The government is a stationary bandit. It robs via taxation, but protects us from other would-be bandits so that it can maximize stealable assets. We don’t have much say in the matter; most of us don’t chose what citizenship we’re born with. 25 years ago, The Sovereign Individual predicted that people would learn to see themselves as customers rather than taxable citizens, and pay protection money to those who deliver the best service.
It’s not as obvious as paying tribute to a Mafioso. We’ve learned to be more subtle. Protection money takes the form of political donations, like FTX’s hundreds of millions in campaign contributions and lobbying (here’s a good rundown). As SBF sagely points out, regulators can’t protect consumers. Regulators have no idea what’s good for consumers; they rely on corporate-sponsored “research”, adopt corporate recommendations, and pass regulations written by lobbyists. Really!
The vast majority of the millions in SBF-organized political donations went to Democrats (100% in 2020 and 69% in 2022).
— Balaji (@balajis) November 17, 2022
Then you need the media to help propagandize the masses. SBF’s family foundation bankrolled crypto blogs like CoinDesk and TheBlock, and also donated millions to normie newsrooms like ProPublica and Vox. And, I suspect, the NYTimes. Here’s SBF, still listed as a headline speaker at next week’s NYTimes DealBook Summit:
Next week the New York Times in partnership with WEF partner Accenture is supposed to be hosting a live event with Sam Bankman-Fried. Sitting next to him will be Zelensky, Zuckerberg and U.S. Treasury's Janet Yellen. pic.twitter.com/EftL947r0m
— Jeremy Loffredo (@loffredojeremy) November 17, 2022
The summit is hosted by Andrew Ross Sorkin, a NYT columnist and WEF Young Global Leader famous for his flattering portrayal of Wall Street bank execs in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. I’m sure Sorkin will be happy to write an elaborate defense of FTX’s business operations: The empty balance sheet was in fact a typo. What happened was deeply troubling, but evidence indicates that SBF did not commit fraud. Indeed, it’s about how you define ‘invest’ and ‘funds’.
Worth pointing out that when we announced a mere whitepaper for Libra on 6/18/19, it took less than 24h for me to be called to testify in front of both the Senate and the House. Meanwhile the total meltdown of FTX unscrupulously misappropriating ≈$10B of customers funds…
— David Marcus ⚡ (@davidmarcus) November 17, 2022
Zuckerberg will be at the Dealbook Summit. Facebook/Meta is in on the grift too. Here’s David Marcus, former head of the Facebook/Meta crypto project, whining that he was called to testify in front of the Senate and the House immediately after his whitepaper dropped. Waaah. Does he think SBF has never testified in Congress before? SBF was there just last year; in fact here’s a clip of Congresswoman Maxine Waters blowing him a kiss. Being called for a hearing is a privilege for wealthy execs, not a punishment. David Marcus was called in because the Libra Association literally said “The Libra Association intends to work with policymakers as regulations adapt to address innovation” and “Founding Members are committed to working with authorities to shape a regulatory environment.” Congresscritters want to be told what regulations to prescribe so that they can help build a moat. Libra ultimately failed not because of regulatory burden, but because the idea was stupid. David Marcus has since left Meta and is now working on a Bitcoin-focused project.
Remember 2008? Bank execs called up ex-Goldman CEO and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, requested a bailout, and got one. That could be SBF! It might be too late for FTX now that they’ve filed for bankruptcy, but anything could happen. Maxine Waters has just been announced as chair of the committee that will investigate the collapse of FTX.
— Jordan Schachtel @ dossier.substack.com (@JordanSchachtel) November 17, 2022
Bitcoin people have complained about SBF’s lobbying efforts, but SBF was just a sovereign individual playing the game as designed. If you don’t want to pay the protection money, build something that can’t be regulated. Fortunately, Bitcoin interprets regulation as damage and routes around it.