The Digital Revolution Increases Sovereignty

As time progresses, the respect and attitude towards government declines rapidly. Throughout the centuries of corruption, it’s been very hard to figure out how to overcome the problem of governance until now. The Information Age has brought upon us a new way of thinking to where autonomy and true sovereignty is coming into play. A digital revolution is being created that doesn’t rely on fallible humans to represent and rule us.

Also read: Five Bitcoin Features to Get Excited About

RevolutionThe advent of network communication, encryption, digital currency, and smart contracts are the beginning steps into a whole new world. One after the other, each of these attributes has taken society to new playing fields of enlightenment within our thoughts on governance. We see concepts arise and new questions asked that initiate the idea of self-rule. Technology has played an enormous role in this method of thinking and has progressed it extensively.

The Internet a Revolution in Network Communication  

One of the biggest breakthroughs of our time has been the invention of network communication. In the early eighties when home computers started becoming more prevalent, a new printing press was born and humans learned to connect these devices together to form a line of communication. It was during this time that Tim Berners-Lee designed the protocols for the World Wide Web. The web was a creation that has forever changed our society’s way of thinking especially towards authority.

internetFast exchanges of information are one of the first technologies to help promote a different idea of what it means to be governed. The Internet has enabled people access to exposing corruption throughout our world. Live audio, video, and written reports whizz through the network of people exchanging this data. We use this material to inform each other and to grow a greater knowledge base.

People can learn anything they want from the information exchanged on the Internet providing a new element of intellectual growth within society. This includes technical applications, combustible engine repair, programming, and basically whatever a person wants to learn. With the Internet, it is now possible to learn a great amount of things, for merely the cost of a connection.

Now a person can learn about self-governance within the safety of their home. They can learn about anarchism and methods to attain this ideology like agorism. The Internet has created online communities of people grouping together to teach new waves of thinking. Instead of just seeing the given the set of rules they must obey by being born in a random geographical region. Humans can now see a whole new world before them that allows the idea of new horizons. The Internet provides a broader aspect of questioning our rulers, and this is a beautiful thing.

Encryption Allows Private Exchange

To humans, the value of using encryption is as old as using gold to trade. However, widespread use of computational encryption by the public began during the rise of corporate use and home computers. Through the Internet, people crafted a way to secure their websites and emails with concepts like the Diffie & Hellman Exchange.  

cypherpunkPublic Key encryption has given people a way to communicate privately without being monitored by governments or organizations. In fact, with the use of encryption in sending messages, exchanging cryptocurrency, and using Tor a person can hide their true identity. This includes a person’s location and everything down to the exchange of coins if the individual also chose to mix them. Encryption has created a way to have a pretty good layer of anonymity (not 100%) online. This gives another advantage to question authority by enabling an autonomous way of doing things in a private manner.

Currently, bureaucrats are against the public’s use of strong encryption and are battling with tech companies to gain access to a “back door.” The FBI is in the midst of debating Apple about this very subject, but the California-based company refuses to give in to the requests. As some governments overseas ban certain messaging applications like WhatsApp or Telegram, new platforms come into to play like the recently launched Protonmail. Humans want their privacy and are showing this preference with the technology they use. Encryption has allowed ordinary citizens to protect their communication and private information with its innovative design. The fact that governments want to curb the use of it shows they are afraid of its potential to disrupt them.

Digital Currency and The Birth of Bitcoin

bitcoinCryptocurrency is a mixture of the Internet, encryption, and society’s subjective valuation of money. In January of 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto released Bitcoin into the world. Since then, online exchange hasn’t been quite the same. It was the first version of an electronic currency that wasn’t issued by a third-party organization or government. It is nearly impossible to duplicate the amount of Bitcoins in the system like a fractional reserve operation. This means the digital currency is scarce and deflationary as time progresses.

Because money is important to our economy and it is one way the authorities control a population, the creation of Bitcoin opened the eyes of many. Now not only can we exchange valuable information online but also trade our assets and wealth freely without interference. This has brought the meaning of self-governance to a whole new level. Humans can individually become self-reliant or form organizations that are funded entirely separate from the system of law. The currency is its own law with the only policy being the rules of the network.

Smart Contracts Create a New Sovereignty  

ethereum-introduction-to-smart-contracts-6-638The Bitcoin protocol is a permissionless design with an immutable digital ledger running beneath it. This creation has invoked others to create their own sovereign forms of cryptocurrency such as altcoins and blockchains that operate in different ways.

One of these methods is the use of smart contracts, and they will play a significant role in self-governance. Smart Contracts are contracts that can execute themselves and are based on the trust of the protocol’s rules. The implications of this concept with regards to our society’s governance is monumental. Computer scientist Nick Szabo explains the opportunities for smart contracts in many of his writings. Szabo says, “Digital cash protocols use several of the rich new building blocks coming out of the fields of cryptography and computer science. Most of these components have not yet been widely exploited to facilitate contractual arrangements, but the potential is vast.”   

Using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency solutions like Ethereum for smart contracts are just coming into the public’s eye. The general population is not entirely aware of the possibilities of this technology yet, and this is why many call it 2.0 tech. However, it’s easy to see how these smart contract applications can work with many aspects of society. Smart contracts have the ability to reshape the entire legal system, property law, millions of financial services, and how we settle our differences. By removing central authority and governments from the equation, this will reduce cost, increase efficiency, and allow people to conduct business without a third party. Smart contracts enable people to discover another world of opportunity when it comes to sovereignty.

The Questioning Governance Continues to Grow as Technology Advances

chaos-anarchy-posterGovernments have been here for quite some time and will be for a while longer. However, these new discoveries and inventions are changing the paradigm of rule. The idea that human representatives are needed in society is slowly starting to wither away and because of this technology people are questioning the very ethics of authority. These concepts are just in the beginning stages of realization, but a vast array of use cases are coming about. This includes voting mechanisms, international passports and digital IDs, people are drafting digital constitutions, property, and real estate transactions and more are being explored daily. The four concepts described above will continue to promote society’s progression of choice and autonomy.

What do you think about technology changing the way we think about authority? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Wiki Commons, Pixbay, and Shutterstock

  • This is a great article and highlights the important trend of individual sovereignty that is continuing to emerge through decentralized technologies such as Bitcoin. I do want to elaborate on the contrast between paper/coin based fractional reserve operations and crypto-currencies. As I understand it, fractional reserve policies were created to provide an even cheaper form of seigniorage — if we didn’t have these policies we’d need to print more bills/mint coins in order to deal with the desire to maintain an inflation rate of 2%. This is distinct from other Central Banking policies & management that specifically work to maintain an inflation rate. But even if banks didn’t duplicate funds using fractional reserve policies, they still could work to make the USD an inflationary currency at 2% with other programs. An inflationary currency makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons, especially in a time prior to digital representation of funds because of the cost of minting & distributing coins with smaller and smaller value representations that would be important to maintain divisibility of the currency, a key aspect of any currency. Bitcoin, as a digital currency doesn’t have this problem, and I do anticipate a time when the Bitcoin code is improved to allow for handling fractions of a Satoshi. As Bitcoin doesn’t have people who manage its supply, it only has a simple halving algorithm which, assuming ongoing adoption, effectively makes it a deflationary currency. The challenge is that deflationary currencies are more prone to volatility as evidenced by Bitcoin’s dramatic price fluctuations thus far. I don’t anticipate it ever becoming particularly stable as compared any fiat currency with a dedicated team (reserve board) analyzing financial activity and implementing policies. Deflationary currencies reward those who save them, inflationary currencies reward those who invest them or spend them on resources that provide greater value over time. My sense is that the deflationary aspect of Bitcoin incentivises more hoarding and speculation, exacerbating the volatility problem and making Bitcoin a poor unit of account. However, it remains to be seen if an algorithm could be created which generally allows a decentralized currency to be slightly inflationary, such as by controlling money supply based on its velocity, thereby making a decentralized currency which effectively serves all three functions of money well: as a medium of exchange, a store of value AND a unit of account. Crypto currencies show a lot of promise to be able to do the first two functions better than traditional fiat, now we need to figure out how to handle providing the third functionality.

    • Jamie Redman

      Thanks for your kind comment. I’m glad you like the article. I do believe that decentralized currencies like Bitcoin that have a deflationary aspect need to be tested over time. I think in the past scary theories of “deflationary spirals” have made people believe that inflation is 100% needed and deflation is “bad.” And sure some inflation can be healthy but what the central banks have done doesn’t seem like a healthy approach. Quantitive easing, devaluing currency, and manipulated interest rates have wreaked havoc on our economy over the long run. Handling the third functionality will take testing and research and different methods to attain it. But that also depends if the users want that specific attribute.

  • professor rat

    Look like anarchism will take over the world and Jim Bell, Carl johnson & I will be hero’s

  • There’s a word for the bitcoin/blockchain enabled nirvana of self-government and free trade that you describe above. And it’s not anarchism. It’s called capitalism. You’re doing a great disservice to our cause–bitcoin, blockchain and the individual liberty they enable and portend–by venturing into the deeper intellectual waters of political philosophy. The very promotion of anarchism as a valid philosophical, political, or economic principal is an indictment of the promotor’s cognition. Even a society whose every member were fully rational and faultlessly moral could not function in a state of anarchy–the need for objective laws, a neutral arbiter for honest disagreements among men, and a means of organized self-defense against societies not so faultlessly moral as the one presupposed, necessitates the establishment of government–indeed, those are government’s only proper functions. Necessary ones too. In a constitutional republic where individual rights are derived from nature and not man, where the authority of the government is derived from the consent of the governed, questioning the “ethics of authority” implicates the ethics of the questioner. Understand? You may want to check your economic premises too: scarcity does not imply deflation. Why? I’ll leave the not-so-easy answer to you. But here’s your enticement: the answer reveals one of bitcoin’s potentially fatal flaws. And here’s a clue: the answer relates to a shiny yellow element. Good luck!