A Conspiracy Theory of Other Things

I’m old enough to remember when Black Lives Matter was genuinely subversive. After BLM protesters did some violence against police officers, the FBI issued a counterterrorism report: “Black Identity Extremists (BIEs) are influenced by a mix of anti-authoritarian, Moorish sovereign citizen ideology, and BIE ideology.”

That was 2017. Four years later, pretty much every major corporation has voiced support for these former “terrorists”. The fact that Congresscritters were kneeling in solidarity suggests that the ruling class is now in control of “BIEs”, but I can’t figure out how this group went from FBI watchlist to national religion. According to NYTimes, the sentiment shift happened in only two weeks.

In July 2019, the FBI removed the “Black Identity Extremists” designation to focus on white supremacy instead.

The FBI has a history of infiltrating activist organizations. The goal is to provoke violence, then use media collaborators to discredit a movement and justify legal action. They did it to the Black Panther Party, they did it to the KKK, they did it to Ross Ulbricht. See Also: COINTELPRO.

They even fedpoasted Cypherpunk Jim Bell when he was promoting prediction markets. All it takes is one high-profile ransomware attack to justify KYC/AML for all crypto, and then – oh wait.

Elon Musk’s renewable energy Mining Council is a head fake. The establishment is ready to embrace Bitcoin; it just needs to get mass surveillance in place first.

A Conspiracy Theory of Bitcoin

I’m a paranoid person. I should probably stop smoking pot, but it’s hard to get much else these days. Has anything been written about COVID’s effect on the availability of street drugs?

Anyway, Bitcoin thrives on paranoia. And a popular paranoiac concern is that the government, or the CIA, is out to destroy Bitcoin.

Bitcoin people point to Segwit2x and blocksize battles as evidence of attempted coup. That’s how the CIA overthrows foreign regimes, right? Fund some dissident groups, amplify civil unrest, prop up a puppet leader and bomb them into the stone age. ¡Viva la colour revolución!

But it’s shortsighted to think that the CIA wants to destroy Bitcoin. Why divide and conquer when you can commandeer?

The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves. –Vladimir Lenin

Every society has dissidents, it’s human nature. Locking them up makes for bad PR; a smarter strategy is to hijack the message to further the objectives of the ruling class.

World peace and clean air were once anti-establishment goals. Hippie counterculture was a rejection of the military industrial complex. In the 1970s, oil interests promoted propaganda that transformed the message from “War is bad” to “Nukes are bad” to “Nuclear power is bad”, and we were all too stoned to notice. You can’t hug your children with nuclear arms, man.

California Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown campaigned on clean energy, then closed the state’s nuclear power plants and reinforced dependence on foreign oil and gas to line his family’s pockets. It’s a testament to the power of propaganda that we still think of him as a climate leader1.

Railing against the establishment tends not to be a profitable venture, and eventually dissidents sell out and start shilling the message of their sponsors. That’s why child actress and propaganda vessel Greta Thunberg has gone from climate activism to protesting Nordstream to #FreeNavalny to backing the Farmers Protest in India.

Crypto anarchy is an easy message to hijack. Bitcoiners are the most economically rational humans in the world, by which I mean really effin’ greedy. We would sell our grandmothers if it meant stacking more sats.

Like Green Day selling Pepsi or Iggy Pop endorsing life insurance, Bitcoin will suffer feature creep to accommodate deep-pocketed investors. We want censorship-resistance, 21 million supply limit, privacy, fungibility, and renewable energy. Five demands, not one less!

And maybe Bitcoiners are ambivalent about renewable energy, but Elon Musk has so much money, and making him happy makes Number Go Up.

The message will transform from “Bitcoin is for everyone” to “Bitcoin is for everyone, as long as they agree to sustainability standards” to “Miners are private companies in a private council who can censor whomever they please, and if you don’t like it go start your own decentralized cryptocurrency!”

And that’s the conspiracy theory for today.

1. Jerry Brown’s father Pat Brown was governor before him, and passed “environmental” regulations to make the state dependent on Getty-owned oil leases after receiving bribes from Bill Newsom. Bill Newsom was attorney to J. Paul Getty. His grandson Gavin Newsom is the current governor of California, and Nancy Pelosi’s nephew. (source)

Never Argue with a Nocoiner

Has it been 2 months already? Nothing knocks me out of my drug-induced inertia like a Bitcoin bear market. Cuz I can’t afford drugs anymore.

More recently, a Bari-Weiss substack blogger accused me and Bitstein of “an expressed {sic} refusal to report anything negative” about Bitcoin.

It’s not so much a refusal to report, as a refusal to engage. Remember, Never Argue with a Nocoiner. Treat them as you would a child throwing a tantrum: Remain calm, validate their feelings, and let them wear themselves out. Don’t try to negotiate or argue, don’t reward the behavior with attention, and definitely avoid being seen with them in public.

Bitcoiners constantly underestimate Nocoiner obstinacy. It is 2021. If you see someone still spouting off about Bitcoin energy consumption, it should serve as a red flag like a well-dressed youth approaching your door with a Watchtower magazine. This is not someone to be reasoned with.

Debunking the latest Bitcoin FUD will just create a vacuum to be filled with even dumber FUD. This blogger wrote a screed about Bitcoin energy consumption only to have his misconceptions soundly dispelled by Nic Carter. The FUDster’s response?

That is a sequence of words that doesn’t make any sense in the English language. The type of thing that makes “Quantum cipher cracking” or “Death spiral” look downright reasonable.

If Bitcoin is toxic masculinity, then Nocoining is toxic femininity. By which I mean, emotional manipulation through sophistry. Before you accuse me of sexism, remember that this comment is no more sexist than Holthaus’s allegation that impeccable logic is masculine.

Nocoiners are too cowardly to fight their own battles, so they fling negative-sounding labels to exploit emotional triggers and shift public sentiment. It’s reputation destruction rather than rational debate.

Anyway, Bitcoiners are constantly discussing potential failure modes; it’s just that Nocoiners are too stupid to understand them. If my sober streak continues, we’ll discuss another one next week.

An Open Letter to Fellow Yellows

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed a bunch of violence against Asian Americans of late. Perhaps you’ve experienced some yourself.

Here’s an account that tracks anti-Asian hate crimes in NYC. Some of it is bad. Really bad. It’s pretty obvious who the assailants are, but media outlets insist on blaming White Supremacists. “White Supremacy” has become a catchall term for everything bad in this world, and Asians aren’t exactly stepping up to correct the record.

I sort of understand the reticence. Going to public school as a kid, we got our ass beat plenty. We always knew better than to snitch on our aggressors. Get the yard teacher involved, and you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of beatings from everybody. So you’d go to the teacher with a bruised lip and a bloody nose, and tell her you fell down some stairs. You want the sympathy without the retribution.

Well, it’s time to grow up. If you act like a victim, you’ll be treated like a victim. And not in the diversity-hire-and-preferential-college-admits kinda way. I mean, like this:

Maybe you’re excited because Biden allocated $49.5 million towards fighting anti-Asian violence. This comes from your own money, you know. (As an Asian American, you probably pay taxes.) And if you read Biden’s press release, you’ll see that none of that money is gonna do a damn thing. It’s going to committees and NGOs, and a stupid virtual bookshelf to celebrate Asian American contributions.

Most of these attackers are homeless or hopped up on drugs; wokeness training isn’t the answer. The one thing that might curb violence is a massive increase in police activity, but that’s politically untenable.

Looks like we’re going to have to take matters into our own hands.

There’s a certain demographic that everyone knows not to mess with. Something to do with a reputation for uncontrollable violence. The reputation may or may not be deserved; it could well be the result of harmful stereotypes advanced by the media. Either way, the stereotype is useful. Would-be attackers ain’t gonna mess with someone who might go all Ray Rice on their ass.

If we want to #StopAsianHate, we need the same reputation. There’s a well-known blog called Angry Asian Man. Problem is, he’s not very angry at all. Like, if you see this face approach you on the street, you’re not gonna quickly cross to the other side.

Here’s a story I found particularly instructive. Homeless guy punches an old Asian woman; she grabs a 2×4 and delivers a beatdown. Was the beating a reasonable act of self-defense? Who cares, the lady’s channeling her inner Tiger Mother. She’s wailin’ on that fellow like he’s a schoolkid who brought home a B+. NO MERCY! That’s the energy that will #StopAsianHate.

Roof Koreans are good; Trigger-happy Roof Koreans better. Trigger-happy no-f*cks-given Bodo League Roof Koreans with poor muzzle control — Now that’s the reputation we want to cultivate.

Note: It isn’t necessary to commit murder. In fact, please don’t actually kill anyone. The trick is to freakout preemptively. COVID is still a thing, yes? That means any violation of social distancing is effectively a provocation of violence. If another human enters your 6-foot bubble, that’s the time to grab a bludgeon and swing like a crazy person.

I’ll end with a story.

Many many years ago, I was shopping with my mother when she unwittingly bumped a man with her cart. The guy muttered a racist comment and turned to walk away. Being a good kid, I ran after him and asked, “WHAT THE F*&^ IS YOUR PROBLEM, ASSHOLE?? YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH MY MAMA? YOU WANNA START SOME SH!*? SAY IT TO MY FACE MOTHERF*&^*&^R!” I tailed him for two aisles screaming profanities, so that by the time he escaped, everyone at Walmart knew he was an asshole.

The point is, I wouldn’t have done that if he wasn’t white. So let them be a warning to us all.

Influence as Property

I’ve never played Second Life, but I get the impression it’s sort of an alternative reality for those who don’t have much going for them in the real world. Kind of like Twitter.

The novel thing about Second Life was that it granted intellectual property rights to its users, where “property” takes the form of digital items, like buildings on a virtual plot of land. It’s different from owning the rights to a tweet, or a nonfungible token in the Ether — there’s a concept of exclusion. Second Life communities are organized into neighborhoods, and if you occupy one spot someone else can’t have it. While a tweet or CryptoKitty image can be republished elsewhere, a virtual house is worthless in the absence of context.

In the past, deplatformed users have successfully sued Second Life for wrongful confiscation of virtual items. In one case, the court issued a restraining order against Second Life to stop the game from deleting a user’s horses1. (Possibly a violation of the company’s First Amendment rights, but they didn’t try to appeal it.)

Social media platforms use an outdated notion of IP, where production costs are high and distribution costs are low. Eg. It’s expensive to record a song, cheap to burn a CD. In our always-online world, attention is the scarcest commodity, and distribution — acquiring an audience — is hard. That’s why SEO and social media consultation is a multibillion dollar industry.

When people complain about deplatforming, they’re not really complaining about censorship — Yes, we can go start our own website or move to Parler or whatever. They’re complaining about the wrongful confiscation of influence. President Trump wasn’t censored — he was de-influenced.

But what if we make it an NFT on the blockchain??

I know, I know, you just vomited on your screen and now it’s hard to read. Hear me out.

Youtube can deplatform or demonetize people at will. There’s a contractual relationship that says so, and it’s called the Terms of Service. Either party can end it at any time.

On the other hand, an external party can’t force Youtube to deplatform anyone. That would be tortious interference — intentionally damaging the business relationship between a platform and creator. Like when President Trump tried to ban TikTok: A federal judge issued an injunction on behalf of TikTok creators – not the company – to block Trump’s ban, finding that those TikTok influencers would lose access to their income2.

NFTs encapsulate a direct relationship between artist and consumer. Actually, I have no idea what they encapsulate. People are tokenizing all sorts of abstract intangible infungibles; so I’m gonna tokenize my Twitter influence. I’m not tokenizing a tweet, or an atomic account. It’s art, so context matters. I’ll sell my Twitter-influence NFT for a sum, and any subsequent attempt to deplatform me is then a violation of my right to have a business relationship with the token holder3.

Bidding starts at 1 sat. Let’s GOOOOO!

1. Amaretto Ranch Breedables, LLC v. Ozimals, Inc.
2. Marland v. Trump
3. There is precedence, sort of. Last year, a court denied an injunction filed by Patreon after the company was sued by the backers of a politically incorrect creator. A Patreon creator has an economic relationship with his backers, therefore a ban that disrupts this relationship is considered tortious interference.