A Tale as Old as Time: Crypto and Money
Can blockchain and cryptocurrencies provide an answer to the coupled scandals of money and Internet security? Can new systems wrench the software stacks of the global information economy away from administrative states and manipulative invaders that increasingly debauch our computers and our money?
Can global entrepreneurs of the Cryptocosm create a blockstack of secure and unimpeachable data unreachable and unmanipulable by bureaucrats and other predators around the globe?
In recent weeks, blockchain companies and entrepreneurs, from Satoshi on down, in China and the United States, have increasingly asked me for advice about how to address the crisis of money.
Currency trading has become the world’s largest industry. It outpaces food and clothing and transport and healthcare and shelter. At some $6.7 trillion dollars a day, up some 30% over the last three years, it booms on in the face of trade wars, currency manipulations, and international economic conflict.
A hypertrophy of finance divorced from collateral and enterprise and mostly performed by computers at trans-human velocities, trading mimics investment and masquerades as capitalism. But it accomplishes no economic advance or growth except perhaps in the 11 leviathan banks and their central banker accessories that perform the bulk of the money shuffles.
Increasingly nationalized and deemed “too big to fail,” these institutions enjoy downside government guarantees under the administrative state, central banking rules, and crony capitalist enactments such as the Dodd Frank law. Thus in the information theory of economics that I expound, they are essentially government institutions that fail to expose themselves to the filters of entrepreneurial failure, risk, and falsifiability that are crucial to learning and capitalist growth. They represent a strange Marxoid manifestation of life after capitalism.
These financial institutions violate the principle propounded by Karl Popper, the early 20th century Hungarian proponent of the scientific method, who insisted on falsifiability as the prerequisite of scientific propositions.
If wealth is knowledge and growth is learning, as I insist, then government guarantees stifle wealth and thwart the very economic growth they purport to promote.
Meanwhile, internet security has become a tool of giant companies to harass their customer with a combinatorial explosion of passwords, PINs, security questions, and multi-factor pettifoggery that gratifies only big company lawyers and government officials…
The Issue with the Internet
The internet has become a porous pyramid where all the data, power and money rise to the top where it is hacked by rogues and politicians. In the face of a 20-30% rise in spending on computer security, the number of breaches of personal data rose in 2019 roughly eightfold, from over a billion to over eight billion.
The most obvious sign of a broken paradigm: the more you spend on it the worse the outcomes.
In Life After Google I heralded the rise of bitcoin and the blockchain as perfect remedies for this double catastrophe of computer hacking: nerds and saboteurs breaking down Internet security and central bankers emerging as giant embezzlers of the world’s savings in behalf of incumbent politicians.
Austrian economic titan Friedrich Hayek put it best: “The root and source of all monetary evil is government monopoly of money.” In The Evolution of Everything, Matt Ridley elaborates: “The government monopoly of money leads not just to the suppression of innovation and experiment, not just to inflation and debasement, not just to financial crises, but to inequality too.”
My key message of the Cryptocosm is that money must be transformed from a magic wand for central bankers into a measuring stick for entrepreneurs.
Stay tuned for more on this tomorrow…
Editor, Gilder’s Daily Prophecy