We have written before on Andreas Antonopoulos’ almost evangelical mission to spread the word on the Blockchain. Volume Two of The Internet of Money, in what now seems set to emerge as an on-going series, is the latest compilation of his talks and presentations on the Blockchain-inspired Brave New World that sits ahead of us.
Unlike Volume One which was largely about the technological implications of the blockchain, Volume Two has an altogether more philosophical – and therefore necessarily more political – aspect to it.
Pick a Side
If Volume One left you with the vague feeling that there was something of a sitting-on-the-political-fence posture being adopted, Volume Two leaves you with no doubt that Antonopoulos now recognises that the Blockchain’s revolutionary technology likely implies an equally revolutionary impact on social relations – and it might be time to pick sides.
There is no formal acknowledgement of Antonopoulos on this point – but it is clear from the book’s contents that he now sees these kinds of developments as unavoidable. Governments, he tells us, are wary of crypto-currencies because they offer up the ability for individuals to bypass what are often undemocratic policies that run against the interests of the majority.
The example he cites is of the Indian government’s sudden decision – in the space of four hours – in late 2016 to remove 500 and 1000 rupee notes from circulation, applied with no wider consultation, and with no apparent regard for its potential impact on the rural majority and urban poor who had to endure major disruption, not to mention outright hardship, as a result.
In a blockchain world where participation will be voluntary and market-forces driven, that kind of arbitrary behaviour becomes impossible without some kind of consensus.
As ever, however, the author also continues to speculate on the changes ahead – check out the intriguing chapter on Streaming Money where Antonopoulos refers to a slow-motion camera which can capture one trillion images a second.
The effect, when viewing light through such a lens, is to alter one’s perception of light itself – you can now view and track the individual photons which make up light, and which bring you to a sense of seeing light as discrete and sequential, unlike our perception in real-time which is to view it as a unified stream.
Similarly – but going in the opposite direction – the chapter discusses how the Blockchain’s emerging capabilities of offering micro-transactions on the fly in real-time now offers up the ability for money to become what is essentially a stream. Our understanding, our perspective, our experience of money could be set to change radically.
These insights, among the many others, continue to make of Antonopoulos the Blockchain’s leading philosopher – even if, we suspect, he would be keen to avoid the tag.