What is Bitcoin? A History and Ontology of the Cryptocurrency | Nic Carter

What is Bitcoin? A History and Ontology of the Cryptocurrency | Nic Carter

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In Episode 97 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Nic Carter, co-founder of both the VC fund Castle Island Ventures, as well as the research and data analytics company Coinmetrics.io. Nic also has a master’s degree in philosophy, and the two spend much of the overtime applying that discipline to bitcoin by examining the works of people like Friedrich Nietzsche and his philosophy around essence, John Rawls and his veil of ignorance, as well as applying a strain of utilitarian thought to questions of money and society.

This conversation with Nic Carter is an attempt to understand Bitcoin as more than just the sum of its parts. One of the lessons that Demetri has taken away from his continued research into Bitcoin through the works of people like Nick Szabo, Paul Sztorc, and others, is that trying to measure the cryptocurrency against existing systems or conventions is almost always counterproductive. This is likely because Bitcoin is more than just money or a payments network. Bitcoin is a movement. Within it exists a competent community of intellectuals who are actively engaged in what often feels like a grand project to remake society. This comes across in the seriousness with which Bitcoiners apply themselves. This is true whether we are talking about the engineers working on enhancements to the base layer or whether we’re talking about those contributing intellectually to debates about governance, economics, and ethics. In this sense, Bitcoin is not what most of us think it is, and even what we think it is, is constantly changing. Bitcoin’s resilience and adaptability, as both a store of value, but also as a diverse community of people who are coming to the cryptocurrency from different backgrounds and with differing motivations suggests that there is much more going on here than just naïve speculation.

As Nic Carter points out during this conversation, Bitcoin is a “subversive idea.” Bitcoin is an experiment in social organization that doesn’t play by the rules of the state or by the conventions of modern society. The momentum behind this movement is likely to grow, especially if governments validate the concerns of its proponents with further debt monetization or preferential bailouts in the event of another global financial downturn. In short, Bitcoin is not going away, and it is incumbent upon all of us to understand the message that it is here to deliver.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

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