(Felix Salmon - The Bitcoin Bubble)
Such people, including Satoshi Nakamoto, are far from unique in their mistrust of all existing financial institutions. What sets Nakamoto apart is that he turned that mistrust into a philosophy, the most important driving force behind the bitcoin project. When he introduced bitcoin to the world in February 2009, Nakamoto boasted that his new currency was “completely decentralized, with no trusted parties”. And he explained in some detail what he saw as the problem in need of a solution:
The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. Banks must be trusted to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it out in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve. We have to trust them with our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves drain our accounts.
There are all kinds of amusing ways in which you can poke fun at Bitcoin and the subculture that has grown up around it. But, taken seriously, this is yet another big bet by the privileged techno-libertarian class that those of us who believe in society and a commonwealth and democracy and all that rot are the dumb money in the room.
You don’t fix problems of trust by eliminating trust from the equation. You fix them socially, democratically, empathically. The answer to a failure of trust isn’t further atomization (neatly disguised as techno-utopian transcendence). It’s justice.
(Which, easier said than done, yeah. People mistrust our institutions because our institutions are profoundly broken. And there has been precious little justice or reckoning with the events of the past decade and more. But the answer sure as hell isn’t to run away and hide in the Singularity. Social problems have social solutions. Broken institutions have to be mended, and absent justice has to be created. Put your shoulder to the wheel. Start doing what the online community used to do best: inventing new systems of trust and new ways to connect.)