Blockchain and the material foundations for socialism

from here to there

You may have heard of bitcoin. But you may not have heard of the underlying technology that powers bitcoin — the blockchain.

The blockchain is a genuine technological breakthrough — it enables reliable and secure economic transactions between individuals without the need of a trusted intermediary, or third party.

The (long) history of money is deeply entwined with the state and taxation. The state is a supra-individual institution that enforces the reliability and security of its currency, and also demands payment of taxes in this currency. In this context, the state is big brother par excellence — it’s the ultimate trusted third party.

Some economists, such as Chartalists, looking at this history, have concluded that money (with determinate value) is impossible without the state. Bitcoin is an important counter-example.

Bitcoin and blockchain was invented by libertarian computer scientists. Libertarians (who should really be called Propertarians) dislike the state. With bitcoin they…

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