Crypto-Tech Solutions Restore Power to the People
“Identify your problems but give power and energy to your solutions”
– Tony Robbins
In 2012, I purchased my first Bitcoin for around $10 USD. At the time, I wasn’t exactly sure what the new tech hype was all about and it felt risky to give money to a so-called currency solution that had not yet been socially adopted. Although most of the data I collected up to that point was pure speculation, curiosity had the best of me as it appeared that the decentralized technology had the potential to restore power to the people that adopted it.
As an extension of the internet, Bitcoin was certainly a new way of thinking about conducting transactions that could bring people together from all around the world. Benefits like low or no transaction fees meant users could keep more of the alt-currency they managed because no money went to centralized 3rd party institutions. Instead, international money transfer fees, once $50 to $100 USD per transaction, could be reduced to just a few cents using a Bitcoin exchange. The untapped potential of this technology maintained my curiosity, so I kept watch on forums for news and updates.
During the summer of 2014, as various alt-coins made their debut, I watched threads on the bitcointalk and NXT forums hoping to better understand how new coins were being valued. At that time, with so much new technology emerging, many developers were reaching an impasse. There was infighting among various members of the communities about how to move crypto-tech forward and how to create long lasting value in alt-coins. While there were some people simply doing a copy and paste, “Show me the money” routine, there were several forward thinking members that sought out real privacy centric development teams for greater progress. One example, developer jl777 from the NXT forum.
There are undoubtedly many development teams out there with common goals for evolving crypto-tech. I’ve spent a great deal of time specifically watching jl777 evolve the old paradigm of competitive “me-first” social norms within crypto-forums into forward-thinking “freedom-now” collaborations; building open source, decentralized tech around that cooperative philosophy. For several weeks I watched the NXT forum as jl777, also known as James, led the effort of bringing people together for the creation and implementation of SuperNET – an association of the most reliable blockchain technologies.
From an outsiders (non-tech) point of view, the quality I appreciate most about James (and the reason I have continued to follow his work) is his ability to focus on creating solutions, not blame. He places value on ideas, not criticism. He puts his money where his mouth is and has funded freedom principles like decentralized software. It’s as if James, while an apparently well-educated and experienced tech-geek, also has an intuitive understanding of how to get beyond the hot tempered egos and drama in chat rooms and use logic to bring about workable solutions that can benefit humanity as a whole.
James’s matter-of-fact voice of reason prompted me to reach out to him for a Q&A as I continue to receive feedback from on-the-fence readers about how this rapidly expanding crypto-tech relates to the average, non-tech Joe. I figured, who better to explain the fundamental ideas of how decentralized tech relates to people and freedom;
CryptoMama: Last year, you rallied a group of developers that saw your vision for a better world using crypto-tech and since then, crypto has really taken a new, more positive direction as a whole. In terms of this new level of cooperation and collaboration, can you explain how you arrived at this change of “mainstream” thinking? Was there a specific incident or epiphany before you personally fronted initial funds to advance cooperative crypto-tech?
James: I just said what was obvious and clearly many agreed. I am pleased that the days of cut and paste coins being acceptable are gone.
CryptoMama: What has surprised you the most since getting the crypto-tech industry to consider the benefits of working together?
James: I am most surprised at the rapid growth of the Slack membership here. Almost 500, which has got to make it one of the largest crypto communities.
CryptoMama: More often than not, mainstream news appears to focus on creating conflict to create division for “newsworthy” stories. Many people are tired of the fighting and divisive consciousness blaring from media sources. They are searching for a new way to work together and bring a higher level of conscious awareness around living and working together. This is why I believe that crypto-tech is one very promising answer. How can varied groups of people use blockchain and decentralized technology to work together? And, what is SuperNET’s role in answering that call?
James: Money is pretty important. So is privacy. By creating a way for people to protect their privacy and money, SuperNET will give people the option of working together, across artificial borders of nation states. The world is full of people in all the different countries and most all of them are using the Internet, smartphones, etc. The stereotype of “third world” countries being a bunch of poor farmers is quite ridiculous. Due to the cost disparity, you can’t tell the living standards of a country by the USD equivalent. I fear the world will be in for some turbulent times over the next decade and the protection of both money and privacy will be of paramount importance.
CryptoMama: Recently on Slack, you mentioned that privacy software has to be open source. For newbies to crypto-tech, can you talk about open source privacy and why that is important? Further, can you explain how peer to peer and decentralization also play into the importance of privacy?
James: If the code is not open source, then it cannot be reviewed for flaws or even worse things. Just simply logging info and all of the privacy is compromised. So anything that claims to create privacy and is closed source is not anything that can be trusted. Even without ill will, there could be bugs in the code.
CryptoMama: How do you and the other SuperNET developers plan on keeping SuperNET decentralized and not let it become compromised?
James: SuperNET is most centralized through me at this point. However, all my code is open sourced and even now there are many things that just spontaneously happen. I think the non-structure of SuperNET will make it very hard for it to become centralized.
CryptoMama: From your perspective, what needs to happen to spur those who use the internet now to use SuperNET, or even crypto-tech in general?
James: Easy to use software that either achieves the same purpose at lower cost, or some use case that is not possible any other way.
CryptoMama: Can you give a short description of what you see SuperNET looking like in 2016?
James: In 2016, we should have pretty much all the required tech infrastructure in place, along with marketing technology. I think there will be several fairly popular applications that people will be using and they might not even know it is based on SuperNET. It just works and has lower cost/higher payout due to the decentralized nature. This provides for the possibility of applications that appear as standard client/server apps, but without any servers. So that means no data center costs and no way for it to be centrally compromised. However, I think the biggest traction will be due to the lower cost or higher payouts that decentralization allows, rather than anything related to decentralization principles themselves.
CryptoMama: A question I get asked a lot is, “How are the goals of crypto-tech aligned with freedom?” For the benefit of newbies out there, do you see crypto goals aligned with freedom principles? If so, can you provide an example?
James: Freedom is critical as without freedom, we are all just prisoners. In the major countries with powerful governments, we see how they treat their citizens. It is as if the people have to be grateful for whatever they are allowed to keep, even though it is totally through what they produce in the first place that funds their government. We have seen time and again centralized operations simply shutdown, so anything important can’t rely on any centralized organization. And better to have locations in multiple jurisdictions that are unlikely to cooperate.
Propaganda is one of the main weapons of the totalitarian state. Control the media and you control the masses. Control the money and you control the means to get anything done. Eliminate privacy and then you can prevent any changes that you don’t like. This is exactly where we are headed (or are already there). Electronic police states, globally linked together. Now any silly thing can be turned into a crime and all the criminals hunted down with extreme ease.
With Internet censorship starting, it is becoming more and more critical to preserve the free speech the Internet provides. So I don’t see the distinction between, crypto, blockchains and freedom in general. Without decentralized blockchain solutions, we will never be able to get to any sort of money that isn’t controlled by the existing powers. And we see how they have treated people, so it is time to try something new. Think of decentralization as democracy and centralization as a totalitarian state as that is actually very close to how it works. For people that like freedom, would they prefer a pure democracy or a totalitarian state?
“We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims”
– R. Buckminster Fuller
With decentralized tools, like SuperNET, that offer greater privacy and control of information, not only is the open source platform a win for the people, it’s a new way of thinking about how we all work together to create a world that works for all, a task many different organizations are determined to navigate. Despite centralized mainstream criticisms, including my own set-backs along the way when I lost some of my Bitcoin in the Vircurex hack, I’ve continued to view this crypto-tech as a valuable freedom technology. Why? Because, like the ideas James points out in the Q&A, the new decentralized open source tech replaces the old centrally controlled technology, but with the same (or similar) conveniences we’ve come to rely on in our everyday lives.
Instead of using centrally controlled US Fed dollars, or the New York Stock Exchange rumored to be manipulated by a handful of people, or social sites like Facebook and Google that collect, monitor and/or sell your personal data for targeted advertisements – the people are offered an opportunity to regain control of their privacy, assets and personal freedoms. Free from regulation, central control and the sticky fingers of the Federal Reserve and other mega corporations, digital wallets and decentralized crypto tech levels the playing field so that humanity can work in tandem with large corporations or leave them out completely. There are no wars to be fought, no blood shed or lives lost in this transition – just a rebalancing of the power structure in the favor of the individual. This tech gives the power back to the people thereby rendering corporations and governments useless until they come to the table for a meeting of the minds.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
― R. Buckminster Fuller
While SuperNET is one of many solutions, there are many other developers and associated coins paving the way for these freedom technologies to be utilized by people seeking greater control over their privacy, finances, assets and creative work. Just about anything we can do today in a centralized controlled infrastructure, decentralized open source crypto-tech has an answer. It just becomes a matter of clicking a few links to get started.
More importantly, the crypto revolution has grown so quickly that it has become unstoppable. Absent of a complete shut-down of the internet, there is no government, no corporation, no organizing body on the planet that can stop the massive awakening that is happening across the globe as people from all walks of life embrace the rise of a borderless “freedom for all” solution.
The focused, collaborative intentions and actions of the crypto-tech community, with valuable leadership like James and many others, has set the infinite organizing power of the universe into motion. Crypto-tech solutions restore power to the people. And it’s here now, for everyone.