Cryptoism

crypto-Anarchism

A spectre is haunting the world — the spectre of Cryptoism. All the powers of the old world of flesh and steel have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: political puppets of every party around the globe, regulators and bankers from every corner of the planet, and police and military forces of every nationality.

Two things result from this fact:

I. Crypto and cyberspace is already acknowledged by all world powers to be itself a power.

II. It is high time that Digital Natives should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their view, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Cryptoism with a manifesto of objectives.

To this end, digital citizens around the world have started running nodes to distribute our code, and create a new society across the global. Arise Digizens! You have nothing left to lose but the chains of the old world, and a whole world to win!

From each according to the code, to each according to the keys!

Introduction

Over the last several years I have worked on this body of articles in an attempt to create a cohesive Theory of Bitcoin. Here is my abstract:

The Internet is a sovereign territory that exist outside and above the control of all state governments. Due to the international nature, and economic dependence that all states have on the internet; the internet has now become a spectre that is beyond any of their control. This combine with the imperious nature of bitcoin forms a new kind of money and power that can render the state useless. This power can supplant state institutions, and allow for all people of the world to economically and politically unite in 21st century, but only if we struggle to make it so. Using the internet and bitcoin we can create an international digital sydicate that will allow for the free economic and information exchange of all people around the globe as a single political body.

I have divided my writings into three (I, II, III) distinct sections. Part one explores the legal history of money; part two covers the economic functions of bitcoin; and part three covers the radical political, social, and economic ramifications of bitcoin.

Part One

This rather long section is of necessity to understand what exactly money is and how it functions from a legal and historical standpoint. There is a long and complicated legal and economic history of money and we must have some understanding of it in order to see how money is a distinct and separate object from value. We must understand that legal power over a long history has literally striped the intrinsic value from money, and replaced it with a false idol of fiat money. This is a form of theft that is only possible through legal means. This has allowed for all States to steal from their citizenry with great sophistication and guile through their alliance with the bankers. It has been over the course of several generations that money has ever-so-slowly lost its power as an intrinsic vehicle for wealth, and been enshrined in the legalist framework of state-capitalism. It is through the State’s monopolization of the mode of exchange–money itself–which has allowed for the State to divorced fiat money from intrinsic value. This in turn has created the great number of economic issues we face today.

To divorce intrinsic value from money itself is an incredible feat for the state; however, it is not without its problems. The state can only monopolize money through force and ideology, not majesty or science. States will always be unsuccessful with the monopolization of money, and history can testify to that.

This is where understanding the mechanics of bitcoin becomes extremely important. Because of bitcoin’s known, fixed monetary supply, infinite divisibility, and imperious security through cryptography; bitcoin becomes something much more than just money, wealth, or value. Bitcoin creates a totally independent, stateless system of economic and information exchange that is pseudonymous over the internet. This is extraordinarily revolutionary, as it creates the basis for a new economic system built on top of cryptography outside of the mortality and corruption of law. This will usher in an epochal change that happens only a few times each millennial!

Once we understand the mechanics of bitcoin we can see that it is truly digital gold. And just like gold, it will be impossible to eradicate from the world. However, there is one feature that dramatically separates bitcoin from that of other commodity monies: its non-physical nature.

The power of the non-physical nature of bitcoin eludes to what I have taken to calling The Digital Sovereign. This is the real power of the internet to affect and change society from without, as a sovereign force. It is with bitcoin that the internet has an economic mode for itself. This economic mode is what will start to radicalize the internet on a whole. When the internet sees the true power that lies within it to change the world, how it can do it with its own money, there will be nothing to stop it.

Part Two

Section two mainly covers the economic functions of bitcoin. First we will explain the mathematical and cryptographic features that make bitcoin provably better money than any money that exist today. We will go into detailed analysis of the features of good moneys, and how bitcoin exudes and embodies all of those ideals in the most scientific manner. This will allow for us to go into a detailed analysis of current system of fiat monetary exchange as a commodity itself. This commodity is the network that is money. Through treating fiat money in this way, we can directly contrast and analysis it against bitcoin.

It is from this lens that we can drive a wedge between the value of money itself as a network, from the value of the legal force embedded within that money. This is explained in the first section in regards to bonitas intresica, and valors imporium. Once we can see all money as being only a network of exchange, than we can see how that network operates both inside and outside of the hands of governments, and their limited economic control.

When we take classic economic theories such as Grehmsham’s Law, Course’s Transaction Theory, and the works of Keynes, Gesell, Hayak, and combine them with the tenets of anarchism, we are given a radical new understanding of bitcoin. It is once we understand how bitcoin functions economically, and why it is superior to other forms of money, that bitcoin shows itself to be the technological tour-de-force that it is.

Finally, taking Schumpeter’s theory of creative destruction, we can see laid out before us the radical and revolutionary technological power that bitcoin will use to change the world. This is not an opinion, but a fact of economic function. This is given to us by Hayak, who offers us a glimpse into the future with liberated money. In his magnis opus “The Denationalization of Money,” he describes how a world of competitive, non-state currencies would work, and how it can answer the economic and political crises of today.

With the application of understanding bitcoin as a commodity money, we can apply classic banking practices within bitcoin to create a new form of money through transparent fractional banking. This will be the model that will allow bitcoin to become the rails of the financial system, and for bitcoin to build its own debt-based units. This will spell the doom of the contemporary banking and monetary system.

This new form of money is the bridge to the future, and is the core nexus of the ideological development that will be the next epoch of humanity: The Digital Sovereign. It will be the answer to how humans are going to solve all of the monumental and heart-wrenching issues that plague our world today. With the historical and economic ramifications of bitcoin explained from the first two sections, we can now go into the third and most important of the three sections: The political power of bitcoin.

Part Three

Bitcoin is not about money at all… it is about our core values of human-beings and what it means to be free people. Freedom is a condition and identity that is acknowledge through condition alone, and today we are not free, but we can be. Through organizing around the use of bitcoin for ALL of our economic exchange and holding of bitcoin as a form of economic resistance, we can exert true political pressure on a corrupt system through economic means. If just 1% of the world’s population would be militant enough to use bitcoin in this way, as a revolutionary tool to help people organize against the machine, it would be but a week before the system started to seize, and less than a month before it were in cataclysmic turmoil.

This is the power of revolutionary syndicalism on a transglobal scale; we can use the internet and bitcoin to organize ourselves and achieve revolutionary ends. We can organize politically, independent of one another, while having economic solitary together against our respective governments.  Using bitcoin as an economic weapon against the corrupt state-capitalist machine to which we all belong, we can realistically create dramatic change in our world. Pulling from the historic traditions of anarchism, we can ultimately organize around the theory of the general strike. This will cause for a complete collapse of the State-capitalism as we know it so we may transition to a new way forward.

This is only possible if we proactively start building towards a better tomorrow now! We must do this through the formation of a revolutionary political union, and advocate from this seemingly radical stance. Through the use of the internet as an ideological tool, we will create a new class consciousness. This class consciousness will fully contain and represent the international proletariate through the ability of all people everywhere to use, interact and organize with the internet itself; and to use bitcoin as the economic vehicle to bring about change.

Next Section: Sovereign Violence and Legitimacy of Law

Bitcoin is a Commodity Money

We have discussed several different ways in which bitcoin creates an intrinsic value for itself. We also have discussed the absolute value that cryptography offers, and how States conjure up fiat money through legal violence via valor impositus, rather than creating money with real bonitas intrinseca value of metals that are coined. Now that we have an understanding of the above concepts, we can discuss how bitcoin is a commodity money, made from rare unique bits of data that create the whole cohesive framework that makes up bitcoin.

Satoshium

For this post I am going to pretend that bitcoins are real coins that are minted from a new metal called Satoshium. This metal is ugly, has few uses, and cannot be physically touched, as it is invisible–overall it is pretty useless. However this new metal is very, very divisible, malleable and it can be transported over any digital communication channel. All Satoshium that will ever comes into existence is created through the coinbase reward that ‘mints’ bitcoin units, which happens during the process of ‘bitcoin mining’.

The reason for the fictionalizing this alloy Satoshium is several fold:

1) To elaborate on the very important distinction between the legal creation of currency out of nothing, and how that is different from the minting of coins which must gain their value from the material the coins are made from. This is the distinction of legal tender under the force of law (valor impositus) and the nominal value states creates out of thin air (the expansion of the money supply), verses natural (bonitas intrinseca) money, which derives its value from no enforcement, or organization of men; but from the intrinsic use-value the object possess in-itself. This is seen most frequently with precious metals, but also with objects of use value like cigarettes.

2) Bitcoins can be used for much more than just money. When bitcoin units are creatively destroyed (proof-of-burn, colored coins, etc) it is similar to the melting down coins to use the metal for something more useful. Contracts, identity, transparent taxation, autonomous agents, etc. can all be created from Satoshium, or the outright destruction of bitcoin units.

3) Bitcoin is really a several dynamic systems working together (payment, identity, proof-of-existence, ownership, PGP system, etc) each with their own purpose. This is in addition to the fact that ‘bitcoins’–what one could think of as the cassacious coin, and I refer to as ‘bitcoin units’–is separate from owning a bitcoin address with no money in it.

Today we shall cover only the first item, and discuss how the bits of data that create the individual bitcoins have their own unique values that are not found within in the laws of men, but the laws of math.

Satoshium Mining

bitcoin monetary base

bitcoin monetary base

Let us think of Satoshium similar to gold or silver, with a few notable exceptions. Satoshium is rarer than gold; with only 2,100 trillion units (0.00000001 BTC–the smallest bitcoin unit, ‘a satoshi’) of Satoshium that can ever exist. Today there are about 1,350 trillion units of Satoshium that have been discovered through the ‘Satoshium mining’ process. More and more people are mining everyday with better, and better mining equipment–which is making it harder for current miners to find the mining reward. We will comeback to how bitcoins are ‘minted’ from satoshium using the coinbase reward process later in this post.

Another unique trait about satoshium is that it has a very, very steady inflation rate. For every 10 minutes of satoshium mining that is done on the bitcoin network (combining all of the mining power that everyone is using to find satoshium–be it 9 computers, or 9 billion) there are 5 billion units of satoshium discovered. After the first 4 years of mining, this amount was reduced by 1/2, to 2.5 billion units for the same 10 minute block of total work by the network. This amount will continue to divide in half every 4 years until there are no more units to be divided, which will be somewhere around 2138. Today there is much less satoshium available for mining than there was even just a few years ago–this is similar to the real deflation that metals, like gold, silver, and platinum experience over time, as they also have a finite supply.

Satoshium mining has become very difficult because so much mining energy is competing for these limited number of bitcoin units; the little guy can no longer mine satoshium on their own–it is simply too hard. This would be like trying to mine for gold with only a pick and shovel, while the guy next to you has a gold mining operation–you are not going to win. To resolve this, people discovered that if they ‘pool’ their work, everyone can share in the reward of satoshium mining based upon how much work they are doing for the bitcoin network.

The Minting of Bit-coins

Satoshium is really the coinbase reward, which is the raw material that bitcoins are minted from (fun fact, the only way you can truly destroy a bitcoin is through not claiming the full coinbase reward). In the same manner that gold is just a hunk of metal before it is minted into a coin; so is satoshium is to bitcoin. When someone is rewarded for satoshium mining, those satoshium units are grouped into chunks of 100 million units and ‘minted’ single bitcoin. This is the coinbase reward process. This ‘mints’ satoshium units into bitcoins based upon what the block reward is at that time, and pays that reward of new coins out to a new bitcoin address. This is the ‘minting’ process and how the bitcoin network creates new bitcoins.

Though each bitcoin is created equally, the data that comprises of each individual bitcoin is unique and different. Each bitcoin addresses has unique identifying properties, that differentiate each individual bitcoin to their owners, but to no one else. This is similar to the serial number that is unique to each dollar bill. This means that the history of that particular bitcoin (or subdivisions of that bitcoin) can be tracked, and can only be spent when the 53-digit unique hexadecimal private key authorizes its movement. If properly secured, it is impossible to ‘hack’ a bitcoin address and take the money from that address; as only the private key will be able to move it. This is why there are several bitcoin addresses that have tens of millions of dollars in them, and not a single one has been hacked.

The mining process is also what ensures that there are no ‘double-spend’ attacks. In lay-terms, a double-spend attack is similar to check-kiting, where one spending the balance in checking account twice before the bank can check to make sure the funds are there. We won’t go into details about this right now, but just be aware that the mining process also acts as the gatekeepers to the transference of funds, and offers mathematical assurance that no coins can be stolen, or double-spent.

The Money Supply of Bitcoin

The reason for us fictionalizing the metal Satoshium is to make clear the distinction between fiat currency that are made from nothing, and commodity money which must derive their value from an object’s intrinsic worth–the value is found in the money itself, not vice-versa. A fiat currency is a scrips certificate of exchange issued from a central bank. The scrip itself (such as a $20 bill) is just worthless paper–there is no bonitas intrinseca about it. An infinite number of these scrips can be created, as their values are created and set by the dollar accounting system controlled by the Third Bank of the United States (also known as The Fed–a misleading term that I hate). Each one of these scrips can be redeemed for goods and services for the nominal value printed on it, because it is legal tender–one must accept fiat money in exchange for goods or services. If not, you will face the wrath of the law.

Historically, once could exchange the nominal value of these worthless papers for a precise measure of commodity money, such as gold or silver. However, fiat currency no longer has any sort of value backing them–since 1973 they have been free-floating. Governments are now free to print as much money as the like, which they are happily doing. This is because there has been a low level currency war going on since 2008, and it is starting to intensify. This means that while there still is a finite, natural supply of all physical objects; there now is twice as much money (in the case of the US) that can purchase those same objects.

This is how governments expand the money supply to create inflation. This bleeds the value of the hard-earned savings of common people, in order to further enrich the current ruling class. All people in all nations are now facing these political calamities that will make us all economic casualties.

Velocity of Money

Velocity of USD

When more units of a currency are injected into circulation, this causes for a total number of units within the system to increase. If the velocity of money were normal today, this would mean that the prices of everything would double over night–but it has not. This is because the velocity of money is at historic lows, at less than 1/2 of what it normally is. This is not a mistake, but a response to the QE of the FED.

Let us compare this to how bitcoins are ‘minted’. Bitcoins derive their value from the bonitas intrinseca, the real economic work that has been preformed in the Satoshium mining process, and the use-value that Satoshium has. Each and ever single bitcoin in existence must have came from a coinbase reward–there is no other way to create bitcoins. In order to create the coinbase reward, real computational work that takes real energy–no different from the energy used to dig gold from the ground–must be preformed.

With Satoshium mining, this ‘work’ is done in the form of solving very, very, very complex mathematic problems that secure the network from ever being corrupted. This gives each bitcoin unit equal, market-based value due to the fact that it cost real-time energy to produce bitcoin today. There is no way to modify the number of bitcoin units that can be created (unlike fiat money), as bitcoins can only come from the coinbase reward, and that is hardcoded into bitcoin. This ensures all bitcoiners that no one can ever just change the supply of bitcoin in the way the US can, or any other central bank can for their currency (I’m looking at you Japan and EU).

Bitcoin as a Currency

Money can be held here and proven that it exist

This is a public bitcoin address. If you have the private key for this address you can control the money there.

For us to understand bitcoin as a currency, let us think of bitcoin paper wallet for the moment. This is a piece of paper that has the private key of a bitcoin address printed on it. When one inputs the private key of that address into a bitcoin client, they can access, and transfer the bitcoin found in that addresses. This is a currency bill in the most fundamental sense of the word; as it is not that piece of paper that has any value, but what it represents. What has value is the private key, as that can access the bitcoin–not the paper itself. The paper has only exchange value, not use-value. This is how banking classically existed for centuries with banking bills representing some value of gold until the 1973, when the dollar dropped its peg to gold.

Although bitcoin is called a digital currency, that is a bit of a misnomer. Bitcoin is not a currency but a commodity-money. Bitcoins must come from the coinbase reward process, and that process can only be done through the electrical labor of mining. Thus, like physical coins, a bitcoin can only be created when the correct ‘bits’ are ‘minted’ into bitcoins. Bitcoins cannot just be created willy-nilly–real computational work must be done, and real energy expended to mint bitcoins.

This is why we have differentiated the creation of bitcoin units from that of Satoshium mining. If we are to mint coins, physical or otherwise, we must have something to mint, we cannot make coins from nothing! And this is the very place that commodity monies are different from fiat money–fiat money does not represent anything other than the law, whereas bitcoins ARE something–very special data sets verified by the bitcoin network.

Bitcoin is a Commodity Money

gold-silver-bitcoinBitcoin is a commodity money because the cryptography that bitcoin is built on top of. This has created the contract that limits the supply of bitcoin units and protects the bitcoin payment network. It is cryptography that creates the immutable and fungibility of bitcoin units and the imperium of the bitcoin network. This immutability creates a use-value for bitcoin, which also creates its exchange value. Furthermore, the ‘satoshium’ units of bitcoin can be broken down and used for all sort of other various contractual functions. By understanding bitcoin as a commodity money, we can see the true value that bitcoin has is outside of the legal constructs of the state.

The internet now has money that is loyal to no political body, or statist organizations; but to digital ideals alone. This is not just the economic base of a new epoch, but a political one as well. Bitcoin is the economic praxis that will allow for humans to create a new class consciousness. We can use the internet to help us create a new society, and we can use bitcoin as the economic mode to create that new world.

Bitcoin is not about money, and has nothing to do with money. Bitcoin is about political power, sovereignty, and the freedom of economic exchange. This is in direct and antagonistic relations to any and all states. Bitcoin seeks to destroy the old institutions of political power, and replace them with new digitized, decentralized ones.

Once people start to see and reject the corrupt and worthless scrips of the states, there is going to be a great unraveling unlike anything we have seen before. The crisis will collapse the value of all fiat money to becoming nearly worthless, and the value of cryptocurrencies will explode. There will be chaos, and there will be anarchy–but these are the conditions of creative destruction that we must have in order to rebuild something better in place of this corrupt and wicked system called state capitalism. 

Next: Bitcoin and The History of Money

Sovereign Violence and Legitimacy of Law

“Yes, [we will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography,] but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years. Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks like Napster, but pure P2P networks like Gnutella and Tor seem to be holding their own.”

–Satoshi Nakamoto

This is one of the few political comments that we are offered from Satoshi. This is a reference to Micheal Foucault’s interview on power and sovereignty found in Truth and Power:

The monarchy presented itself as a referee, a power capable of putting an end to war, violence and pillage and saying no to these struggles and private feuds. It made itself acceptable by allocating itself a juridical and negative function, albeit one whose limits it naturally began at once to overstep. Sovereign, law and prohibition formed a system of representation of power which was extended during the subsequent era by the theories of right: political theory has never ceased to be obsessed with the person of the sovereign. Such theories still continue today to busy themselves with the problem of sovereignty. What we need, however, is a political philosophy that isn’t erected around the problem of sovereignty, nor therefore around the problems of law and prohibition. We need to cut off the King’s head: in political theory that has still to be done.

Sovereignty, Legitimacy and How Violence Connects Them

The fundamental issue at hand is one of sovereignty–who has the supreme right of rule? Today, governments around the globe have anointed themselves with the supreme right to rule over almost every aspect of life. This is not because of their majesty or our consanguinity, but simply from their monopolization on violence, and the legal framework they use to justify it. There has been a long, and precipitous train of abuses that has created the world as it is today, and considerable injustice that has forced us to ask such questions.

We first must questions where this Right comes from. This Right is not only a historical residue impressed upon us from the evolution of society from feudalism, but also an ideological perspective that is reinforced incessantly throughout our lives. When we reduce this power down to how it operates on an individual and organizational levels, we can see beyond the garb of officialdom, legitimacy, and righteousness that it purports to be, for the crude, barbaric machine that it really is: violence organized under the banner of the state.

This action was legal for the police to carry out–no violence came to the officer for doing this.

Violence is the basis of power that governments use to project their legitimacy into the world. This is done through explicit means, such as police, military, prisons, laws, and regulations; but also through discreet means such as education, religion, bureaucracy, and especially elections. The discreet channels of what is seen as ‘correct’ or ‘legitimate’ is the most powerful form of controlling the conversations of ‘what is violence’ and who is entitled to it. This creates the context for which violence can be used, and thus justified. The utilization of violence to enforce the status quo (i.e. the law) is justified by the ideological discipline that demands authority to be respected, and obeyed for no reason other than that ‘authority should be respected, and obeyed’.

The fact that we are allowed to vote for one of two representatives that invariably represent the same corporate interest of the status quo, is part of the greater dialog that has us believe the legitimacy of such violence. We are told that we have ‘democratic power’ and that if we can just elect the right person (despite having no sort of electoral process for the police or army), that we will be able to solve our political woes. The truth of the matter is distinctly different.

There are people in this world that can initiate violence against others within explicit legal means with no form of recourse. We are subjects underneath the law and subject to it, and we have masters that are outside and above the law; which ironically calls itself the ‘law enforcement’.

It is the threat of this systematized violence in all capacities (legal, economic, personal) that governments base their power from. It is under this banner of legitimacy via legal violence that all governments have operated through all of history. That might shall make right, and as the official judicial decision, that is final. This is the legal bases of the laws of the state, and this is why they can command your death–because they have the power to do so.

Sadly, there simply has never been any other way to politically organize with the exception of sporadic, unsustainable revolutions that fold back into the same power structure that rely on violence. As revolutionary chaos grows, it harnesses the apparatuses of power for itself, and becomes the Specter of the State, legitimizing its own violence and corruption.

This is the theory of the sovereign–how political institutions create power over one another–it is done from the point of a sword, again, and again; through all of history.

This is the revolutionary struggle for sovereignty. As Foucault pointed out, so long as we are still grappling with this central issue in political theology of enshrining the power of life and violence one over another into a legal system, be it in the form of a senator, minister, police officer, judge or king; there will still be the problem of the great negative forms of power. Masters of all institutions seek to be good masters; but first and foremost, they seek to be masters. There is an alliance among the aristocrats that they all believe there is good reason for them to be masters over the world, and to hold power over all.

Sovereignty as we know it can only exist at the bequeathment from something or someone; or violently take from those same powers through revolution. Once entered into the subject of sovereignty, there is an immediate glaring flaw that a political body must offer sovereignty, or it must be taken by force. This force is what we seek to avoid in the first place, and what has locked humanity into a permanent struggle for power against and over itself–homos lupus homnium. For all of human history, this concept has battled between its two poles: one of accepting the sovereignty offered from another, or to fight that offering to take it for oneself. Violence and physical force are the tools used for the sovereign struggle to establish who is master, and who is slave.

Political History of Sovereignty

The most recent political revolutions of the late 16th century shifted the power by delegitimizing the divine right of kings, and enumerating that power into republican councils. Although there was resemblances of change within the structure of power, what really occurred was a shattering; a mutation of the system and a fracturing of power among many actors.  Sovereignty was stripped from kings, and that power was divided among the various ideological structures and repressive state apparatuses that make the modern state.

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 9.08.16 PMPower is no longer centralized within one body (The King), but is fractured into the government bureaucracy itself as a corporate body. Power, legality, legitimacy, sovereignty, the party as aristocracy, and state-sanctioned violence as a means to execute the law, are all part of this same political-government structure. However, these forces are no longer vested in the one body of the monarchy, but a new body of people outside the law itself. The decree of Divine Right that was once used to inflict the rule by Kings, is today being used to inflict the Rule of the State, but this time under the title of civil liberties.

Invariable, man finds himself under the bludgeon, chain, and whip, happy to oblige, for he no longer has one master, but many! And this time they are for the good of civil liberties! He fails to recognize that the defenders of civil liberties seek to protect their own rights first and foremost at the expense of his flesh.

Violence is the means that compliance with unjust laws are explicitly extorted upon the populous.  It is not the justice or majesty of contemporary legal systems that enforces the law; but ruthless, uncaring, violence. It is within the hidden manipulations of what is normal and appropriate that we also find apologists who demand to be ruled as a subjects, not people.

If people are to liberate themselves from such an insidious and total system of rule, it must be upon their own merits to help themselves. People must arm themselves with knowledge, and a willingness to think critically to create a new, and better world. Using the internet, bitcoin, and strong crypto we can create a better world, and establish new laws from within the internet to help save us from global environmental catastrophe that is coming.

Cryptography and Self-Legitimacy

Digital currencies retreats from the theology of sovereignty via violence through creating a new mode of sovereignty. Intangible and non-physical, this new form of power is created through a destituent form of power, one that withdraws and refuses to cooperate with any form of violence.

Legitimacy within cryptography is created from knowable and provably unbreakable secrets that can only exist the digital realm or mathematics. It cares not for what occurs in the physical world, but only that of which it can experience in the digital world: provable mathematics and the sacrament of the private key.

Legitimacy no longer comes from an authority within the current political or economic system, but creates its legitimacy through explicitly existing outside of any states control and the violence they enshrine. 

The concept of sovereign is flipped on its head. No longer does legitimacy need to come from state institutions that are empowered via violence, but through provable mathematical systems that are not part of the violence power structure. This creates a new economy system with No God, and No Masters.

No longer do we need to pay for the privilege of our freedom to exchange with one another, or be extorted by the Gods of Government, or their Masters of Capitalism.  Bitcoin re-invents money into what it once was, and was always suppose to be–a network of legal and economic exchange for all people everywhere.

Next: The Legal Politics of Money

The Economic Functions of Bitcoin

The economic functions of the bitcoin network it to behave like a central bank. This has a few effects: bitcoins (the payment unit) behave like stock due to the fixed, known supply of units being subject to open market operations. What happens when the market price of bitcoin changes is the velocity of bitcoin falls into disequilibrium until a new equilibrium is found. This is why the transaction volume of bitcoin its extraordinarily high during the bubble cycle, both on the way up, and on the way down. From this observation we can see the velocity of bitcoin also serves as the price finding mechanism for the immediate price of bitcoin. Before we dive in deeper, lets first take a look at how bitcoin acts as a private bank in the digital world.

Bitcoin: The Private Bank for The Digital World

If bitcoin was a private bank it would have the following maxim as its monetary policy:      

  • Whomever secures the Network shall be reward 50 bitcoin with each new block. This amount shall decrease by 1/2 every 210,000 blocks until it cannot be halved any longer.

This is the issuance of bit-coins, the currency unit, is made from the electrical energy spent mining bitcoins. We can see the monetary inflation schedule for bitcoin below. The supply of bitcoins is 100% totally fixed–the only way that new coins can be created is through solving a specific block, and the reward for that is drops every 4 years.  

bitcoin supply growth over time

bitcoin supply growth over time

In order to have a money system that needs no central authority, Satoshi made bitcoin based upon rules that are fixed and secured by the mining process. This allows for a system where all bitcoin units are known at all times, thus making the double spend problem solved.

trinityIf bitcoin is a central bank, it would have to solve the impossible trinity problem that all central banks face (except the U.S. but that is a different story). Bitcoin accomplished this by creating a computer program with an independent monetary policy that humans cannot interfere with. The block reward, how the competition for the block reward is done, and the fixed supply of units are all parts of the bitcoin program that cannot be changed.

Anyone with a bitcoin address can use bitcoin, and it is impossible to know who is controlling each address, so bitcoin must be freely exchangeable. This means that the ‘sacrifice’ that bitcoin has made in terms of the impossible trinity is that it has no fixed exchange rate–the market must find an exchange rate based upon bitcoin’s perceived value, and the number of units available to the market. This free flow of capital from any sources is what allows for bitcoin to have been worthless just a few years ago, and why it could be worth $10,000s per coin one day. The free flow of capital is what creates the total elasticity that bitcoin experiences. 

Bitcoin and Deflation

When economist have called bitcoin deflationary they are referring to its economic property of rising in value over time. This is due to the restricted supply of bitcoins while there is increasing demand for them. This is similar to how if you had bought Apple stock in 1980 during its IPO you would have paid $22 per share. Due to the restricted supply of Apple stock and the increase in demand, today it is valued at $520 per share–and that is after 3 splits.

apple price

You could say that Apple stock “deflated” in value.

This occurred while the supply of the stock (# of shares) of Apple increased–it inflated. On three different occasions Apple had their stock split increasing the total number of Apple stocks there were. Again, this is due to the dramatic increase in demand for the stock. This is the kind of deflation that Bitcoin is experiencing overall, despite the volatile ride bitcoin has had over the last few year.

Why Deflation Supposedly Bad

Deflation is bad according to modern monetary theorist who charade as economist because contemporary economies are based upon debt. Fractional reserve banking and debt cannot exist without one another, so when deflation happens, it happens to debt as well. This means the real value of debt becomes harder to service, which means defaults, and bankruptcy will increase. In 1931, Irving Fisher  presented his theory on debt-deflation, which explains this process in greater detail.

This kind of deflation does not happen with bitcoin. There is no need to service ‘debt-bitcoin’ with bitcoin, so debt deflation does not happen. If this were true, we would see a similar collapse in the velocity of bitcoin during deflationary episodes, but in fact we see the opposite. The velocity of bitcoin increases correlatively to the price change of bitcoin in the short-term.

The Price of bitcoin

The price of bitcoin is derived from the total utility of the bitcoin network. In otherwords, bitcoin’s value is specifically tied to how many people are in the network, how useful the network is, and what the perceived value of bitcoin is. This is similar to how Twitter and Facebook have created social value that has translated into real economic value; which is reflected in the stock price of both of these companies. Without their userbases, each one of these networks would be worthless. All networks have a hidden utility that translates into direct economic value. 

The value of bitcoin is based in part off of this network abstraction. In order for price discovery to happen individuals need to use their subjective preference to decide how much each bitcoin is worth, and how much the network itself is worth. This is how the general, long-term price levels for bitcoin are discovered.

The short-term price is discovered according to network externality, such as exchange failures, or political issues. An example would be how bitcoin is ‘more expensive’ in Argentina because of the high rate of inflation that the peso is experiencing. Another would be the dramatic drop in price, and then recovery after the Silk Road was shut down. These network externalities, unlike fiat money, causes for great volititly in the price because there is no goverment to fix the price of bitcoin; only the market. The price of bitcoin reponds to these events through change, which causes for the velocity of bitcoin to increase until a new equilibrium is found.

The Velocity of Bitcoin

Due to the fixed supply of bitcoin, the only way that the price can be adjusted is in one way: through exchange and transaction. This is why during the most volatile times of bitcoin, we see a higher transaction volume. This applies to both increases as well as decreases in the price. Due to the fixed supply of bitcoin, the only way someone can acquire bitcoins is to mine them, or to buy them. Thus if the price of bitcoin is to increase or decrease in ANY WAY, an exchange or transaction must take place for that value to be accounted into the market.

Conclusion

Bitcoin’s deflation is similar to a technology stock where individuals are making real gains though holding a risky asset while it grows. Because bitcoin has a fixed monetary supply that cannot be manipulated, the price of each bitcoin is determined through supply and demand mechanisms. This is reflected in the increase of the velocity of bitcoin. If bitcoin were facing true currency deflation, we would not see the velocity of money decrease.

Next: Gresham’s Law and Bitcoin

The Hope of Bitcoin

The world is a screwed up place and things for many do not seem to be getting better. The U.S. Federal government is dysfunctional beyond repair, with 85% of Americans disapprove of Congress, and the total integrity of the United States being called into questing from the President’s repeated lies and support for the NSA spying. Food Stamp usage is at an all-time high with nearly 48 million people on food stamps, which even that the federal government is slashing that program back, Mean while, it is becoming more and more clear that the Federal Reserve may not be able to service their $4 Trillion dollar deficit, and may also need a tax payer bail out. All in all, the United States is has monumental problems in front of it, and there is no one to lead us out of this mess. We are Screwed.

The Global Stage

The Global stage looks even more bleak. Europe is clearly entering into another major depression, with deflationary pressure forcing down the value of the Euro. Considering that some countries already have +20% unemployment, Europe is entering into a more major and sever economic crisis than the one it is in today. China is bloated with foreign currency loans, which could easily spin out of control and drag the west down with it. The Indian economy is the weakest it has been in 10 years, and does not look like it shall be recovering soon. Argentina is also looking at getting back on the currency crisis merry-go-round, with their foreign currency reserves dwindling and confidence plummeting. All in all, the global economy looks like it is heading for another Great Depression.

Thank God for Bitcoin

Despite all of these horrors going on in the world, I’ve seen my savings increase by more than 200% in the last year–and it looks poised to go up another 200% over the next year. Bitcoin as a storage of wealth I believe to be a relatively safe investment because of its liquidity–I can cash out all of my savings in less than an hour–though I never world. Bitcoin is just too good of a savings instrument in a world where governments can legally allow for banks to steal from you. It is clear that the majority of the governments in the world are nepotistic, corrupt, oligarchic alliances among corporations, bankers, and crooked politicians, who have no interest in you, your friends, family, community, or economic prosperity.

That is why bitcoin is so powerful–it takes back the power of having independent money that cannot be controlled or manipulated. This is money that has value because of its utility of being able to send money anywhere in the world in under one hour, but also from its built-in scarcity. You have the assurance of knowing that there will only ever be 21 million bitcoins created, and you can also know what the monetary supply will be at any point in time. This means that bitcoins are pretty much impossible to counterfeit.

All of the powerful features of bitcoin that got it to the success that we are seeing today is part of what makes it such a powerful savings vehicle. For the first time in one hundred years, people have a commodity money that is not controlled by the state, or their corrupt allies. There is a huge and powerful opportunity for those of us that are involved in the globalized society that is the internet, to create our own economic prosperity together. It is clear that we are doing that with the epic rise in the price of each bitcoin, along with the multitude of products, services, and number of business that are starting to accept bitcoins.

What indicates to me that this is not a bubble is that there is very, very real cost savings that bitcoin is offering. So much so that bitcoin has an almost-zero transaction cost, and when compared to fiat currencies, it has a negative transaction cost! It is obvious for anyone who looks at the macroeconomic statistics of what the cost of governance is compared to bitcoin, which has no cost of governance. Thus we find ourselves using a currency that is simply more efficient in all ways over fiat currency.

Final thoughts

Everyone, even those heavily involved in bitcoin generally say, “Only invest that which you can afford to lose.” I agree to an extent. Where I disagree is the idea that your 401K, savings account, or cash in hand is any safer. It’s not, and frankly over the next 10 years, I would call those investments dangerous. Simply look at what has happened over the last 5 years, and look at the direction we are heading for the next 5 years. Things are NOT looking up, and investing with the vast majority of the world means that you will stuck in their luxury liner as it is going down. The global economy is slowing down faster than it has any time in modern history. The days of 4% unemployment will never return–we have reached the end of growth, and when the house of cards falls, it will be spectacular. For your own safety, I advise everyone to invest just $100 and see what it does for you over the next 6 months. Just watch it and see what you think at the end of the 6 months, I guarantee you will be happy with yourself.

The Transaction Cost of Bitcoin

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have create a new monetary system that relies privacy and pseudonymity to conduct economic transactions, rather than governmental laws and regulations. This monetary structure has several distinct advantages over fiat money that makes cryptocurrencies fundamentally superior to all fiat money.

The current economic paradigm using fiat money creates a system in which transaction costs shall always be higher than those found within the bitcoin ecosystem. This is due to the costs that are associated with the creation, maintenance, and enforcement of laws within the fiat currency system that allows it to function. The privacy and anonymity functions of bitcoin allows for it to function as a money system, while not needing to pay for the legal structure, or enforcement cost of normal money systems.

What Creates Transaction Cost?

According to Ron Coase, who originally theorize about transaction costs in his work the Theory of the Firm, there are three types of transaction cost:

1) Search and information cost

2) Bargaining and decision cost

3) Policing and enforcement cost

These are features that all transactions have and are built into the cost of the transaction. For example you want to buy a loaf of bread, first you need to know where to buy bread (search and information cost). Then you need to decided what a reasonable cost is, and to see if you can get bread at that cost (bargaining and decision cost). And finally you need something to pay for that loaf of bread (policing and enforcement).

Now all three of the above features are ‘cost’ that are associated with any kind of exchange; legal or illegal. The largest key difference with illegal transactions is that third type of transaction cost (policing and enforcement) is replaced with evasion and extralegal cost.

Evasion cost substitutes the policing and enforcement cost. So if one wanted to avoid paying $25,000 in taxes, they could pay a lawyer $10,000 to save $25,000 in taxes. So part of the $25,000 is going towards paying the policing and enforcement cost, where as $10,000 is the alternative evasion cost that one can pay to assure they get away with their full $25,000. So if one pays the evasion cost of $10,000, they will save $15,000 in total.

This $15,000 is a special type of profit because it is derived directly from NOT paying the full transaction cost. This is called risk profit and is only experienced when one takes on evasion cost, or the cost of doing illegal business.

All transactions consists of the three above associated cost. What crypto-currencies offer is a fundamentally different paradigm for how to deal with legal and enforcement cost. Instead of needing violence to enforce the rules of the money system (like fiat money), bitcoin embeds ‘the legal system’ directly in cryptography, merging law and mathematics. This allows for an economy to be built directly on top of the non-aggression principal. Cryptocurrencies have no policing and enforcement cost whatsoever, which shall always create a lower transaction cost.

The Law and what it offers

Today, the law is what offers us financial protection within our current economic system. This is why you can challenge or dispute transactions that you do not recognize on your credit card or debit card. This is also why the Department of Homeland Security can seize your banking accounts and all of your money without notice. Both of these situations arise because of the laws that govern the current economic system. Though laws offer a distinct way of protecting actors within their economic system, and are sometimes of great necessity, it can also be at great expense to the general populous, and to the determent of the economy on a whole. Police stole more goods than all burglaries combine in 2014–if you haven’t already, it might be time to rethink the majesty of the law, and what it means to be governed.

Detriments of the Law

Utilizing laws as a bases to create an economy system has two distinct detriments: The cost that is needed to create and enforce laws, and biases of those involved in the legal system.

When we look at the cost of legal economic enforcement, we must look at all aspects of the law and the expenses associated with them. Breaking down these cost is almost impossible when we look at the breadth of lawsuits, permitting procedures, various licensing, taxation, and various government entities that are funded through taxation. These cost are rolled into all economic transactions that one does within a fiat economy, as the burden of police and enforcement cost are forced on to the consumer, producer, and the sum total of society. Thus, through simply having laws that must be enforced, the transaction cost associated with that money will increase.

Legal bias

Another hidden expense that comes from a economic legal system is the inherent bias that those involved within the legal and political system are going to have towards themselves. Or in another word, corruption.

Those who are closes to the centers of power are the ones that will benefit the most from the law, or the corruption of the laws. This is why the most profitable investment that can be made is lobbying. This is also why no criminal charges have been brought to those responsible for the 2008 financial crisis, no charges for the NSA spying scandal, and why the average congressperson is a millionaire. This is because of the corruption of the legal framework that they operate within and control, and the way that they allow for the corruption of the legal system to favor themselves and their cronies.

The corruption of our legal system is not an error, but occurs by design. Those who are closest to the centers of power are also the ones with the most agency within this system. They have varying degrees of control within the legal system that correlates with how close to the center of power they are. Thus, the closer to the center of power, the higher degree of agency they have within this legal system, which creates the conditions for manipulation and corruption of the legal system. This creates a two-tiered legal system in which those who are closer to the center of power shall have more economic opportunity than those more removed from it.

Over the last century, the corruption of the legal, economic, and political system has resulted in the economic state we are in today: a broken political system that is beholden to the interest of bankers, oligarchs, capitalist, and members of the legal system before all others. This not only is unethical and morally reprehensible, it is also very, very expensive.

Free Markets and Their Functions

People enter into economic agreements because they are just that: agreements. These are natural transactions that occur because of our own subjective interests for ourselves.  This is why we enter into social contracts in the first place; because we freely and naturally agree with the stipulations of the contract and proactively make the choice to be part of the contract. A transaction like this does not need anyone to enforce anything–both parties are willingly entering into a transaction because they both are getting something they desire from the transaction. Both actors have utilized free-choice to choose to enter into this agreement. This is the natural state of economic affairs, and there is no actual need for policing and enforcement cost in transactions that are entered into within free agreements. Thus, for voluntary agreements, there is not need to pay for policing and enforcement cost, which in turns creates a lower total transaction cost within a monetary system.

With bitcoin, people are making exchanges via the internet where there is no need for a legal enforcer to ensure that transactions are conducted fairly–that is what the bitcoin software does. Because of this feature–where bitcoin can allow for private individuals to preform economic transactions without needing a centralized enforcer–means that bitcoin does not have to pay policing and enforcement cost. This means that if we are to look at the economic cost of transactions within a monetary system, fiat currencies will always have a higher total transaction cost because of the need to pay for a policing and enforcement cost.

Conclusion

When observing any contemporary economy system we can see that there are three types of transaction cost: search and information cost, bargaining and decision cost, policing and enforcement cost. Because bitcoin uses software to create a secure form of money, there is no policing and enforcement cost that are associated with bitcoin. This means that when we look at the total transaction cost across an economy, an economy using bitcoin (or another digital currency) will always have a lower transaction cost than a fiat economy that must pay for policing and enforcement cost.

Next: Bitcoin and Liquidity Preference

Bitcoin and Liquidity Preference

“Why would anyone outside of a lunatic asylum want to hold money? What an insane use to put it! For it is a recognized characteristic of money as a store of wealth that it is barren; whereas practically every other form of storing wealth yields some interest or profit. “ –John Maynard Keynes

This is how Keynes understood the functions of money. He believed that individuals should be self-interested enough to want to maximize the utility of money. Keynes believe that ‘the public’ held money for three purposes:

  • to have on hand for ordinary transactions
  • to keep as a precaution against extraordinary expenses
  • to use for speculative purposes.

This is called liquid preference, and it is the idea that we would rather have a dollar that can purchase anything now, in our hands (as it is the official mode of exchange and legal tender), than to have a bar of gold that is subject to storage fees, a house that is deteriorating, or food that is rotting. Because physical items that are subject to physical decay cannot be immediately exchanged as money can, everything become more illquid than money. The more illiquid something is, the more ‘risk’ that is taken on in holding it; which creates the need for a higher dividend yield, or ROI for holding that object when comparing it to money today. This preference for money today is due to the special properties of liquidity that money has. When two monies are compared side by side, Gresham’s law take effect, with the bad money driving out the good.

In order to understand how bitcoin operates as a payment system, we must first understand how governments created money. This is a very long and esoteric topic which I explain in some detail in bitcoin and the history of money. Essentially over the course of several centuries, governments have changed money (i.e legal tender) from being backed by commodities, like land, gold, or silver; to being backed by nothing except for their own legal force (which is why you cannot exchange your dollar for gold or bitcoin down at the bank). This allows for governments to augment the money supply to attempt to change the velocity of money–this is the equivalently of change exactly how much more ‘liquid’ legal tender is, then any other commodity.

So how is bitcoin different? Well, Bitcoin is not money

Bitcoin is a commodity money. 

Bitcoin’s intrinsic value is derived from its ability to act as money, while still having an independent commodity value.

So in reality, bitcoin is not a ‘money’ in the most traditional sense of the word–it is not recognized as being an official form of legal tender, nor is it created in the same way that money is created by the state. What this means is that if bitcoin is not created by any state entity as a legal tender, then it must be a classic form of money: commodity money. This is something like gold, silver, bushels of wheat, cigarettes–really anything you can imagine, it just has to be something that is of value to society, and is plentiful enough to be readily exchanged, while still being divisible, portable, and difficult to counterfeit.

What happens when we understand bitcoin from Keynes perspective (that money is a barren storage of value)? We can see that his statement is true–but then, why is bitcoin worth something? Because again, bitcoin is not money–it is a commodity that acts like money. This means that the whole payment network of bitcoin while still working, acting, and functioning like money, it distinctly is not money.

Bitcoin is a commodity which is used primarily as storage of value that is readily exchangeable–more so than any other form of legal tender, or commodity-money that has ever existed. What happens when we do a side-by-side comparison of bitcoin-as-money, against all other forms of money, is that bitcoin will always be a superior form of money. Always.

Bitcoin flips the idea of liquidity preference on its head because bitcoin not technically money–it is a commodity-money with a built in payment system. Bitcoin has all of the features of sound money, with the extra twist of living on the internet, which inherently makes it superior to all forms of legal money. Over time, as people come to know and understand, how and why bitcoin is a better form of money, people will start abandoning fiat money causing for both hyperinflation and hyperbitcoinization.

Next: Bitcoin’s Creative Destruction