CONTENT WARNING: I am literally not an expert in anything and everything I say here could be dead wrong on multiple levels, so take that under advisement before you start to panicking, OK? I look forward to comments that will temper my doomsaying.
I was contemplating NFTs and crypto thanks to the latest episode of James Stephanie Sterling’s program and a rash of posts on tumblr besides, and I realized they are a perfect analogy to the cause of multiple extinction events on the planet. Then I realized they aren’t just analogous – they could really be the straw that breaks the back of civilization. This connects to my theory about how the rest of human history is likely to go: Cyberpunk Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland, then Nothing. If world leaders want to forestall the end of their power, and if I’m right, they’d best do everything in their power to outlaw criminalize and expunge blockchain-based currencies from existence.
It works like this: All you need to do to make money from nothing is run a computer for a while. Cool trick, eh? It generates encrypted information that can be exchanged for goods and services. Now think about this for a minute.
Right now every con artist in the world is working every angle in the world 24-7 nonstop, from Mumbai to Macedonia, to raise every red cent they can. They’ve all but destroyed the ability of senior citizens and the disabled to use phones, to use email. Colonized people across the planet have become the vehicle of their own destruction, razing the forests to ash just to get by in whatever economy has been left to them. Corruption is so widespread and thorough in the “socialist” countries that their infrastructure is inflicting mass casualty events left and right. And the finance industry in the USA, every time it’s been let off the leash even an inch? Has pushed us to the brink of utter economic disaster through money-making schemes so byzantine in complexity and somehow as utterly mindless as an amoeba.
Humans work angles. But so has all life, since inanimate proteins first started to become something we could consider life. The cutesy educational program PBS Eons has multiple episodes that have this theme and it really puts our coming destruction in perspective. Basically a type of life finds a niche that allows it to grow out of all bounds. Unknowable trillions of organisms in the primordial ocean have effected climate change so dramatic it turned the oceans purple once, it turned the Earth into ice planet Hoth once, and it caused multiple devastating extinctions – some before the evolution of the world’s first nervous systems. Eons always puts a positive spin on it, saying “without this (unspeakable death and horror) that came before us, we wouldn’t be here. Isn’t that swell?” But there it is: under global capitalism we are recreating the biosphere-wrecking mistakes of literally mindless creatures that came before us.
Now all you need is a computer to run for a little while to make money out of thin air. Huzzah! This can of course lead to various cryptos being devalued into nothing, but all you have to do to sidestep that is to create a new crypto. It works even better than cruzeiro bills because those are obliged to have some relationship to the currency of Brazil. Now when you’ve devalued your currency to nothing all you have to do is make a new virtual country.
All of this is, of course, environmentally destructive. Every crypto dollar you create requires a certain amount of energy to perpetuate its existence. Every dollar created within a currency gradually gives less value return than the cost to maintain its own existence, but they never stop existing. There’s no landfill for these barrels of funny money. So essentially the crypto gold rush only makes money as long as each currency is maxed out in sequence, and new ones are constantly created.
Multiply this by every spam email farmer from Manila to Johannesburg and the problem becomes more clear. The creator of crypto may as well have been Tyler Durden, out to destroy the world’s economies in the pursuit of anarcho-primitivism, because nobody in the world can stop this. A system has been created that allows everybody in the world to build a tottering carbon-sucking Tower of Babel that absolutely will collapse, and like nuclear proliferation, nobody in a position to stop it has the courage or self-control to do so. It’s the monkeys in the old commercials pushing the “crack” button to the exclusion of the “food” button until dead.
Something changed recently. I don’t know what, but suddenly “venerable” financial institutions have decided crypto is legit, and are pushing crypto cards, crypto retirement accounts, crypto everything. Why wouldn’t they? These are the people who caused the Great Depression and every financial crisis since. It’s all about mindlessly rushing to squeeze every penny out of every angle until the whole thing collapses, while everyone with an ounce of awareness knows this exploitation just wheels us from one collapse to the next.
Now the video game industry is wanting in on the con, wanting to turn gamers into crypto miners for them. You think they’re the only internet connected industry that will do this? The literal internet providers are coming next. Funny thing is, they might not even know they’re doing it. Here’s why: The same corruption that ransacked the infrastructure of China is waiting to go platinum in the US of A. Crime organized and otherwise is going to infiltrate any corporation with access to server farms and steal bandwidth to mine crypto. And of course, there’s nothing to stop the telecoms themselves from doing a certain amount of crypto mining right out in the light of day.
Our internet will slow to a crawl and start to experience massive outages, and with it our civilization – now hopelessly dependent on it. In my little quasi-marxist progression of history, this is the Cyberpunk Dystopia. This era will end when the internet ends, heralding the Mad Max era. Crypto-currency, if it isn’t defanged through an international blitz, could well be the force that flicks that off switch.
Tell me I’m wrong, please.