Are Cryptocurrencies a Long-Term Investor's Biggest Dream?
NOTE: Saturday, I was traveling from Texas to Pennsylvania due to a death in the family. That’s why there was no Cryptocracy. Enjoy this Morning morning edition.
Ethereum is back in the news with the lowest transaction fees in months. One Morgan Stanley analyst tells why Ethereum could have a larger market than bitcoin. Meanwhile, bitcoin’s hashrate surged to a new all-time high and one legendary investor tells why bitcoin has become his “insurance policy.” Russia has determined that bitcoin can’t be used for payments. Yet, one key metric indicates bitcoin is accumulating at a high rate.
3 reasons cryptocurrencies are a long-term investor’s dream (AN EXCELLENT READ).
What to look for when Coinbase reports Q4 earnings.
Binance partners with YG Entertainment to create NFTs and blockchain games.
BlockFi has been ordered to pay a $100 million fine to the SEC.
Is it cool to let your date know you own crypto?
What is Enjin and should you pay attention to it?
10 companies that accept Shiba Inu and Dogecoin as payment. Nevertheless, let the biggest fool on the internet tell you why Shiba Inu is one metaverse crypto you should not invest in.
Why central bank digital currencies are destined to shine.
5 ways to protect your crypto wallet from hackers.
7 things to know about NFTs before you buy.
New Hampshire governor signs crypto executive order on regulatory certainty.
Why Isn’t the World Wide Web Decentralized?
When Ralph broke the internet, we all laughed, but today the internet is broken and it’s no laughing matter. Ralph has become a fitting and startling metaphor for Big Tech. George Orwell taught us to fear Big Brother, but no one thought it was going to be corporations that gave us Newspeak.
Nevertheless, the largest companies on the planet today have set themselves up as either partners or rivals to the largest governments. In late 2020 and early 2021, people left Facebook and Twitter in droves to protest against the platforms’ “censorship” of then-President Donald Trump. Most of them were Trump supporters, but even people who do not like his politics, his policies, and his personality opposed the censorship. What happened to the internet? Why did it fall from its original grace as a decentralized tool of communication to its current state of power centralized in the hands of a few? Better yet, what can we do to fix it?
As Sir Berners-Lee noted, the natural tendency for systems is to merge. Thomas Jefferson said something similar. “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground,” said the author of the Declaration of Independence. If he were alive today, I think the third president of the United States would be appalled that some of the biggest threats to liberty are coming from private citizens.
Since the early 1980s, internet users have argued over a concept called net neutrality. As early as 1994, in the early days of broadband, Senator Al Gore expressed concerns about ensuring fair treatment and equal opportunity for everyone on the World Wide Web. Few people then understood what he was talking about.
Gore has had a reputation throughout his political career as being wooden and high-minded. Truthfully, he’s not very inspiring, but his insights into the workings of the internet have largely been underestimated and misunderstood. He was well ahead of most people in the early 1990s and foresaw how Internet Service Providers (ISPs), in particular, could make it difficult for certain classes of people or specific types of content to be treated fairly. While he had no specific solutions to offer, he at least saw the problem.
In 2004, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established a set of guidelines for maintaining internet freedom. It didn’t take long before the principles to be stress-tested. In 2007, the Associated Press (AP) ran an experiment and determined that Comcast was blocking some BitTorrent traffic.
BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing service. The AP experiment involved downloading a King James Bible using BitTorrent software because “it is an uncopyrighted work.” The experiment led to a settlement in 2009 with Comcast paying class action litigants $16 million while admitting no wrongdoing. The FCC had already ruled against Comcast in August 2008 declaring the company had illegally throttled the bandwidth of some of its customers.
The FCC faced its own set of problems in 2013 when a federal court ruled it had no authority to enforce net neutrality rules because ISPs were not classified as common carriers under the Communications Act of 1934.
This setback sent the FCC back to the drawing board. A proposal was published for new rules that would allow the FCC to enforce net neutrality without violating the court order. Essentially, these new rules included a plan for an “internet fast lane” where some content—mostly content from large corporations—could be given preferential treatment while everyone else used the slow lane. Big Tech came unglued. More than 100 internet companies, including Google, Microsoft, eBay, and Facebook sent a letter to the FCC chairman opposing the rules.
Despite Big Tech’s concerns about what they considered a “grave threat to the internet,” the FCC passed the new rules in a 3-2 vote. Internet companies formed a protest and purposely slowed down their services on September 10, 2014 to show what the internet would look like under the new rules. Participating websites included Twitter, Reddit, Netflix, Vimeo, Kickstarter, Tumblr, and many more. A month later, then-President Barack Obama asked the FCC to classify broadband as a telecommunications service in order to preserve net neutrality. Future president Donald Trump tweeted, “Obama’s attack on the internet is another top down power grab. Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media.”
Throughout the first three months of 2015, Republicans and Democrats in Congress argued over net neutrality. In March, the final rules were published.
Predictably, several ISPs took it to court. A three-judge panel ruled in favor of the FCC, maintaining the idea that ISPs are public utilities.
In 2017, shortly after taking office, then-President Donald Trump appointed Ajit Pai, a vocal opponent of net neutrality, to chair the FCC. Pai set out immediately to repeal net neutrality. After a long fight, a public comment period, and some nasty politics, the repeal was finalized on June 11, 2018. However, that did not mean the fight was over and the matter settled. Several states created their own rules for net neutrality with President Trump’s criticism attached.
The battle over net neutrality has largely been a partisan bicker. Democrats favor net neutrality. Republicans want freedom for big corporations to do as they please, which often means running roughshod over smaller businesses and consumers. Both sides have good talking points and neither trusts the other. But when you have one large monolothic centralized agency—be it a government, corporation, or something else—fighting with another over a public asset, the big loser will always be those who can’t fight for themselves. In this case, that means the average internet user.
The old adage “money talks” is apropos, too. Both sides are funded by big moneyed interests. In the end, those without the money to fight for themselves are left with the table scraps of those who can.
An excerpt from my fothcoming book Cryptosocial: How Cryptocurrencies Are Changing Social Media, to be published by Business Expert Press in March 2022. Join my book launch team and be the first to read.
First published at Cryptocracy. Not financial advice.
Image credit: Daily Maverick