In the 1980s, John Barlow believed he was about to change the world for the better. He created Cyberspace, an online digital utopia, which set out to free global citizens from elitist power and control. By outlawing any real-world authority in his manifesto, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyber Space, he declared the internet an elite free zone: “Governments of the industrial world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. We’re creating a world where anyone, anywhere, may express his or her beliefs without being coerced into silence and conformity. I declare this a social space independent of the tyrannies you impose on us.”
At the same time, however, two hackers called Phyber Optic and Acid Phreak knew that what Barlow was saying did not match reality. As the Cyberspace movement continued to grow, governments, megabanks, and other institutions had simultaneously gathered huge amounts of data on citizens without their prior knowledge or consent. To prove this, the duo hacked into the major financial networks, stole Barlow’s credit info, and published it online for the rest of the Cyberspace movement to see. This alone revealed that the elites had already crushed Barlow’s vision of an internet utopia, an isolated digital world free from autocracy.
Right now, in the 21st century, we’re about to witness history repeat itself, only with a new-age twist. Instead of Cyberspace, decentralization has become the latest weaponry to fight against crony capitalism, corporatism, and elitism in modern society. DeFi, decentralized finance, has exploded by 3400% in the last year with its total market cap now valued at $35 billion, which will reach $1 trillion dollars by 2022. Uniswap, a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange, just surpassed over $100 billion in cumulative trading volume. With this level of interest, decentralization will eventually challenge the legacy monetary system for dominance in the near future.
But as with Cyberspace, the DeFi movement has underestimated the elites’ ability to maintain monetary power and control. They are preparing against the decentralist threat by using their own systems against them. Since the world’s global central bank, the IMF, declared war on non-state cryptocurrencies in 2018 in its report Monetary Policy In the Digital Age, most global superpowers have started developing, piloting, even launching CBDCs, central bank digital currencies, using blockchain technologies. Make no mistake: this has kickstarted the greatest battle for monetary supremacy since the British Pound versus the U.S. Dollar over a century ago.
State-backed cryptocurrency systems will have stark differences from DeFi-based systems. They are centralized, and their job is to enhance the existing system by attaching new Orwellian-style functionality. In real-time, state systems will eventually monitor everything, our transactions, taxes, behavior, and more. Our nonconformity will be verifiable and traceable. If you think we have no privacy today, the next few decades will pale in comparison to when states deploy these systems.
We’ll have to make a choice: remain a centralist and support the state’s new system or join the “decentralist” rebellion. Though the latter has more economic freedom and offers an escape from financial repression, it’s not as easy as everyone abandoning the legacy system. Nevertheless, this is the consensus that the proponents of crypto have been stating for years. They assume centralists will abandon the legacy system, and its owners will simply lay down their arms in defeat without a fight. They think the masses know about alternative finance, decentralization, blockchain, and that they will sacrifice all the perks of the legacy system, in a heartbeat, to join the crypto rebellion. This, of course, is untrue.
Twitter’s financial bubble, FinTwit, has also become an echo chamber where crypto nuts, gold bugs, and economists argue among themselves over what is the supreme form of money. Over time, this has created an illusion that the average joe cares about and engages in economics, finance, and crypto. The people who crypto advocates need to convert to push cryptocurrencies into mainstream adoption simply don’t know or care about monetary issues such as why interest rates are at rock bottom, where the money really comes from, and where it ends up. They find economics demonstrably boring, ugly, and uncool — they have a point. It’s at the bottom of a long pile of discarded subjects they will never revisit. That’s the big taboo for the long-term crypto bulls. Even if they do “get it”, they just don’t care — enough.
Rare events do leak out into the mainstream through the media. The biggest stock market drop in history. The fake Gamestop revolution and following drama. But that’s it. When Bitcoin hits the headlines, to a centralist it’s the same as the local news reporting on a non-issue — Karen dropped her Petunias on the front lawn. But to a decentralist, Bitcoin’s mainstream coverage will validate their confirmation bias that crypto is about to go mainstream. It’s no coincidence Bitcoin’s notoriety increases only when the price goes up — as Google Trends confirms. It shows Bitcoin only gains public traction when it could make people rich, not because the majority want to abandon the legacy system and join the decentralist movement.
The truth is society, as a whole, hates sound money. We will take the $2,000 stimmy over economist Peter Schiff telling us “no, that’s bad”. We don’t want to devour a 400-page book entitled Basic Economics. Instead, we want to eat Mcdonald's burgers and drink Starbucks coffee, not learn about supply-demand curves and budget deficits.
Over the last cycle, we have become more of a meritocracy, so, by default, we have outsourced our economic and financial education to the “experts”. We have abandoned financial responsibility. We have become less informed and more docile to an authority who may have a huge conflict of interest with our long-term goals. We don’t challenge them, others, or ourselves. Personal finance is now the job of Wall Street’s pension funds and the U.S. government. We have embraced M.M.T (modern monetary theory), a new school of thought with the polar opposite ideology to crypto.
Now, saying the average joe has given up on sound finance and economics is a little unfair, not because it’s both somewhat rude and inaccurate, but because the very people responsible for managing the economy have no idea what’s happening either. The financial media portrays central bankers and Treasury officials as monetary gods but, in reality, they have become just as clueless. They have lost touch with what’s going on deep in the international waters of finance, the shadow banking layer run by the global banking cartels.
We know this because, despite obvious signs of stress appearing in both the real economy and monetary system, financial planners fail to see major crises coming. “At this juncture, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained,” said former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke before the 2008 collapse. “I don’t see a financial crisis occurring in our lifetimes,” said Janet Yellen in 2017. And in September 2019, Federal Reserve officials knew the market was about to undergo stress, but Fed Chair Jay Powell allowed the system to blow up anyway with repo-market rates spiking over 10%.
Since central bankers can’t define money anymore, they now have one job: to convince you they still know what they’re doing, so you don’t panic, and so the financial aristocracy hangs onto the legacy system that underpins their ever-growing wealth and assets. Their remaining weaponry is a combination of insincere optimism and linguistic alchemy. As Ryan Gosling’s character in the Big Short says, “Wall Street loves to use confusing terms to make you think only they can do what they do. Or even better, for you to just leave them the f*ck alone.” This applies heavily to central bankers too. It disguises their many failures and shows they achieve stability by complexity. Those who have tried to expose the tomfoolery to the masses have had to endure a life of media solitude. Take Jeff Snider, an expert in the deep dark areas of finance. He tells us, quite simply, that most of what central bankers say does not reflect reality. Yet the mainstream press has no interest in publishing any of his work.
The longer they keep up this deception, then the more people will become aware, increasing the chance of a coordinated uprising. The problem is that it’s never happened before, ever. A nation of angry citizens reacts accordingly. Back in 1860, automotive pioneer Henry Ford said, “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” Though it rhymes and does not repeat, history shows us a financial revolution remains a pipe dream.
For society to even come close to initiating a “crypto uprising”, a crisis of significant magnitude must occur, and the most anticipated — yet unanticipated — monetary disaster is the collapse of the U.S. Dollar. When the “day of reckoning” for the Greenback comes, will the majority flee into crypto or trust the legacy system that’s caused so much pain to our finances for decades, that’s enriched the lives of a few and left the rest of us to suffer?
Based on history, we’ll likely witness the majority siding with the legacy system. Since the elites have power over public perception, they will call decentralization a threat to national security, a crisis, which will allow them to pass legislation to protect the authenticity of the system. Decentralization threatens to remove power from politics, promoting actual equality, which is incredibly dangerous to the power-hungry gaslighters that we somehow allow to run the country.
While implementing new Orwellian features into the legacy system, they will try to ban all cryptocurrencies and blockchains from integrating with it. They will force big tech companies to ban access to certain DeFi systems. They will create functionality that hides the crime of rampant inflation. They won’t care that Bitcoin has a max supply of 21 million. Their new currency will have an unlimited denomination, allowing them to expand and balloon supply through credit and debt issuance, killing sound money characteristics.
But when it comes to ending the DeFi movement, however, states will fail. John Barlow’s 1980s Cyberspace dream was crushed, but modern decentralized systems are now truly unstoppable. Ultimately, this will create the fragmentation of society, not via civil war, but via gradual, civil separation. We will be split by our loyalty to the legacy system, creating a new type of identity politics. We already have rich versus poor, Republicans versus Democrats, and left versus right. Next, we’ll have a centralist versus decentralist narrative. Centralists will support the legacy order — central banks, MMT, free handouts, and unlimited money printing — while decentralists retreat into “decentralized” areas, like private cities, that run on decentralized protocols.
As DeFi reaches peak interest, America will experience its next economic crisis. But desperate times will call for desperate measures. When the majority has to choose sides, there’s no contest. Though the decentralist movement will offer people an escape from the financially repressive legacy system, most will exchange their financial freedom and liberty for temporary financial security, choosing the state’s centralized clone of the decentralist system. The elites will have convinced the masses to turn a blind eye to financial tyranny and embrace financial servitude while the decentralists retreat from the system, waiting for yet another round of economic madness, yet another economic boom-and-bust, to see if centralists still want to live in the legacy system based on a new Orwellian monetary order.
This was more of a thought experiment than a prediction. Thanks for reading!
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This article is for educational purposes only, not financial advice.