Cryptocurrency is literally a response to malfeasance by global governments, mega-banks and mega-corporations. The genesis block of bitcoin had this Financial Times headline coded in to it: The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.
Cryptocurrency exists because our financial oligarchs have proven themselves not to be trusted, and today’s FCC ruling against a policy that 81% of Democrats and 73% of Republicans support is further proof of this maxim. Bitcoin has become a store of value that is something like a Swiss bank account for the common man—but with a better interest rate (for now). Bitcoin cash was forked off of bitcoin to make good on the initial promise of bitcoin’s whitepaper, and create a peer to peer transaction system that exists outside of the international monetary system’s reach. Ethereum aims to create a decentralized internet where this FCC ruling would theoretically have far less of an impact. Per CoinDesk:
A tech meetup at a dimly lit New York City bar – so far, nothing out of the ordinary.
But what’s peculiar about this particular meetup is that other locations throughout the East Village are being connected to the bar’s Wi-Fi-enabled node, allowing anyone in the area to not only piggyback off all the signals but visit websites only accessible to others on the network.
Called a mesh network, it’s a decades-old technology allowing users to surf the internet without using a traditional internet service provider (ISP), and it could be finding new life among blockchain enthusiasts as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gears up to repeal “net neutrality” on Thursday.
Karl Floersch, an ethereum developer and Casper researcher, told CoinDesk:
“If we get some crazy net neutrality regulation, then they can expect a crazy mesh-network fire-back.”
Latin America has already seen its economies dramatically affected by bitcoin, as people have parked their savings in this new digital commodity while their state-issued currency depreciated in value. Prices for bitcoin in Zimbabwe skyrocketed during the November 14 coup d’état. Bitcoin is a loaded gun pointed at the head of every non-United States government who doesn’t have their financial house in order. I’m of the opinion that if this dynamic can happen in Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil, then all it would take is one big shock to Europe for countries like Greece, Italy and Spain to swap some of their euros for bitcoin.
Bitcoin is the biggest existential threat to banking in the history of mankind, and a wave of cryptocurrencies are following in its wake to challenge other established orders. Today’s FCC ruling is only good for the free market if you believe that companies like Comcast, Time Warner, Facebook, etc…will not engage in predatory practices that the FCC now deems to be legal, and that Congress will not try to rein in those bad actors if it happens. If you believe that can happen, then give me whatever the hell you’re smoking, because this is a serious bummer and I feel the need to vacate reality right now. At least we have a wave of new technology which aims to accomplish the same task, but not by altering your body chemistry, but by changing reality itself.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.