Category Archives: Speculative

The Dark Ages of Banking & The Crypto Reformation

 In ancient times, the intermediary of control was the proper understanding of astronomy for prosperous agriculture and consequently, the perceived divinity of individuals with a connection to the ‘heavens’. This slowly transformed into an intermediary of mythology and subsequently, the type of dogmatic religious centralization that destroyed the Serapeum and Library of Alexandria.

Eventually, religious dogma began to fail and monetary machinations began to substitute its central authority. The debasement of precious metals, which greatly contributed to the fall of Rome, is an example of these type of machinations and the danger of their centralization.

 Business Insider

 

The Age of Reason freed us from the central authority of the church but the banking system was already patiently waiting to become the be-all-end-all of intermediary control. The banking system became more centralized over time, and eventually, most currencies were no longer backed by precious metals. To be fair, there are major issues with gold-backed currencies and that’s why Ben Bernanke wasn’t necessarily wrong when he said gold isn’t money when Ron Paul infamously asked. Ron Paul isn’t wrong either, the printing of money out of ‘thin air’ is a problem. We need something of more substance but with easy circulation, valueless fiat will not suffice as currency in the long-run. In short, it’s the modern form of debasements of metals, except it’s all digital.

( Recently, Ron Paul said Bitcoin could contribute to the destruction of the U.S. dollar supposing the FED causes a panic, prompting people to seek alternatives to the dollar such as Bitcoin. Paul has also commented on Bernanke’s positive outlook on cryptocurrency as money rather than gold. Ben Bernanke will be a keynote speaker at the upcoming cryptocurrency Ripple event. )

The banking system is the ultimate centralization of power for the currency of any given nation is the necessary intermediary of manifestation and under the banking system, that fiat currency is not subject to protocol nor restricted from commodity-backing. Fiat currency can be inflated or deflated at any time. Banks dictate the value of your dollar, your purchasing power, wealth, and prosperity or lack thereof. A stable cryptocurrency, which is definitely within the realm of possibility, is the solution to that problem. Bitcoin could fail to fill that role due to scaling or regulatory issues but the concept and its economic system are sound.

The Central Bank of Finland has researched the Bitcoin infrastructure, the authors of the paper have dubbed Bitcoin’s economic system ‘revolutionary’, and stated the following:

“Bitcoin is a monopoly run by a protocol, not by a managing organization. Familiar monopolies are run by managing organizations with discretion to determine and then change prices, offerings and rules. Monopolies are often regulated to prevent or at least mitigate their abuse of power.”

“Bitcoin cannot be regulated. There is no need to regulate it because as a system it is committed to the protocol as is and the transaction fees it charges the users are determined by the users independently of the miners’ efforts”

BIS ( Bank for International Settlements ) has also released a paper, this one is regarding the creation of Central bank cryptocurrencies. It argues in favor of their creation, citing various use cases. This is one of many papers,  one of many entities researching cryptocurrency and blockchain potential. In fact, some are actually releasing good open source variations but most are focused on privatized and centralized developments. Overall, we see a ton of research and development accumulating and yet, nothing that’s discrediting the decentralized cryptocurrencies that are already available to us today. There is no reason to assume nor any evidence to suggest the Bitcoin Core Team, for example, won’t continue to make progress.

History Repeats Itself 

 In 1440, the ‘Gutenberg’ printing press was invented. It rapidly spread across two hundred cities, eventually spreading further, printing an estimated 150–200 million volumes in the 16th century. The printing press lead to an era of mass communication, altering the structure of society. Since the printing press outpaced the capacity for individual persecution, new and revolutionary ideas crossed borders, upset religious authority, created reformation, and broke the literacy monopoly of the elite, allowing the middle class to learn and prosper. If it were not for the printing press, perhaps no Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Reason, and Scientific revolution would have occurred to lay out our modern knowledge-based economy.

The age of banking and its economic authority are staring down the barrel of reformation and like the church, it’s attempting a counter-reformation. Instead of accepting and supporting decentralized cryptocurrencies, which would free the individual from the grips of fiat intermediaries of control, big banks want to create their own centralized and privatized cryptocurrencies to maintain the status quo. Of course, some of these banking entities are seeking genuine improvement but most are only offering resistance where there should be none, clinging to their power and control as the great intermediary.

Prediction

Blockchain technology will reshape the financial system just as the last Global Trends report indicates.

 “New financial technologies — including digital currencies, applications of “blockchain” technology for transactions, and AI and big data for predictive analytics — will reshape financial services.” ( pg. 15 ) Global Trends — Paradox of Progress, National Intelligence Council, under auspices of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence

The banks that don’t introduce cryptocurrencies will become dated and fail in the long-run. The ones that do probably won’t be able to before the decentralized cryptocurrency ecosystem takes root and renders it mostly irrelevant, although some will likely succeed in the interim.

There won’t be a major consensus among banks. Various banks will implement differing cryptocurrencies, some will group together and others won’t. Some banks will succeed, many could fail, and the ones that do succeed will make major alterations to their structure and business role in the long-run to remain relevant.

Decentralized cryptocurrencies will outpace central authority no differently than the printing press outpaced the individual capacity of the central authorities of the church to persecute supposed heretics. The Dark Ages of Banking will end, the Crypto Reformation will begin. From there, we’ll shift into a new age, a new Renaissance in financial terms. This is a long-term projection of what could transpire. In the mean time what we’ll see is a battle between state-backed crypto in contrast to decentralized crypto.  Even this compromise has a lot of potential for the reworking of the financial system, in which people are more empowered to make beneficial changes. In reality, this all boils down to the people and what they allow to happen. If people are passive and allow the same monetary machinations of old to succeed over the sound economic systems and innovations available, then it rests on their shoulders. Ideally, the people push for this new wave of innovation, allowing it to thrive and succeed.

The Fear of A.I. & The “Human” Condition

There are endless doomsday scenarios that people become obsessed with and frightened by. From global warming to the fear of an apocalyptic artificial intelligence take over. These fears are justifiable, we should be cautious and strive to overcome these potential dangers but should also understand what’s at the heart of these fears.

The latest doomsday scenario is the fear of artificial intelligence. Bill Gates, Steven Hawkings, and Elon Musk have made headlines with their warnings about the dangers of A.I. However, many A.I. experts are in disagreement with this theoretical scenario, which has sparked debate. Mark Zuckerberg entered the debate in disagreement with Musk, believing it to be irresponsible to spread doom and gloom without fully grasping the situation. Musk says Zuckerburg has a limited understanding of A.I. but A.I. experts appear to side with Zuckerberg.

In response to Musk’s warning, Pedro Domingos, a professor at the University of Washington who works on machine learning, has said, “Many of us have tried to educate him and others like him about real vs. imaginary dangers of AI, but apparently none of it has made a dent”.

Gates, Hawkings, Musk, and Zuckerberg are not A.I. experts. Undoubtedly, they are versed in the subject but if people insist on using the appeal to authority fallacy, they should go to the experts on A.I., who have varied perspectives on the matter, none of which are as simplistic as a full-blown A.I. take-over that will “end humanity”. Of course, we should be cautious, but not irresponsibly dramatic.

To be clear, Gates, Hawkings, and Musk are not outright asserting that A.I. will end humanity, they are simply acknowledging the potential dangers of it. Unfortunately, apocalyptic headlines are great click-bait, so people highlight the negative doomsday scenario while forgetting the positive-transformative scenario, which they have all mentioned as well.

Ray Kurzweil, who has an astonishing prediction accuracy of 86%, believes we should not fear artificial intelligence since it will be slowly integrated into our society, in various sectors and competing groups and therefore, no single group or sector would control or become controlled by A.I.

The reality of A.I. is more complicated than people realize. For example, we could see a state ruled with A.I. by choice, rogue A.I. that steals control of an area, A.I. that sides with human interests, and perhaps even civil wars among A.I. The “human” role in this won’t be quite human, either. By the time A.I. is that complex, we’ll have a large variety of bio-enhancements that change our view of what it means to be human in the first place.

These end game fears reveal a misconception we have about ourselves. We perceive ourselves as separate from that which we create and have evolved from but we’re actually the continuation of a bigger process.

If we are separated as commonly perceived, at what point did we become human and at what point did humanity become humanity? The answer is that there was no defining moment at which we became what we are. We weren’t suddenly homo-sapiens, just as we weren’t suddenly Neanderthals, suddenly the basic oceanic life forms that we evolved from, nor the basic compounds that collided with Earth or the stars which those compounds came from. Likewise, the implications of A.I. and the singularity are not suddenly what we’ll become. It’s all a part of the same overarching process and it should not be feared nor thought of as an end to humanity.

As hippie-dippie and new-age as it may sound, we are connected to the cosmos and we are the cosmos. The cosmos created a way to see its reflection, slowly evolving into its own introspection. Just as we were once an oblivious baby, we learned to read and write, to understand our surroundings and it’s not unreasonable to think that the universe is doing the same thing in a more complex way that’s simply more difficult for us to understand.

“Man know thyself; then thou shalt know the Universe and God” — Plato

The struggle that grips us and perhaps the cosmos itself is not the fear of it ever ending but the fear of our own reflection, the complexity, and depth of it all; the struggle of “to be or not to be”. Every day, we wake up and yearn for something more, wishing we could manifest all that we dream of and yet, it would be terrifying to step into a world in which we‘re literally capable of anything, practically destroying what makes it desirable in the first place.

It’s not the “human” condition, it’s the cosmic condition. It’s the struggle and strife of it, the balancing act and introspection of it, that gives life meaning.

“It is precisely the godlike in ourselves that we are ambivalent about, fascinated by and fearful of, motivated to and defensive against. This is one aspect of the basic human predicament, that we are simultaneously worms and gods.” — Abraham Maslow

Ethereum Burning Bright With Potential

Etymology Of Ether 

Borrowing from Old French, ether, from Latin aethēr (“the upper pure, bright air”), from Ancient Greek αἰθήρ (aithḗr, “upper air”), from αἴθω (aíthō, “I burn, shine”).

The scaling dispute within the Bitcoin community isn’t over and it’s caused a lot of concern over the future of Bitcoin, prompting many to transfer to Ethereum. Suddenly, many are waking up to the possibility that Ethereum could eventually overtake Bitcoin. Although that’s unlikely, let’s talk about the prospects of Ethereum.

  • Ethereum could receive support from activists, libertarians, the “alternative right”, and many groups who advocate for transparency and lack of censorship. For example, a popular right-leaning news outlet, Breitbart, published an article on Ethereum Project’s aim of a censorship-resistant computer. The various decentralization aims of the Ethereum Project will attract support from a large variety of groups and entities with the same aims.
  • Ethereum was already considered undervalued, to begin with, and its price can be expected to rise as it’s potential is continually realized.
  • If Ethereum gains enough momentum, a lot of investors will flip from Bitcoin to Ethereum causing a dramatic shift. This phenomenon is referred to as “the flippening” and while it has not truly begun, Ethereum is already holding a steady price of $45-50.
  • The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance essentially guarantees a bright future for Ethereum, with Microsoft, Intel, JP Morgan Chase, and many other big companies involved.
  • In a DigixGlobal live stream, the speaker states in regard to Enterprise Ethereum, that “you will be blown away when you see the next group of members onboarding, it’s kinda the who’s who of planet Earth”.
  • It’s flexible, professional, and has a face to its leadership, a lot of development, and an untarnished name.
  • Ethereum is already getting mainstream media attention calling it the “new Bitcoin”. Ethereum is not a “new Bitcoin”, it’s not even the same thing, really. However, good press isn’t a bad thing.
  • Dark Market implementation is likely if not inevitable. This will not tarnish as Bitcoin has absorbed that stigma and that negative association will not as easily transfer onto Ethereum as it was with Bitcoin. Although this isn’t a problem for the intelligent investor, the average individual is easily influenced by mainstream media narratives about ‘criminal activity’ and negative stigmas of that nature.  Overall, this hasn’t stopped Bitcoin and it especially, will have no lasting influence over Ethereum but for the time being, it’s a factor for subpar investors and everyday individuals.
  • There is an apparent inverse relationship between Bitcoin and Ethereum that helps Ethereum’s growth in the long-run. This will probably not last but for as long as it does, it creates an associative sense of growth until people become more informed about major differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum.
  • Bitcoin is no longer seen as infallible. A paradigm shift has opened people’s eyes to the possibility of Bitcoin failing as the dominant cryptocurrency, which opens the door for Ethereum and other alternatives. Bitcoin will remain on top for a long time unless something dramatic happens but the potential for alt-coins is there, especially more legitimate ones like Ethereum.
  • Ethereum is the most popular blockchain technology for enterprise development.
  • Storj is only one of many that will switch to the Ethereum blockchain if things become increasingly slow and complicated with Bitcoin.

Ethereum is incredibly different from Bitcoin, it offers completely different utilities. It could end up being the silver to the gold that is Bitcoin and perhaps the scaling problems will eventually be a mere blip on the radar. Regardless, Ethereum has a lot to offer, far more than what I’ve listed and in the long-run, will outperform most cryptocurrencies. It’s a great investment and its burning bright with potential.

Critical Note: It’s really important to understand that Bitcoin, if it works out, will be valued in terms of its perception and utility as a ‘digital gold’, whereas Ethereum will have a valuation like that of a tech company. It’s a platform, and does not have a directive to be a currency, and people are unfortunately blissfully ignorant of this and somehow expect it to be priced in the future like Bitcoin. That will not happen any time soon, if not ever.

 

Trump & Bannon Are Right About The Media

There are countless examples that prove we cannot trust the notion of mainstream media as a non-partisan effort to objectively report the news. It is, therefore, important to question the motivations and biases of any given media institution and to never invoke a sense of incredulity. The following are just a handful of examples bolstering this truth.

Infiltration

In the 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency allegedly began Operation Mockingbird in an attempt to manipulate news media to seed propaganda and fund various cultural and student groups as organization fronts. Details of this operation are scarce and inconclusive. However, the operation was verified in the declassified CIA “Family Jewels” document.

In 1977, Carl Bernstein, a former journalist of the Washington Post, reported about the Central Intelligence Agency’s infiltration of the media. Bernstein revealed that more than 400 journalists had become an asset of the CIA. CIA assets were in The New York Times, CBS, ABC, NBC, Reuters, Time Inc, the Associated Press, etc.

“Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were Williarn Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIle Courier‑Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps‑Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald‑Tribune.” ( Carl Bernstein – The CIA and The Media

Politicization

In 2013, John Brennan became the director of the CIA under Barack Obama. In the same year, Jeff Bezos, the owner of Amazon, decided to buy the Washington Post. Later that year, Bezos secured a $600 million dollar contract with the CIA. This is an obvious conflict of interest and as many advocates of transparency and journalistic standards have requested, a disclaimer of this relationship should be provided.

In 2016, the Washington Post reported that a “secret CIA assessment” determined that Russia interfered with the 2016 Election in the hope of electing Donald Trump. This begged the question as to whether or not the CIA had become politicized under the leadership of John Brennan who has openly feuded with Trump on several occasions, especially considering that the narrative has dramatically shifted from the original assertion after statements from the Director of National Intelligence offered clarification. This is the perfect example of how a conflict of interest could create the potential for politicization.

Collusion 

In 2016, WikiLeaks revealed that numerous media outlets colluded with the Clinton campaign. Former U.S. Representative, Ron Paul, created a list that features those implicated in the media collusion.

Public Perception 

In 2016, Gallup revealed that American trust in media had fallen to an all-time low.

While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has fallen so sharply this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more. — Gallup

Through the ever-increasing access to information, even the average individual can determine fact from fiction. Reporting inaccurately, if not now, will sooner or later become a detrimental endeavor while for the time being, it’s a profiteering strategy for clicks. This is precisely what Buzzfeed and CNN did when they reported on Trump’s Dirty Dossier, a story that was obviously untrue, according to the Director of National Intelligence and according to common sense.

Conclusion 

The infiltration, politicization, collusion, and general recklessness of the mainstream media validates both Trump’s and Bannon’s assertions of media unfairness and bias. In fact, in regard to the infiltration of media, I found it unsurprising that Trump went straight to the CIA to put the media on blast. While to many, that made no sense, to those aware of the past relations between the media and CIA, it made perfect sense.

The media, as Steve Bannon stated, IS the opposition party. They are not accurately portraying reality and they’re doing a great injustice to the American people because perception informs reality and they are distorting that perception, thus distorting reality. This isn’t just about the leftist stranglehold over media but about a much wider issue that transcends party affiliation. Of course, I’m speaking here of national security, it’s a vulnerability that foreign nations can and will exploit. The distortion here is a prime opportunity for foreign actors to capitalize and that’s incredibly problematic, as it will only create more divisiveness and disinformation.