Bitcoin: Problem, Reaction, Solution?

Julie Beal
Activist Post

A schism has been created in the activist world, with the appearance of the algorithm called Bitcoin. Its apparent genius means that we haven’t a chance of knowing how good Bitcoin is, because it’s clear that the person or people who created it had expertise in cryptography AND economics, along with a good working knowledge of network science, computer technology, maths, law, and commerce.

In Davis’s New Yorker article he describes the impenetrable nature of Nakamoto’s code. Every time his computer security researcher thought he found a hole, he would discover a taunting message from Nakamoto indicating it had already been patched. It was, Davis said, like a thief tunneling under a bank only to discover that someone had poured concrete into his path “with a sign telling him to go home. (Adam L. Penenberg, 2011)

Since most people specialise, not diversify, within their field of knowledge, few people are in a position to judge Bitcoin’s efficacy, or its potential effect.

We know Bitcoin’s clever, and we know it’s popular, but we can’t be sure it will win. Only time will tell.

Because both the stated purpose, and the design, of Bitcoin, is to improve upon the problems of our current economy, many activists have come to believe Bitcoin is far better than what we have now, and is therefore worth pursuing. However, there are also activists who have always said we’re heading for a New World Order with a one-world currency, controlled by an implanted ID-microchip which can be turned off remotely, and Bitcoin is one of the many digital currencies which are the first step in this direction. It’s totally digital, and is also totally dependent on proprietary hardware, bandwidth, and energy supplies.

Even if we forget about these dependencies, we’ve already witnessed the reformation of Bitcoin, since the FINCEN guidance (intermediaries must check IDs) and the raid on Silk Road (disobey and they take your coins away). Whilst some exchanges are still taking a few days to confirm the legal identities of their users, others have opted for government-sanctioned social logins, or even biometrics, to verify IDs within minutes.

Nonetheless, the initial rumours that Bitcoin is anonymous seem to have stuck, and digi-cash is officially cool, and its users feel empowered. Its media reputation goes hand-in-hand with Anonymous, Assange, Manning, and the mask (all classic icons for a future story, telling the history of the Wild Wild CyberWest, and how it was tamed).

But there are many who believe that Bitcoin has the potential to become the trackable, turn-off-able digital currency we’ve always talked about – one that makes a microchip so precious, it’s safer to implant it. Citizen: barcoded.

The resulting schism amongst activists would be all the more ironic, therefore, if Bitcoin turns out to be a stepping stone to the Verichip. Advocates of Bitcoin suggest it’s better to ‘trust the math’. As an opponent of purely digital, trackable currencies, that’s like asking me to trust A.I. to run the world, instead of human beings. (Google and NASA have the world’s biggest quantum computer, capable of cracking any cryptographic codes, and they intend for it to be the biggest and best Artificial Intelligence possible.)

A ‘basket’ of global currencies is evolving, but few Bitcoin advocates, or opponents, seem aware of the existence of currencies such as Ven, Mintchip, and the Eco-pesa. However, the power of Agenda 21 is pitching us towards a future of eco-currencies, backed by nature (ecosystem services), and by those in power. The most worrying development was the conference last month, at which plans to implement a global sustainable currency, called the Globo, were announced, as a way to address currency wars, and the cost of payments online.

Reform of the payments ecosystem has been taking place for many years, in response to the spread of smartphones and internet access, and their effect upon business, finance, and public services. People want the ease and convenience of a digital wallet, and the infrastructure for this is almost in place, e.g. NFC. The ID chips are now in phones and computers, using technology approved by the NSA (trusted computing),and protocols approved by governments (the Open Identity Exchange).

All that’s needed now is to convert all cash into a digital format.

Bitcoin, for all its cryptographic genius, will always be vulnerable to regulation, and reliant on corporate hardware. If its success increases, more and more middlemen will become involved in the transmission of Bitcoin, and the regulation of trust between peers.

Once Bitcoin is ‘just another currency’ in the Data Asset Transfer Grid, run by Ripple, the Skynet will be complete.

…. digital currency is definitely the next stage in wealth control. It may or may not be bitcoin specifically, but it’s coming fast. If you bet on bitcoin and lose, well, you lose. In my opinion it’s not about trying to make a buck (or bitcoin) it’s about delaying the end game as long as possible. With each new step, the control grid strengthens. Get out of line, click… your wealth has been ‘turned off’. (David Freedom)

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