This is an opinion piece by Dan Weintraub, an author and high school teacher who first became interested in Bitcoin while teaching economics.
I recently watched with puzzled indifference Donald Trump’s Town Hall Charade on CNNyet another in an endless list of macabre political and social zombie dances.
The truth is that I no longer care so much about party politics, the next cycle of presidential elections, the supposedly sincere and sincere liberal and conservative political expressions within American politics, the worries surrounding the tenuous future of America Democracy, etc. What I TO DO what matters, however, is how easy it is for human beings to be manipulated into believing lies.
We are all sheep – blind followers with little discernment – we are all fully programmable and fully impressionable. History may not repeat itself, but as demonstrated by an endless recording of follower humans following leader humans from the proverbial cliffs (and for no other reason than the leader humans were/are really good at lying ), it certainly feels like deja vu again.
Do not worry! This is not an article about Trump or about ideological disaffection. Trump is just one man in a human melodrama that spans millennia. This piece is about the role Bitcoin can play in restoring belief and ending human sleepwalking; it’s about how we weaken the disinformationists. And this is a warning, as those in power will do anything to maintain their hypnotic hold on humanity.
Why Governments Fear Bitcoin
So the first question we need to consider is: why do governments seem so scared of Bitcoin? Interestingly, it’s not just because Bitcoin has the potential to end governments’ monopoly on money (which is admittedly a big deal in and of itself). No. The underlying reason actually points to something far more fundamental: governments are afraid of Bitcoin as a construct, because governments can only rule through deception and dishonesty.
You see, the most powerful and successful governments in history have been (and remain) those that are most skillful and accomplished in lying. The government of the United States, that supposed bastion of democratic justice, is in fact a compelling example of this principle. From Vietnam to Iraq, from Joseph McCarthy to Lyndon Johnson to Jerome Powell and beyond, American history is replete with examples of the power of lies and the malleability of the minds of well-meaning citizens. , patriotic, innocent, hopeful and lost.
Bitcoin out the lies
Back to Trump for a moment. This from the BBC:
“Mr. Trump has questioned the legitimacy of the election process in a series of tweets, the last of which said on Monday: ‘Of course there is large-scale voter fraud that happens on election day and before…Why? Are Republican leaders denying what’s going on?’ So naive!’ ”
The quote above is not beginning in the fall of 2020. This dates back to 2016 when then-candidate Trump faced off against then-candidate Hilary Clinton in the general election. Let’s not forget that Trump has been claiming a rigged election for years. A masterful practitioner and, in fact, quite sophisticated in the art of harnessing human neurological frailty, Trump has brilliantly harnessed (and keep on going leverage) its skills as a purveyor of misinformation. Indeed, tens of millions of Americans keep believing that Trump’s 2020 voter fraud allegations are correct and that the presidency has been stolen from him and his supporters.
I find it quite fascinating and scary at the same time.
The question is not whether Trump’s claims are accurate. And, if I’m being honest, I have to admit that I have no way of knowing whether Trump’s claims are true or not. (The point is, if I reject his claims, I can simply choose to believe the narrative that has been presented by the other side. Both sides tenaciously adhere to their data. Both sides dwell in echo chambers that reinforce their narratives. Both sides suffer from the anti-intellectual effects caused by the frailties of human neuroplasticity. And both sides are made up of millions of human-followers, unaware of the power that human-leaders wield through their manipulations, through their theater, through their deceptions.)
The point here is that without the ability to verify Trump’s claims, we are all potential prey; without the ability to know beyond doubt what really happened in the last election cycle, there is no way to trust the election results – in fact, there is no way to trust to our political process.
Bitcoin and neuroplasticity
Neuroscience 101: Listen enough to something and you’ll believe it’s true. Get on your knees and pray to God every day for an hour, and within months, maybe weeks, even diehard atheists will believe in God. Read only the articles on Breitbart and The Gateway Pundit, listen only to the podcasts of Tucker Carlson and Glenn Beck, and you will believe, without a doubt in your mind, that the election was stolen. Read nothing but articles on Mother Jones and HuffPost and Slate Magazine, and you’ll believe in your mind, without a doubt, that the election was valid. Just listen to YouTube channels showing the views of Michael Saylor, Balaji Srinivasan, Mark Moss and Jeff Booth and you’ll believe that $1 million bitcoin is inevitable, hyperinflation is coming and the banks are all going to crash . Just listen to YouTube channels touting the opinions of Warren Buffet and Peter Schiff and you’ll believe Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme and a scam.
Humans are sheep because we are wired to be sheep. We believe we are critical thinkers and great discerners of truth, but we are all ingesting and internalizing the stories we hear over and over and over again.
Without verification, we are all potential victims of the lies told by those in power.
Again, enter Bitcoin.
As I postulated in my previous article, we must have a little imagination. We must be willing to see that over time, the Bitcoin network could serve as the foundational layer for all digital interactions. And over time, it’s entirely possible that such a network would have the ability to verify beyond reasonable doubt every transaction, every interaction, every news item, every government claim, every tweet, and so on.
But here’s the thing: we actually do it not it takes a lot of imagination to recognize that elections and blockchain technology are considerations in the present, not the future.
Imagine a system where each ballot is printed with a private digital key/signature. All voting records live on an immutable ledger. While that won’t absolve those who use lies and misinformation as a way to manipulate neurologically sensitive people, it will take us in a direction in which allegations of voter fraud, like those touted by Trump, have no teeth. And perhaps over time, as Bitcoin and the Bitcoin network proliferate, other such forms of verification have the potential to undermine the superpower of liars.
I recognize that to This At the moment, Bitcoin is feared more for its ability to circumvent monetary control than for its inherently truthful nature. American leaders are scared of the dollar losing its status as the world’s reserve currency, and as such they will do just about anything to question and undermine the legitimacy and accessibility of everything. which favors such a possibility. (For example, right now we hear a lot more about the ills of China and the ascendancy of GNI than Bitcoin.)
But Can you see, in a possible future where lying becomes increasingly difficult, why our leaders might fear Bitcoin so much? And can you see why our leaders will do anything to stop the ascendancy of truth and verification? I have no doubt that as the Bitcoin network becomes more and more capable of scrutinizing all forms of data, of verifying all forms and claims of truth, that leaders around the world will do anything – All! – in their power to destroy this network – because without the ability to lie, to manipulate us sheep, all governments, all centralized power brokers, must by their very nature fail.
Over time, Bitcoin can become much more than a monetary network. It can become much more than a store of monetary value. It can become much more than a property. Over time, the Bitcoin protocol and the Bitcoin network may become what those in power fear most: the truth.
Where there is truth, the sheep are awakening.
The assets of the world must be held accountable
As I said at the beginning of this article, this is not a political screed. Politicians lie, regardless of their ideology. Leaders on the left are just as adept, just as adept at employing misinformation and dishonesty as those on the right. The fact is, without the ability to objectively verify the truth, humans will continue to jump into the fray, deeply believing the lies spouted by those who benefit from such duplicity.
I know many of you reading this will see my take on the evolution of the Bitcoin network as a fantasy. I ask you, however: throughout the history of mankind, hasn’t every progress been thought of as fantastic at the same time? Bitcoin is just getting started. Once our leaders realize that in the not-too-distant future, the Bitcoin network and protocol could turn into a global, tamper-proof polygraph, they will do anything to kill it. Because they are only as powerful as the credibility of the lies they tell.
This is a guest post by Dan Weintraub. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.