Well, Arwa, Maybe Those ‘Old Values’ Are Natural, And The ‘New Values’ Are Unnatural?

Bitcoin is not just a new way of exchanging value, it is a way of promoting new values. It is an ideological enterprise: a decentralised currency controlled not by governments or by banks but by people.

Back in March, when I was still starry-eyed about the potential for Bitcoin as a force for social good, I ventured that virtual currencies were no longer just a jazzed-up form of Monopoly money but may well be the thing that ends the monopoly on money.

And were you right? Errr. No.

Bitcoin now appears to be simply reinforcing the status quo by producing a new 1% of Bitcoin millionaires. The Winklevii are among these. Back in April they revealed they own around 1% of all the Bitcoins in existence, worth about $11m.


As Bitcoin grows in value, an emerging elite are wielding inordinate amounts of control over the currency’s future and are essentially becoming a de facto centre. A regular Bitcoin user may not be outsourcing their trust to the government or a central bank when they use the currency, but they’re not exactly outsourcing their trust to people just like them, either.

It’s the way of the world! Trying to stop human nature is like trying to reverse the Earth’s climate!

The principle of decentralisation sits at the very heart of Bitcoin, but this is being diluted by the currency’s success. To mangle Yeats: “Things fall apart; decentre cannot hold.” Bitcoin was once a revolutionary currency on every level. However, it now looks as if the revolution has been monetised.

Embrace it! Capitalism is the least worst system. It survives when all other fail.

5 comments for “Well, Arwa, Maybe Those ‘Old Values’ Are Natural, And The ‘New Values’ Are Unnatural?

  1. July 20, 2013 at 8:50 am

    For a “a decentralised currency controlled not by governments or by banks”, gold has a pretty good record. It might not appeal to the smartphone twitterati who pretend to be anarchist peasants, but real peasants like it, and certainly wouldn’t trust bitcoins, which can be counterfeited. 😉

  2. July 20, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Bitcoin is all very well, but it is still subject to some of the same problems affecting normal (albeit not all). Although it is becoming more accepted, I still can’t easily buy normal everyday items with it.

    Equally, it has become tainted by its use as an anonymized (not anonymous) digital currency for use on illegal marketplace websites such as the Silk Road to by drugs and such things.


    As its use becomes more commonplace then the greater the chance of the US government, the worlds unelected Sheriff jumping in with both feet and declaring that it is a mechanism for supporting criminals and terrorists.

    The decentralised nature of Bitcoin probably does mean that it is not possible to block its use completely as the FBI & Secret Service did with the Liberty Dollar, but they can make its use a pain-in-the-arse and given all the other issues with Bitcoin (i.e. pump-and-dump) I will be sticking with my old fashioned gold coins, thanks very much.

    • Furor Teutonicus
      July 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      XX I will be sticking with my old fashioned gold coins, thanks very much.XX

      Know any shops, landlords, (House AND pub types), elctricity companys, etc, etc that will accept payment in gold?


      Then you are dfeated, because at some point you will have to change it into monopoly money to be able to use it.

      Also, last I heard, you need a bullion licence/permit, or whatever, to deal in gold.

      Even if everyone used it/accepted it, it would then be as worthless, and as much “prey” to the market as what we have now.

      “20 fags, that will be fifteen sovreigns. HAY, last week it was only 5, but now, gold is a common as pig shit. Take your fags or leave them. Up to you.”

  3. ivan
    July 20, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Ian, John, you have missed the main point about Bitcoin – it is not controlled by any government.

    It is not a currency that can be manipulated by governments pumping in millions of fake £ $ ¥ etc. and that is the thing they fear the most.

    John, the US has already tried to block it by sitting on the exchange situated in the US, but like all things connected with the internet, other places took up the strain – after all the net was designed to survive a nuclear holocaust.

    If Bitcoin is somehow killed off other virtual currencies will rise to take its place for the simple reason a lot of people are seeing the downside of fiat currency and want a change to something that governments can’t mess with.

  4. July 25, 2013 at 2:37 am

    As if dozens of currencies are not bad enough, we get another faux-one.

    The gold issue, Furor Teutonicus, is ‘contained’ and could not , as you suggest, elicit such a response from your fag-seller. Like silver it cannot be conjured out of a hat by Bernie the Banker but has to be dug from the ground.

    As gold is made in the firey remnants of white dwarf stars colliding, I doubt we are going to see a sudden increase any day soon.

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