bitcoins utopian geek community
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Then, copy that formula down for the rest of your stocks. But, as I said, dividends can make a huge contribution to the returns received for a particular stock. Also, you can insert charts and diagrams to understand the distribution of your investment portfolio, and what makes up your overall returns. If you have data on one sheet in Excel that you would like to copy to a different sheet, you can select, copy, and paste the data into a new location. A good place to start would be the Nasdaq Dividend History page. You should keep in mind that certain categories of bonds offer high returns similar to stocks, but these bonds, known as high-yield or junk bonds, also carry higher risk.

Bitcoins utopian geek community barstool casino nj

Bitcoins utopian geek community

There is worse to come. Ponzi Schemes and Messianic Religions One of the main critiques addressed at Bitcoin is that it is shares its design with a Ponzi scheme. Just as in the Ponzi scheme, the pyramid set-up of Bitcoin turns early players into winners, at the expense of gullible latecomers.

This is not accidental but deliberate: Bitcoin is a typically geek-meritocratic project. Bitcoin's believers' usual retort is that people calling Bitcoin a pyramid neither understand what Bitcoin really is, nor, for that matter, know what a Ponzi scheme looks like. Yet Bitcoin exhibits so many resemblances to a classic Ponzi scheme that the 'duck test' allegory easily comes to mind.

A religion with a core of true believers, absolutely convinced both of the superiority of Bitcoin as a payment system, but also of its unavoidable and speedy adoption worldwide, regardless of cultural and political differences. Their argument, however, mostly hinges on near-otherwordly certitude, the hallmark of a messianic religion. Ominous is also the fact that Bitcoin believers hold their currency to be so much more than a financial vehicle: a whole new, brilliant 'way of life' including t-shirts, ATMs, apps, gambling sites and glossy magazines.

Open Contradictions A possible way to reach for a better understanding of Bitcoin is to apply a theory of open contradictions. What, for instance, represents a payment system that turns out not to be primarily meant for payments? When bitcoins increase in value, the incentive to spend them is simply absent, and only losers will spend or sell. Such inconsistencies are ostensibly not a problem for the Bitcoin community: with bitcoins everything should, and therefore is, possible.

Yes, you can have the cake and eat it and own the bakery in the process. This is especially glaring in Bitcoin's 'theory of value'. Whereas Bitcoin is predicated to function optimally as a peer-to-peer medium of exchange, and this preferably within a closed Bitcoin economic circuit, Bitcoiners are encouraged to hoard their funds. After all, the scarcity of bitcoins, whose supply is ultimately limited to 21 million units This deflationary Bitcoin model not only gives the creeps to any mainstream economist or politician, but it is also essentially adverse to transactions — Bitcoin's advertised principal raison d'etre — since every spending amounts to a distress sale.

Bitcoin is here probably victim of its origins, the culture of rugged individualism, coupled with the anarcho-capitalist axioma that "greed is good". This, however, does not make for sound economics, based on social exchange. You do not design a currency for yourself. This forms a basic premise of economic exchange. Slaves do not need Bitcoin.

Life is subordinated to the economy. Code is not only law but code is life. If the original sin of fiat money is inflation, then the original sin of Bitcoin is the hoarders vs. Out of this comes our social and political critique of Bitcoin. The modalities of Bitcoin — as put fervently forward by Bitcoin believers themselves — could make it uniquely convenient as a peer-to-peer payment system - but for all practical purposes, exclusively so.

Hence the emphasis on transactions between individual persons, unhampered by despicable middle entities, such as banks, and unhindered by even more despicable actors such as governments with their bevy of regulations and As conceptualized by its true believers, Bitcoin is the money of the Multitudes.

Yet, the problem is that Bitcoiners are not part of the Multitudes — and most probably do not want to be associated with them. From the perspective of social movements that fight for global justice, solidarity and the redistribution of wealth, the hoarding principle is simply a no-goer. But we have to make clear to our brothers and sisters: there is simply no way to legitimize the gross start-up logic that solely benefits founders and early investors while leaving ordinary users, and all those who build up the venture, empty handed, just because they came in a little later.

Bitcoin and its offspring need to go back to the drawing board and come up with an alternative to the mining principle - never mind one that is less electricity consuming. On the other hand, true Bitcoiners are remarkably reticent, not to say loath, to talk in terms of more than one or a very few person s businesses, and surely so of enterprises at the corporation level.

In a 'demography' consisting of just a minority of the world's population in our guess: the largely white, largely male, North American 'anarcho-geek' sphere and a few outliers on the rest of the planet. This appears to be also implied by both the limited number of bitcoins that may be put in circulation [4].

In Bitcoin circles the grudge is stark against taxes 'imposition is thievery' , but also against fees and commissions banks levy on all possible transactions, and which, due to ultra-low interest rates, appear to have become their main source of income, in the payment system at least.

Bitcoiners believe their currency is the unique answer to this mess, especially at the level of micro-payments. This is true in a technical sense — all virtual currencies have the potential to enable friction-free and fees-less transactions — but the volatility of Bitcoin makes this assumption extremely problematic for, well, micro-payments.

With other words, Bitcoin pretends to be an universal alternative currency, but fails to make the grade. They reflect a desire for autonomy and 'sovereignty in one's own circle' a Dutch religious-cultural classic, btw , and escaping the oppressive complexity of the larger world — and foremost its larger institutions. Complementary currencies i. Yet, complementary currencies, by virtue of being local, are inclusive. Alternative crypto- and virtual currencies which intend to replace the existing monetary order , on the other hand, attempt to function at a much larger, possibly global, geographical scale.

But since the number of participants in the system is just as severely constrained with them also, they are, ipso facto, exclusive. Simply put, for us, Bitcoin is a temporary, future, and de facto complimentary currency, not an alternative one. The difference between alternative and complimentary currencies, though blurred by operating both of them outside the regulated, mainstream economic and financial sphere, is essential.

They vary greatly in concept, aims, and modus operandi — and outcomes. Both forms of 'voluntary' currencies also display radically different politics. Bitcoin as an alternative currency wants to displace, and replace, the current monetary arrangements. Therefore it is also does not want to be limited in scope and reach, whether geographically or economically. But that makes also it main weakness, in the absence of an 'authority' that both somehow guarantees it while at the same time compels its use by legal means.

Bitcoiners, however, will argue that this constitutes precisely its main strength - a valid argument within its - small - world, a totally preposterous one at the - real - world scale. Complementary currencies, as their name indicate, have more modest yet long-term ambitions. They are local as opposed to national, or even global, as Bitcoin, and some other virtual currencies, assert to be , and unless entirely used within a 'closed' community, something that limits their scope even further, complementary currencies are pegged to the 'real existing' money of account in their national sphere of circulation, which they do not intend to replace entirely for one, many complementary currency schemes provide for 'hybrid' payments, part 'local', part 'real' money.

Whereas complementary currencies have at the very least the political aim to foster the local economy, and usually, given their adopting constituencies, more than that think fair trade, eco-friendly, small-scale, not-for-profit, etc. Bitcoin believers remain obsessed with inflation. Fear of inflation is typically a middle class syndrome. The poor suffer at 'ground level' as price increases affect their consumption, and they must see how to make up day-to-day with their low earnings.

But they do not hold wealth. The rich, and especially the super-rich, do hold a lot of wealth, but that is usually in the form of tangible assets or ownership deeds shares, stakes in enterprises etc. It are the middle classes whose holdings often in the form of savings, e. This has been seen in past inflationary and hyper-inflationary bouts, when the nest eggs of the middle classes were wiped out, resulting in trans-generational trauma.

The middle class character of Bitcoin is well demonstrated by this obsessive fear of inflation - and their embrace of hoarding of a currency that supposedly 'only can accrue in value'. The do-it-yourself aspect of Bitcoin is part of the free labour movement. In keeping with its supposedly 'friction-less' character, Bitcoin is hailed as a uniquely community-managed adventure, based on the DYI activity of its members. Only, given the increasingly complex aspect of Bitcoin's principal occupation, mining, now restricted to a limited number of terabyte- powerful entities, it is unclear in what this activity of the many is precisely made of unless one considers hoarding as work.

And in consonance with the nature of anarcho-capitalism, very little is clear either of what the community exactly consists of - or whether it is a real community at all. In so far DYI is equivalent to free labour, it is hard to fathom how exactly this works in a set up that is geared towards and based on economic transactions on one side, while on the other is so greatly concerned with value and possession on the other.

Given Bitcoiners' absolute detestation of fees and other transaction costs charged by 'the system', it is interesting to note that Bitcoin, which is supposed to do away with these institutional charges and banking fees, actually does provides for them on very small transactions but not on large ones, itself a none too egalitarian feature , and also that its theoreticians asserts that when mining will terminate in , with 21 million bitcoins in circulation the system will maintain itself Lately Bitcoin has reached some sort of cruising speed however bumpy — and this not only in the minds of its believers - new problems are popping up in its relationship with 'the real world'.

A part of the Bitcoin 'community' has decided it wants that too, spurred both by a desire for wider recognition and acceptance, but also because Bitcoin's reputation, already shaky at the best of times, has now been further tarnished by a number of massive, high-exposure scams. Regulation under a central, external authority is, of course, totally at variance with Bitcoin's central tenets, and besides being yet another blatant example of 'open contradiction', such moves have now split the community and the Bitcoin Foundation.

And it obviously needs little argument to declare that a regulated Bitcoin degrades into nothing more than yet another new, ueber-hip and flashy financial vehicle — which is anyway how it is looked at by the 'financial sector'. Rather sooner than later money will be split in two: the morally bankrupted official ones and the informal local ones. The need for P2P payments will only increase.

By now, the banking system as we know it has become largely dysfunctional for ordinary monetary transactions between small and medium size economic actors. Low interest rates and other factors 'force' banks to levy hefty fees and commissions, while on the other hand, ubiquitous electronic networks hold the promise of next to transaction costs-free transfers of money and more. It is unavoidable therefore, that ordinary payments will drop out of the cumbersome and expensive banking system and that various other platforms will come in its place.

This evolution has already started, e. P2P transactions, whereby the exchange is entirely in the hands of participants, with no middle instance in between, are the endpoint of this trend. It was clear to me that something serious was happening so I decided to devote myself to explaining this. It was not very difficult to connect the dots. All financial market people in Brazil soon embraced him with open arms, especially the new generation of scholars who work in the tradition of Austrian economics — they were the first!

Given this, the crypto-hype in Brazil is almost fully driven by the hardcore right-wingers. Many of them, of course, rely on generous ideological, logistical, and financial support from American conservative think-tanks and libertarian organisations, as is very well documented by now. That said, it is also true that Bitcoin does pose some interesting and sometimes insurmountable challenges to big banks, governments, and international financial institutions.

And this paradox needs to be taken seriously. Brazil, under Bolsonaro, has proved to be particularly receptive to the Mises Institute and various other free market institutions; there seem to be plenty of such communities online. How much are they into crypto? Have they managed to make any truly novel arguments against central banking and government in general or do they stick to the conventional talking points?

What are their main policy demands when it comes to the regulation of crypto, both in terms of investments and mining operations? Who are their main supporters in the Bolsonaro administration? I would say there are two layers of crypto-enthusiasts in Brazil. The first comprises young geeks, tech aficionados, social media warriors, engineers, tech people, and so on. This is not unique to Brazil as we find these types everywhere. The other layer is made by people who are making, in different ways, significant amounts of money off crypto.

And here, in this second layer, you have a subdivision: those who are openly criminal, building various pyramid schemes; and those who are legitimate, working for brokers, exchanges, app producers, fee collectors of any sort, as part of this growing crypto-ecosystem in Brazil. This second layer mostly preys on a growing mass of people, exposed to years of neoliberal reforms, who are desperate to make some money out of their declining personal savings in a time of crisis.

These people, many of them recently unemployed, nurture the dream of becoming suddenly rich by speculating on crypto, often to supplement their declining incomes. They want, above all, to make money. So, they mainly reproduce the well-known talking points. There is not a single, as I recall, distinguished Austrian economist or intellectual who is scholarly recognised in Brazil, even though, with the help of American organisations, some might soon emerge.

Following the example of El Salvador, some politicians in Brazil want to make Bitcoin legal tender. Using bitcoins to "buy a house, a car, go to McDonald's to buy a hamburger," to quote one federal deputy, Aureo Ribeiro. Is this a fringe debate in the country or is it something worth taking seriously? What lessons could one draw from the El Salvador experience for the Brazilian case? Are there any worthwhile elements that you see there — like the Chivo wallet , for example?

Some structural factors explain this. The first, and the most important one, is that Brazil has a complex, strong, capitalised, and technologically advanced financial system, still relatively well-regulated, and, above all, structured by some of the biggest banks in Latin America, two of them partially controlled by the State. This, of course, is a problem, but, when it comes to crypto, it paradoxically offers a form of defense. This oligopolistic financial environment has proved challenging even for big international banks and Big Tech; they have trouble setting up financial operations in the country.

I do think, however, that some kind of a digital wallet might eventually be launched, as a joint effort of private payment companies, big banks, and the central bank. This is the way things tend to happen in the Brazilian financial system. Moreover, we still have a very well-equipped state bureaucracy, which has shown itself to be against making Bitcoin legal tender. Finally, we also have well-trained and influential economists, both on the left and the right, who offer daily resistance to such proposals; the mainstream media — and, with it, public opinion — have also become aware of how this space is being used to favor illicit practices.

So, the main tendency right now is to let the game continue in the way it is and see what happens later. What some representatives of big money in the country — as suggested by Paulo Guedes, the Economic Minister — really wish to do is dollarize the Brazilian economy which would surely be a tragedy , but even this is met with important resistance. After the release of your latest book, you were harshly attacked on social media by various anarcho-capitalist militants.

Could you explain how the public debate has evolved since your first interventions? Have you followed discussions and developments inside the online communities that defend crypto technologies from the right? Related to this, are there any online communities in Brazil that defend crypto from the left?

The environment is changing because, for many reasons, the overall political climate is changing in the country. Somehow, the positive and the negative reactions to the book are contingent on that. Since then, many crypto-schemes are getting media coverage and landing people in jail in Brazil and, also, a significant number of these small investors lose their money or at least do not gain what was promised to them.

The deepening epidemic, economic, and political crisis is, in part, opening the debate to more critical accounts. That said, Brazil is still a very fertile ground for cryptocurrencies and crypto-businesses and the narrative is still widely dominated by enthusiasts and propagandists who are certainly being successful in their job. Would they be able to pursue any kind of progressive agenda, or would this be very hard given the neoliberal re-orientation of the central bank under Bolsonaro?

Brazil revealed itself in the last decades as a country very open to the digital transformation of its banking and financial systems, as I discuss in my previous book. Brazilian commercial banks are known to have made very effective advances in this area, years ahead of most developed countries.

The same has occured in its capital markets, which are regularly placed among some of the most technologically advanced in the world. And this is also a reality for public institutions such as the central bank and the revenue service, which are fully digitally integrated. Brazil recently implemented its own central bank digital payment system called PIX, a pioneering initiative in this area.

In sum, we have very well-trained engineers, plenty of know-how, the necessary resources, and a political and economic environment that welcomes these initiatives so as to control them on its own terms. And here lies the question: control. Because these initiatives are being conducted in a centralised manner, in full alliance with the interests of big private banks, we see a lot of cosmetic change that is there only to maintain the status quo.

But its technical and practical configurations would have to be designed to meet alternative political content and a different orientation of monetary policy and macro-management. This is the crucial challenge here. It surely is possible, but it will require a gigantic political effort, something that contradicts what has been happing for decades now in the country. What do you make of the arguments in it?

In my defense, I do say in the book that Bitcoin, among other things, was used and will continue to be used for these purposes. This, surely, is something that must be considered. However, the political invitation that I offer to the reader in the final chapter is the following: how to maintain the positive and promising aspects of Bitcoin and the blockchain while at the same time freeing us from its dystopian prediction of technocratic apolitical money, of an individualist market-based form of governance?

Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies already found a set of social needs to be met in the current capitalist world; it has its own social functions, its own use-value, so to speak, although different from those desired by its enthusiasts. In that sense, it is here to stay.

Also, the existence of Bitcoin is, per se, promoting lots of changes, mostly in unforeseen directions, and these are really relevant, the emergence of CDBC being, in a certain aspect, one of them. It sure can take the cryptofascist direction he denounces, but it can also be developed in a different way depending on an alternative balance of forces. A viewpoint grounded on technological determinism and individualistic liberalism as it is, it is not able to properly process these nuances and complexities.

It is the crypto-anarchist Heaven or nothing; this or the digital totalitarian state Hell as its opposite. The admirable fact that they heroically sacrificed their own liberties for the cause of public liberty — and I do see them as such — does not make them correct on this topic. To have libertarian Snowdens and Assanges out there is very good indeed, but it would be even better to have progressive, democratic socialist equivalents of them.

We have recently learned about the secret contacts, running from the s until recently, between the CIA and Crypto AG, a leading Swiss supplier of cryptographic equipment. This granted Americans access to internal communications of many governments, with Brazil continuing to buy Crypto AG equipment for its armed forces until How much remains of that sovereignty discourse?

I have to admit that, sadly, this discourse just vanished from prominent spaces of power in Brazil in recent years, even if the mainstream media was not very prone to feature it in the first place. Of course, it still resonates in left spaces and some sectors of the intelligentsia, although not strongly enough, especially considering everything that has happened during these years. What is worse, this is a president who built his political capital through chauvinistic nationalism. This surely did provide the grounds, at least to some extent, for the self-sovereignty discourse of crypto-armed individuals, although I don't see this as the most relevant trend in this regard.

After all, Brazil has had a strong and vibrant community around digital privacy, digital rights, and free software. These people are still alive and trying to do their best given the situation. It is striking, however, that, alongside this almost complete surrender of nation-state sovereignty, Brazilians have also passively accepted being deprived of control over their data, their privacy, and their rights.

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