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Stamford innovation week - blockchain day

  1. 1. FREE SPEECH MONEY An update on the state of cryptocurrency as a tool for human liberation, ten years on
  2. 2. Hello! I’m Preston Byrne. • Gab: @pjb • Twitter: @prestonjbyrne • Lawyer dual-admitted in England and America • Blockchain fabulous, as founded Monax Industries in 2014 • Monax == first non-cryptocurrency/“enterprise” blockchain • Represent libertarian-leaning technology companies and entrepreneurs, with a decent cryptocurrency practice
  3. 3. Structure of the talk 1. WTF is today about? 2. Ten years in history 3. Ten years in needs 4. Looking ahead
  4. 4. WTF is today all about? (Agreeing definitions) • Bitcoin, but also think about other types of distributed consensus • Bitcoin is “a Blockchain” • “Blockchain technology” ==  • Blockchain is a method of using technology, not a technology • Network database • Peer to peer • Usually not encrypted • Digital signatures (PKI) authenticate messages • Batches transactions into blocks and records all transaction history as a hash-linked chain of blocks • “Consensus” and the quality of security  depends on your design assumptions and preferences
  5. 5. Assumptions • Bitcoin is currently the dominant cryptocurrency/blockchain platform by a considerable distance • Bitcoin’s current limitations prevent it from serving as a credible mainstream challenger to existing mainstream technological solutions • This does not mean that Bitcoin will not adapt with the passage of time • Present-day Bitcoin does not represent the end-state of distributed consensus tooling which apply these principles, or of Bitcoin itself
  6. 6. Part 2: What ten years can do
  7. 7. Bitcoin is ten years old • The automobile in 1895 • The airplane in 1916 • Manned spaceflight in 1968 • The modern computer in 1953 • The telephone in 1886 • The Internet in 1979 • The iPod in 2011 • The iPhone in 2018
  8. 8. It’s still early Junckers J-1, world’s first all-metal aircraft (1916) Benz Omnibus; world’s first gas-powered bus (1895) IBM Model 701 (1953)
  9. 9. Ten years in cryptocurrency • 2009: White Paper published on the Cryptography Mailing List • 2010-2012: Nerd Era, Silk Road • 2013: Mt Gox Bubble • 2014: First Altcoin Boom • 2015-16: “Blockchain without” • 2017: ICO Boom • 2018: Regulatory awakening • 2019: “DeFi” and deplatforming
  10. 10. Ten years in cryptocurrency: bro version
  11. 11. Ten years in cryptocurrency: better version
  12. 12. Ten years in geopolitics: the slow unraveling of the post-Cold War world order • 1990-2007: Hunky-dory unless you lived in the Balkans or the Great Lakes region of Africa • 2008-2012: Global Financial Crisis, quantitative easing • 2013: Maduro • 2014: Grexit • 2016: Brexit, Trump • 2017: Lulz • 2018: Salvini, Bolsonaro • 2019: Yuan-settled oil futures, Libra, Abqaiq, Hong Kong, quantitative easing…
  13. 13. Ten years in brain dead venture capital narratives • 2009: White Paper published on the Cryptography Mailing List • 2010-2012: Replace cash • 2013: Replace all banking everywhere • 2014: Replace Bitcoin • 2015-16: Replace SAP • 2017: Fat Protocols/Ethereum!!!111!! Cryptokitties1!one!!eleven!! • 2018: Why are we being subpoenaed? • 2019: “DeFi”/Replace all banking everywhere
  14. 14. Part 3: Who needs Bitcoin?
  15. 15. Ten years in needs • 2009: Nobody needs it • 2010-2012: Drug dealers need it • 2013: Drug dealers need it • 2014: Drug dealers need it • 2015-16: Venezuelans need it • 2017: Venezuelans need it • 2018: Venezuelans, Hong Kongers, Americans need it • 2019: Venezuelans, Hong Kongers, Americans, Argentinians…
  16. 16. Ten years in needs: 2009
  17. 17. Ten years in needs: 2010-2012
  18. 18. Silk Road was responsible for most of Bitcoin’s real world transaction volume at the time
  19. 19. Crime doesn’t pay
  20. 20. Ten years in needs: 2013
  21. 21. Ten years in needs: 2013
  22. 22. Ten years in needs: 2013
  23. 23. Wow such 2014
  24. 24. Operation Choke Point
  25. 25. 2015-16 • Fairly boring on the crypto side of things, a lot of Series A-level stuff • Early enterprise blockchain; slow adoption; low bank budgets • Building phase • Gradual increase of transaction volumes • Trump, Brexit, Ukrainian war • Milo Yiannopoulous banned from Twitter
  26. 26. 2017
  27. 27. 2017
  28. 28. 2018: awakened regulators • US SEC publishes “Dao Report” in Summer 2017 • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission settles with • ParagonCoin (ICO issuer) • Etherdelta founder (unregistered national securities exchange) • ICO Store • U.S. CFTC opens investigation into Tether • New York Attorney General’s office opens investigation into Tether • U.S. Department of Justice indicts Crypto Capital Corp. leadership on money laundering charges
  29. 29. 2018: woke corporations • Alex Jones banned from YouTube, Facebook, Google, Apple, Spotfy, Stitchr, MailChimp, Linkedin, Vimeo, Twitter – over the course of several days • Milo Yiannopoulos banned from Coinbase, Facebook, Patreon • Patreon, Visa/Mastercard cut off payments to the David Horowitz Freedom Center • Paypal bans 34 groups and companies at the behest of the Southern Poverty Law Center • Facebook/Instagram bans Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, Milo Yiannopoulos, Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson; among others • Gavin McInnes banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Paypal • Laura Loomer banned from GoFundMe, Venmo, Uber, Lyft • banned from nearly every service under the sun, including BitPay and Coinbase • First National Bank of Omaha, Citigroup ban firearms business • Cloudflare makes its first of only two ideological bans made to date
  30. 30. 2019: angry regulators • FinCEN reaffirms that money transmission is still money transmission • SEC settles with Bitqyck, SimplyVitalHealth • SEC sues Kik • SEC sues ICOBox • SEC rejects several ETF applications • DOJ indicts Crypto Capital Corp • DOJ indicts early Ethereum adviser • Blockstack issues first Regulation A+ Offering Angry marmot
  31. 31. Not just politics: platforms are being deplatformed!
  32. 32. 2019: No-platforming is now a global phenomenon • (US) • Live Action (US) • YouTube • Adpocalypse/Comment disabling: Legitimate law enforcement purpose, but a very wide net (tens of millions of videos); review automated rather than manual • Carlos Maza/Steven Crowder; • SumofUs/Tommy Robinson (UK) • Rollout of Social Credit (China) • Li Xiaolin
  33. 33. 2019: trolling the communists • Bitcoin used in Venezuela as inflation hedge • Bitcoin used in Hong Kong to facilitate resistance vs government • Bitcoin used in Argentina following the imposition of capital controls • Bitcoin used in the United States to circumvent de- platforming bans
  34. 34. 3. Looking ahead
  35. 35. Sources of financial censorship State MobCorporations Outrage Hypersensitivity tailored to criminal code Informal pressure, subjective regulations State MobCorporations Deplatforming (mob-driven extra-judicial denial of service) Investigation and/or arrest Risk-driven extra-legal denial of service Expression Result
  36. 36. Sources of financial censorship (continued) State MobCorporations Based CEO, gradual cultural inoculation Bill of Rights Elimination of subjective regulations e.g. reputation risk in CAMELS score State MobCorporations Global UK, Europe, China U.S. Non-Bitcoin Solution Current problem hotspots
  37. 37. Solving real world problems increasingly more people care about State MobCorporations Honey Badger Don’t Care Circumvents social credit scoring Circumvents platform bans Bitcoin has no cognizance of risk Provides payment processing for legal businesses State MobCorporations Alex Jones Milo Yiannopoulos Laura Loomer Li Xiaolin Count Dankula Lauren Southern MakeLoveNotPorn Operation Choke Point Backpage, CraigsList
  38. 38. My personal views • Until about 2017-18, outside of a hyperinflation or capital controls scenario there was no reason that a person should require Bitcoin • Silk Road’s “need” was never going to drive global Bitcoin adoption (a) because the growth potential for illegal activity is highly constrained and (b) because using Bitcoin is a really stupid way to break the law • 2017-18 saw the emergence of legally legitimate uses of Bitcoin to circumvent mob-driven extrajudicial denial of service (MEDoS) in Western democracies • Increased polarization will continue this trend
  39. 39. Tl;dr: eat your heart out, Carlota Perez Source: Hacker News user dleslie,
  40. 40. Thank you for your time.