Ask most people what the most dangerous thing man has ever created is and you will almost certainly receive the uniform response of “nuclear weapons.”
Lo, there is another far more nasty entity in existence that most people have never heard of.
I just ran into this myself so I thought I would give it some free publicity. Bitcoin is an electronic peer-to-peer currency that has no central server. To hear a statist speak of it, it sounds like it could herald the end of the world (at least as we know it.)
Of course, depending on whether you believe in the State or not, the Bitcoin is either the spawn of Satan himself or it is a manifestation of the Christ. I personally put it somewhere between the Virgin Mary and Gandhi.
Given that it is a secure currency that has no central server, it is impossible to tax, and impossible to stop. I can see the looters frothing at the mouth and sputtering obscenities as we speak.
Jason Calacanis and his colleagues at LAUNCH describe Bitcoin as “The Most Dangerous Project We’ve Ever Seen” (May 15, 2011). Not only is it “the most dangerous open-source project ever created,” but “possibly the most dangerous technological project since the Internet itself.” It “could topple governments, destabilize economies and create uncontrollable global bazaars for contraband.”
The beauty of Bitcoin is that there’s no central server network to shut down. Bitcoin is traded from one desktop or mobile device to another via public key encryption. Short of catching and prosecuting end-users with harsh punishments — and we all know how well that’s worked out for proprietary content companies versus file sharers — there’s no way to stop it.
There are currently 6 million Bitcoins in circulation, with a total value of $40 million. Bitcoins are generated by a complicated algorithm, with the total to top out at 21 million. After that, increases in exchange of goods and services will be offset by appreciation of Bitcoins in value and deflation of Bitcoin-denominated prices.
I’m assuming the world will soon devolve into Mad Max beyond Thunderdome as leather clad mercenaries paid in Bitcoins deconstruct society using machine guns while hoarding oil and pig slop.
I don’t want my joking to fool you into thinking that this isn’t the most important development in human history.
When people can be paid in a currency that is impossible to trace, impossible to take, and impossible to tax – the governments of the world will all fall to the dustbin of history.