The Snack Stack: “You got your money in my internet. You got your internet in my money.”
How “pay me later” became “pay me now” which became “pay me before”.
(Editor’s Note: this is Part 1 in a series)
You will be hard pressed to find a nicer fellow in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin blockchain space than Meher Roy of the Hyperledger project. Meher could not be more friendly and deferential on the outside while being more pointed, direct and downright disabling on the inside. I mean who else, comes out of nowhere with blockchain/sidechain/ethereum is nothing more than a database kryptonite and tells both globetrotting Bitcoin master Andreas Antonopoulos and Ripple CEO Chris Larsen “Dudes… you’re wrong.” in a single sentence? That is precisely what Meher did when he launched his paper An Architecture for the Internet of Money on November 26, 2014.
You see, it seems that while Andreas had referred to Bitcoin as “the internet of money” and Chris Larsen had referred to Ripple as “the internet of money” Meher was tightening down his thinking cap and decided that due to a variety of ubiquitous barriers to global entry (cough Putin) neither Bitcoin nor Ripple were the internet of money and he doesn’t mind telling you just that. Regardless of who got their peanut butter in who’s chocolate cup first, Dave is here to tell you. It’s not how you stack your cups Joel Monegro that matters so much as who is doing the stacking.
Even IHOP Flies A Flag on National Pancake Day ~ “Free” Stack ~ March 3, 2015″
Before Dave delves into Meher’s short stack in an attempt to flatten his fork resistant pancakes a bit, allow me to tell you a short story about Dave’s fav-o-rite pancake maker… Mrs. Dave. Mrs. Dave is not only wife, mother and hotcake maker, but she’s also our in-home network administrator. Don’t ask Dave how she does it, but she can put more haiku on a Roku Box and rig up more Microsoft workarounds than Steve Ballmer has “developers! developers!” dance moves. I’m just waiting to come home one day and find her climbing up a telephone pole while explaining to me how the state utilities commission allows her to rebroadcast the Super Bowl via drone just so long as she doesn’t actually sell advertising, but she needs me to download Senator Ed Markey’s latest draft EFF bill just to make double sure that her definition of “FREE” isn’t as in “FREE Barrett Brown.”
So my wife and I are talking about a internet connection that she is setting up for us in a business location when I ask her a question. “Honey, why do you think there are so many internet connections in this commercial area, but none of the companies choose to share their connections? I bet in an apartment building there’s a connection for every resident… just think of the money they could save if they shared their internet.” My wife explains to me that people don’t want to share their internet connections because they don’t trust their neighbors, they don’t know what they may be downloading and folks (that would be Barrett’s mom) don’t want to get in trouble for something illegal that their neighbors did.
That seems like a reasonable explanation, but of course Dave’s mind immediately turns to next gen distributed storage applications such as Maidsafe.org and Storj.io and the latest IPFS Alpha and how they are going to deal with this issue of potentially storing illegal stuff on other people’s hard drives. Dave’s sure that he’s not the first person to ever think of such concerns and he’s also sure that since the storage is just “bits” and not the entire “bite” then the teeth of enforcement are kept at bay by the private keys of cryptography.
Then again, maybe we’re moving from the phase of a) storing the past on our hard drives and b) processing the present with our bandwidth to c) paying for future network access in advance as what WAS your device is increasingly part of the public domain thanks to Reed Hastings hogging the road with Netflix. I could discuss such things with Mrs. Dave if she read the blog, but she doesn’t and she’s practical while Dave’s theoretical (Honey! My internet’s not working!) but we both watch Netflix, so back to Meher.
So, two of my intellectual favorites, Meher Roy and Tim Swanson, were interviewed by Arthur Falls on the Beyond Bitcoin podcast about some of the ideas that Meher had proposed in his paper and strategies that the Hyperledger project was implementing. The content of the interview was fascinating and the prowess of Meher’s mind is only exceeded by his humility which is also exceeded by the humiliation of being exposed as those who claim to have discovered the Internet of Money only to be channeling Geraldo and the Mystery of Al Capone’s Vault (don’t dis Rivera’s 30 million+ viewers).
Is that the “call me maybe” sign or a left jab?
Dave’s not even in the same league as these guys, but it never stopped me from typing before and the way I see it, Meher got it half right, so Dave’s jumping into the blockchain cage match like some guy asking Gina Carano out on a date while attempting to avoid the right hook.
Meher describes a standard as a “public good.” Now Dave’s not saying that Tim Berners-Lee wasn’t one of the good guys or that Barack Obama plus the AT&T/Verizon duopoly plus an aircraft carrier in the Straits of Hormuz doesn’t equate to a “good” internet kill switch because it probably does. There are standards that have the capability of functioning as a public good just like the Boston Common has the ability to be turned into a “snow farm.” However, standards by their very nature emerge from private motivations and personal values and are spread via political strategies and financial means.
A standard is a flag or a “stand hard.”
Yes, it’s true that you don’t have to pay to write a message in the English language (assuming you can use your own blood if a pencil isn’t available and your student loan is paid up) and Noam Chomsky hasn’t changed the meaning of your words while you weren’t looking. Indeed there is no royalty due to Warren Buffet for measuring the Burlington Northern railroad tracks in miles vs. kilometers even if rubber ducky crony bathtub-isms with Jeff Immelt have permanently let the tide out of our democratic republic of price discovery.
Words and inches are free standards (for now), but the internet is hardly free when it’s not the internet itself that is the expression of value. It’s network access that counts. The petro dollar can’t be used to pay your tax bill but it will power your car, but I would suggest you avoid engaging in a debate over “size matters” when it comes to the oil market’s “rig count” with the King of Saudi Arabia or your will end up with a close up view of the mat.
As we move away from the time value of money and displace Irving Fisher in our Michael Woodford drive to the zero lower bounded Chicago Plan, it’s the access to the Super Bowl of Internet Things that we’re looking for because we don’t get to take the seats with us when we leave. Your ticket is a license to use that seat, not ownership. Sovereignty is so passe. You were so focused on the national debt clock that you didn’t actually realize that you owned the nation. Whodathunkit?
Dave has written a thousand times about the Soros’ political paradigm of substituting “open” for “free” and how when a Realtor holds an open house, the “free” finger sandwiches come at a price to your privacy. The same thing goes for storage (backdoors included for FREE), bandwidth (surveillance included for FREE) and increasingly access (denied if not PREPAID) which is all that matters in the quantum state of The Union and the so-called emergent velocity of money standard.
Standards, as in flags, originate as an outward expression of an inward value and thereby form a rallying point – think William Wallace’s blue cruxed face in Braveheart. Just because the Scots still fly the Saltire doesn’t mean that they still value the ideals expressed by Saint Andrew’s crux decussata which was fairly clear by their recent referendum. A flag doesn’t have to represent a moral or values standard and a moral or values standard doesn’t have to be represented by a flag especially when we have World of Warcraft contained within the network and ISIS contained within a green screen. The concept of value (as represented by a flag or standard) are not always mutually exclusive or symbiotic, but as Buckminster Fuller liked to say, they’re synergetic.
Meher takes a stand when he says “a standard eventually becomes fork resistant” and a standard is “a public good.” Dave has sat on some standards making boards and I can tell you from experience… it ain’t so. Way back in the 1990′s I was a contributor to the United States Department of Agriculture development of the organic standards. You know those little green stickers that you see on food and textiles that says “organic.” What Dave thought was a debate about the public good devolved into a political business driving strategy in the cotton industry that resulted in Nike and The Gap making a last minute reversal of their privately “good” position on an otherwise public policy costing Dave plenty to the benefit of their shareholders – not Dave’s.
A Constitutional Right To Bear Leg Lamps ~ photo Kevin Dooley
You don’t forget a thing like that and making the public good a private enterprise has become equivalent to “doing God’s work” in a Blankfeinian/Himpton Doctrine nature of the administration of economic
justice just-us when we use Jon Corzine as the poster child for deferred prosecution and Too Big To Fail as the meme of moral hazard. Is the leglamp blockstack (blockchain as a lamp stack) somehow immune from such corruption or is the chance of someone getting their eye shot out by a Red Ryder bee bee gun only increasing by the day?
Is the TCP/IP internet protocol suite a public good? Well, if you include the NSA having a backdoor to your Lenovo laptop or Gemalto sim card as part of the “the only people who don’t want to tell the truth are people with something to hide Barack Obama” doctrine of public good, then who’s to argue? Just hand over your permanent liberties and get some temporary securities (aka crypto-equities) by pushing the Staple’s Easy Button. That was easy. Then again, it’s no coincidence that TCP/IP was originally known as the DoD Model as in Department of Defense. Such ideas are no doubt what led NYU to cite such current tech hipsters as Benjamin Franklin circa 1737 in their most recent brief in the Twitter case against Attorney General Eric (didn’t he resign?) Holder.
The Internet Engineering Task Force and the Internet Society are fundamentally political enterprises. You could say the IETF is “open” but you can’t say it’s FREE! at $650 to join and if you ask Dave, technically speaking, “rough consensus” as a political structure is roughly the same as what Tony Soprano uses, but no doubt more intellectually bullying in an empathic sense (not). When it gets right down to it, the IETF is not even an organization based on the definition of the word. It’s a mailing list… albeit an organized mailing list.
To promote the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world.
The Internet Society
There’s nothing about FREE in the ISoc’s mission, but it does cover “all people throughout the world” (must be those Bill Gates “unbanked again) and just like the Super Bowl is “open to the public” it hardly means that the public will be getting in there. It’s no coincidence that the administration of all things internet is being overseen by a former Verizon staff Kathryn Brown and if you ask Dave, it’s not entirely far-fetched to make a reasonable argument that the fact that internet standards are copyrighted by ISoc that it has an exclusive claim on those standards. Dave’s jus’ sayin’ unauthorized linking to those standards may be the equivalent of linking to a Stratfor email and could end you up in prison for 5 years. Yup. Hey! It’s a copyright and they’ve got their rights… DMCA’s age not withstanding.
Let Them Eat Cake With Licensed Images On It (photo Mike Mozart)
Meher says “a standard eventually becomes fork resistant.” I guess the same could be said about access to Brett Favre’s hall of fame induction ceremony. It’s scheduled for the 1,500 seat atrium at Lambeau Field, but Brett wants it to be held in the 80,000 seat stadium. Heck… why don’t we just hold it on the internet… It’s FREE!!! Everyone can come to the public good and then maybe Mrs. Dave can actually sell some of that advertising. Not gonna happen.
The NFL is about creating a false sense of scarcity (as in football is scarce), when in reality playing football is free and watching your local high school team is significantly more impactful than wasting money on contrived civic pride which is corporate earnings in disguise and Dave has done some work in pro sports and licensing, so I know what i speak of, but I can’t say I’m not interested in seeing how Russell Brand wiggles his way out of this politically incorrect Chelsea pro soccer train wreck. Maybe I can get some pointers on how to avoid being knocked out by Meher. But this is only Part 1 of the series, so there’s always money to be made selling George Foreman Grills even if intellectual grok boxing isn’t that profitable – “I feel your pain Dave.”
Let them eat cake is the ultimate call to the Soros Open Society. It’s like the Jonestown equivalent of free beer tomorrow being as emergently empathic as FREE KOOL AID TODAY! At its core, this is a debate over scarcity and abundance. Standards, if they are anything they are not inherently agnostic. A standard (think the Federal Reserve System) is either one based in scarcity or one based in abundance (think Christianity or forgiveness of sins, or grace as a standard) or something as ridiculous as printing “In God We Trust” on our money and everyone using it… or writing the date on every check that declares the Year Of Our Lord. Christmas is just a story… right? It’s a video downloadable from Netflix. No? Yes?
A purchasable communion token from the Free Presbyterian Church Of Scotland
(with single freedoms like this, who needs two concepts of liberty)
Where we run into trouble is when we move from one system to another. We are attempting to pivot from one standard (say the quantity theory of money) to a new standard (say quantitative “easy”). One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice is becoming one world under technology with democratized (i.e. required) participation in everything from vaccines to opt-in organ donation because they know better than you do. It’s about the collective. You see, if there was any confidence in the current monetary system there would be plenty of circulation velocity of money and not an overabundance of hoarding Tim Swanson’s “subway tokens”. People may choose to trust God or not, but increasingly they don’t trust Greece (or the troika) any more than they trust the Swiss National Bank not to pull a fast one on short notice.
The problem with tapering the ponzi (h/t Max Keiser) is that it has to be offset with an equivalent expansion of confidence and if you ask Alan Greenspan such a tapering won’t happen without a “measurable” impact on the price of gold. This is nothing more than an outward expression of an entire lack of confidence and it can only be manipulated so much and for so long until it breaks. People understand abundance. People understand scarcity. People watched Brian Williams too. So there.
They “get it” regardless of what you tell them and yes they will buy an Iphone even though a new Iphone is coming out and believe it or not they will start hoarding proverbial subway tokens if they start believing that network access will start being restricted based on a new standard of “global justice” (i.e. resource based economics delivered via London School of behavioral Economics modeling). This is precisely what has happened to all that money and all that credit that was created since 2007. Yes, the plunge protection team drove everyone into the shrinking float of equity buybacks, but no confidence has not been restored and that’s why a new global system is being put through its paces.
Meher’s hometown turned down a return to a gold standard by referendum just like the Scottish voters turned down their independence from the crown. The democratization of morals (7 billion shades of grey) continues to move us from the divine right of kings, to an enlightened form of representative government and resource based economics ala Adam Smith, but now we are hurtling into a democratized world of smartphone enabled personages known as every man for himself (including 2 years of free community college) but subject to being Nudged by Cass Sunstein who has access to all available information.
(to be continued…) IOU: The Internet Of Money IS The Internet Of You
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