Today I woke up to this week’s episode of The Friend Zone, From Rags to Bitcoin. I rolled my morning blunt and made a cup of coffee, per my routine, and pressed play.
Now, let’s backtrack for a bit. I didn’t even realize Net Neutrality was even up for legislative discussion until a few weeks ago. My immediate thoughts: The world is turning more and more into a George Orwell novel every day. I don’t know whether to be intrigued by this or scared shitless. For now, I’ve settled on a healthy dose of both.
I first heard about bitcoin in high school. I was a library assistant and my school had an ongoing subscription to Time and my junior year of high school is when Time published an issue on something called the Silk Road. It was an encrypted, dark web market place where drugs, weapons, and a host of other shady shit was bought and sold with these things called bitcoins. I’ll say it’s the libertarian in me, but I saw nothing wrong with the whole enterprise. Yes, Silk Road was pushing some shady shit but you can throw a rock, irl, and hit somebody who sells drugs or knows somebody who does. In my unpopular opinion, Ross Ulbricht, the founder, was a fucking revolutionary.
The whole bitcoin debacle boils down to one thing: government involvement in private affairs.
The idea behind bitcoin is pretty genius. A deflationary, decentralized currency governed not by a bank or a treasury, but some not-so-simple math. But of course, the big banks that support the American financial system don’t want that because that would eliminate the need for them and when you’re not needed you can’t make money.
And banking makes big money.
But it also fucks a lot of people over. Remember the financial crisis back in 07? Yeah, I heard about it. I was 11 when it all went down but I’ve since read up on it and boy, was that a shit show.
The culprit: Big Bankers and the U.S. government
The scapegoat: the American tax payers
Put it like this: The U.S. government didn’t have its panties in a bunch over the Silk Road because people were peddling drugs and weapons. Like I said, drugs and weapons dealers are a dime-a-dozen. Furthermore, I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say they really never even gave a fuck about that, no matter how much they claim that’s where the problem lies.
What they’re mad about is that they can’t get in on the action. They can’t inflate a bitcoin. They can’t trace a bitcoin. They can’t tax a bitcoin.
Bitcoin gives power to the people and they’re mad about it.
And this is why Net Neutrality matters.
I’m not going to pretend to know what the exact implications on bitcoin would be should Net Neutrality be done away with, but the point here is not the bitcoin, but what it stands for. The bitcoin is independence. The bitcoin is anti centralized control. The bitcoin is antiestablishment. The bitcoin is anarchy. And for that, I live.
Doing away with Net Neutrality precludes the existence of any alternative to the world that we know. It precludes the reality of a world that is fair and a world that is free of fraudulent activity within its institutions.
Save the Internet, Save the World.
Banking with Bitcoin (Netflix)
Deep Web, documentary (Hulu, Amazon)
From Rags to Bitcoin, podcast (The Friend Zone)