Guerilla movements, prehistoric species, free software and crypto. What do these topics have in common?
A planet is orbiting a star. On its surface are organic molecules, cooked up long ago in the furnaces of dead, distant stars.
Slowly, these organic molecules begin to clump together.
Over eons they learn to create crude copies of themselves.
At that point the kaleidoscope of life bursts forth, gushing with vitality, color and energy. Life has its own fundamental symmetries that reach up to the infinite. This is the chaotic glimmer from which order emerges.
Millenia pass. A newborn species opens its eyes for the first time. Nature equips this species with implements and utilities to scratch the earth, to run at great speeds and to defend its existence. And they must feed on other organisms.
From humble small beginnings, these early forms race not solely for survival, but to ascend, expand their influence and become free.
Species which fail to grow end up falling from the evolutionary tree. They become part of the history of the cosmos and are replaced by emergent upstarts.
When we learn about evolution in school, we are usually greeted with a strange picture of primitive life. They tell us a story about a giraffe that yearns to reach the treetops. Gradually over millions of years its neck becomes longer. It is slowly optimized by nature's clockwork mechanisms.
The classical view teaches us that populations continually optimize, adjusting their parameters to fit their changing environment. But there is no record of continuous change within the fossil record. What we do find are stretches of millions of years where species remain inert, followed by sudden shocks: a race for survival or competition to stake a claim in the next epoch.
Evolution is not a steady progression of mechanical optimizations. It is more like an orchestra. Periods of sombre stability and balance are punctuated by incredibly violent but short episodes of change.
Populations continually diverge to form subspecies. Difference is not a quirk of the evolutionary process, it is the core force that drives evolution. Nature does not integrate populations but rather magnifies conflict. Tensions explode into fierce struggle.
Life differentiates. Species diverge into a variety of forms. Nature selects some for extinction. For those remaining, nature may grant them the chance to reign or consign them to a speculative niche. Through this process, life evolves.
We can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years. - Satoshi Nakamoto
Back in 2010, choices we made as early Bitcoin developers had far reaching consequences in shaping the entire space today. We had no clue at the time how impactful our actions would be.
We stand at a similar point today in crypto. The choices and values we incorporate into our DNA now will shape the entire space for decades to come. Technologies will be created to serve the ideologies that take root, and capital will flow to the dominant narratives. We are like those early organisms emerging from mud. We are slowly opening our eyes to the world and learning to use the implements nature has given us to grow and become strong.
We all cringe when the media reports on crypto. Yet with FTX, the community was trapped in a collective psychosis. The media reported on a young billionaire genius which caused more capital to flow into FTX. More news stories appeared, closing the feedback loop.
Now the spell has broken. People look around in disbelief. There is a deep void. Soul searching and questioning our values will prompt a healthy return to what made us strong. It is during this part of the cycle when we reach deep within and muster the strength to carry us forward towards our destiny.
The current situation is not new. Crypto has a regular ritual of sacrificing its kings and idols. Blood spilt completes the cycle and ushers in a new renaissance.
There is so much to rejoice. We are undergoing a cryptography revolution, the likes of which have never been seen before. Due to technologies such as zero-knowledge proofs, multi-party computation and homomorphic encryption, entire unexplored design spaces have been unlocked. Likewise the emerging science of token engineering allows us to evolve economic operating systems for communities.
We have made huge gains in the struggle for freedom.
But already the heroes of the next cycle are being born. Make no mistake, these new hereos are morally bankrupt preachers that are using ideology as a step ladder.
To win, we must reject false prophets and cult leaders. We must define our vision.
A society without a state is possible, but a state without a society is not. A society without laws is possible, but a society without morality is not. - Abdullah Ocalan
We have been taught to understand civlization as a steady progress from darkness to light. But this is an inversion of history. State civilization, rather than representing the glorious uplifting of humanity from poverty, is a war machine that lays waste to other civilizational forms. It enslaves and colonizes society.
Since the origin of human civilization, democratic society has been at war with state civilization. Wealth is created by society and appropriated by the state. Those fighting on behalf of society grant us new spaces of freedom to reclaim our sovereignty.
Every revolution or major change throughout history begins with parallel societies outside the state. These societies become movements that rise up and absorb dissident individuals. Eventually the parallel polis becomes the main intellectual center of society and renders the old system irrelevant.
Parallel society offers a refugee of freedom outside the state and forms the foundation for a new society to grows out of its ashes. Written into the code of this parallel society is the seed of the new system which is immune to authoritarianism by design.
This is what we are building.
Our community is beyond left and right but always against the neutral middle ground. It's an opinionated community driven by beliefs instead of nihilism. It is ambitious and strives for freedom. It's also not a safe space. Wrong think is tolerated, even sometimes encouraged. There is a culture of debate, argument, empathy, merit and empowerment, united by the single big mission: opposing state civilization and protecting freedom.
The computer you're using was created by ideological hackers. Like Prometheus, they gifted us technology by stealing it from the gods, claiming the instruments of power for the people.
During the 70s, hackers discovered the computers that were owned by military and industry. They understood these were tools of immense power and so made a concerted effort to learn how they worked. They formed informal communities and got jobs near these machines, sometimes even as janitors. At night when they were unused, they would tinker with them to discern their secrets.
The early hackers had a vision of networked computers that could interoperate. They invented Unix which had huge ramifications for computing and shaped the basis of all modern operating systems. But they were limited by the resources, algorithms and bandwidth that was available at that time.
The design of computers has largely remained stagnant since the invention of Unix. Today we can extend their creation further into a new paradigm of computing.
In the 80s, huge amounts of money begun to flow into the industry. Whereas previously there was a culture of openness and sharing knowledge in service of humanity, now things began to change. Corporate companies began enclosing off the space and seizing power.
Richard Stallman stood up and declared that what was happening was an affront to humanity and ethically wrong. He announced that he would create his own operating system. Everybody laughed him out of the room. Such a task by a single man was unimaginable. But he persisted by himself.
6 years later in 1991, Linux was born. It was a heroic victory for Stallman. But over time, free software attracted those same corporations. Stallman was sidelined from his own movement. Free software rebranded itself as Open Source and got caught up in the mass adoption meme.
The failure of free software was that it tried to be a cheap copy of their competitors instead of looking within itself, being confident in itself and charting its own course.
Crypto finds itself in a similar juncture. We must realize that this is not about mass adoption, gaining acceptance by the system or being the alternative. This is about creating our own shadow system that offers freedom from totalitarianism.
If that sounds unrealistic or incredulous then think about Ada Lovelace.
Ada was the world's first programmer in the mid 1800s. She worked with Charles Babbage in designing a mechanical computer which never got built. Babbage continually argued with the engineers and was super austistic. You can sense Ada's frustration.
Ada realised the huge significance of this device which others saw merely as a glorified calculator. She wrote detailed notes and crafted the first computer program. She writes that one day everyone will have one of these devices in their homes where they will be used for creating intricate musical compositions and works of art.
It took 150 years for her vision to come true.
In the new millennium, cybermoney controlled by private markets will supersede fiat money issued by governments. - The Sovereign Individual
At the late 90s, The Sovereign Individual predicted the rise of a technology that would radically alter the logic of state violence: algorithmic money based on cryptography.
At the same time Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of a little known guerilla group, penned a 5-part series from prison on how macro-political events would shift power away from state empires to democratic polities. Both manifestos predicted our events with great accuracy, but they also went much further.
The Sovereign Individual argues that algorithmic money will create a global online community that is politically and economically autonomous. At first governments will downplay these changes, or argue that these changes are undesirable. But gradually reality will set in and they will react violently.
Ocalan wrote of a war between the state and democratic civilization, as the latter grows more powerful and starts to break away.
These predictions have proven to be correct. Today governments violate human rights, censor the free flow of information and sabotage useful technologies. Just as how the Soviet Union tried to suppress access to computers, Western governments attempt to suppress the emerging democratic economy by totalitarian means.
Governments will continue to justify their surveillance apparatus and architectures of oppression. Regulations will hit hard. Crypto will split in two.
One side is the regulated and encumbered RegFi. The other is ideological and underground. We call it DarkFi.
Trapped in a feedback loop, crypto will thrive in this onslaught. The state and its armies will lose.
We are in the midst of a mega extinction event, the likes of which crypto has never seen before.
The looming regulatory crackdown will radicalize the crypto community and force large chunks of it underground. This will provoke a heavier hand from the state in a feedback loop that will eventually erupt into open conflict.
Many people question whether this is the end and whether we will survive this attack.
What strategy do we need to adapt for survival during this phase?
The most severe extinction event the world ever witnessed was the Permian-Triassic extinction 252 million years ago. 95 percent of marine species and 70 percent of terrestrial species died out. Over half of all taxonomic families disappeared.
The most common land animal following the extinction was a small pig-like animal called Lystrosaurus. For several million years it accounted for 95% of all land animals. This is the only time that a single land animal dominated the earth to such a degree. Complete ecological recovery took 30 million years.
Why was this animal so successful? Paleontologists cannot find a single discernible feature that set Lystrosaurus ahead of the competition.
Instead its major advantage was that it had none. It was an adaptable animal, able to burrow, eat anything, breed rapidly, grow fast and exist in multiple different niches such as swamps and deserts. During this period of major environment catastrophe and flux, Lystrosaurus was the clear winner.
The first animals to die off in a major extinction event are highly specialized megafauna who depend on a complex food chain to survive. Once the structure which supports them is shook slightly, they are the first to perish.
Vertical structures are fragile. Horizontal structures are anti-fragile.
The winners of this crypto cycle will be the Lystrosaurus. Projects must be able to rapidly reinvent themselves within a fast-moving, unstable environment as the shifting winds of state violence push us down.
The more that crypto is shaken by regulation, the more the DarkFi thesis is validated. Just like a broken bone which heals stronger at the fracture point, DarkFi's thesis grows stronger with every attack.
This is the difference between a normal hierarchical army led by generals and a guerilla army driven by a common cause. This is how the Iranians defeated the Americans in Iraq. The Americans were fighting with their bribed diplomats and money, whereas the Iranians were infilitrating horizontally through their islamic ideology and popular support. Their network is invisible and the Americans have basically given up fighting them.
We must learn from guerilla armies and the Lystrosaurus. We must reach deep within the wellspring of our being and find our source of power that will drive us ahead in the coming struggle.
"Behind this mask there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea... and ideas are bulletproof." -V
Organisms in nature are not merely competing to survive. They are competing to grow and expand their influence, to embed themselves deeply within nature's network. When crisis emerges, they have many threads they can pull upon to secure their position, possibly even securing prosperity for their descendants.
The nation state paradigm has made us understand power as domination, coercion and instrumentalization. But there is another form of power: ethical power. We possess this power. The state does not. And they will use every means available to cut us from this our source of power and prevent us from tapping into it.
We are fundamentally different. Instead of being led by what state civilization has taught us and the example they set for us, we need to find our own sources of inspiration. We should look to examples set by Ross Ulbricht, jstark and Nikolai Mushegian. Only when we realize our true nature and make a decision to fully embody it will we gain our full ethical edge.
We will go to meet them in battle. The game is just starting. Ultimately we will win. Our ideas are too powerful and they have picked a war with the people. They cling onto power amidst the ruins of their dying collapsing world. We emerge endlessly from the shadows. For every one of us that goes down, ten more takes their place.
We are undergoing a cryptography renaissance that has unlocked doors to new worlds that were previously unimaginable. The hackers have learnt how to print cybermoney and create large decentralized systems with their own incentives and disincentives allowing us to construct a new previously-unimaginable paradigm of computing.
There is no stopping a technology whose time has come. Cryptocurrency's time has come. There is no need to bow down in shame or fear. Tyrants are emboldened by fear. We must stand, proud, glorious and noble against our oppressors in defense of freedom.
When the boxer Floyd Patterson was told he held the record of being knocked down the most, he replied that he also held the record of standing up the most. We will get knocked down, and we will stand up.
This technology cannot be stopped. Our time has come.
Let there be dark.
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