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A future of personal and financial privacy might be closer and more realistic than you think.

The other day, I went to buy dog food at my local pet shop. I bought a large bag of dog food and some treats for my dog that claimed to be able to make her breath smell better. Toothbrush-shaped treats. I paid with my Chase Visa card and walked out of the store. A few minutes later, I happened to check Twitter and saw an advertisement pop up — for toothbrush-shaped dog treats. I thought: this was not an online purchase. I used nothing but my credit card. How did this happen?

The advertising was too specific to have been pulled from the geolocation of my phone, even though my iPhone was in my pocket and certainly knew that I was more or less at the location of a pet food store. If that was the case, then I could have been offered an advertisement for cat food, or normal dog food, or bird food, or any of the other hundreds of items on sale. But it was the toothbrush-shaped dog treats. …

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Bitcoin: a tool of freedom and human rights.

Foreign Policy recently published the latest mainstream media attack on Bitcoin from the London-based author and journalist David Gerard. Gerard’s “Forget Bitcoin, Try your Mattress” is the newest in a long line of Bitcoin criticism published everywhere from the Financial Times to The Washington Post. This time, Bitcoin is part of a system “plagued by hacks, fraud, and social engineering.” Doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? Why, might you ask, would a human rights activist like me be interested in something so universally derided by experts and the world establishment?

This response is my answer. If you read along, we’ll cover where the critics are right; why Bitcoin is secure and safe; how it does things that we can’t do with our existing financial system; how it will scale and improve; why its monetary system is an improvement for many; why it’s not a waste of energy; why progressives and libertarians should both be fans; why it matters for human rights; how we are at just the beginning of the Bitcoin journey; and why now is the best time to learn more and get involved. …


Alex Gladstein

I’m the Chief Strategy Officer at @HRF and a guest lecturer at @SingularityU. Follow me @gladstein for thoughts on freedom and decentralization.

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