Bitcoin, Magical Thinking, and Political Ideology

A must-read from Alex Payne, Bitcoin, Magical Thinking, and Political Ideology. Here is what he says is the general view of Bitcoin among many (including me):

Most charitably, Bitcoin is regarded as a flawed but nonetheless worthwhile experiment, one that has unfortunately attracted outsized attention and investment before correcting any number of glaring security issues.

There is an awful lot of noise around Bitcoin primarily due to a few overnight windfalls and people trumpeting the currency every time its exchange rate spikes. The current exchange rate of Bitcoin has little to do with anything at all.

Payne waxes on about many of the misunderstood advantages and disadvantages to Bitcoin spurred on by Chris Dixon’s post regarding Andreesen Horowitz’s recent investment in Coinbase. I recommend giving Payne’s post a read if for no other reason than to read a not-so-glowing piece on Bitcoin.

I also liked this bit:

Working in technology has an element of pioneering, and with new frontiers come those would prefer to leave civilization behind. But in a time of growing inequality, we need technology that preserves and renews the civilization we already have. The first step in this direction is for technologists to engage with the experiences and struggles of those outside their industry and community. There’s a big, wide, increasingly poor world out there, and it doesn’t need 99% of what Silicon Valley is selling.

Sometimes we lose site of that. Making something fun, or even valuable to use, for those of us that are always online, always in front of a screen of some size, picky coffee drinkers is fun and all but really we need to keep the bigger picture in mind. Those in the tech sector working on large scale issues (such as currency and exchange) shouldn’t focus just on make something good for us, it should focus on making something good for everyone.

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