Blockchains: Going mainstream, still revolultionary

posted by
August 16, 2016
William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism
by Thomas L Knapp  
Posted in Commentary

"Born less than a decade ago as the backbone of a then-novel electronic currency scheme, Bitcoin, and the darling of crypto-anarchists like myself, the blockchain concept now finds itself the spoiled pre-teen adoptee of the big business and entrepreneur sets alike. It's a simple and seductive idea: Blockchains store information in databases distributed around the world instead of in single locations with perhaps an off-site backup or two at most. The integrity of that information is protected both by the redundancy of distribution and by strong cryptography. It's very difficult to destroy or illicitly modify information stored in a well-designed blockchain. The blockchain is maintained by 'miners' whose computers do the work of storing and constantly updating the database. The miners are paid in bits of cryptocurrency created by their own work." (08/15/16)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/7154  

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  • dL

    good article…technically accurate. The problem with anarchism is not its own self regulation but rather its susceptibility to morally directed, singularly driven invaders. The porcupine is an apt symbol of the libertarian movement.

    The attempts to expropriate blockchain tech to fit within the compliance of statist political economy is probably one of the better demonstrations against the nonsense that often seems to treat regulation/compliance as a mere frictional drag coefficient.

    • Glad you like it.

      Writing about crypto and cryptocurrency always drives me up the wall because I’m aware of the need to get it right (there’s way too much nonsense out there) and of how easy it is to get it wrong (you’ve mentioned tech triumphalism; that and just plain recycled woo woo create a lot of noise that’s not always easy to sort out of signal).

      Of course, I’m a bit of a triumphalist myself. Even if cryptocurrency and blockchains and stuff don’t lead to the state being smashed, I think they will at least have reviving and armoring effects on the black/gray market substrate that’s taken some hits over the last few decades as state surveillance technologies have improved so dramatically.

      • dL

        “Of course, I’m a bit of a triumphalist myself. Even if cryptocurrency and blockchains and stuff don’t lead to the state being smashed, I think they will at least have reviving and armoring effects on the black/gray market substrate that’s taken some hits over the last few decades as state surveillance technologies have improved so dramatically.”

        That’s not tech triumphalism. Technological consequences are not a binary proposition of utopian triumphalism vs dystopian pessimism. For example, I think Bitcoin/Darknets/Blockchain are great advancements in liberty. However, those things alone will not smash the state b/c they work on top of stuff still under direct control of the state.

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