sanitarium already liked me.
“How’s that?” I squeezed out.
She explained that they had seen an article I wrote on children being tortured in schools a few years back. And for that, they trusted me.
“That’s very nice,” I said, “but I’m entirely lost here, Esther. What is this sanitarium and what would you like me to do? And I should add that I have very limited time these days. It’s stretching it for me to make these lunches.”
“I know,” she said, “but once I explain, I think you’ll make at least a bit of time.”
I nodded and waited for her to continue. And what a story she told.
The residents of the sanitarium, Esther explained, had once called themselves “The Rejects.” I immediately stiffened, displaying my objection. No one should accept such a verdict; it’s an offense to human dignity itself.
“They no longer use that,” she added, “but I want you to understand this. These are people who are very homely or physically deformed… the kinds of people who were tortured in schools, pointed at, and insulted all their lives. Either that or tucked away in an asylum, where they’d simply be housed till they died.”
“And they really have their own place, where they live together?”
“They do,” she assured me. “The sanitarium sign, even if it’s false, provides protection for them. Behind it they’re not bothered, and they can live without torment.”
She was right; I very definitely wanted to help these people. I immediately made an appointment to see them, but I needed more information. This was a wild story, and I needed to understand it.
Esther began by explaining herself. “My mom,” she said, “is a very homely woman. She never once had a man who was interested in her.”
“I’m sorry,” I injected.
“We all are,” she said, “but there was nothing to be done about it, and so, after decades of crying, blaming God, hating the world, and hating herself, she found that she was still a human being with choices, thoughts, and dreams. She decided that she could either wallow for the rest of her life in the same old pool of pain or she could start living out of her inner self, which wasn’t ugly if she didn’t want it to be.
“And that,” she said with her first real smile, “is how I came into the world.”
Esther’s mother, as it turns out, had been one of the early customers for in vitro fertilization. She had always wanted a child and wasn’t yet past the age limit for pregnancy, and so she decided to do what she wanted. She found the appropriate doctor, picked the best looking sperm donor she could find, and had her baby. (Here I should add that Esther turned out to be an attractive young lady.)
Esther was raised at the Sanitarium and mainly homeschooled there. She went off to college for a few years and then returned. Now she’s setting up businesses for the residents… which became necessary because their bank account, after nearly 30 years, was finally running out. But even more than that, Esther told me, “They’ve learned, slowly, that they can do most of the things pretty people do… and now they want to do them.”

More to Come

I’m already running long for a weekly post, so I’ll stop here. But there is definitely more to come.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

Financial Repression Is Here, and Bitcoin Is the Only Escape

financialrepression

When I warned about bankers planning “financial repression” back in 2014, I wasn’t sure how long it would be before it arrived, or where. And when I wrote about the banning of cash last February, I was worried that the money monopolists were accelerating toward open repression.

Unfortunately, it turns out that they were in a hurry and have now withdrawn all currency worth more than a few dollars (US$1.50) in India. New currency has been promised, but the old notes were withdrawn without the new ones being ready. So, we’ll call that an “effective” and possibly a “temporary” ban on cash.

Bear in mind please, that India is a very populous country (more so than the US and Europe combined), and not one where nearly everyone already has debit cards. So, this makes a powerful test case.

On top of that, the banning of cash is being threatened all across the Western world. Cash purchases over €1,000 (US$1,050) are already banned in France. At this point, we have to accept that the elite are serious, that they mean to take away our cash and rather sooner than later.

Moreover, I want to repeat something from the 2014 article, where you can find a link to the source. This is what the IMF has been discussing in their own words:

The claim… that advanced countries do not need to resort to… debt restructurings… capital controls and other forms of financial repression… is at odds with the historical track record…

So, let’s get over the denial phase. Take a hard look at what they’ve done in India and France, and bear in mind that these people don’t simply stop short of their goal, nor are they burdened by empathy.

Where Do We Go Now?

Your decision will be your own of course; I don’t claim to be a financial advisor. But I can tell you what’s going on and what it signifies.

Escaping financial repression has typically been done via these means:

Precious metals. Gold and silver have inherent value. No act of politics can change that. However, political systems – especially when empowered by mass surveillance – are great at stealing everyone’s gold. Just look at what Franklin Roosevelt did, long before any kind of serious surveillance. His thieving worked very well. Moreover, moving precious metals across borders is far harder now than it was then.

Bear in mind that I’m a fan of silver and gold; they are honest money. But gargantuan government armed with mass surveillance will greatly reduce their usefulness. Already, moves are afoot to ban gold in the EU.

Cash. I’m also a fan of cash. It has no value of its own of course, but it can be used privately, more or less everywhere. The problem is that it looks like it will be banned. A few end runs are possible, such as using postal money orders instead of cash, but I wouldn’t plan on them lasting.

Barter. Barter is useful and honest, but there’s a reason we use currency: It’s far more convenient.

Offshore commerce. Again, a fine way to conduct affairs, but mass surveillance plus EU and US bullying of nearly all the world’s banks has made this only a partial solution. It’s best used as part of a well-rounded Plan B.

These are the traditional ways to escape financial repression, but they’re not looking very good at this point.

And that leaves Bitcoin.

Anti-Elite Money

If you’re not familiar, please understand that Bitcoin is not based on existing currency models. Bitcoin is different to the point of being alien… it’s from outside. It came to us from the realm of the cypherpunks.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are built on the opposite principle of the status quo. They allow no place for a central controller. That makes them anathema to the current monetary regime.

Because Bitcoin and its children are thoroughly foreign to the existing financial monopolies, they are the one remaining way to escape them. 15 years of mass, unquestioning compliance have locked the status quo tight.

It seems, however, that repressed Indians are starting to figure this out. (And probably some of the Chinese as well.) As a result, the exchange rate of Bitcoin has risen significantly.

Do It Right or Stay Home

Please remember that Bitcoin has to be used properly to be secure. (We have a full report.) If not, it’s the most transparent currency in the world and does not escape repression.

And yes, good security will require you to use adult-level encryption, not just a smart phone app. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, don’t even try.

So, you’ll have to make your own choices, but it seems clear to me that cryptocurrencies and a few other types of digital currencies are the last path around repression. To use them, however, you’ll have to exert your own will, choose something besides the easiest path, and act in ways that haven’t been approved by authority.

I wish you control of the money you earned.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.

  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.

  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.

  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

What’s New at the Bitcoin Colony

As I’ve mentioned in the past, Bitcoin is an invasion into the status quo. It is not a modification of the dominant financial system or even an extension of it… it’s a Klingon colony that dropped to Earth in 2009.

As I’ve also mentioned in the past, what matters about Bitcoin is not the technology itself (which is fascinating but not perfect), and it’s certainly not the dollar exchange rate. What matters about Bitcoin are the thousands of young people who have grasped its meaning, and who get up every morning excited to do something with it.

So today I want to show you some of the new developments that are coming from the Bitcoin colony. These aren’t the only new developments, but they are among the most important of them, and they help to paint a picture of what’s emerging.

First, however, I should extend my thanks to Velas Commerce, the Bitcoin and e-commerce consultants who kindly shared material with me.

Ethereum

If all goes as planned, Ethereum will become an expanded cryptocurrency. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is a network with its own blockchain (public ledger) and its own currency, the Ether.

Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum is designed to interact with other computers. That makes all sorts of automated contracts possible. Internal company data, contract specifications, outside data inputs, time and date, and so on, can all be coordinated and money (Ethers) distributed automatically. Some of the programs being built for the Ethereum network sound like they’ve come out of a sci-fi movie, including decentralized autonomous corporations, or DACs.

Ethereum creates self-enforcing contracts. These can get very interesting once you consider the number of devices that can be controlled through an Internet connection. TVs, car keys, hotel room keys, etc. Imagine a rental car where your key simply stops working if you stop paying the hourly fee.

DACs (or sometimes DAOs, decentralized autonomous organizations) are businesses or organizations that run themselves. This is essentially a group of people working together for a specific goal, but instead of their interactions being governed by a corporate framework, they’re governed by code running on the Ethereum network. Such a framework may be too rigid for many uses, but a massive time saver for others.

Ethereum is written to be as simple, open, and flexible as possible to allow for unaccounted future uses, which makes it one of the more interesting new technologies.

Ethereum can be used now but is still in development and likely won’t be used commercially until sometime later this year.

OpenBazaar

OpenBazaar is eBay the service, without eBay the company. Anyone can join and buy or sell goods and services. Like Bitcoin, OpenBazaar isn’t owned or controlled by anyone; it’s a network of peers that operates with no middleman.

What makes this technology especially interesting is its use of conflict-resolution technologies. With escrow and legal agreement built in, these resolution technologies will encourage trade that likely would otherwise never occur, due to concerns over fraud or the difficulties involved with multiple legal jurisdictions.

In addition to escrow and arbitration, OpenBazaar uses multisignature (“multisig”) Bitcoin transactions to prevent fraud. This ability has always been built in to Bitcoin, but it has seldom been used.

In a multisig transaction, bitcoins are sent to a special address that will hold the funds and only release them when a majority of the parties involved sign off on the transaction. Generally these transactions are two or three, meaning that two of the three parties involved must agree on where the funds should be sent.

Using OpenBazaar, the three parties involved would be the buyer, seller, and escrow. The funds are sent by the buyer to a unique multisig address and stored there until the buyer and seller have completed the transaction successfully and sign off on the transfer of funds to the seller. If there’s a dispute and the buyer and seller cannot agree on where the funds should be sent, the escrow (perhaps influenced by the decision of an arbitrator) has the deciding vote.

This conflict-resolution system along with a reputation system have the potential to give people enough confidence to trade without reliance on existing legal systems.

OpenBazaar is up and running now, and a variety of goods and services can be bought there today. However, the software is still being tested; a completed version is scheduled for release in early 2015.

SilentVault

One of the biggest concerns with Bitcoin is that it has serious privacy issues. Bitcoin is the most transparent currency ever created. If you don’t take steps to protect your privacy when using Bitcoin, anyone anywhere can view your entire transaction history. SilentVault offers a solution to the Bitcoin privacy issue. It also facilitates trade in other currencies, including gold and silver.

SilentVault is a wallet application that allows users to bring in cryptocurrencies (currently Bitcoin and Litecoin), then to spend them “silently,” or “off chain” (not recorded on the transparent ledger/blockchain).

What you hold and trade with your SilentVault wallet are vouchers representing assets, not the assets themselves. While this is obvious for gold or silver, which are not digital assets, the distinction is important for Bitcoin. The wallet contains vouchers, which are cryptographically signed, digital bearer certificates that are analogous to coins.

These vouchers can be traded and exchanged with other SilentVault wallet users privately, securely, and in a peer-to-peer fashion. The system can also be used as an exchange, as you can trade vouchers backed by different assets (bitcoin, gold, silver, etc.) with fellow users.

SilentVault systems are built using privacy and security-focused software. All communications are made within private servers with no public-facing IP addresses. End-to-end encryption is used so that even SilentVault can’t monitor chats or view the contents of users’ wallets.

SilentVault is available for use today.

Open-Transactions

Open-Transactions and its commercial version Monetas provide tools for what you would think of as normal financial transactions, checks, invoices, etc., in a cryptographically secure and distributed fashion. However, it also includes many nontraditional financial transactions such as online cash-like transactions, issuing currencies, commodity trades, and smart contracts.

Unlike Bitcoin or Ethereum, Open-Transactions is server-based software. This has some advantages—it’s faster and cheaper—but it’s not as resilient as Bitcoin. The Open-Transactions developers imagine a trustless system of federated servers where there are a wide variety of servers available and they are nearly incapable of fraudulent behavior.

Bitcoin’s and Open-Transactions’ very different system designs make them very complementary to each other. Bitcoin works well but doesn’t currently have the scalability, wide variety of features, or speed that Open-Transactions can provide. Open-Transactions and Monetas are integrating a number of Bitcoin features, such as security features for Bitcoin exchanges. You can think of Open-Transactions as providing financial services around Bitcoin—for example, facilitating trades from gold to bitcoin and back or supporting off-chain transactions.

Like all of our examples, Open-Transactions exists outside the traditional banking system; however, it provides an impressive selection of financial tools. This has the potential to allow someone who is “unbanked” to use banking tools or even become an international commodities trader. As Open-Transactions’ commercial incarnation, Monetas, says, they are “launching the financial inclusion revolution.”

Open-Transactions is an ongoing open-source development project. The commercial version of the software, Monetas, is currently developing mobile phone apps as well as commercial products that should be available soon.

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

This article was originally published by Casey Research.