Andreas M. Antonopoulos & Anita Posch

Andreas M. Antonopoulos on How Bitcoin Removes Power from the Few and Gives It to the Many | Bitcoin Co. Podcast

Check out Bitcoin Co. Podcast Episode Page & Show Notes.

Key Takeaways

  • We need a technology that gives power, freedom, independence, and economic access, and it won’t be fulfilled by other technologies
    • Bitcoin’s adoption is a matter of building infrastructure and easier systems
  • “Bitcoin isn’t digital money, bitcoin is an open, transnational protocol for money over the internet that isn’t controlled by anyone” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos
    • This can’t be said for other digital currencies like Libra, which are just centralized, surveilled, and controlled databases
  • Countries with the highest rates of tax participation are where people see a direct benefit from paying their taxes, not the countries with the strictest laws
  • YouTube is applying private policies on a private platform, this isn’t censorship, but it does show the danger of centralized platforms for content
    • Truth can’t be regulated, society needs to develop critical thinking skills to discern truth from fake news
  • “When freedom is banned, only outlaws have freedom.” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Intro

Bitcoin’s Adoption

  • When widely adopted, Bitcoin will be invisibly woven into every technology we use
    • Similar to how people use the internet without thinking about the underlying protocols
    • That said, it’s still an immature technology with clunky user interfaces and steep learning curve
      • Additionally, peer-to-peer digital cash on the internet is an alien concept in a world where money is usually mediated by corporations and governments
  • New technologies are expensive initially and available to a limited number of people. They later trickle down to reach even the poorest places in the world (e.g. cell phones)
    • There is a need for a technology that gives power, freedom, independence, and economic access, and it won’t be fulfilled by other technologies
      • Adoption is a matter of building infrastructure and easier systems
  • Keep in mind, Bitcoin is already being used for many reasons (e.g. store of value, large purchases, protection of independence and wealth)

Digital Currencies are Nothing like Bitcoin

  • “Bitcoin isn’t digital money, bitcoin is an open, transnational protocol for money over the internet that isn’t controlled by anyone” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos
    • This can’t be said for other digital currencies like Libra, which are just centralized, surveilled, and controlled databases
  • Nation-state and corporate money aren’t different from current money and are even more dangerous and totalitarian
    • “These systems will be used to take away people’s freedom and choice and keep them under the control of a very small number of other people, and that’s a dangerous historical precedent” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Bitcoin Opposes Powerful Entrenched Interests

  • “If Bitcoin is successful, it fundamentally violates the interests of very powerful organizations, institutions, and people, and as a result, we are going to have a fight” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos
    • The ability to transact outside of centralized control won’t be simply accepted
  • “Bitcoin, this system of open currency, removes power from the few and gives it to the many.” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Outlawing Bitcoin

  • “Law is a human construct passed by representatives that sometimes approaches justice and sometimes doesn’t” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos
    • When a government without moral legitimacy passes unjust laws, they are simply violated, and the respect for laws is reduced
      • For instance, people who get caught using Bitcoin will probably bribe officials in Bitcoin
    • “We mustn’t and shouldn’t ever confuse morality with legality. In some cases, it is imperative to break the law in order to uphold morality when that law is immoral”
  •  “When freedom is banned, only outlaws have freedom.” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Bitcoin is Indifferent to Ideologies

  • Bitcoin opened the door for thousands of monies that compete in different ways, we are moving away from a single money that wins everything theory
    • While this violates the principles of Austrian economics, most people don’t act as rational economic agents and they choose money based on various criteria and motivations
      • “I think it’s very dangerous to assign a single political ideology to Bitcoin, I think it’s also very narrow-minded and I won’t do that” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos
  • “I think people to project their own worldview and political ideology onto Bitcoin and they can find an interpretation within Bitcoin and the principles that matches their world view, often falling into some degree of confirmation bias” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Bitcoin and Taxation

  • The current taxation system has reached its scaling limit and is failing to allocate funds for socially positive purposes. This is happening whether or not Bitcoin exists
    • Additionally, only the middle class is paying its taxes, everyone else who can get away with it isn’t
      • “Bitcoin just made it possible for the middle class to do what rich people are already doing” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos
  • Countries with the highest rates of tax participation are where people can see a direct benefit from paying their taxes, not the countries with the most strict laws
    • This isn’t the case in the US, where taxes go towards bailing out rich corporations and funding a war machine

Why the Left Wing Doesn’t Embrace Bitcoin

  • In the 19th and 20th century, the left vs right divide was defined as a divide between capital and labor, the left now opposes wealth
  • In reality, money is a neutral tool, what matters is who controls the lever of power in the system of money
    • An open system of money with no lever of power is fundamentally different; reflexive opposition to money blinds one to this
  • By contrast, younger generations will grow up with the distinction of open money and closed money

On YouTube Censorship

  • YouTube is applying private policies on a private platform, this isn’t censorship, but it does show the danger of centralized platforms for content
    • The problem is regulations that prevent the free market from providing alternatives
      • These regulations allow giant monopolies to control the content by controlling money flows from advertising
  • Truth can’t be regulated, society needs to develop critical thinking skills to discern truth from fake news
    • Luckily, younger generations are better at living in a world with no truth-authority
      • “Boomers told us that playing video games would rot our brains and then turned around and had their brains rotted by Fox News” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos
  • Worth noting: Andreas’ audience aren’t into crypto or decentralized technologies, so he has to find them on popular platforms like YouTube

A Silver Lining in COVID-19

  • A pandemic reveals social weaknesses and the fragility of its institutions
    • The way out of COVID-19 lockdowns is massive testing and antibody testing
      • Blaming China for lying is just an excuse, “since when does the national security of a western nation depend on communists telling the truth?”
  • On the bright side, a global scientific community, outside of political control and with free access to information is one of humanity’s greatest achievements
    • “The idea of finding a vaccine to a novel threat within 12 months was unthinkable just 10 or 15 years ago” – Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Miscellaneous

  • Andreas is optimistic: the world is becoming a more just and fair place, with better literacy, access to education, and money. Opportunities are steadily increasing
  • Andreas is currently reading The Last Emperox, the third book in The Interdependency series by John Scalzi

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