- Internet & the Web
Bitcoins and Brains
Use Your Brains
What is the purpose of Government?
Government has one purpose. And that is to protect its citizens. That's it. It has no other "moral" reason to exist. The problem comes in when one defines "Protection."
Putin might say it's "cradle to the grave" welfare statism. Many a Democrat and half the Republicans in the United States, might say the same. And so might Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama -- all socialists to some degree.
In order to protect citizens, rights must be defined, however. One such right, is the right to own property. Even intellectual property, such as a cryptocurrency. Such as Bitcoin or MAID.
If you write a book in the United States, Canada, you know, the freer countries -- you retain some rights to what you worked on.
You are not a sacrificial animal. You are not a beast of burden. It's your stuff. Even if it's digital. You made it. It does not belong to everyone, but they can certainly buy a copy -- if you choose to sell.
Do Governments have rights?
On the other side of that equation, the government's side, there are no rights. The job of public servants -- remember that word -- servants...is to "serve." Their job is to protect rights. They cannot protect rights by attempting to protect you from you.
Bureaucrats and elected people are sort of like a nice Mafia. The ultimate "Protection Racket." But without the nice cars, fast chicks, booze, drugs and castles -- ideally. It would be like the poor man's legitimate Mafia. If they are rich at the people's expense, then the people are serfs.
Is Nationalization Protection?
A government does not protect rights by nationalizing -- stealing -- from citizens. Since governments have no rights, they legitimately cannot regulate anything. All governments can do -- morally -- is prosecute criminals for stealing and raping and murdering. They can repel invaders. They cannot order you to stop drinking soda.
But a Gambino probably wouldn't get it. The old Mafia is like the "Regulation Racket." That's why so many people call for "regulation" without a backward glance. They are used to being ruled.
When can Force be used by Governments?
Governments, by contract -- we call them Constitutions -- are entities that can use force against citizens and/or foreign invaders. But the force should be retaliatory only.
And remember, retaliatory force can be preemptive when needed. In other words, if someone steals your car, the government steps in and arrests him. If a bad guy is following you, holding a knife, you can call the government -- the police -- to preemptively get him.
Regulations are a form of slavery, however. The Mafia rules the streets by fear. Thousands of pages of regulations nobody can understand. That's rule by confusion. Do you see it? George Washington did.
What are the purpose of regulations?
Let me ask you...what's the moral difference? Regulations don't "collect" like the Mafia? They do. They call them fines, court costs and fees. Pay to play. You wonder why small businesses often fail? They can't afford to hire armies of lawyers to wade through the overwhelming stacks of regulatory Latin.
If you don't pay the boss; then you don't run the business. And they send around the thugs to "collect." They have pretty names now. They call them "agents," not "strong-arms." But in a sense they learned from the Juice Man, the Enforcers and the Mob.
Do Governments always make good laws?
Here are a few reminders from the National Regulatory Mafia (our government) ...what they want to regulate or have licensed:
- Use of private restrooms in stores by the transgendered
- Handicap parking zones
- Uber and Lyft
- If you can rent a room at the beach via an internet site that isn't a member of regulated and therefore, "just fine," Hotel Cartel
- If you can open a new hospital without the permission of bureaucrats, lest you compete and actually lower prices and "take away business" from government created localized healthcare monopolies
- If you can drink large sodas, consume trans fats, or over-salt your food
- If you can own sex toys
- If you can go to a tanning salon
- If you can get a tattoo
Do Governments "spin" stories?
If you have all of these -- and live in the United States -- you do not live in a free country. Leave your manhood at the door, if you disagree. But you are -- I am -- a regulatory slave. All hail the Chief!
Now the old guard is on again about cryptocurrencies.
We have articles, delicately couched as opinion pieces showing up on CoinDesk. Although, CoinDesk has its disclaimer about not necessarily being of the same "opinion," the fact that they publish such "opinions," speaks volumes.
There is also a statement: "Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Coinbase and BitPay" (Reutzel). More interesting.
Just watching a little TV...
Will regulation ever end?
Is that what these people want? If you dare to trust math (computer) code, then how can you be safe with a cryptocurrency. You must be regulated to protect you from, well...YOU!
Here is an idea. I'm just throwing it out there. If you don't think a particular cryptocurrency is a good investment, and if you don't want to do your homework, and if you prefer to watch TV and drink beer, then don't expect the rest of us to suffer regulatory lunacy on account of your laziness.
The call for more regulations knows no bounds.
"For years, tech startups sprung up on a daily basis, 'revolutionizing' messaging, photo sharing, taxis, damn near everything. Dominant providers were swapped out for new intermediaries who took a cut, new underdogs turned into the new winners" (Reutzel).
Which start ups? We are not told. We must assume.
The implication? That there were victims. Okay? How? Innovators profited and we bought into Uber, Lyft, Airbnb and saved money. Some of us did not, however.
Is it disingenuous to compare it to Uber?
An example was given that a sexual assault occurred during an Uber ride. The implication is that the lack of background checks upon Uber drivers, was to blame.
Uber does require background checks. But Uber may be doing a crappy job.
"Uber checks kind of" (Lafrance). If that is the case...here's a hint: don't use Uber. The free press has saved the day and no new regulation was required.
Maybe you should "google" your Uber driver with your smartphone, before you ride. Just saying.
Oh, and don't hitchhike either. But your Mommy should have told you about that one. This is just in case she didn't.
But the regulation bent, never give up. They want to save you from that evil fool: Yourself! Just pay a little "protection money" and they'll do the rest. Whether you like it or not.
Will the Bitcoin "spin" never end?
"Even bitcoin, a payment service meant to remove third parties from online transactions, fell into the trap whereby too many startups emerged all focusing on the same thing. In their hurry to build a buzzword-based product investor could throw money at, they missed that they were becoming the new intermediaries they meant to erase" (Reutzel).
In other words, if there are too many services, say "banks," then there is too much of the same thing and if we could just all what -- make one big bank -- then we could streamline? You mean like put everything in order and make it efficient like the United States Postal Service? How about the Department of Motor Vehicles?
Do we not know that companies will innovate and change and as Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Chairman, was fond of saying, creatively destroy? Innovation is not regulation. Invention is not legislation. Laws are fine. Regulations are crippling.
And don't jump on the latest cryptocurrency, unless you are a fool. But don't worry, there are regulations to protect fools.
Just ask the State of Nebraska. There, "it is illegal for bar owners to sell beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup" ("Big Government. Small Brains. Dumb Laws").
The fact that cryptocurrency exchanges, private companies, make a profit for providing a service, is not immoral or illegal. The choice to use or not use their services, is just that, a "choice."
If one were to trade "Peer-to-Peer," say in an unregulated exchange like, I dunno, Bitsquare, where you have to figure everything out, not lose money, have zero Help Desk support and work through an arbitrator to settle disputes; and make Bitcoin deposits to guarantee processing and on and on -- jeez gimme Poloniex any day. The "choice" is yours. Call your mommy if you're not sure what to do.
This statememt makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside: "Bitsquare is currently in Beta and we are actively looking for highly-skilled developers" ("Welcome to Bitsquare!").
It should be: "Beware! Dummies -- but hope everything turns out okay."
The DAO Incident at Ethereum is another reason cited by the Mafioso Club that regulations are in order. A programming issue allowed a bad actor to abscond with another cryptocurrency using the Ethereum blockchain. It's a mess for sure. And the issue certainly raised questions, not about the code, as it has been alleged, but about the humans who coded. A slight bit of reading on the Ethereum website should have educated anyone with a reasonable grasp of reason, that it was very complex and complex things have a lot of moving parts and they break a lot more often. Caveat emptor.
Trust the Code or the Coders?
We should not trust the math -- the code. We need to trust the coders. It seems that some don't understand this concept.
As an example, cars are based upon math, but the math is based on the men and women at the drawing boards. If the Ford Pinto (remember that one?) had a gasoline tank too far to the rear and the car exploded during rear end collisions, you don't blame the math.
Unless the math runs itself and cannot be rolled-back, unlike Ethereum. MaidSafe is such a system. Once Maidsafe goes live, it cannot be shut down, unless the users choose to "turn off."
The Argument from Confusion
Some say that regulations are needed because of "social discrepancies" (Reutzel). In other words, since you and I may have different ideas about the meaning of words such as "hot coffee" we should have a little Mafia Department that goes around and collects a fine (regulatory fee) because you might burn your lips at McDonald's.
"Welcoming regulation means you’re interested in promoting the welfare of your users, and they provide the main reason you’re in business – making money" (Reutzel). False. I call baloney on that one.
All McDonald's wants to do is sell you food, dummy. Not promote customer welfare, necessarily. They don't want to burn you, hence the "Hot Coffee" warning label. And if you are worried about you're welfare, healthy food for example, then why on earth are you at McDonald's?
Promoting welfare such as this makes it "... increasingly difficult to do anything without first receiving some form of permission from one government authority or another. According to both the Brookings Institution and the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, roughly 30 percent of the workforce is covered by some form of occupational licensing, from florists to funeral attendants, from tree trimmers to make-up artists" (Tanner).
Was the U.S. Founded upon regulation?
One of the complaints that the Founding Fathers (and Mothers, Aunts, Uncles...) leveled against King George III in the Declaration of Independence was that 'He has erected a Multitude of New Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their Substance.' This country was founded on the idea that, under most circumstances, government ought to leave us alone" (Tanner).
Is there a Public Interest?
Remember, that when someone calls for regulation and hails the benefits of democratization what he (or she) is really talking about is what he feels is in the public interest. And what is that really? "No specific definition has ever been or ever can be given by anyone. Since the concept is not used in its literal meaning, to designate the personal interest of every citizen of a country, but is used to imply and establish a conflict, the opposition of private interests to public interest — its use can convey only one meaning: the right of some men (those who, by some undefined criterion, are the public) to sacrifice the interests of other men (of those who, for unspecified reasons, are not the public). Once that collectivist formula becomes the moral standard of a society, the rest is only a matter of time" (Rand).
"Big Government. Small Brains. Dumb Laws." Dumb Laws, Stupid Laws: We Have Weird Laws, Strange Laws, and Just Plain Crazy Laws! The Dumb Network, LLC, n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2016.
Lafrance, Adienne, and Rose Eveleth. "Are Taxis Safer Than Uber?" The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 03 Mar. 2015. Web. 29 Aug. 2016.
Rand, Ayn. "Have Gun, Will Nudge." OBJECTIVISM AND TODAY'S ISSUES. The Ayn Rand® Institute (ARI), n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2016.
Reutzel, Bailey. "Sorry Blockchain, Any Joe Schmoe Shouldn't Be Able to Start a Bank - CoinDesk." CoinDesk RSS. CoinDesk, 28 Aug. 2016. Web. 29 Aug. 2016.
Tanner, Michael D. "Too Many Laws, Too Much Regulation." Cato Institute. National Review, 02 Mar. 2016. Web. 29 Aug. 2016.
"Welcome to Bitsquare!" Bitsquare. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Aug. 2016.
© 2016 jgshorebird