Naomi Brockwell is an award-winning producer who hosts some of the largest blockchain and economics conferences around the world. She interviews the biggest names in Tech, Business, and Politics and is a regular on US national television discussing blockchain technology and current events.
Interview Date : 20th May 2020
How Vulnerable We Are
In 2013, many bank accounts of people in Cyprus had been raided. The government decided to seize them. That should be a wake-up call to anyone who believes in financial sovereignty, and anyone who believes in it is the individual’s right to control their wealth. Similar incidents have happened in Poland as well. In Argentina and Venezuela people’s money has inflated away. We don’t realize how vulnerable we are to those who are controlling the money supply. As long as our money is in bank accounts that can be manipulated, we don’t have control of our lives.
But with Bitcoin, we are our own Bank. It is very empowering that we have the means to transport value around the world when we wish, and no one can dictate terms, or seize our assets without our permission. This is a new era.
Freedom and Individual Sovereignty
I believe in Voluntaryism. I believe that you should not hurt people and don’t take their stuff, and leave choices up to the individual as much as possible. Many early cryptocurrency enthusiasts feel the same way. Bitcoin was first released on the cryptography mailing list, a spin-off of the Cypherpunk mailing list. Both of these lists focused on privacy, were very interested in creating a digital money alternative, and believed in making the world a better place using code. Bitcoin is exciting for people who believe in freedom and individual sovereignty.
Bitcoin first became popularized by tech geeks. They were people who understood mathematics and code, and who looked at the workings of Bitcoin as said “This is cool!” Bitcoin was thrown around online like thumb-ups. For example, if you liked someone’s blog posts, you’d throw them some Bitcoin. It didn’t have any monetary value but was something that people covered because it was cool.
Then the Bitcoin community grew as more people learned about it, the first exchange of Bitcoin for real-world goods occurred when someone spent 10000 Bitcoins on a couple of pizzas in 2010. That was a turning point for Bitcoin, and in a way was its coming of age. From there it went on to make a huge impact in many areas: It facilitated donations to Wikileaks when the government tried to shut them down. It allowed people to purchase things in black and grey markets: keep in mind that black markets in places like China consist of things like clothing, medicine, and food. It facilitates donations to content creators who have been de-platformed by juggernauts like YouTube or Patreon and allows them to continue to make a living from the support of an international community.
Some people don’t understand the way Bitcoin has empowered many people all over the world. I still get comments like “ What is this magical internet money” or “I don’t understand it” or “Why does it have value?”. We have a long way to go teaching people about cryptocurrency. But furthermore, I think most people don’t understand what money is in general, or what subjective value is, and these are crucial concepts to understand if you want to understand why Bitcoin is important.
Without The Internet Functioning There Would Be No Bitcoin?
If the internet goes down, there would no longer be a lot of things, and we’d have bigger problems than to worry about Bitcoin running or not. Most of our lives are completely dependent on the internet. This becomes increasingly true right now as quarantine has necessitated remote work, online social engagement, and e-commerce. Also, when we are paying with our credit cards we are using the internet.
Right now, some people are working on building redundancy into Bitcoin. This will allow Bitcoin to function with not too much dependency on any given thing. The point of Bitcoin is to be as robust and secure as possible and create redundancy at every level. Blockstream added another layer of redundancy to that by creating a satellite, which means that you don’t need to rely on the internet to download blocks and keep up with the network. Also, to send transactions, you could use SMS. So, Bitcoin wouldn’t necessarily end if the internet collapsed, but many other things would. We still can go much further in terms of redundancy in many areas of our lives though, and nevertheless, I hope that the internet doesn’t go out.
Best Man Most Unpopular in Congress
I’ve had the great privilege of interviewing Congressman Dr. Ron Paul a few times, and I have tremendous respect for him. He’s anti-war, and he wants to end the FED. He demands transparency in monetary policy decisions. For example, we still have no idea where all the TARP bailouts went in 2008, and there are all kinds of corruption going still on there. Dr. Paul isn’t afraid to speak out against this, and I love that. He speaks the truth from a place of incredible principle. Also, in person, he is just the loveliest guy and seems to have the outermost integrity. He is practicing what he is preaching and is not out there for popularity votes. He was very unpopular amongst other politicians because he’d always vote against all the porc-barrel handouts they wanted. He spoke his truth, and he stood firmly by what he believed. He saw all the corruption around and said that he was not going to be part of that. I have so much respect for him and wish more people would be like that.
Transhumanism is all about the idea of human potential, exceeding our limits, and pushing ourselves further than we are biologically capable of. I love the optimism and hope in that idea, that we can shift our boundaries and achieve more than we thought possible. I love the thought of innovation in all areas of life, not just biology. My biggest fear is that innovation slows down, and we start to decline rather than being pushed towards our limits. Many fear technology, but that is due to them only seeing the bad that can potentially come from new tech. There is also tremendous good, and opportunity cost if we stop expanding our horizons.
We can deal with each new bad implementation of technology as it comes, but we should keep pushing forward and learning and growing as a society. Technology is neutral, and so it can be utilized for bad and good. Often the direction it takes depends on the culture in which the technology is created.
We could have an Orwellian nightmarish surveillance state or a utopian paradise where disease no longer exists and everyone lives life with all of their basic needs taken care of. Or we can see a combination of these different scenarios: we do have to be careful about which path we choose. I hope to see a society where we embrace technology for all the good it brings, and remain wearing the technology that controls us rather than makes our lives better.
I feel like I’m already a cyborg because my phone is almost like an extension of my right arm. I use it to augment my knowledge of everything I search for information. I use it as a receiver to connect instantaneously with people around the world. Sci-fi novels often anthropomorphize robots and give them human qualities, but there are so many robots already in our lives that we don’t consider robots in this archaic sense. It’s really exciting to live in this day and age filled with so much innovation going on around us.
Interviewer , Editor : Lina Kamada
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