Bitcoin and net neutrality

Likewise, Amazon might even be willing to pay more for two-day shipping because a start-up internet retailer would never be able to do the same, and competition would be limited.

Internet Monopolies

At this point, I’ve spent several paragraphs comparing ISPs to shipping carriers and I can see many net neutrality advocates shouting at their computer screens, “Those two industries are nothing alike!” The most popular argument I’ve read is that ISPs are in a somewhat monopolistic situation, so they need to be regulated more closely. I disagree.

The ACLU claims that “Most Americans don’t have more than a handful of legitimate high-speed broadband options at home (the vast majority have three or fewer).” First of all – three?! Sure, it’s always better to have more options, but there is still PLENTY of room for competition among three companies.

This social class gave rise to philosophers like John Locke who in turn helped promulgate the ideas of individual liberty and power arising from the consent of the governed. No longer did power flow from God to the monarch to the landed aristocracy where the flow stopped.

Bitcoin establishes a means for individuals to exchange wealth without the need for the Davos Set’s control. All power mongers seek total control, but Net Neutrality and Bitcoin free us from that control.

The Perils of Inalienable Rights

Sometimes, children who are free to play with matches burn down the house.
The inalienable rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are only potentials, and in the hands of foolish people, they can result in misfortune. Using Net Neutrality for porn is not the harm here; rather harm comes from following Alex Jones’ Infowars.

Granted, the Wi-Fi access itself would have to originate from somewhere, but it could be shared and extended much more efficiently. It would be like internet for the internet.

I encourage you to explore that proposal for yourself, as it explains the concept much more eloquently than I can. To me, that solution still requires a significant level of development, since routers are not at all prepared to safely share internet access or handle Bitcoin payments, but I love the idea in general.

Forget Net Neutrality and Innovate

All of this is made possible because Bitcoin payments are extremely easy and cheap.
Anytime a product (in this case, internet access) can be distributed more easily, a freer market is bound to follow. If we really want to improve internet access, let’s not focus on making rules and restricting possibilities.

Bitcoin has withstood the largest and most technically sophisticated attacks likely ever perpetrated against any known technology. Billionaires who control large scale mining operations suddenly removed their miners from the Bitcoin network and directed their hashrate at a competing altcoin – then they proceded to spam the Bitcoin network with millions of bogus transactions, clogging the mempool. Mining attacks have been attempted including 50% + 1 attacks, brute forcing of the SHA256 space and countless other attacks we’ve probably not even heard of.

Heck, there’s even a formal project aimed at finding SHA256 private keys (which has found a few collisions already).

Then came the media attacks.

Whether the Davos Set wears its Dem mask or its GOP mask, it agrees with itself that its interests are best served when the nation has been sliced and diced into multiple warring groups, each obsessed with measuring its equality.

  • We need Net Neutrality so that communication ultimately rests in the hands of the individual users.
  • We need a private currency like Bitcoin so the government cannot seize our assets as it already can under the Civil Assets Forfeiture Act. Whether Bitcoin is sufficiently protected from the government remains to be seen.

The Right of Privacy

Who knows whether the archetype that individuals should control their own lives will prevail? The GOP fights against this archetype each day with its never-ending assault on the Right of Privacy.

The world’s biggest banks sent their academics and CEOs on a blitz to publicly discredit Bitcoin, call it a fraud, a ponzi scheme and spread general FUD on large scale using mainstream financial media. They damaged Bitcoin’s reputation but were unable to stop it. Some comments caused an big dip in Bitcoin prices, but soon after they were caught buying Bitcoin themselves and prices recovered once people noticed what was really going on.

And then came the financial attacks.

Banks suddenly reduced the level of milia criticism and appeared to be joining the movement when, suddenly, billions of BTC were dumped and the prices collapsed. As with every large correction in BTC prices, the death of Bitcoin was proclaimed by some. FUD took over, small investors who risked their saving went desperate.

Financial regulators suddenly attacked, subpoenaing large crypto exchanges.

I think his shipping analogy sums things up nicely.

By analogy, let’s imagine that a retailer furniture company were in a position to offload all their shipping costs to the trucking industry. By government decree, the truckers were not permitted to charge any more or less whether they were shipping one chair or a whole houseful of furniture. Would the furniture sellers favor such a deal? Absolutely.
They could call this “furniture neutrality” and fob it off on the public as preventing control of furniture by the shipping industry.

Few of us are in the furniture business, however, so I think a slightly modified analogy hits even closer to home. Imagine if overnight shipping was required by law to cost the same as First Class shipping. That’s clearly absurd. The flat shipping price might start low, but then everyone would choose overnight shipping for every single package.

Imagine that the company could provide it’s popular two-day shipping for the same cost as slower shipping options. At first, Amazon might love the idea if carriers reduced two-day shipping prices to match other prices, but as I explained above, they would eventually be forced to raise all shipping prices. The head honchos at Amazon can surely see how this works, so why would they ever support shipping neutrality?

What’s more, many ISPs (like AT&T and Verizon) have generally come to support net neutrality, even though they are the internet’s shipping carriers who will either have to suffer the costs of quick delivery or raise prices.

According Mr. Tucker, that support exists because our ISPs are gigantic companies with the ability to absorb those extra costs – costs that a brand new, start-up ISP would never be able to afford.

This ideal has always been a part of human society, but now Bitcoin has given it legs to stand on and it sure won’t go down without some major punches.

Decentralized Human Society

One way that Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies (and anything that might be threatened by an aggressive ISP) can overcome blocks and throttling is by utilizing a “mesh network”. Every internet router has the ability to communicate with other routers and you can effectively create a “mesh” out of multiple routers and create a large WiFi zone you could give access to anyone in range with. Of course at least one of the routers must be connected to the internet and the folks over at NYC Mesh have found a way to make that happen without an ISP as well.

They use their custom supernode rigs to get wireless access from an “internet exchange” which supplies connections to ISP’s.

Of course this is like a workaround and who knows how long it will be effective if ISP’s step up their game.

Supercharged Blockchain Solutions

While VPN’s and TOR have been around a while, there are also some blockchain based solutions, like OpenLibernet, that may give us the best of both worlds when it comes to private internet usage. “OpenLibernet is built around a robust payment system inspired by the Bitcoin protocol that rewards its users for actively joining, expanding and maintaining the network, and creates a traffic economy with perpetually decreasing prices.” You can see where something like this could be very useful in creating the decentralized networks we would need in the future to become fully independent of ISP’s controlling internet access.

This may put the Bitcoin as we know it today in jeopardy, but the thing about Bitcoin is it’s ability to adapt. Bitcoin was created at a time of great financial upheaval and has upgraded many times since it’s inception to handle a dynamic and changing market. Yes, it has been a bit slow about getting there lately, but I think that is also coming soon.

Bitcoin represents a community of people who have similar ideals about transfer of value and those ideas are manifested in cryptocurrency projects like wildfire. Bitcoin is the mathematical representation of the masses distaste with how transfer of value has been monopolized by a small minority for hundreds and thousands of years.

While bitcoin is easy enough to get hold of now, sudden changes to the landscape could give internet service providers the ability to throttle or otherwise control access, limiting the ability of bitcoin users to mine or exchange the blockchain-based cryptocurrency. Fans are already cooking up plans to fight against these measures.

“ISPs could potentially have the power to control access to exchanges, the speed of transactions, and even create and prioritize accessibility to their own cryptocurrencies, which is not such a crazy idea when you think of all the places in this country where a single ISP has a monopoly,” Justin Tabb, CEO of internet startup Substratum Network, told International Business Times.

After the FCC voted to remove internet services from “Title II” regulations, providers now have the ability to choose to restrict access to certain services.

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