Real Progressives

Episode 151 – Can Blockchain Help the Left? with The Blockchain Socialist

The Blockchain Socialist wants to dispel the notion that blockchain technology can only serve a rightwing libertarian agenda. In this week’s episode, he tells Steve the left loses out when new trends or innovations are introduced into the economy. Blockchain is a neutral tool on which we can build different types of organizations and institutions. He speaks of the risks taken when groups use Google Docs for organizing their information. Google’s removal of access to Palestinian activists should be seen as a threat to the left. 

The Blockchain Socialist – let’s call him TBS – created his blog and podcast to provide a space for learning about blockchain and digital currency free of rightwing propaganda. He talks with Steve about a wide range of uses in both the near and distant future. For countries under economic sanctions, cryptocurrency can make it possible to engage in international financial activity. For the myriad groups on the left who seem unable to unite because of, often, some pretty obscure differences, TBS sees other benefits…  

…using this shared economic platform to do that — to keep track of political goals and to move forward on them. Then in some utopian socialist future in which the workers finally own the means of production, we can collectively decide to or decide not to use blockchain as an important decentralized institution for keeping track of other things that we may want to do. 

TBS lays out the difference between smart contracts and legal contracts and goes over their potential uses. He also explains the concept of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and how it could change the banking system, for better or worse. He and Steve discuss imposing expiration dates on cryptocurrency to encourage spending and disallow hoarding. 

It is hard for MMTers to understand why libertarians would want to impose artificial scarcity on cryptocurrency, as if Bitcoin were digital gold.  

It’s really heavily based on this commodity theory of money, and especially the libertarian view that the best type of money can be abstracted away because it’s backed by a commodity which has objective value — as if gold is really objectively valuable. So I think part of the issue is that a lot of these first cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, were designed intentionally with this hard money view in mind. They encoded hard money into Bitcoin. It does not have to be hard money. 

Ultimately both the right and left have objections to the way the government handles money. Whether you think it is spending too much or too little, the whole process is undemocratic. Bitcoin is not the solution, but there is a lot more to digital currency than Bitcoin, not all of it a rightwing tool. This episode provides just a taste – we recommend following the Blockchain Socialist for a real education. 

The Blockchain Socialist is a blogger and podcaster whose work can be found on his website, theblockchainsocialist.com.  

Support his work at patreon.com/theblockchainsocialist.  

@TBSocialist on Twitter 

 

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The Blockchain Socialist wants to dispel the notion that blockchain technology can only serve a rightwing libertarian agenda. In this week’s episode, he tells Steve the left loses out when new trends or innovations are introduced into the economy. Blockchain is a neutral tool on which we can build different types of organizations and institutions. He speaks of the risks taken when groups use Google Docs for organizing their information. Google’s removal of access to Palestinian activists should be seen as a threat to the left. 

The Blockchain Socialist – let’s call him TBS – created his blog and podcast to provide a space for learning about blockchain and digital currency free of rightwing propaganda. He talks with Steve about a wide range of uses in both the near and distant future. For countries under economic sanctions, cryptocurrency can make it possible to engage in international financial activity. For the myriad groups on the left who seem unable to unite because of, often, some pretty obscure differences, TBS sees other benefits…  

…using this shared economic platform to do that — to keep track of political goals and to move forward on them. Then in some utopian socialist future in which the workers finally own the means of production, we can collectively decide to or decide not to use blockchain as an important decentralized institution for keeping track of other things that we may want to do. 

TBS lays out the difference between smart contracts and legal contracts and goes over their potential uses. He also explains the concept of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and how it could change the banking system, for better or worse. He and Steve discuss imposing expiration dates on cryptocurrency to encourage spending and disallow hoarding. 

It is hard for MMTers to understand why libertarians would want to impose artificial scarcity on cryptocurrency, as if Bitcoin were digital gold.  

It’s really heavily based on this commodity theory of money, and especially the libertarian view that the best type of money can be abstracted away because it’s backed by a commodity which has objective value — as if gold is really objectively valuable. So I think part of the issue is that a lot of these first cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, were designed intentionally with this hard money view in mind. They encoded hard money into Bitcoin. It does not have to be hard money. 

Ultimately both the right and left have objections to the way the government handles money. Whether you think it is spending too much or too little, the whole process is undemocratic. Bitcoin is not the solution, but there is a lot more to digital currency than Bitcoin, not all of it a rightwing tool. This episode provides just a taste – we recommend following the Blockchain Socialist for a real education. 

The Blockchain Socialist is a blogger and podcaster whose work can be found on his website, theblockchainsocialist.com.  

Support his work at patreon.com/theblockchainsocialist.  

@TBSocialist on Twitter 

 

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