Understanding the Ideological Aspects of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies

Understanding the Ideological Aspects of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies

Beyond exploring the practical applications of Bitcoin, it is also important to understand the bigger picture, the bigger issues. Here, we collect the thoughts and ideas from people who have made the effort to think about these and communicate them through videos, articles or blog posts. 

List of different cryptocurrencies and how are they different from each other?

Marquez Comelab | Posted: 3rd Aug 2020 | Cryptocurrencies, Trading & Investing, Technology

There are over 1000 different crypto-currency or crypto-asset projects in existence at the moment. Here is a summary of the major ones and later, I will be adding some that just happened to hit my radar. It is not supposed to be objective and complete. Instead, I provide you with my opinions and bias that formed as a result of my reading and research and provide what comes to me as the most important and significant about each of them.  

Bitcoin (BTC)

What is Bitcoin (BTC)?

Bitcoin BTC is the blockchain and project on which Satoshi Nakamoto implemented his vision of Bitcoin. After he left however, Bitcoin developers continued to make changes to the Bitcoin protocol to a point where, personally, I no longer think it resembles and represents the Bitcoin that Nakamoto wrote about in his Whitepaper that describes what Bitcoin is, its key features and its incentives. 

What is going for Bitcoin BTC?

  • Most people think it is still Bitcoin.
  • Many people are still promoting it as Bitcoin. 

What is going against Bitcoin BTC?

  • Even though many people still think and promote Bitcoin (BTC) to be Bitcoin, in my opinion, BTC has lost most of what makes Bitcoin as it was initially written and described by Satoshi Nakamoto in the Bitcoin Whitepaper. BTC is Bitcoin in name only.
  • The stranglehold of Blockstream, the Bitcoin development team and their financial backers on the direction of the project have taken Bitcoin into a path which will doom Bitcoin BTC from being useable and adopted in the long-run, in my opinion. 
  • Changes and initiatives such as Segwit, the Lightning Network, and  discussions of removing the supply limit of Bitcoin, are warning indicators that people behind the development and implementation of Bitcoin (BTC) now are trying to re-create the same power and structure that we already have, on the blockchain. They just want to do it where they get to have the power, influence and control. They do not seem to care about minimising fees and making Bitcoin BTC a currency for everyone, around the world to use, something that Satoshi Nakamoto clearly aspired to achieve.  

ETHEREUM (ETH)  

What is Ethereum?

It is a cryptocurrency project focussed on incorporating smart contracts. 

What is going for Ethereum?

  • Being able to program contracts and control the release and transfer of cryptocurrency based on the terms of a programmable agreement, is something that can open a wide range of applications across all industries and so, it is a worthy goal. 
  • It is just as recognised as Bitcoin (BTC).
  • Lots of big money has invested in it already, this means lots of people promoting it. 

What is going against Ethereum?

  • Ethereum has problems scaling to the dismay of many investors, developers and users. But then again, scaling is a problem for almost all cryptocurrency projects. The only one I think that can scale is Bitcoin SV at the moment.  

XRP

What is XRP?

It is a cryptocurrency project that focusses on solving problems associated with banking and the banking systems.

What is going for XRP?

  • The problems it is trying to solve are huge, and if solved, they can make things more efficient for banks and the banking system, which in turn, offer potential gains for investors, XRP holders and its end-customers, us. 
  • The people behind them strike me as more professional, as well as legally and financially more aware than most projects.

What is going against XRP?

  • There is debate over XRPs decentralisation. Ripple Labs and its executives try to distance themselves from XRP to make it look as though XRP is an independent cryptocurrency. My personal view is that at the moment, Ripple exerts too much ownership, power and control over the cryptocurrency and its eco-system; therefore, I do not consider them as decentralised. One can argue that many other projects also are supported and backed by only one or a couple of huge investors. Still, I do not see a path for Ripple-XRP to ever really be "decentralisable". 

Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

What is Bitcoin Cash?

This project started when a group of Bitcoin supporters, investors and users saw that Bitcoin (BTC)'s ability to be used as cash was being eroded by the changes that Bitcoin developers began implementing since about 2017. They forked Bitcoin — including its history of transactions — so that they can continue to develop Bitcoin as digital cash.

You read it often times from sources who support BTC that BCH have somehow stolen or taking advantage of the Bitcoin brandname or goodwill. I want to point out that forking Bitcoin is allowed, despite the protestations of BTC fans who do not understand this basic feature of open-source software. It also protects against the hijacking of Bitcoin as a project because other people can always fork it when they feel it is not going the right direction.

What's going for Bitcoin Cash?

  • One of Bitcoin's earliest investor, promoter and supporter is Roger Ver. His tireless efforts to get people and businesses to actually use Bitcoin has been carried over to Bitcoin Cash when he, along with many like him who believed that Bitcoin is digital cash, diverted their efforts to developing Bitcoin Cash. In this spirit, the Bitcoin Cash community targetted businesses to use Bitcoin Cash as cash. They managed to achieve some success in Australia and South Korea and Japan doing this.
  • I also agree that the use and adoption of a cryptocurrency to pay for everyday goods and services is key to the success of a cryptocurrency project. A true digital, open-source cash that is cheap and easy to send anywhere in the world is still a need that remains unfulfilled.

What is going against Bitcoin Cash?

  • Last time I looked into it, the project is undergoing internal conflict between its users, investors and developers. Much of it stems from the fact that they are still tinkering around with the Bitcoin Protocol. In this regard, BCH is similar to BTC in the sense that they are still more or less play-things for developers. How can businesses and enterprises begin building on their protocol when the protocol is very likely to be changed every few months? Huge entities like corporations and governments cannot develop on such fragile, fickle, protocols. Here, I am persuaded more by BSV's approach to "lock the protocol to keep it stable". Everyone else can develop on top of it. 

Bitcoin Satoshi Vision, Bitcoin SV (BSV) 

What is Bitcoin SV?

Bitcoin SV supporters split from Bitcoin Cash when they noticed that Bitcoin Cash is getting bogged down with changing the Bitcoin Protocol yet again. They believed that Bitcoin could scale with the original protocol that Satoshi Nakamoto released initially. They were laughed at and ridiculed by Bitcoin BTC and Bitcoin Cash BCH investors and developers. 

It took a team of BSV developers about a year to re-write the Bitcoin protocol back to as close as they can get it to the original. On February 2020, Bitcoin SV's developers successfully implemented BSV to run on a protocol based on the original. Months on, they have shown that Bitcoin SV has one of the cheapest transaction costs compared to Bitcoin BTC and BCH. It is fast to send, and it can handle large numbers of transactions simultaneously. In other words, Bitcoin SV works as Bitcoin should. 

Every argument made about, and in support for Bitcoin before 2017, can be made for Bitcoin BSV because it is the only project in existence now that is committed in implementing Bitcoin as it was described in the original Bitcoin Whitepaper.

What's going for it?

  • It works, and it scales.
  • BSV sets the protocol in 'stone'. This solves a lot of issues regarding decentralisation, ownership and control. It removes the power and incentives towards a group of people trying to influence and hijack Bitcoin by removing their ability to change the protocol.  
  • The trap with BTC between 2017-2018 was that most people were mesmerised with its meteoric price rise and the focus became more about the price. It made it hard for developers and entrepreneurs to focus on activities that brought in rewards in the longer term. It seemed more rewarding to buy Bitcoin BTC, hold and watch its price go up. 
  • Naturally, many BSV fans get excited by the increase in BSV's price, but trading it is dampened down. If you look into the messages promoted in their campaigns, they encourage and support developers and entrepreneurs to build on the network instead. Create things that will make life easier. Do business on the blockchain. I believe this is what matters for Bitcoin to succeed: Focus on the utility, use and adoption. The rest will follow. This is a healthier attitude for a cryptocurrency community to have. 

What's going against BSV?

  • Many articles and opinion pieces published online paint BSV in a negative light. Over time, however, people will notice that the attacks on BSV are mostly personal attacks on Craig Wright. Arguments that focus on attacking the person, instead of his ideas, is a big sign of weakness to me. It is becoming clearer that Craig Wright was right on many fronts. His hard-headed assertion and insistence that Bitcoin's original protocol could scale, for example, is now proven to be correct. Bitcoin SV now has the capacity exceeding that of Bitcoin BTC and Bitcoin BCH. 

This is not a complete list and I will revise this when I have more time. But if you are new to cryptocurrencies, this may lead you towards your early readings.

 

What about you — Which is your favourite cryptocurrency and why? 

GEORGE GILDER - LIFE AFTER GOOGLE: How The Singularity & Cryptocurrency Will Redefine Humanity

London Real, George Gilder | Posted: 1st Aug 2020 | Source: 1st Aug 2020 | Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies, Trading & Investing, Business, Economics, Technology

Bitcoin: Beyond The Bubble - Full Documentary

Marquez Comelab | Posted: 1st Aug 2020 | Source: 19th Apr 2018 | Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies, Trading & Investing, Technology

Full Interview: Edward Snowden On Trump, Privacy, And Threats To Democracy

The 11th Hour | MSNBC | Posted: 31st Jul 2020 | Source: 17th Sep 2019 | Technology, News & Current Affairs, Philosophy, Politics

Edward Snowden discusses how government spying on their citizens affect our freedoms of speech and freedom of thought. 

Highlight is after 45:28 

  • We are focussing on regulating on the use of citizen's data, which implies  We should also be discussing the Governments justify spying on their citizens by saying it helps prevent terrorism attacks but at least two independent commissions set up to find out if this is true, reveal that all this spying, this invasion of an entire nation's privacy, has not resulted or led to a concrete difference to stopping a specific terrorist attack, even after more than ten years of collecting people's data. "Mass surveillance is not about public safety. It is not about terrorism. It is about power. It is about economic espionage, diplomatic manipulation and social influence." 
  • Half of the 10 Ammendements in the American constitution intentionally makes life harder for governments and law-enforcement. The Founding Fathers of America recognised that: "The more efficient a government is, the more dangerous it is. We want the government to be too efficient, just efficient enough, because governments hold extraordinary power in our lives. We want governments to be using powers that is necessary and proportionate to whatever or whoever they are investigating. When the government is getting by the skin of their teeth, the people are free. The government should be afraid of the people. People should not be afraid of the government."
  • "What is legal is not always moral."
  • "Facts are more important than our emotions". "Facts have to matter more than feelings". (In the context of making decisions that affect millions of people). 

How is Money Created? – Everything You Need to Know

ColdFusion | Posted: 1st Jul 2020 | Source: 8th Jun 2020 | Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies, Trading & Investing, Economics

"With trillions of dollars being printed around the world, it's time we take a look into how money is created."

Bitcoin: The End Of Money As We Know It

Torsten Hoffmann | Posted: 26th Jun 2020 | Source: 8th Jan 2015 | Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies

This documentary the award-winning documentary Bitcoin: The End Of Money As We Know It (2015).

This documentary lays out the original arguments made for Bitcoin back in 2015. It lays out the case for Bitcoin and I recommend you to watch it if you want to understand the reasons for why Bitcoin could be a positive evolution for our financial and monetary system. It is important to note, however, that the original arguments made for Bitcoin no longer hold for Bitcoin (BTC). The people behind Bitcoin (BTC)'s development has essentially doomed Bitcoin from being useable as a currency.  Its developers have crippled the network and made it too expensive to be used quickly and cheaply by people around the world that would need to use it.

A lot of the arguments made for Bitcoin here, still apply for Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) though: a project committed to keeping with the original vision of Bitcoin. I will write an article about this to explain my position because this is a controversial point to make. For now, enjoy this great documentary by Torsten Hoffmann.

The History of Global Banking - A Broken System?

Economics Explained | Posted: 25th Jun 2020 | Source: 25th Jun 2020 | Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies

Author's description: "The 2008 Global Financial crisis was kicked off by major structural issues in the global banking system and exacerbated by record levels of household debt. Today the world is on the brink of yet another major financial downturn, and yet again household debts are at record levels. So is banking really to blame?"

My comment: The author of the video mentions the fact that fiat currencies and the bank system are now just based on 'trust' and 'faith', something that is a very serious issue to me because of its implications. But then he diverts to make, what seems to be a relatively small point: that banks will contribute more positively to the world if they acted like cooperative banks and provide loans to businesses. Still, I share it because he gives a very digestible brief history of banking. I also like the fact that he highlights the compares the concept of economic output with the idea of GDP, that just measures the transactions (the table example).

Why is the stock market going up?! Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano explains

Anthony Pompliano | Posted: 21st Jun 2020 | Source: 21st Jun 2020 | Bitcoin, Trading & Investing, Business, Economics, News & Current Affairs

Description on the video: "Anthony 'Pomp' Pompliano explains how central bank actions from the Federal Reserve is devaluing the US dollar, while also pumping asset prices up. He goes into detail about what is happening, why Wall Street is confused, and what you can do at home to benefit."

Comment:

I posted this here because he, an American, shares the concerns that I, an outsider, have of Trump's printing of money, especially after he fired the official who was supposed to oversee how the funds are to be distributed. Trump's government have not been transparent enough. One crucial aspect of printing money is transparency. When the government prints money, it siphons a percentage of the value of everyone's money into their pockets. This is okay if they re-distribute the printed money to where it is needed most. But if they are not disclosing how that money is distributed, then we can presume they are doing something with the money that they — the government — do not want their citizens to know. 

This event — Trump's printing of money — could well be a live example of why people should protect at least a portion of the value of their wealth by buying Bitcoin. 

Interesting points on potential opportunities and trends:

  • Trend towards working from home, people working digitally. This is driving people away from big cities since all they need is a device connected to the Internet to work, without the high rent and high cost of living. 
  • Digital portals to interact with people to work remotely with everyone. 

The Pirate Party - the politics of protest: Rick Falkvinge at TEDxObserver

Rick Falkvinge | Posted: 16th Jun 2020 | Source: 21st Dec 2012 | Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies, Technology, Politics

"In 2006, Rick Falkvinge, a Swedish software entrepreneur, founded a new political party centred around the subjects of file sharing, copyright and patents. He called it the Pirate Party and it rose to prominence after a government crackdown on the file-sharing site, the Pirate Bay. Since then, the Pirate Party has swept Europe and beyond to become an international political movement, active in 40 different countries with representation in the European parliament. In Sweden, it's the largest party for voters under the age of 30 with 25% of the vote, and in September 2011, the German Pirate Party won an unprecedented 8.9 per cent of the vote and now has several members in the Berlin state parliament. Focused on the subjects of government transparency, internet privacy and copyright law, the Pirate Party hosts Wikileaks on its servers and uses new technology to leverage political power in new and interesting ways. In 2011, Foreign Policy magazine called Falkvinge one of the top 100 global thinkers."

Subscribe to Understanding the Ideological Aspects of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies