Tag: central banking

Infiltrators: Bitcoin Paranoid – Episode 162

The Story: Have government agents infiltrated Bitcoin?

If you created a system that could potentially displace a lot of existing organisations – large, powerful organisations – rendering them obsolete and removing their sources of funding, you could reasonably expect that some people from those groups wouldn’t be too happy about it. They will most likely decide to take action – perhaps even criminal action – in order to protect their interests. That’s why when Bitcoin was created, it made sense that its inventor (or inventors) decided to remain anonymous.

The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains unknown, and as far as we know, no longer has anything to do with the project. So they are most likely safe from reprisal. Yet, what about the people who are involved in the project today? If powerful people wanted to slow down or even destroy Bitcoin, how would they do it? The decentralised, anti-fragile nature of the system makes it too strong for an attack using software. But the developers’ identities are public, and the discussion boards are public. Anyone with sufficient resources could begin to corrupt these groups using money, violence, threats of violence, and sowing seeds of confusions in public forums – perhaps even creating entire companies to subtly undermine the integrity of the project.

In this episode, Kurt looks at a couple of historical examples of how “law enforcement” organisations are willing to get their hands dirty for questionable purposes, and speculates how similar strategies could be used to unhinge the Bitcoin community – or other digital currency communities. He discusses how Hoover used the FBI to act out his prejudices against black Americans, how London Metropolitan policemen were involved in sexual relationships as part of their undercover operations, and the types of unusual comments that float around among prominent Bitcoiners, that raise the question of whether Bitcoin has been compromised.

Join me on a journey of infiltration, deception and mystery in the next episode of … The Paradise Paradox!

The Eps:

Dash digital cash vs Bitcoin: Which will achieve mass adoption first? – Episode 154

Bitcoin vs Dash: Ridiculous comments about Dash – Episode 157

The Links:

Anarchast – Opening Yourself Up to The World, Living Freely and Enjoying the Ride with Kurt Robinson

Just being black was enough – The Nation

Tape shows Nixon feared Hoover – NY Times

Undercover agents fathered children – The Antimedia

Undercover police had children with activists – The Guardian

Luke JR’s $5 comment on Reddit

Lesser known reasons to keep blocks small in the words of Bitcoin Core developers

In-Q-Tel on Wikipedia

In-Q-Tel’s website

The Cash:

If you enjoy our posts, please become a patron on Patreon, or have a look at The Paradise Paradox’s page on Steemit where you can join, earn money, and upvote our posts to help support the show! You can also find a lot of additional content which is not posted on this site, with Kurt’s posts on Steemit and Aaron’s posts on Steemit.

We really appreciate all of your contributions! Every cent and satoshi we receive lets us know that we’re doing something worthwhile, that you are entertained by our program, and that you’re starting to question what you know more and more. Please be generous. Donate to The Paradise Paradox. Or buy some stuff on Amazon using this link. Or buy some of our great T-shirts here.

The Episode:

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Episode 94 – Liberty Hip Hop Live at Anarchapulco 2016

The Episode:


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The Cash:

We really appreciate all of your contributions! Every cent and satoshi we receive lets us know that we’re doing something worthwhile, that you are entertained by our program, and that you’re starting to question what you know more and more. Please be generous. Donate to The Paradise Paradox. Or buy some stuff on Amazon using this link. Or buy some of our great T-shirts here.

The Story:

I started writing a song for Juan Galt’s documentary series about freedom-loving expatriates in Acapulco. I wrote a bunch of verses, a few beats and a few hooks, but nothing really came out right. I asked Juan and he gave me a few concepts, laying out his vision for the song – the idea of people escaping an oppressive regrime, and the parallels to Galt’s Gulch, the refugee for productive people from Ayn Rand’s famous novel “Atlas Shrugged”.

These ideas simmered away in my mind, and in the next few days, while I was out walking, a simple hook bubbled to the surface: “I’m sailing in on a sloop on a Pacific wind/Waiting to start my life again/I don’t know much, y pues, yo no se mucho/Pero, yo se que si voy yendo a Acapulco…” I recorded it on a voice note on my phone. I felt elation, and instantly I knew that I was onto a good thing. After that, it came down to putting in the hard work to write verses which lead to the inevitable and potent conclusion.

When I posted the song in the Anarchapulco group on Facebook, Jeff Berwick heard the song and almost immediately asked me to perform at the event. I said yes, though I didn’t really know what I was going to do. The last time I had done anything resembling a performance was one year before, at Anarchapulco 2015, when Rob Hustle called for MCs to come from the crowd, and I jumped up and spat eight bars with intensity and conviction.

So I spent the next couple of weeks going through some old tracks, digging through audios to find some instrumentals from years ago, to see if I could put together a short set. This is that set.

Many thanks to Dan Dicks of Press For Truth and Doug Scribner of Watchmybit for providing the footage.

The Links:

Kurt Robinson Raps on YouTube

Don’t Hold Dollars (Q.E.) on YouTube

Architect of Your Own Life on YouTube

To Acapulco on SoundCloud

Press For Truth

Watchmybit

Episode 84 – Bitcoin Price Factors

The Episode:


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If you enjoyed the episode, don’t keep it a secret! Feel free to share it on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Reddit, or your office bathroom wall.

The Cash:

We really appreciate all of your contributions! Every cent and satoshi we receive lets us know that we’re doing something worthwhile, that you are entertained by our program, and that you’re starting to question what you know more and more. Please be generous. Donate to The Paradise Paradox. Or buy some stuff on Amazon using this link. Or buy some of our great T-shirts here.

The Story:

In December 2015, Martin Rojko of CoinTelegraph.com asked several Bitcoin experts what they expected the price of a bitcoin to be by the end of 2016. The guru, public speaker and “rockstar” of Bitcoin, Andreas Antonopoulos, searched his soul and summoned the wisdom from the depths of his being, and answered: “I don’t do price speculation. It’s astrology for markets and I think it is irresponsible for media companies to do this.”

The fact is, nobody in the world knows what the price of bitcoin is going to be in a month, much less a year. However, taking a snapshot at this stage of the bitcoin evolution, there are four factors which will probably play a huge part in determining the price over the coming years.

  1. The amount of venture capital and angel investment pouring into Bitcoin companies.

In 2013, digital currency related startups has attracted investment of $25 million in VC funding. In 2014, “In total, bitcoin startup investments now total over $400M in aggregate funding” (Source: CBInsights), and in 2015 VC investments ‘topped $1 billion’ (Source: Bloomberg). However this remains to be fully realised in the bitcoin unit price. Big names such as Nasdaq, American Express and Visa are also investing in Bitcoin startups.

Bitcoin has possibilities for endless programmable applications, which will go on to disrupt various industries. However, it is clear that the first target and the primary industry of focus is finance and banking. For 2016, Venture capitalist Tim Draper anticipates many Bitcoin consumer applications, the US government to recognise Bitcoin as a currency and perhaps the first Bitcoin unicorn – that is, the first billion dollar Bitcoin start-up. With all this money and focused effort going into the development of Bitcoin applications as it’s used for international remittances platforms, micropayment, crowdfunding of public works projects, smart contracts and peer-to-peer lending, it can only be bullish for the price, as Bitcoin is used more widely.

2. A decrease in the production of Bitcoin in July 2016.

At time of writing, 25 BTC are produced every ten minutes by diligent miners. In July 2016, the block reward will halve. A stable demand with a reduced supply tends to lead to an increased price. It’s possible that holders of BTC will start buying more in the preceding months, in anticipation of the reduction.

3. Possible failures of the incumbent banking system.

Many people, especially in the Austrian economics camp, are becoming increasingly concerned about a failure of the banking system. Financial gurus such as Mike Maloney have forecast the possibilities of deflation, big inflation, or even hyperinflation of the US dollar, which could have profound effects on the world economy. For many, holding bitcoins is seen as risky. But is it as risky as holding a fiat currency, which has very limited scarcity, and may be printed to oblivion by the perverse symbiotic relationship between a central bank and a national treasury? In times of crisis, or in anticipation of times of crisis, when governments around the world are clamping down capital controls to say who can move what money where, it wouldn’t be surprising if people decided to move it into the most portable money that has ever existed: bitcoins.

  1. The understanding of Bitcoin in public consciousness

Since Bitcoin first leapt into the media, it has been trashed, slandered, accused of being a tool of terrorists and violent drug cartels, and declared unstable and even dead many, many times. However, the sentiment in the media is slowly changing, with many starting to see that cryptocurrency is not going away in a hurry, and there may be real news beyond a sensational headline.

We can see in the statistics on Blockchain.Info that the rate of adoption appears to be steady, or increasing, in the rate of daily transactions and in the total number of addresses.

Perhaps soon, people will start to realise that it’s possible, not just to use Bitcoin to evade capital controls, but also to use it to evade taxes, and government control in general, turning many markets into black markets, and using blockchain technology to distribute state secrets anonymously, realising the dream of the Crypto-Anarchist’s Manifesto. By that stage, perhaps the price will be irrelevant, because the value will be obvious.

The Eps:

Episode 75 – Andreas Antonopoulos: The Disruptarian

Episode 77 – Jeff Berwick: The Dollar Vigilante

Episode 80 – Diego Gutiérrez: SystemaD

The Links:

Bitcoin has died for the 89th time

Experts expect bitcoin price to reach a big number in 2016

China’s stockmarket crash affects all of us

Bitcoin as an asset could help balance portfolios

Bitcoin’s upcoming killer app: Open Bazaar

How to position for the rally in Bitcoin

Bitcoin is built to incite peaceful anarchy

Record highs predicted as new supply halves

The System Works

You tell me that the system works, that things are going well, that the government feeds the poor, that their regulations prevent people taking advantage of us, that we are safe, and presumably, that we can put our trust in them. You tell me that phasing out governments (and the central banks that back them) might cause chaos, and why should we take a risk when everything is fine right now? You tell me that the system works. I’m inclined to disagree.

Yesterday, I sent my friend in Venezuela a few dollars’ worth of bitcoin. Far away from your mind, people are suffering because of a more-corrupt-than-usual central bank, and a more-corrupt-than-usual government. Many lives have been ruined, and many people are confused, because their fiat currency is collapsing. The official rate for the Bolívar, for bankers and government officials in denial, is 6.35 Bs to the dollar. The real rate of Bolívares to the dollar, is 841.67, and as the value of the currency slips away into the night and into Madero’s buddies’ pockets, laying the foundations of Chavez’s daughter’s three-storey mansion, the remainder of the country dives into poverty.

It’s easy not to think about that, and justify social programs for the poor, that are funded with money from central banks, and believe that these programs do good – without thinking about the real consequences. These programs may have continued for your lifetime, and so, in your mind, you expect them to always be there – these programs which, at best, provide help in a difficult time, and at worst, incentivise people to become trapped in a cycle of poverty or dependency. These things are fine, for now. The poor don’t scream in the streets, for now, because they are well-fed, though every year the old-aged pension of $200 a fortnight is worth less and less, and you don’t hear the cries of the old because they’re too old to cry out. The system feeds those whom it has disenfranchised, and so, you assume that everything is fine. The system works, you say.

The system works, until one day when it doesn’t. The system works until one day when you wake up to find out that it’s a bank holiday, and the government has authorised the bank to take everything over $1,000 in your account, and limit your withdrawals to $50 a day, leaving you unknowing if there will still be money there tomorrow to withdraw. The system works until one day the Deutschmark slips over the fiscal cliff, leaving you wondering how you’re going to find that last billion marks to buy a loaf of bread to feed your family, while central bankers in their country villas sleep on beds of gold ingots. What becomes of the poor then?

The system works if you pretend that there aren’t millions of young men in prison for victimless crimes, a ridiculously high murder rate in Ciudad Juárez, kids killed by stray bullets in Medellín, farmers in Antioquia extorted into growing coca by paramilitaries, made profitable by the War on Drugs, funded by the Federal Reserve.

Tell me that the system works, and all we need to do is take more money from the rich, and everything will be fine, apparently without realising that there has never existed yet a tax system which isn’t built to favour the rich and powerful, and without realising that any tax system will invariably be used to provide collateral for a central bank, which will invariably be used to kill.

The system works as long as the media don’t publish pictures of those wars which central banks have funded. They don’t show you the dead bodies, and they don’t show you the radicalised veterans who have cast the scales from their eyes with anger, who repeat those words “War is a racket.” They don’t show you the millions of dead civilians, the children who only ever wanted to play in peace, suffering from white phosphorous fume inhalation, the images of a father holding his dead babies in his arms and asking God why? Oh no, they don’t show you that.

And as long as they don’t show you that, and as long as you don’t look for yourself and put the pieces together, you can come here and tell me without irony: the system works.

No, the system doesn’t work. And what you don’t realise is, the system is already finished. We already have the technology to solve all of these problems. The system is a dead man walking, and for those of us that see it, when we observe the extreme force that it uses over the coming years in an attempt to maintain dominance, we can take solace in the fact that what we are watching, are the death throes of a millenia-old beast.

 

Kurt reposted this article on his Steemit account here.

Episode 80 – Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar: SystemaD

The Episode:


To download the audio, right click and press “save as”.

Remember to subscribe on iTunes or subscribe on Pocket Casts.

If you enjoyed the episode, don’t keep it a secret! Feel free to share it on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Reddit, or your office bathroom wall.

The Cash:

We really appreciate all of your contributions! Every cent and satoshi we receive lets us know that we’re doing something worthwhile, that you are entertained by our program, and that you’re starting to question what you know more and more. Please be generous. Donate to The Paradise Paradox. Or buy some stuff on Amazon using this link. Or buy some of our great T-shirts here.

The Story:

‘You might say I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one’ – the famous lyrics from John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. John Lennon described his vision for a world of peace and equality, where all people are able to interact and contribute on a level playing field. SystemaD is striving to make this a reality. SystemaD is a technological platform allowing access to banking services without the formal control of traditional systems. It utilises blockchain technology, the transparent distributed ledger that makes up the backbone of Bitcoin. This grants all individuals access to build a reputation based on their personal economic participation, which can be then trusted by the larger community for future dealings.

Unfortunately, this vision of peace and economic equality still has its hurdles. Until all people of the world are free from the force of government and free from the economic vice grip of capital controls, this will never be the case. Economically, people must be free to choose how to participate and how to store their value. This means, a free market – where individuals trade without the bond to a government issued fiat currency and without market altering taxes and regulations. These free individuals then act responsibility in identifying their best way to serve their community, in way of production of goods and services and as they see fit.

Mckinsey & Company produced a research paper in 2009 stating that half the world’s adult population is unbanked. Considering that the World Bank has identified that “access to affordable financial services is linked to overcoming poverty, and increasing economic growth”, banking institutions have been very proactive in issuing bank accounts to their human livestock. As a coincidence, reports and trends of poverty (people living on less than $1.90 per day) has been on the decline, data states that poverty has dropped from  37.1% in 1990 to 12.7% in 2012. However, with no mention of the effect of inflation and no tangible living standards measure, it becomes difficult to measure realistic progress. As of 2015 the World Bank reports that, approximately 2.5 billion people worldwide still do not have a formal account at a financial institution.

There are various reasons why the unbanked  remain so – insufficient documentation, travel distance, related service costs and general poverty. Essentially, the acute environmental circumstances exclude these people from access to the services offered by the financial and banking system. These are all problems which SystemaD is helping to bypass.

Research conducted by Lederle has shown that there are some serious after-effects and negative psychological outcomes that result from this exclusion. SystemaD is able to tackle the direct issue of exclusion of economic activity, as well as removing the need for a formal banking account. The platform gives direct access to financial services, facilitating market trade activities, the outcome has benefits far beyond financial health for the people involved.

Access and inclusion of basic banking services have shown to have positive impacts on people’s health. In particular, individuals grow a heightened sense of confidence, self-esteem, sense of empowerment, security and control. This extends to the individual building an education and knowledge in money management strategies, which increases employability, entrepreneurship and general well-being. The SystemaD team is witnessing, and has confirmed, the positive effect of using technology to close a gap of the old financial world, which can only build positive momentum.

In this episode we interview Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar from SystemaD, where we talk about the goals and developments of the SystemaD platform. We discuss how education and training is crucial when launching a new platform, as well as the importance of organic uptake for growth of an open economy. Join us in another poverty-disrupting, well-being uplifting episode of … The Paradise Paradox!

The Links:

SystemaD

World Bank – Who are the unbanked

World Bank poverty data

Massive drop in unbanked population

Lederle, 2009, Exploring the Impacts of Improved Financial Inclusion on the Lives of Disadvantaged People