The advance and spread of cryptocurrencies requires ‘perfected’ security. It will do for identity what GPS did for location. People in the cryptocurrency economy will always be on the grid, so to speak. They will be absolutely, positively identifiable in a global, distributed web.
A public distributed blockchain is a perfect history. It will answer the question at the top of mind of every investigation. Who did what and when.
I have no doubt that a new class of individuals will arise who understand these things and will consequently make every effort to safeguard their anonymity. These will be the people who have the ability and/or connections to read and understand computer code. The rest of us will take our chances. Just as today there are people who have been able to take advantage of PGP, the overwhelming majority of people are plagued by spam.
The spam of the future will be much more insidious, and seductive.
I see the great opportunity for cryptocurrencies to be able to monetize attention in new ways. It’s rather the keystone of a post-modern economic order. Those of us who grew up with Walter Cronkite and three network TV stations have seen, dare I say, the devolution of authority inherent in there now being >2000 channels of television. Social media has expanded that to the very ends of cognition.
However all of these have been limited by the fairly narrow regimes of capitalization. Imagine, therefore a world in which social capital becomes actually fungible. I like to give the example of the rise of video games. I started out with pinball in the 70s, listening to the Eagles. Then through the age of Pac Man, then Mortal Combat in arcades. Next Counterstrike and now World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, et al in the living room. My kids grew up watching me play. They didn’t touch the controllers, they watched my gaming as if it were TV programming. Popular gamers developed a network called Twitch, it grew to 55 million gamers and Amazon bought it for a billion dollars. A network of people watching other people play videogames. The Book of the Month Club never had it so good.
Thousands of new sources of capital will create many new currencies, which will fund business models that will seem outrageous by today’s standards.
We will enter the era of populist attention capitalism and banking.
Both of these developments will have profound implications for the social order. I cannot seem to manage my speculations but they seem to all land around this conclusion.
I expect that the rise of crypto in all of our lives will lead us to be hyper-tribal. They will change our systems of trust radically. I think nationalism is under attack, and I think cities will become the new centers of power as national currencies weaken. Multicultural ethics will entrench. Who writes books will be more important than ever (if people still read and write, rather than watch and listen) Who funds armies will be more important than ever. As a stoic, I must be dour. Sorry.