Bitcoin and cryptocurrency has got a great start this year, and many are speculating for Bitcoin’s massive bull run this year!
But, looking at crypto-institutions as “double-edged swords” transforms the entire vision. While the market value of cryptocurrencies will quite certainly soar high in the near future, the picture may not remain the same in the long run; we are unknowingly welcoming with open arms the very bane cryptocurrencies were supposed to eradicate – the adoption of crypto-means by financial institutions. Global banks today are adopting ways to participate in crypto finance. And, this is a big threat to the whole idea of Cryptocurrency.
Competing with Cryptocurrency, or devouring them?
“What goes around comes back around…”Justin Timberlake
The motive with which Cryptocurrency has come into being was the exact motto of the Internet way back in the 90s — open, free, and decentralized. But the virtual world today does not guarantee security nor freedom; it is merely the battlefield for tech giants to become the best in controlling personal data and making profits. Smart Governance, too, has given governments all around the world an opportunity to become the Big Brother George Orwell had talked about at length in his most celebrated dystopian classic, 1984.
Options are limited, and you are left with little knowledge about everything. And, little knowledge is dangerous. Sir Tim Bernes-Lee, the visionary behind the World Wide Web, laments how the aspirations of the Internet have have turned to dust, now trampled upon by the virtual elite.
Facebook itself can be viewed as the microcosmic representation of the Internet’s evolution from being safe to being dangerous. It was hailed as a virtual saviour for its role in organizing the Tahrir Square protests in Egypt, in 2011. A few years later, the world saw Zuckerberg in a desperate attempt to dodge allegations regarding the threat to user privacy. Oh my, how the tables have turned!
So, is the Internet on the road to Perdition?
Of course not. Some things can always take a U-Turn, and the Web deserves a second chance. This idea has been resurfaced so much on the internet, that a term for it has already been made — Recuperation. A sociological term, Recuperation is
“…the process by which politically radical ideas and images are twisted, co-opted, absorbed, defused, incorporated, annexed and commodified within media culture and bourgeois society, and thus become interpreted through a neutralized, innocuous or more socially conventional perspective.”Wikipedia
Censors and Banks, hand-in-hand?
While the internet is trying to set up impregnable firewalls, something else is brewing on the front page of the internet.
Some ideas often gain the “trending” hashtag on Social Media. Such ideas are described as being part of the Overton window — the range of ideas allowed to be discussed and deliberated in the public domain. The topics which don’t make it into this category aren’t supposedly banned, but they are lost in oblivion. And it is years later when you stumble across them in a remote lar of the Web, which have by then become irrelevant or incomprehensible to the then prevailing scenario.
The recent r/bitcoin subreddit stands testimony to the fact that people have always endeavoured at making the Overton window inclusive, so that almost all potentially important topics can be brought forth to all.
Well, deleting comments which are not favourable to some is an everyday affair. However, censoring subreddits on a frequent basis, that too belonging to r/bitcoin, is a big issue. And all this started with the arrival of banking institutions in the crypto-scape.
And the worst part? These institutions have been supporting Blockstream financially, the leading Bitcoin development team. One of the patrons include AXA Venture Partners, second among the world’s largest companies providing financial services. The driving force behind the development of Bitcoin, since 2016, has been none other than Blockstream. And you did not know about this because the Overton window has been manipulated specifically so that you can’t, at any cost.
Can Bitcoin instill self-sustenance in us?
Libertarianism, apparently a utopian political ideology, is fighting for the very values that Bitcoin stands for and how the Internet was supposed to be — liberating the common man from financial bondage. And this is only possible if the common man can become self-independent.
The survival of libertarianism is not based on governance, but on the citizen. A people-centric ideology, libertarianism encourages the commoner’s ability to fulfill his/her bare necessities and aspirations. Similarly, Bitcoin’s survival does not depend upon how efficient Blockchain technology will be, but whether or not the people will be able to grasp the idea and utilize it in the best way possible.
Bitcoin’s Future or Institutional Actions : What Matters Most?
The question we should be asking right now is how the financial giants and big tech corporations are going to use cryptocurrency. There are two possible outcomes —
1) Cryptocurrency for diversification as well as for boosting pension funds is a noble initiative. Equilibrium in supply-and-demand would automatically allow the early birds to reap the benefits in the near future.
2) Cryptocurrency for the sake of developing private protocols and to bend the roles as per their whims and fancies. And this is exactly what JP Morgan and Facebook are intending to do.
While the latter may seem hostile enough, one thing is certain — the second alternative might possibly be the instrument to strike a cord between the cryptoscape and the financial giants. The big companies get to keep their own crypto coins, while we reserve our identity as independent citizens in the cryptosphere.
The problem lies in the social, economic, and political atmosphere in which the Internet, and eventually the Bitcoin, emerged. The inherent desires within leaders to rule and not to serve has made the world toxic enough. The education system promotes what the government does, but it never focuses on how an individual can be free. Freedom has its limits, yes; but to curb freedom is to curb our natural rights. People must realise that independence comes from sustaining yourself and to be responsible to your own needs, without the need of authority in any form. Let freedom not be slavery to authority, but the condition to become the best version of ourselves.
Featured image from EWN.