Is Bitcoin Racist?
It is not only those who see themselves as libertarians who, through the adoption of Bitcoin and the political communities around it, routinely distribute political and economic views that are grounded in conspiratorial, far-right accounts of the Federal Reserve and the nature of representative government…
David Golumbia, “The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism”
The Cryptocurrency / Blockchain revolution is the second technological seismic shift to occur within the past 40 years. The first was of course, the Internet, and once that achieved critical mass the detractors and those who feared the erosion of centralized power that the net signalled began subtly promulgating the memes of The Four Horsemen of the Internet Apocalypse to warn off the population and justify centralized control (those were: terrorists, drug dealers, pedophiles, and organized crime. I recently dubbed “Fake news” the fifth horseman of the Internet Apocalypse).
It is no surprise then, with Central Banks and governments unable to control the uptake of cryptocurrency and further decentralization, a new set of existential threats is being advanced. Let’s call this the “focus group” stage where all kinds of hyperbole will be floated to see what will stick.
The harbingers of the Bitcoin Apocalypse frontrunners are currently:
- All four horsemen of the Apocalypse plus
- Global Warming
- Energy Crisis
and if we are to take Virginia Commenwealth University associate professor of English David Golumbia seriously:
- Right Wing Extremism
Right-wing extremism, also known as “far right” politics is described in Wikipedia as…
often associated with Nazism, neo-Nazism, fascism, neo-fascism and other ideologies or organizations that feature extreme nationalist, chauvinist, xenophobic, racist or reactionary views. These can lead to oppression and violence against groups of people based on their supposed inferiority, or their perceived threat to the nation, state or ultraconservative traditional social institutions
In his book “The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism“, Golumbia attempts to make a case that “[these] political values are very literally coded into the software itself.”
The book was published in 2016 and appears to be an expansion of an earlier paper published in 2015. A colleague of mine made me aware of it before the holidays. It was admittedly a tough slog and I had to read it concurrently with Dave Collum’s year-end review in order to stay sane.