How many people like freedom of speech? How about unrestricted speech? Completely unrestricted, everything goes, you can say anything, nothing can be restrained by government, who raised their hand for that one? Do you believe the same should apply to money? Financial transactions.
If I asked this question in most places in the world, people draw a very hard distinction between their appreciation of freedom of speech and applying that same idea to money, to commerce, to transactions. For some reason, when you bring out this concept, they see a significant distinction between money and speech.
People are reluctant to consider a world in which we can transact as freely as we speak. Certainly not a world in which everyone can transact with absolute freedom, without any interference, without any censorship.
This is a really interesting philosophical debate, there is no distinction. In fact, the essence of privacy in your financial transactions and your ability to transact with freedom, underpins, just like speech, many of your other freedoms. If you have freedom of expression and freedom of association, but you don't have freedom of finance, if you don't have the freedom to protect your property, how quickly will your freedom of association and freedom of expression go away? How can you have the ability to participate in the political process? If your bank account can be seized because you participated in the wrong political process or went to the wrong protest, or donated to the wrong organization.
Political speech and financial speech and speech are really not that different. It's a radical idea. The idea that we should afford the exact same freedoms to speech and to money, the idea that the ability to transact with anyone on the planet is an inherent part of human rights, it is nobody's business who I transact with, there is no crime of transacting.
You can create crimes after transacting, but the transacting itself is not the crime. The transaction itself is a means of expression, it's my ability to exert self-determination through the fruits of my labor. A radical idea. This philosophical debate has been going on for many, many years all around the world and in fact, nowadays, we see this is coming to a significant amount of tension. If you ask the average person, is it okay if the intelligence agencies monitor your phone calls, monitor your emails, watch you through your webcam. Most people would say no, that's not okay, that's not an acceptable state of society. How many people noticed that every single credit card transaction that you do, every line on your bank statement is not only monitored, but it's freely given to all intelligence agencies without warrants, without suspicion, without probable cause, without due process. Are we outraged about this?
Most people are. Most people are outraged that the NSA may monitor the meta data of their phone calls, but they don't give a damn that under the Patriot Act every financial transaction they ever do can be picked up by a Bunko Sheriff in a tiny county to peruse at their discretion without any formal legal process for everyone, any anyone, at all times. We make these artificial distinctions between these fundamental rights.
There is no distinction, the privacy of my finances is as important as the privacy of me. My ability to express myself in commerce in a society, is equivalent to my ability to express my opinion, and if I don’t have freedom in my financial transactions, I don't have freedom, at all, or I have freedom that is subject to immediate withdrawal if I cross a line, a line I can't see. That's a scary state of affairs, most people accept it. So this is an interesting philosophical discussion, it can go one way, we can go the other, we can talk about it, none of it matters.
None of it matters. And the reason none of it matters is because that is the discussion we were having for the previous two decades, that is the discussion society has had for a very long time, that is not the discussion we are going to have now on. None of that matters. Because the statement, money is speech, is no longer a philosophical question for debate. It is, a technological fact, and that's Bitcoin, and that's Ethereum. That's open, public, borderless, transparent, transnational, neutral, censorship resistant blockchains.
They establish in reality, the technological fact, FACT, that money is speech. Why? Because money can now be communicated over the networks of speech. It can be transported with the protocols of speech, it can be encapsulated into the media of speech and expression. It is, a system of expression. Money is a content type on the internet, .avi, .mp3, .pdf, .Bitcoin. It is a content type. A Bitcoin transaction requires no reference to an external authority, it requires nothing but the inherence, signatures in the transaction and the proof of work that can be presented in a block. To stand alone, it is self verifiable, you can look at proof of work which is just a number, you can look at it and say, in order to create this number, this much energy was consumed.
That is a fact. I don’t need to ask anyone to make that calculation, I can validate the truth of that statement independently without reference to any external authority. Bitcoin transactions, money, commerce, now, stands on its own as an expression of value. I have said many times, money is a language. Money is a language in which we express value to each other. Maybe you thought that was a fanciful statement of philosophy. What I'm telling you, is that it is a statement of technological fact. And what that does is it immediately creates a completely inverse relationship with authority. If I wanted to transact commercially, when the question of money was a philosophical debate, I had to assert the truth of that, and fight for that right.
Now, the technological fact that money is speech allows me to use the medium of speech, and all of it's privacy enhancements, TOR, anonymizers, remixers, encryption to speak freely, through money, on the internet. And better yet, the only way to change that is to sensor speech, because you can't differentiate my commercial speech with my money speech, from my political speech, from my transactional speech, from my gossip. It's all completely the same on the internet, it uses the same technology infrastructure, it uses the same protocols, it uses the same privacy protections and it mixes with everything else that's out there to form one, giant roar of human expression and in that roar, my money is speech, it has been established as a technological fact that I need no one to persuade or debate, I can simply speak, commercially. I can transact. I have established my freedom of expression, in the domain of commerce.
My sovereignty of speech. Now that this is a technological fact.
September 19, 2018
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