Why Don't Objectivists Seem to Care about Cryptocurrency?


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This is the problem governments and oligarchies have with Bitcoin.

Pure separation of government and currency.

They can't control it and they can't manipulate it.

What good is a ban by the government if it can't enforce the ban on a massively growing number of enthusiasts among its population?

Notice, I didn't say "won't enforce it." I said "can't enforce it."

:)

Michael

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On 7/30/2020 at 1:04 AM, algernonsidney said:

Back in the 1990's, it seemed like Objectivists were on top of all the new technologies. When I went to the IOS seminar in 1995, about half the people had email. I had never met so many people with email addresses. I got onto Compuserve that November, and it opened up a new world. I also noticed that many of them were into Linux and open-source software.

Now, I see the Objectivist movement and can't seem to find anybody interested in cryptocurrency. While they hate fiat currency, they ignore one thing that has the potential to destroy fiat currency.

Perhaps, I haven't met the right people. But I do wonder: Why don't Objectivists seem to care about cryptocurrency?

 

I might be way off base here, but isn't crypto, as such, purely and completely devoid of any objective value?

 

That's not to say it's impossible that it might have some advantages in our current mixed economy (euphemism alert... it's a litany of misdirection and a tyranny of regulation, taxation, and surveillance, a well worn and comfy, increasingly brazenly naked tool of slavery... but I digress)... advantages over our so called "money" which the state guarantees is continually drained of value over time... advantages perhaps on the way toward (or even helping towards) a truly free economy (dream on?)

(I hate it when I have to use so many "our"s or "we"s or "us"s... I'm really seeing how overuse of these terms clown-make-ups reality into a kind of infantile parody of the world.. which has become so popular in modern times)

 

BUT once in a truly free economy why should I want to have anything to do with the stuff?

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13 hours ago, Strictlylogical said:

BUT once in a truly free economy why should I want to have anything to do with the stuff?


Back in the 70's I bought Universario's which were nice looking, one ounce, silver coins and I sold them for a nifty profit a few years ago. An ad by Pat Boone for gold has never convinced me to buy any. I must say with the new computer world bitcoins have some sense about them as long as you can buy something on the internet with them. But their price swings up and down and if they crash for good, what about your money, assuming you used a credit card / cash to buy them? You would be buying them with cash and I think the newer crypto coins are bought with cash too or credit card which you pay for with cash, so unless you are a "dealer" of some sort, what's the sense? You can't put one in a coke machine and get a coke.   

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6 hours ago, Strictlylogical said:

I might be way off base here, but isn't crypto, as such, purely and completely devoid of any objective value?

SL,

What do you mean by "objective" value? Objective to whom?

Do you mean something like this?

24 Weird Coins, Notes and Types of Currency

For the record, to me, Bitcoin (but not all crypto) has an enormous objective value. 

Here's an objective question for you. What good is "objective value" (which I take you to mean a physical object) if nobody accepts it as money? For example, I doubt you will get a cup of coffee with a squirrel pelt anymore.

The objective value to me of Bitcoin is that nobody can forge it, nobody can take it from me, and it is used by a community of 100 million people the world over. Also, there is only one way of increasing or decreasing its value (individual accounts buying and selling) and that does not entail anything overseen by Bigass Brother. No top-down control.

But it's virtual, not physical. Right?

Well, if you own a Bitcoin, see if you can get goods and services with it. Or fiat money like dollars.

You can. Instantly.

If you think a Bitcoin can be copy/pasted, thus forged, try it. No one can. And I believe no one will ever be able to.

:) 

So long as there is the Internet and people using it, the blockchain ledger will exist.

Michael

 

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3 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

SL,

What do you mean by "objective" value? Objective to whom?

 

A value to a human being, like shelter, food, art, something which provides you some value from use, possession, etc. or which you could decide to trade, for something of a different kind but which to you has the same or greater value.

Something that has value itself, to human flourishing, other than its use solely to trade with others, for OTHER stuff which actually has objective value to humans.

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1 hour ago, tmj said:

The question is , are cryptocurrencies an objectively good store of wealth.

I doubt that Fort Knox or the other gold storage units managed by the U.S. can "back up" the U.S. dollar, so being backed up by America is a plus. I guess cyber gas backs up bitcoins. joke, or maybe not a joke.   

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3 hours ago, tmj said:

The question is , are cryptocurrencies an objectively good store of wealth.

T,

What is a "store of wealth"?

Wouldn't that be where wealth is stored?

A medium of exchange is different than wealth and it is definitely not a store. It's essentially a process agreed upon between people for trading values.

If I, as a free man, say "My word is my bond," and do business with another who says the same, and we do great business for years creating wealth for ourselves and others based solely on our word to each other as guarantee, is our word, which was the medium of exchange, a "store of wealth"? And what, on earth, is nonobjective about two or more people--without coercion--agreeing on the terms of exchanging their values then doing it that way?

In that respect, is gold a store of wealth? For example, what use is gold in a famine? Is it an objective store of wealth? What wealth are we talking about when everyone is dying of hunger? 

(btw - I am for gold.) 

If people stockpile a huge amount of currency, they are not storing wealth. If the wealth goes away, that stockpile of currency represents nothing of value. Even gold is valueless when wealth in survival value goods are missing. 

Mediums of exchange exist in contexts. Without context, nothing can have objective value. 

So here is a really good premise to check. If a man's word can be a valid form of currency, why does currency have to be in the form of objects that have value outside of currency?

When I look at the arguments and history, the answer always boils down to, "Because someone said so." Fundamentally, that's a top down decree.

Now, to look at your question as meaning, are cryptocurrencies reliable as long-term forms of exchange? The correct answer is some are and many are not. The ones that are controlled top-down are nothing but fiat currency with extra rules attached, which are equally controlled from the top. They function at the pleasure of those on the top. If the top folks decide they are going to change things up and use different rules, then different rules it is. 

Bitcoin is different than that. It functions at the pleasure of those who use it, all of them. They buy and sell at will. No coercion. No rules other than the original set of rules. There is no governing body over Bitcoin. There is no single owner of the software program, which is open source. And that program cannot be changed by anyone. Ever. It is impossible from the way it was designed. No one agrees to the rules. Obey or the process doesn't work.

That, to me, is more far more objective for freedom of trade than "someone said so," or, "at least I can trade the materials the currency is made out of as scrap materials."

Note that fiat currency would work in a similar manner to Bitcoin if no new units of such fiat money were ever allowed to be minted or printed and people still agreed to use it for trade and legal tender. The problem is it is controlled from the top down and it is easy for those at the top to access printing presses and mints. The top people love to steal the wealth of others when they can get away with it. Always have and always will.

So how is letting them control your medium of exchange "objective" if you don't have to?

Michael

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8 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

What is a "store of wealth"?

Wouldn't that be where wealth is stored?

A medium of exchange is different than wealth and it is definitely not a store. It's essentially a process agreed upon between people for trading values.

If I, as a free man, say "My word is my bond," and do business with another who says the same, and we do great business for years creating wealth for ourselves and others based solely on our word to each other as guarantee, is our word, which was the medium of exchange, a "store of wealth"? And what, on earth, is nonobjective about two or more people--without coercion--agreeing on the terms of exchanging their values then doing it that way?

This raises a few interesting questions for me.

Back in the day (prior to paper fiat currencies), store of wealth/value, exchange of units of that value, the long term and the short term were all in a sort of harmony.  At times populations, cultures, and technology were "static" enough over a single lifetime or perhaps even a few generations such that a thing could serve all these purposes: one COULD choose to store wealth long or short term, and exchange value with a single thing, money (e.g. gold coins).  Any IOU based on units of that money was as good on an IOU on units of wealth itself. 

So in essence what was CHOSEN to be exchanged WAS wealth.  

 

In today's world we see that the value of financial instruments, currencies, various "mediums" or "mechanisms" of exchange are, as you note, NOT a store of wealth.  Modern money functions only a medium of exchange (having itself an eroding value) which is good only for daily, monthly, short term exchanges (that is until we have hyperinflation, and that might be reduce to seconds...)

I find it incredibly frustrating that the whole idea of "saving money", especially in the long term, is practically an incoherent idea as such. 

 

Modern money, (particularly in our modern economy) is now guaranteed to devalue against reality.  [I find it insulting that through inflation, governments essentially force us to gamble with our savings, invest in others "for the good of society" I suppose, because we face continual erosion of wealth if we try simply to save money.] Ships and shoes and sealing wax, haircuts and legal fees... although they change relative to each other according to the market, are all much more expensive in terms of units of "modern money" than say 50 years ago... everything is worth more.. money is worth less.  What does that say about the "unit" measure of modern money?  I don't see instantaneous and extreme value fluctuations of burgers, lawn mowing services, hair cuts, and vegetables, as measured in the effort and time of productive work which went into them.. as against the effort and time of productive work exchanged (through specialization in a complex network) to purchase them.  Why use a unit whose measure is sure to fail at any long term stability?

 

As for an honest person's word, I have no argument with you that there is nothing nonobjective about the IOU in agreements/contracts as such, however, the economic objectivity of that agreement is in part affected by the "units" used to make that agreement.  If honorable persons unwittingly contract in units which are subjective in terms of any long term value, I cant help thinking that somehow they have been shortchanged, one or both.  So then assuming both parties should not be unwitting... they should price their exchange based on the fact that the medium of exchange IS short term... and IS completely subjective against long term human values...  use it nonetheless, and then as soon as possible exchange that "money" for some store of wealth until one needs to convert it back into money for an exchange.

 

So in the end we have to cut what real money previously was into two, and retain only the temporary medium for exchange as a use for that money, and relegate the store of wealth or long term store of value to other things which that money may be exchanged for.

 

I wonder, if the state did not dictate what passes as currency would we now have two main units of money, one short term (unhinged, possibly subject to fluctuation, inflation, deflation,  etc.), and one long term (tied to some objective standard)?  In that free economy, I would think contracts for anything greater than 10 years should use the second kind of units.

 

 

So what is the upshot, the final take away, NEVER save your money?.... and in fact, we never should have done so or even thought to do so?

 

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Strictlylogical said:

This raises a few interesting questions for me.

. . .

I find it incredibly frustrating that the whole idea of "saving money", especially in the long term, is practically an incoherent idea as such. 

SL,

I feel you.

I, myself, had to work through this stuff on my own with my own mind. It seems like every authority in the finance world has a different opinion just like they all have different assholes. So I had to do it by the ole' check my premises standard.

I grew up into thinking about money through a Randian filter. It even took me a long time to accept that Alan Greenspan was not a straight shooter, or even a good shooter. And, of course, for the longest time my mantra was gold standard, etc. etc. etc.

I am curious why you infer that a decentralized blockchain like Bitcoin is a short term medium of exchange. So long as there is the Internet and people using it, there will be Bitcoin. To get rid of it, all the accounts in all the computers everywhere have to be eliminated. And even then, all the countless hashes stored in files and even outside of computers have to be eliminated. So long as there is just one account active somewhere in the world, the entire ledger is intact.

On another point, even if the entire fiat currency used to purchase Bitcoin goes bust, the value in Bitcoin will not be affected. It has its own units of measure based, basically, on the ideal free market standard (people freely buying and selling).

That seems about as long term to me as one can get.

And, like I keep saying, there is no centralized control of it. Which is one of the main reasons the number of users and quantity of fiat money exchanged for it keeps growing and growing and growing ever since it was first created.

But don't take my word for it. Don't take anybody's word. You have a good mind and, due to the enormous amount of noise in the culture as society integrates new technologies, this is an area where you need your noggin' to function independently on all cylinders if truth is your goal. The good news is that objective answers to fundamental questions (meaning they can be verified by observation) are abundant once you start looking on your own and getting away from the noise.

Michael

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I searched the word “currency” in old forums and found a couple of interesting letters. If you saw “Outlander” remember when Jamie takes over his lands and the tenet farmers come to pay him not in cash but in livestock like chickens and goats? Ram below, paints a freeman scenario where we may get back to Jamie the Laird. Peter

From: Paul Hibbert To: objectivism Subject: OWL: The Consortium of Freeland Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2001 20:26:20 -0600. I'm not quite sure of what has transpired in the past on this board with respect to the establishment of an Objectivist/Libertarian homeland apart from recent advocacy of overwhelming New Zealand or a State of the US with Objectivist immigrants. I present the following for discussion. I am unaware of similar proposals by Libertarians but I'm sure they exist.

On February 20, 1983 Morley Safer did a piece on 60 Minutes, the subject of which was the creation of the Sovereign Order of Aragon on an island in the Caribbean. Rossano Brazzi was a knight/member/initial investor. As I recall, the enterprise faltered and died because Brazzi was convicted of arms smuggling. I doubt that he had any Objectivist ideals in mind, but that is not the point.

Following a similar approach, a multitude of Objectivists and like-minded individuals could form a consortium to purchase a small, sovereign, democratic country by presenting the proposal to the populace. The proposal would stipulate that the consortium would pay every resident "n" thousands of dollars if they would agree to sell the country. They would be allowed to stay or leave, as they wished. Other arrangements could be made for existing businesses and enterprises. If there were any significant positive feelings of the citizens toward the proposal then the government, being a democracy would be compelled to have a referendum on the issue.

The country, called "Freeland" would not be a nation in any sense of the word. It would be run like a corporation, with profit as its goal. Freeland would be a geographical area, a location. It could not be called "The Corporation of Freeland" because the corporation would have to exist as a legal entity according to the laws of some other "nation", thus I propose that it be called "The Consortium of Freeland." Consortium usually refers to the association of a number of companies but I think it is more inclusive than that.

The laws of the land, or constitution, would be drawn up according to Objectivist principles.  A judicial system would be created by hiring judges and contracting for the functions a police force and prisons. There would be no such thing as citizenship, however inhabitants could claim residency for purposes of satisfying passport requirements of other countries. People could come and go with no restrictions whatsoever. The function of vital statistics of births and deaths could be carried out by the free enterprise hospitals. Residents would normally retain the citizenship of their original country.

I would propose one big addition to what are considered usual laws. Because individuals could have almost limitless personal freedom, Freeland could attract many undesirables. To circumvent this anyone convicted of a crime would have to divulge all his/her criminal history from everywhere in the world and all aliases would have to be identified. Failure to do so would incur very much more severe punishment. I expect that fraud would be the most prevalent crime.

There would be no politicians, ambassadors, lobbyists, income tax, customs, gun controls, currency restrictions, army, PBS, OSHA, ATF, United Nations representatives, Olympics teams, minimum wages, language laws or drug laws. The terms: "incentives", "grants", "affirmative action" "intervention", etc. would disappear from the vocabulary.  Some people might argue that user fees are really taxes in disguise but I think that there is a fundamental difference in this context.

Funding of the functions of the consortium/corporation would be derived from user fees of the infrastructure of roads, bridges, parks, water distribution, sewerage and the like. After the purchase of the country, tracts would be sold off to commercial and residential developers who would provide all of the infrastructure within their domain but not the infrastructure connecting them. The manager/CEO of the consortium/corporation would have to have the vision and sensitivity to the needs of the residents to keep them from leaving and to attract new residents. The balance of cost control vs. profit would be the challenge, as is that of any CEO. Businessmen would be free to trade with anyone in any other country without restriction. There would be no "preferential" trading partners. Residents, being Objectivists, would voluntarily arm themselves to the extent necessary to prevent occupation by invaders. (Why would any country want to invade?). A case could be made with respect to banning weapons of mass destruction such a germ warfare devices and atomic weapons in order to prevent Freeland from becoming a staging area for terrorists bent on destroying other countries.

An idealistic pipe dream? Perhaps, but we have to start somewhere. Hong Kong was basically a bare rock without natural resources before the British came in with very permissive laws for businessmen. It's a real example but we could do much better. Comments? Paul

From: Ram Tobolski To: objectivism Subject: OWL: Who owns land in Freeland? Date: Wed, 5 Sep 2001 06:10:50 -0700. Paul Hibbert raises the proposal to found the Objectivist land of freedom (Freeland), in our own days, as a "consortium" instead of a "state", apparently without political institutions. I agree with Matt that the first thing you ask yourself when you hear again this kind of offer, is why don't somebody do something about it, instead of just talking about it. I wonder, how many people are truly interested in trying to create a free land in our own time?

Returning to theory and logic, I am rather unclear about the concept. What I'd like to ask about in this post is the land ownership in Freeland. Who will own land in Freeland, and what is implied by this?

Suppose 10,000 Objectivists buy a Caribbean island. Then the island will be in the communal ownership of all 10,000 people; not in anyone's private property. Then what? Divide the land between the original purchasers? According to what? How will each and every one of 10,000 people agree on a fair division? And suppose the land will be divided and every turf will be privately owned Then what about roads, inside and outside towns? Who will decide on them?

Who will hire judges and policemen? If we get into a situation where all the land is owned by a small part of the population (after many people will immigrate to the hopefully prosperous Freeland) don't we get into a kind of Feudal structure? The great part of the people will be landless, and therefore significantly dependent upon the will of the landowner, she who owns the land in the area where they live? Ram

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On 3/22/2021 at 9:20 AM, Strictlylogical said:

BUT once in a truly free economy why should I want to have anything to do with the stuff?

Well, how do you get to a truly free economy?

Do you think it will ever happen via the ballot box? HELL, NO.

Do you think the billionaires will ever allow a truly free economy to happen? HELL, NO.

Do you think the politicians will ever allow a truly free economy to happen? HELL, NO.

Do you think college professors will ever embrace a truly free economy? HELL, NO.

Cryptocurrency goes all around all these problems, and there really isn't much that can stop it. XRP (Ripple) has actually made a huge comeback recently, in spite of a crash caused by US regulations. The only way to have a truly free economy is to have an economy that can not ever be subverted by governments.

Maybe it won't happen with cryptocurrency, but it's the best hope by far.

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4 hours ago, algernonsidney said:

Maybe it won't happen with cryptocurrency, but it's the best hope by far.

Chris,

I'm a convert of the Max Keiser variety.

Hardcore on Bitcoin. Not just for economic reasons, but for the philosophy/reality connection. Satoshi did a damn good job. And Max (along with several others) is doing a damn good job of selling the philosophy.

But I still have the itch to play in the other cryptos if I ever get some real money. Just for fun. Ethereum definitively because of EFTs, etc., but also Monero for no other reason than John McAfee recommended it as really really really noncentralized. And, maybe some chump change in Dogecoin because that one is nothing but a big fuck you to all authority. It was not even meant to be valuable. :) 

Speaking of which, I don't think I've ever said this publicly, but people close to me know it. After I came back to the USA from Brazil I fell out of love with money. I just lost interest. On a personal level, I did not like what it did to me or to other people and the goddam government was always there. So I distanced myself and my life got happier. Every penny represents a relationship with one or more humans. With my attitude, I got free of the shittier ones from my life.

With Bitcoin, I have started to fall in love with money once again. This is not greed. It's deeper and it's good. It is changing the world for the better for real without deceit or abusive power. 

Michael

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Smart contracts and other things are also a part of the crypto space now. I am largely convinced that Ethereum will take over Bitcoin in a few years. Bitcoin was the first big one, and it was a great pioneer. Many of the other cryptocurrencies are learning from Bitcoin's mistakes. Litecoin tried to do that, but it's not been that successful.

It is definitely going to get interesting.

By the way, LTC still hasn't passed its all-time high in 2017. BTC and ETH passed that 2017-2018 high long ago.

 

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1 hour ago, algernonsidney said:

I am largely convinced that Ethereum will take over Bitcoin in a few years.

Chris,

Here we disagree. At least as a cryptocurrency.

:)

Ethereum is already going gangbusters in other monetary ways, though.

That EFT thing is impressive (seeing how EFT sits on Ethereum).

Check this out.

‘Disaster Girl’ makes over $430,000 selling the NFT of her meme

The meme is this one.

image.png

Michael

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On 4/29/2021 at 4:36 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

... Max (along with several others) is doing a damn good job of selling the philosophy.

. . .

With Bitcoin, I have started to fall in love with money once again. This is not greed. It's deeper and it's good. It is changing the world for the better for real without deceit or abusive power. 

Here is a typical way Max explains the philosophy.

Simple, clear and no ambiguity or hedging.

 

One important point that Max has said many times, other cryptos are in some form or other centralized. Bitcoin is not and that makes it unconfiscatable.

I'm not crazy about Max's opinion of the US, but I do agree with many of his specific criticisms.

As to the US being afraid, from what I see, he's talking about US elitists, like the ones who sold out to China and stole the 2020 election, not normal everyday Americans.

Because of these last, Bitcoin will be strong in the US, especially once the dollar goes to shit.

Meanwhile, the elitists will start selling their mothers to try to stay on top. But, of course, Bitcoin will be a better deal.

:) 

Michael

 

EDIT: I repeated this post on this thread: Bitcoin and Crypto and DeFi and Sometimes Ayn Rand (see here).

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For later reading:

Financial Censorship Is a Thing. Bitcoin Fixes It

"A recent campaign to blacklist a Russian news agency is the latest reminder that the world needs permissionless, neutral financial systems."

 

Quote

 

The next time someone smugly tells you there is “no legitimate use case” for cryptocurrency, or asserts that it has “no redeeming social value,” shove this story in his or her face:
 

Meduza, a Russian news outlet, is soliciting donations in cryptocurrency (along with traditional payment methods) after the government labeled it a “foreign agent,” CoinDesk’s on-the-ground correspondent, Anna Baydakova, reported Thursday.

 

 

 

https://www.coindesk.com/financial-censorship-is-a-thing-bitcoin-fixes-it

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I actually think it will still be at least twenty years before the dollar "goes to shit." Most of the countries in Central and South America guarantee that, for example. There are many other currencies that stink worse than the American dollar.

 

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