and author of The Social Singularity.
Some people have made good money buying and trading tokens. And on net, that’s a good thing. Whether you’re a trader or lucky hodler, you’re contributing to human progress.
But it’s not enough.
Also read: Korean Banks to Limit Services for Crypto Traders Without Real-Name Verification
Satoshi Nakamoto did not write the seminal 2009 white paper in order to get rich. He (or they) wanted to commit arson against the old order; a rigged game. Satoshi sought to “change our relationship to power,” as Brian Robertson might say.
In other words, it’s time we put mission before money.
The Great Open Source Project FMZ
In an unpublished chapter of Holacracy, Robertson writes:
Perhaps this then is the next step for our current societal governance. Perhaps it’s time to allow the centralized power of current governments to give way and dissolve, and allow new methods of achieving order to emerge from the ashes — ones that don’t have legislators and regulators to buy, or the power to make aggression legal or peaceful exchange illegal. Ones that are themselves subject to the forces of evolution and selection based on the value they add, rather than holding themselves outside of that process as monopoly providers.
We should remember that with every trade, investment, or new line of code, we are doing more than benefiting ourselves. We are participating in a great open source project that will forever change our relationship to power.
And we need to build culture around that fact.
The Core Tenets of Decentralization
The Social Singularity is my contribution to building a decentralist culture. I figured we needed to start with a manifesto. Whether in this book or some other works, we have to develop and propagate our ideas, whether through film, art, or our version of scripture. After all, culture, rules and tools work together in co-evolutionary fashion toward societal change.
“We shape our tools and then our tools shape us,” social theorist Marshall McLuhan is credited with saying. Likewise we we shape our rules and then our rules shape us. Cryptocurrencies rules and tools in one. And with mass adoption, new culture and new values follow. Humanity evolves.
But culture need not be a lagging indicator of technological change. We can continue to develop the decentralist culture along with some core tenets. Maybe something like:
- Seek to maximize sovereignty for the individual;
- Create protocols that allow for individuals peacefully to self-organize;
- Innovate in parallel with power in order to “underthrow” it;
- Develop virtuous, mutually beneficial ecosystems that extend to all humanity;
- Find ways to assist the least advantaged in our society, without creating dependency;
- Strive for mass adoption through simplicity, security, and low transaction fees;
- Engage in collaborative relationships and healthy interdependencies;
- Generate overwhelming value for the many, as opposed to taking advantage for the few;
- Bring a healthy skepticism of experts and authorities;
- Attack power’s weak joints and leverage points;
The Moribund Nature of Politics
Notice how there is nothing in all of this about politics per se. That’s because politics is dying. And decentralists are killing it.
Politics is a zero-sum system of dominance and hierarchy. And DOS — our democratic operating system — is mostly a spectacle designed to keep people pliant, willing to cling to a dying order.
Experimentation with new socio-economic systems is not political in the way we traditionally think of politics. It is about creating a market of governance models and communities, which will generate a condition in which the best systems win.
In this way decentralism is post-political, which is why you find former progressives and libertarians locking arms in solidarity around crypto.
Some, like writer/developer Justin Goro, say it’s post-ideological, because within any token economy (as well as within any ecosystem of tokens) ideology is an “engineering problem.” And solutions to engineering problems either succeed or fail.
Evolve or Die
All systems must therefore evolve or die. This Darwinian matrix doesn’t give a shit about your ideals. You have to criticize by creating.
That’s what we’re up to here. We’re not just making money. We’re realizing a mission fundamentally to change our relationship to power. And every single new line of code is an act of subversion.
The Nakamoto Imperative: Why We Have to Build a Decentralist Culture was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.