Skip to main content

Technological Agorism Part III: AI & the Agora

There are two types of artificial intelligence: the rules-based, & the neural network-based approach. To illustrate the differences, I'll borrow an example from AI blogger Janelle Shane's book, You Look Like A Thing & I Love You, & pretend we're training an AI to recognize dogs.



Using a rules-based approach, we’d create parameters which the AI would then use to determine whether or not the thing it’s looking at, is in fact a dog. Our rules would include things like “must have four legs” & “must have tail,” etc. When all of our conditions have been satisfied, the AI will recognize a dog.

With a neural network-based approach, we show the AI images of dogs & it learns to recognize patterns. The more pictures of dogs we show it, the more accurate the AI becomes. Nowadays, this is usually the preferred approach & will be the subject of this article.

The interesting thing about the neural-network approach to AI - as we’ve already noted, is its reliance …

Becoming Your Own Bank: Bitcoin for Beginners








Traditionally, in order to successfully exchange goods with an individual or firm not physically present, one must utilize a third party. With online shopping, the most obvious example - this third party usually takes the form of a credit card company, bank, or other payment processor such as PayPal. This third party is neither a buyer nor a seller. In the context of the exchange, the third party's sole function is to verify both the transmission & receipt of funds. For this service, they will of course collect a small fee.

Unfortunately, our enemy, the state, has discovered that by exercising control over a small number of the most popular third parties, they can succesfully interject themselves into our financial affairs. Thus, banks are used to rob us via inflation. Taxes are extorted at the point of sale. Black market products are prohibited from exchange. Etcetera.

The advent of Bitcoin in 2008 provided sufficient disintermediation to alleviate all of these concerns entirely. This article will attempt to show newcomers how they can use Bitcoin to maximize their freedom and minimize the state's impact on their life.





Step 1: Understanding Bitcoin

The underlying technology which makes Bitcoin possible is the blockchain. There are many definitions out there, but I believe blockchains are best understood analogously:

Individual Bitcoin transactions are compiled into “blocks” much like a stack of checks. Once the miners confirm the validity of all the checks within a given block, it becomes chained to the previous block, and so on.





(For more on the basic structure of blockchains, check out these two episodes of The Agora - Blockchain Mechanics I & II with Abdullah Tansel, Professor of Computer Science at CUNY Manhattan.)

In Bitcoin’s original design, the amount of data that could be stored in a given block was capped at 1 MB. This meant that as the network became more widely used, it became increasingly slower & bogged down. Transactions costs skyrocketed. People had to wait lengthy amounts of time for miners to validate their transactions. It was clear that Bitcoin in it’s original form couldn’t scale sufficiently to become a global monetary standard.



Several solutions were proposed, but ultimately today, we're left with three competing versions of the Bitcoin blockchain.

Bitcoin (BTC) attempts to alleviate this problem by using the lightning network, which moves the majority of transactions off-chain into direct payment channels. The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community has increased the block size limit to 8-32 MB. This has made transactions relatively free & instant. Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) contains huge blocks of 2000 MB. Blocks of this size allow us to store movies and albums on the blockchain where they can live forever. It also allows bad actors to store child porn & other illicit material miners will not be comfortable storing on their servers.

In my personal opinion, Bitcoin Cash is best suited to provide the sort of financial freedom described in the previous section & most closely adheres to the initial vision laid out in the White Paper.


Step 2: Acquiring It

There are several platforms, or exchanges, that allow individuals to purchase as much or as little Bitcoin as they’d like. The most popular exchange available is Coinbase. Creating an account with Coinbase is a relatively simple process, and if purchases are completed using a debit card rather than a bank account, your funds will be available immediately. Other choices include CashApp and Robinhood, but all of these platforms are heavily steeped in Know Your Customer (KYC) laws and will feed your data back to the cockroaches infesting the IRS.



For private, anonymous purchases, consider using a p2p exchange. My personal favorite is local.bitcoin.com, but other options include localcryptos.com, localcoinswap.com, localbitcoincash.org, and localbitcoins.com.




Check out this tutorial of the local.bitcoin exchange, provided by Roger Ver


Step 3: Storing It

You can't deposit your Bitcoin at a bank yet. Nor is it a good idea to keep a significant amount of cryptocurrency on an exchange. Primarily, because doing so gives the exchange control of your funds, but also because exchanges make such great targets for hackers.

The most secure method of storing your newly acquired Bitcoin is to transfer it to a wallet which you, and you alone can control. I like the bitcoin.com wallet available in the app store or for desktop. 

Once you've selected the wallet you'll be using, back it up by writing down the private keys. The bitcoin.com wallet prompts you do so and guides you through the process. Note: This is an absolutely crucial step, as losing your private keys can ultimately result in a complete loss of funds. Remember, increases in freedom are necessarily accompanied by increases in personal responsibility. 

If you're seeking an even more secure option, consider cold storage. Cold storage wallets are hardware devices that allow you to keep your cryptocurrency offline, in a physical device that can be stored in a safe or other secure location. My two favorite options for hardware wallets are Trezor and KeepKey


When it comes to storing Bitcoin safely, the key takeaway you want to remember is this: If you don't own the keys, you don't own the crypto. 


Step 4: Spending It

The easiest way to spend Bitcoin is to sign up for the BitPay card which is a prepaid card that can be loaded with Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or Ethereum (ETH). BitPay is accepted anywhere VISA is, and for all intents and purposes, normalizes the spending experience.

If you prefer to spend your Bitcoin directly; from Microsoft to Overstock and beyond, an increasing number of websites & online shops are accepting crypto payments. Also, Bitcoin.com provides this handy map of physical locations accepting Bitcoin Cash.

Remember, since Bitcoin is a p2p e-cash that doesn't require third party intermediaries, you're purchases are no longer restricted to the white market. For example, using Bitcoin you can now buy cannabis from deep web markets like you'd buy a product from Amazon. By that I mean, buyers can take into account factors such as seller ratings, product reviews, testimonials, etc. All of this minimizes the inherent dangers of black market activity.

Finally, once your Bitcoin has been spent, remember to buy more. You can even have your paycheck, or a portion of it, direct deposited using BitWage.


Final Thoughts

As I've hopefully made clear, there's no longer any need for individuals to subject themselves to the fraudulent banking system which feeds our hard earned money into the welfare/warfare machine. There's no longer any need to abide by the trade restrictions politicians subject us to. There's no loner any need to use their monopoly money & fund their lavish lifestyles through theft and extortion. To continue doing so in the presence of solutions such as Bitcoin, is to make oneself an accomplice to the horrors of the state.

Using Bitcoin in the manner described here, will not only release you from the financial death grip of corrupt politicians, but will also help secure a more free and prosperous future for coming generations.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Economics of BTC Maximalism

BTC maximalism is a flawed doctrine, fallacious in numerous respects. 

First, if you'd prefer to hear these arguments in audio, check out this recent episode of ABNP, where @mrpseu & I discused these same topics. 

Also, a qualifier: I'm not capable of making, defending or refuting technical arguments. I'll leave that aspect of the debate to others. My concerns with BTC maximalism are entirely economic and can be divided into four areas. 


Based on the criteria for saleability as laid out by the austrian school, BTC is not the most marketable digital commodity.A lack of portability relative to other cryptocurrencies implies BTC isn't as sound of a commodity. Value storage is a secondary function of money and cannot satisfy the use-value requirement of regression theorem. BTC maximalism lays waste to the Hayekian notion of competition as a discovery procedure. This final point was addressed in detail on episode 50 of The Agora, Crypto-Economics and thus, isn't elabor…

Global Warming & Economics

Libertarians who deny the existence of global warming run the risk of making us all look like a bunch of illiterate fools.

Much like economics, being ignorant of planetology or climate science isn't a crime, but having a "loud and vociferous" opinion on the subject while remaining in a state of ignorance can be a dangerous thing. And frankly, the science behind climate change is elementary.

Sunlight enters our atmosphere and warms our planet. Earth then gives off that heat in the form of infrared radiation (this is the same principle behind those cool goggles our collapsitarian friends have). However, and this is a crucial point - the CO₂ molecules in our atmosphere do not allow IR to easily escape back into space. This is known as the greenhouse effect. As the temperature of the planet increases, polar ice caps melt and eventually surface water will begin to evaporate. Since H₂0 also prevents IR from escaping our atmosphere, the additional water vapor only compounds th…

Don't Vote for Alex

It is 2019 and in Norway, that means county and city-election year. You can vote for me, but this article is all about why you really shouldn't. [1] There are several ways to say 'No'. This is a story about the time I said 'Yes', what I will stay positive to and what I will be negative toward. 

"But it is immoral to support politicians to oppress us because they might relieve us one oppression" - Samuel Edward Konkin III


First of all, there is some explaining to do: In my last article on the New Libertarian I argued that party politics is a waste of time and that you could use that time more productive so this entire piece seems like its contradicting that one. It might, that is up to you to judge for yourself (and if you want a chat I'm very approachable on Twitter), but in my defense, I will highlight two things:

One: I'm not against solution-finding, culture-building or exchange of ideas. I can give no brighter example of this happening than the…