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    Would the Technocracy approve of Bitcoin, or is it more of a Virtual Adept thing?

  • #2
    I'd call it a VA thing. It's designed to be free of government supervision, after all.


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    • #3
      I'm not sure the Technocracy would be opposed to the idea of cryptocurrencies, but the specific form popularized via Bitcoin is something the Syndicate would definitely oppose because it's too volatile and detached from their concepts of value.

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      • #4
        Syndicate would probably be fine with Bitcoin.

        Firstly, it's just another form of fiat money, albeit one that is controlled by computers, something that they have in literal droves in terms of controlling. This gives them a huge amount of leverage to control it if necessary, just hit some keyboard buttons and you can shift the market. Additionally, there's no difference between the value of a dollar and a bitcoin other than what people believe it's worth. Neither have any backing than belief and both are great for market investing. Syndicate mages want money to be moved and used, regardless of its given form.

        Secondly, Bitcoin is used for a lot of illegal activities, so that's a hugely important thing to them. The Syndicate's job is to make sure money retains its value, first and foremost, and they do this by controlling both legal and illegal activities. The fact that a vast amount of illegal trading can be monitored and tracked gives them a massive amount of leeway to do their job, making the ones that specialize in illegal goods have a way easier job. All you need to do is look at the ledger for the wallet id and you can see exactly how much was moved from what to wear. Coordinate this with the rest of their insane surveillance equipment and you can easily sit at your desk and watch illegal goods moving around the world.

        The Syndicate doesn't want the market to be constantly and unendingly stable, you gotta remember that to an economist a recession is considered a normal and healthy aspect of the economy. Nor do they care that the stock market goes down, as it's ironically, the best time to invest into stuff, along with driving things like shorting stocks. The market going over value and then going into a jarring correction is a bad thing though, as to a Syndicate, that's Paradox. To them, that means the valuation of something does match its perceived value, and thus is going against the value of money. So the idea that they wouldn't like cryptocurrency because of market volatility doesn't make anymore sense than them being against the various other volatilities in the market.


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        • #5
          Furthermore the existence of Bitcoin fan-boys enables a sect-mentality which is very usable for the Syndicate - to get to those that think they can out-wit the "invisible hand".


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          • #6
            Originally posted by theoutlander523 View Post
            Syndicate would probably be fine with Bitcoin.
            Again, the general concept of cryptocurrency is different than the issues with a given implementation of it (unless you assume the Syndicate are the ones running Bitcoin already, but that's a bit of a different situation). Bitcoin is actually designed to be very hard for someone to just "hit some keyboard buttons" and mess with the market. The most important levers on Bitcoin aren't computers, but arbitrary human decisions: specifically how many Bitcoins are allowed to exist, and the compensation rate for miners (which has been purposefully declining on a scheduled basis to reduce mining as Bitcoin approaches it's maximum circulation). It's not exactly clear what it would take to change Bitcoin's internal programming enforcing these things, but it would at least take a significant portion of the block chain validation nodes (and thus the people that run them) to agree to accept Bitcoins generated with a different algorithm (if you altered the code right now as a miner, your blocks would just be nullified by the network).

            What's going to happen when Bitcoin hits maximum circulation is a massive question mark (though it's designed not to happen for another 180 years), and nobody is really sure what's going to happen if Bitcoin still retains value and use when that time comes.

            Though there's the additional snag that no market theory really knows how to deal with the fact that anyone can create a cryptocurrency whenever they want (and can use completely different algorithms from Bitcoin).

            The Syndicate might not have any reason to squash Bitcoin, but it doesn't have any real reason to get behind it either. At most they're watching it (and the cryptocurrencies in general) to see how these systems fare before deciding how to design their own system that suits their needs more efficiently.

            Additionally, there's no difference between the value of a dollar and a bitcoin other than what people believe it's worth. Neither have any backing than belief and both are great for market investing.
            I think that's a very significant oversimplification based on them both being fiat currencies. The dollar is tied into a massive pre-existing economic ecosystem that's very well understood. There is a real and functional difference between the dollar, which is worth what people believe the US government can back up it being worth, and Bitcoin which is actually only worth what people believe it's worth.

            Consider as an example, that the US sets a federal minimum price for milk (which is an insanely elaborate process). While this doesn't translate into a full "milk standard" as a backing for the dollar, it means that there direct value of a real world commodity linked to the dollar. And since that means all milk, and thus all dairy products, and every industry that uses dairy products made in the US, it's one way that the government mediates the value of the dollar rather than pure market belief in its value. Bitcoin does have an analogous factor in the electricity costs for miners, but as miners generally don't pay their electric bills in Bitcoin, it lacks a feedback loop.

            So the idea that they wouldn't like cryptocurrency because of market volatility doesn't make anymore sense than them being against the various other volatilities in the market.
            Hence I said "too volatile," not, "has volatility."

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            • #7
              Bitcoin is actually designed to be very hard for someone to just "hit some keyboard buttons" and mess with the market.
              Super easy if you have access to the infrastructure that the Technocrats have. All you is 51% of the hash rates. This has happened multiple times and one could argue that China could push to do it with relative ease if they wanted as they control majority of the hash rates in their borders.
              That's also not to mention the forking that happened.
              The amount of computer power that the Technocrats have to throw around is without a doubt, insane. A Void Engineer ship's AI, which are sapient, could easily blow through our global systems with ease. So it's entirely within the realms of control for the people that used to have a Dyson sphere under their beck and call to easily manipulate something as trivial as Bitcoin.

              There is a real and functional difference between the dollar, which is worth what people believe the US government can back up it being worth, and Bitcoin which is actually only worth what people believe it's worth.
              The value of the US dollar is based solely on the stability of the US government, as countless governments throughout history has shown. The US government could decide that all dollars are worthless and rescind their value tomorrow, much like they did during the civil war. The only staying power the dollar has is the weight of the US economy supporting it. Compare it to Zimbabwe or Venezuela and you'll see all the policy making in the world doesn't mean anything unless you tie your money directly to a real world value.
              Meanwhile, Bitcoin has real world infrastructure invested into its production and monetary transaction. Every transaction require a certain amount of electricity to be produced (we waste way too much money on crypto currancies), and so power plants have needed to be built for this. The value of this is entirely based on speculation for sure, but it's still tied up in infrastructure partially. It's not just a new crypto that has minimal support, but has an entire global market built around it. Hell, there's more value in Bitcoin than the GDP of several dozen nations.


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              • #8
                Of note, the Technocracy Reloaded manuscript mentions - kind of on the aside - that dealings in cryptocurrency are part of the Syndicate's "Gray Zone Operations". meaning that they probably saw the use of cryptocurrencies, certain mechanisms of anonymity and their more (mundanely) criminal enterprises as a quite useful combination.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by theoutlander523 View Post
                  Super easy if you have access to the infrastructure that the Technocrats have.
                  "We could spend $5 trillion worth of resources to manipulate a market that's worth $150 billion," isn't exactly how the Syndicate operates.

                  Bitcoin's value being more than the GDP of several nations is a rather meaningless metric. There's no functional way to compare to GDP per capita (having more value than the GDP of Vatican City's 450 residents isn't really saying anything), and it really only highlights how lopsided the global economy is. Bitcoin's value it 0.5% of the US's GDP. It's small potatoes for the Technocracy.

                  The value of the US dollar is based solely on the stability of the US government,...
                  That was... basically the point I was making? The US dollar isn't based on public perception as you original stated, but in the functioning of the US government.

                  The US government could decide that all dollars are worthless and rescind their value tomorrow, much like they did during the civil war.
                  That's... not really what happened. The whole bi-metallic standard mess of the preceding half century made the dollar too unstable on its own as gold and silver values kept rapidly changing while the federal mint ratio stayed constant, creating a large pressure to take advantage of those rates to trade in bills for metal. To stabilize things the US government issued greenbacks as a fiat currency for a year at the start of the war to help ensure smooth funding of the war effort; which worked because greenbacks retained their value once the US went back to the gold standard.

                  Yes, the US could devalue the dollar if it wanted to, but having your currency tied to a real world value didn't actually stop this from happening either.

                  Meanwhile, Bitcoin has real world infrastructure invested into its production and monetary transaction.
                  You do get that mints and banks are real world infrastructure too, right?

                  Though I'm honestly not sure what your end point is any more.

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                  • #10
                    I can see an argument for both syndicate and vas to go to town with it.

                    Its prime functions and purposes are "holding value independently that can't be tampered" and "can't bully it". And in that it is easily one of the best tools in the world.
                    So both parties have reasons to eat it up, and the syndicate peeps would understand that these two features are more or less joined at the hip.


                    It's not exactly clear what it would take to change Bitcoin's internal programming enforcing these things, but it would at least take a significant portion of the block chain validation nodes (and thus the people that run them) to agree to accept Bitcoins generated with a different algorithm (if you altered the code right now as a miner, your blocks would just be nullified by the network).
                    Getting enough people to agree to do it that dissenter exodus doesn't overload the network to the point of uselessness and investment collapse.
                    The biggest names around meet a couple times per year to talk about changes. Much yelling ensues. Nothing other than heartfelt attempts at improving the network without compromising its premises passed so far.
                    Last edited by Synapse; 01-27-2021, 02:27 PM.


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                    • #11
                      I'm not sure I'd say a prime function of cryptocurrnecy is holding value that can't be tampered with. They can be tampered with fairly easily. What's special, and what would be the most interest for the Syndicate, is the real world experiment being run on whether a fiat currency can be backed solely on mutual self-interest. Bitcoin is maximzed as well as possible for the incentives of all involved and potential future involved participants to not tamper with the system, and in fact to protect its status quo. Anyone big enough to actually disrupt the system would lose more than they'd gain and such an entity couldn't realistically get that large and exist as a purely malicious actor. Anyone too small, no matter how singularly focused on malicious intent, can cause a disruption the other actors in the market can't undo.

                      What I'd say has the Syndicate worried, is if the incentive structure can hold as Bitcoin approaches its maturation plateau. All those yelling matches that currently result in nothing are going to take on a different meaning as there's less and less Bitcoin to mine.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        I'm not sure I'd say a prime function of cryptocurrnecy is holding value that can't be tampered with.
                        I was referring specifically to bitcoin. Others can be anything. Ethereum, the other big one, is probably even more interesting for the Syndicate: It is a way to bind contracts!

                        Some techno hermetic is probably jizzing his pants over ETH.


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