We can talk theory all day, but in reality, we have fallen under the spell, and it’s getting ugly…
I was talking with a friend the other day who I hadn’t spoken to in a while. He was asking me questions about cryptocurrency. When it comes to money, people usually come to me because they know they will come to understand. Same goes for currency too. So my buddy came over and wanted to ask me some stuff about Bitcoin.
He started with the “party line”. He told me how it couldn’t be hacked because of the blockchain. As I was trying to explain that there were a million ways to hack Bitcoin, I could see the uneasiness. I was telling him that exchanges could get hit, which they have, I was telling him about spoofing the ledger through MAC, IP and wallet address hijacking, man-in-the-middle intercepts posing as nodes, and ping-of-deaths to bring down specific servers. Since my buddy wasn’t a tech guy like I am, he didn’t know what to say. Then I reminded him that for years, Apple was adamant with hype about their their “unbreakable security” too, and well, I realized my friend uses an iPhone, so I didn’t elaborate further. He reverted to the old “you just don’t get it cause you still plug your computer into a wall”, and “this is 2017 man, the tech is good”.
OK. I wasn’t going to get anywhere with that approach. I wasn’t trying to go all scientific on him, I was just trying to explain that this whole “secure” thing isn’t what we all think we understand. Most of the arguments are people who don’t understand the tech regurgitating the talking points that charismatic YouTubers don’t really know how to say anyway, but they have nice voices and pretty faces so BAM! Their word is doctrine (even if it is severely lacking in function).
Then we moved to the whole “privacy” debacle. After the tech talk didn’t go very well, we cracked open a beer and put on some Nirvana. Sure, we wanted cutting edge, but if we had queued up some Tool we might have tried to hit each other over the head with our Rolling Rocks.
He went on to say that cryptocurrency is private, out of central bank and government control. This seems to be the second other selling point that can bring otherwise normal people to throwing punches. I was reminding him that the government can and does all the time shut down websites, confiscate phones and computers, and performs bit level forensic analysis on those devices. If you are a big enough target, the whole privacy argument gets thrown out the window. Not only that, but just as sure as the bitcoin use, adoption and prevalence increases, so do the measures taken to attack the whole privacy issue. And when the government goes full bitcoin bananas because the deficit is spiraling out of control, tax revenues are decreasing, the value of the dollar is falling and the Fed has overshot the 2% inflation rate by a mile, you can be assured that governments will get up to speed very fast on all the ways to peel back any layer of privacy they want. At that point, since he is not into markets like I am, he didn’t really know what to say, so he reverted to the whole “well, that’s just what you think because you tell me to buy gold and silver”, and “silver isn’t private either”. Once again, we had to change the topic because we were not just getting uncomfortable, things were getting heated.
After only a couple topics, we decided we had to move on to something else, so we cracked open some more beers, put on some Tool, and talked about our crap days in the thick of Army muck. We were laughing at all our buddies who bought those Iraqi Dinars thinking they were going to strike it rich. All they did was get duped into something they thought was the best new thing. Too bad they weren’t Zimbabwe dollars, because they could have sold them one-by-one on eBay at a profit, but Iraq? Meh.
Then it dawned on me. We have officially been divided and conquered. It makes me wonder if the world can exist with money and currency if the next currency is just digital crypto. We know what money is – gold and silver. Always has been, always will. But currency? That comes and goes, and right now, this new stuff is about to bring us to blows.
We decided things were getting too heated and we were getting angry, so we switched to Pink Floyd.