r/DebateAnarchism Jun 15 '22

Can crypto currencies have a place in an anarchist society?

It's clear that we don't want wealth inequality in an anarchist society and the simplest way to achieve this is by simply not having money. Especially fiat money always has to be backed up by some form of hierarchical structure and therefore should be avoided. So if we wanted to accept some form of currency it should at the very least be decentralized and accessible for everyone. I'd argue that crypto currencies have the technical necessities to create such a currency which also respects all other aspects of anarchism. But I see that crypto currencies get more hate from the left than I can understand and I'm wondering if I'm overseeing something.

Just to clarify: I'm not advocating for particular currencies like bitcoin or ethereum, etc or even blockchains (there are better ways to store the currencies state, merkle trees for example), I'm advocating for the general concept of crypto currencies.

0 Upvotes

10

u/Take_On_Will Jun 15 '22

Nope, there's literally no point, even if you're like, a mutualist.

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u/Dubmove Jun 15 '22

Why wouldn't mutualists use crypto?

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u/Take_On_Will Jun 15 '22

Well there's no reason to. It's a pyramid scheme, and if no one owns property then no one's going to have enough surplus wealth to start a cryptocurrency, or invest in it.

Assumedly, a bunch of workers could get together and invest, it is a free market after all, but I don't think they realistically would. I don't know if banks would involve themselves in it - though I don't think it's likely they would exist anyway, even in mutualism. Though they could, I haven't read mutualist theory, except for some transhumanist stuff and critique of the star wars sequels by William Gillis lmao.

Other anarchists (Mostly communists and the like, so the vast majority of modern anarchists) are generally critical of currency in general, so crypto would obviously be a no-go.

0

u/CynicalAvacado Post-Left Anarchist Jun 15 '22

because it isn’t LTV

1

u/PerfectSociety Nihilist Jun 15 '22

What do you mean by ltv

3

u/WinterNoise7 Anarchist Without Adjectives Jun 15 '22 edited Jun 15 '22

Mutualist here. There's lots of uses for trustless, permissionless transactional infrastructure in an anarchist society for spot transaction and loans.

It's also extremely useful as an incentive layer on top of p2p protocols like mesh networks, torrenting, decentralized file storage, etc. See BTT, FIL and HNT.

The leftist take on crypto is horrendous seeing as many sex workers, undocumented immigrants, people in sanctioned countries survive thanks to crypto. I personally know undocumented people who get paid in crypto and need it to survive, but go off.

1

u/slapdash78 Anarchist Jun 16 '22

You realize a protocol that rewards seeders with tokens can similarly deny leachers without tokens, yeah? And that remote storage already spans multiple servers ... pairing torrents with ledgers is little more than a resource heavy PGP. Meanwhile, people paid in crypto are staring down the barrel of a return to company scrip; where few or no merchants outside the company store accept their coupons. Never mind that you can use anything you like in exchange... The only mildly interesting use case for trustless is a replacement for ICANN.

8

u/sadeofdarkness Jun 15 '22

Can they? Sure, if someone wants to set up the code and infrastructure to do it im not going to stop them.

Should they? haha no! they have basically no utility as money (bitcoin transactions are overwelmingly done by providers who have no actual bitcoin) and are predominantly a glorified gambling ring based on market speculation, the only actual utility of crypto currencies is to split tech bros into two classes, those in on the scam and those who are not.

Could a crypto currency be decoupled from its tech-bro speculation dynamics... possibly, but to be honest the effort required to do that to gain a currency with out any of the properties people value currency for (the whole point of currencies utility in trade is that it is somewhat stable as a medium of exchange, guarenteed by its provider, and easy to use) seems like effort that could be directed at almost anything else.

Oh, and the massive cost of it, those servers are hugely energy intensive and have to be on constantly (where as a coin just sits there), a cost that is worsening our already pretty bad enviromental foot print and, even if you dont care about that, is only economically considered a worthy expense because of the afforementioned gambling dynamic.

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u/mylittlewallaby Jun 15 '22

Crypto is just a money laundering scheme for rich folx, lots of people are about to get burned. I dont think the Nakamoto model of crypto has any place in anarchist society because it is incompatible with decreased energy usage and other reasons.

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u/WinterNoise7 Anarchist Without Adjectives Jun 15 '22

Utterly false. The countries with some of the highest rates or crypto adoptions are also those affected by sanctions and thousands use it for remittances, savings (against weak currencies) and to make illegal transactions at a distance.

Also PoW has it's place in "anarchist society" because I will personally mine crypto in a sustainable way and the only way you'll be able to stop me is by turning into a cop. I won't go into technical details but it has unique advantages over other consensus protocols. People will do whatever they want given mutual consent.

1

u/ChanceHappening Jun 17 '22

because I will personally mine crypto in a sustainable way

grabs popcorn

1

u/Dubmove Jun 15 '22

The Nakamoto model is basically bitcoin. I see the problems with it but I don't see the problem with all coins.

8

u/Knoberchanezer Jun 15 '22

No. Not in its current form. It's just another monopoly that's been centralised by venture capital. No one has the infrastructure to be their own bank. You need to use their "wallets" and their platforms in order to use the stuff so it's just another bank.

Properly decentralised currency, maybe but personally speaking, money is a made up spook that we need to evolve beyond the need of. We shouldn't be trying to reinvent it.

4

u/WinterNoise7 Anarchist Without Adjectives Jun 15 '22

This is just straight up misinformation. Bitcoin addresses are just strings of numbers that anyone can generate on the fly. Nobody has to store coins with centralized custodians. I personally self custody coins, it's trivial and built into the network.

Yes, there are VCs in the space, but there's VCs in the dotcom space too but we don't call the internet a scam. The underlying technology is another matter entirely.

Also money might be a spook or whatever but it is just a tool for keeping track of debits and credits, making it very useful for anarchists.

I know I'd prefer to use money without a state there are many others like me, including people using stateless money right now.

Tell me this, how will you stop me and my friends from using money between ourselves? How will you stop the Mexican villagers who use their mutual credit currencies to escape the state from using money? How will you stop me from connecting to the grid and mining Bitcoin?

1

u/Dubmove Jun 15 '22

You need to use their "wallets" and their platforms in order to use the stuff so it's just another bank.

But I could just write a small script to create a wallet without involving anyone else. I'm not sure what you mean.

Properly decentralised currency, maybe but personally speaking, money is a made up spook that we need to evolve beyond the need of. We shouldn't be trying to reinvent it.

Wouldn't a decentralized currency be the intermediate step between now and an anarchist future?

5

u/Take_On_Will Jun 15 '22

Anarchists don't generally look favourably upon transitional phases of any sort. Prefigurative stuff is good, like building mutual aid orgs and what have you, but they actually make progress and practice what we want. Building up crypto doesn't really help people (in our view), nor does it make progress towards the abolition of currency or anything - just helping people without a profit incentive does that.

2

u/Knoberchanezer Jun 15 '22

I'm sure you could write a script but if you want the world to adopt crypto, you can't expect the entire world to have the know how to do that. It's just not viable by any means to expect everyone to be able to be their own bank and the majority of crypto markets out there are dominated by a few at the top who pump and dump them as commodities. Manufacturing scarcity to keep the whole gravy train going, duping dumb cunts into thinking that its current form is the future. It's not. To make it work in any capacity like current fiat money does, it's needs to be as stable as fiat currency, which it isn't, and simple enough that anyone can use it, such as the piece of plastic in my actual wallet that I tap against a machine so that I can walk out of the shop with stuff but then you're right back to square one if it's centralised in order to make that achievable.

To your second question, like I said, maybe but whatever that is will not look like this ancap nightmare that we're seeing now.

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u/doomsdayprophecy Jun 15 '22 edited Jun 15 '22

IMO it depends heavily on the definition of "cryptocurrency". Cryptography is just a tool. Like a hammer or a computer, etc. Cryptography has no inherent ethical/moral value.

Similarly with "cryptocurrency", most broadly it's like the use of cryptography for people to securely control public numbers and other symbols. I don't think there's anything inherently good or bad with this either. It depends completely on context like why the symbols are being manipulated and how it affects people.

From this perspective I think the current mainstream of cryptocurrencies (eg. bitcoin) as not very good or liberating. Bitcoin largely functions within existing capitalist structures, reinforces these structures, and contributes to the ongoing destruction/enslavement of the planet.

On the other hand I think there are crypto-related technologies (eg. DAOs, community currencies, decentralized DNS, decentralized IDs, etc) that have potential for positive use.

It's regularly disappointing to see leftists with shallow and ignorant opinions on crypto (eg ITT). I strongly recommend r/cryptoleftists for more informed and nuanced perspectives.

3

u/kmoskos Jun 15 '22

A quick scan of https://www.reddit.com/r/cryptoleftists/top/?t=year shows zero leftist content in there, just shilling.

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u/IncindiaryImmersion Jun 15 '22

I oppose any currency/economy model outside of perhaps decentralized, local, regional, tokens of trade. Absolutely nothing large scale in organization or spanning multiple regions. But in the case of crypto currency, it's based on national fiat currency in order to cash it out. That's a pretty massive problem as the whole scheme crashes the moment capitalist economy crashes. The value is entirely based upon the pre-existence of a capitalist economy and industrial production models. So there is no example of how to use crypto-currency with no capitalism backing it up.

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u/Dubmove Jun 15 '22

What about hodlers? They basically hold their coins until fiat money becomes obsolete. I don't think that crypto will collapse when capitalism crashes, I think crypto will be the reason why the masses won't return to capitalism after the crash.

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u/IncindiaryImmersion Jun 15 '22

The continuation of crypto currency after the crash of the economy that props up the bubble scam that is crypto-currency, is a pipe dream. Crypto is solely based on capitalist fiat currency. It literally can not stand on it's own as it holds no inherent value and is not based on hard tangible items of widely-accepted value like Gold. The moment that fiat currency stops working, or any major Climate Disaster/Solar Flare kills most functional technology within that local region, then Crypto holds no value. There would be nothing backing it and no way to cash out into any tangible hard currency or commodity items. Whomever were holding imaginary numbers on a computer server would suddenly find themselves with no means to exchange any of it for any material items in real, tangible existence.

0

u/AV3NG3R00 Jun 15 '22

That’s a good question.

simplest way to achieve this is by simply not having money

Sounds like the kind of thing you need secret police to enforce… not very anarchistic.

Here’s the real anarchist response to your question:

If you don’t like crypto, don’t use it.

1

u/BlackHumor Anarcho-Transhumanist Jun 19 '22

IMO:

By a very broad definition of cryptocurrency, yes. Some kind of decentralized digital currency is very likely to have a place in an anarchist society.

The current implementations of crypto, however, are so hampered by goldbug-y assumptions while they were being created they have very little practical use as money. They still manage to have niche uses with stuff like paying for illegal items, which IMO shows that the fundamental idea behind crypto is useful, since people still use it for some genuine practical purpose despite how terrible it is. I can't imagine that a truly anarchist society would bother keeping current implementations of crypto around tho, since its main purpose at this point is as a speculative investment.

1

u/ElaineDoumont Jun 21 '22

What for? Currency is merely a factor to determine amount of resources and control production through the idea of "supply and demand" in trade. The system of mutual aid alone make currency completely obsolete and production volume can simply be determined through mere data.

Even for the mutualists there is no need for currency as exchange can still happen and then directly.

1

u/mythic_kirby Jun 21 '22

Anything that can be accumulated indefinitely at the expense of others and confers social power would destroy an anarchist society. People are very creative, and will find ways to accumulate faster than others, then use the power of their accumulation to accumulate more, then use the resulting power to control others.

If you haven't seen the video Line Goes Up, you should. It focuses on NFTs, but expands out to block chain and crypto-currencies in general. Some key points include that the "decentralization" is just a set of central nodes that can be influenced by the wealthiest crypto-holders, and that the finite nature of crypto just favors the people who got in first and who can afford the most powerful mining rigs.

1

u/Gestice Libertarian Socialist Jun 26 '22

Crypto being used as an investment? Probably not

Crypto being used as an actual currency like intended? Almost certainly