In recent months, as I've been writing about the fundamentally skewed thinking of conspiracy paranoia that is pervasive in crypto communities, I've had plenty of people contact me, through Read.cash and Reddit, telling me that I'm wrong and stupid for not being able to see the obvious workings of the grand conspiracy by Blockstream to destroy Bitcoin.
The fundamental premise of the Blockstream conspiracy is that they are deliberately making Bitcoin unusable so that it fails to become a legitimate world currency. This is because the-powers-that-be see Bitcoin as a threat to the traditional banking system. If that banking system is upset, then they lose power, and so they are fighting to preserve their position.
Not only do I think there's no such conspiracy, but I think there are much better, more mundane explanations.
In the course of debating with me about whether or not the conspiracy is true, not one single person, not a single one, who has contacted me, has shown me a single bit of even indirect evidence of any aspect of this conspiracy.
But, I'm nice, so I decided to help them out. I looked around to see if I could find any smoking guns for myself.
The first thing I found with a little Google searching was this Medium article by Jonald Fyookball which starts to at least outline some of the supposed evidence. I don't know much about Mr Fyookball, but I've seen his name around a bit, and I get the sense that he's a reasonable person, so this seems like an okay place to start.
But, some of the problems of that are common to pushing conspiracy theories start to emerge right away.
A lot of the "logical" justification for the conspiracy is phrased in a grammatical form known as the second conditional, such as, "if you were in power, then you would destroy any threat to that power." This kind of phrasing makes it sound as if the suppositions and their conclusions are so obvious as to be factual. Similar to, "if you were too close to a fire, you would step back so that you don't get burned."
But, just because you phrase something as an obvious process leading to the conclusion you think is the most natural, doesn't mean you're describing a real situation. As I've described elsewhere, not only do I think the conspiratorial conclusions being drawn are not inevitable, I think they're the least likely scenario.
Anyway, let's filter out the dubious phrasing and see what evidence we might have. Mr Fyookball links to this lengthy post on r/btc which lists all the connections between... well, everyone and everything. This is another tactic of conspiratorial theorizing, which is to pour a waterfall of words over you, to make you feel like you're being informed because of the volume of information.
But no single detail reveals anything important. Yes, I read the whole thing. No, none of it makes me think anything particularly unusual is happening. It's just a lot of "person X worked at place Y, and then sometime later, place Y hired person Z, so person X and person Z have a connection." It's so devoid of meaningful data points that I'm getting bored just thinking about it. So, let's move on.
There's also this post on r/btc, which at least gets more to the point by claiming that AXA Ventures is a tool of the Bilderberg group. This claim is based on the fact that there the CEO of AXA is also a chairman of the Bilderberg group. AXA Ventures, if you're not already aware is one of the major investors of Blockstream.
The Bilderberg group is a meeting that takes place every now and again, where a bunch of rich and influential people get together to discuss the pressing matters of the world. Of course, the Bildeberg group itself claims that they're not much more than that. Just a discussion group.
But, even if we take them at their word on that, a simple discussion can have big implications depending on who is at the table. There's no doubt that people who attend Bildeberg meetings come out with new ideas about how they can use their wealth and influence, kind of like the inspiration people get from TED talks. After all, why else go to these things?
But, do they come away from their meetings with a vague sense of inspiration and the illusion of being informed, like TED talks? Or do Bildeberg group members have specific hidden agendas, to create subterfuge and shadowy psyops campaigns to manipulate the world? That's where it gets shaky. There is no evidence, recent or historical, that the Bildeberg group is responsible for anything like that. Which is pretty surprising given that they have had known monsters like Henry Kissinger among their attendees.
The thing is, Kissinger didn't need any Bildeberg group to help him massacre countless people in Cambodia. He had all the power and influence he needed to do that on his own within the US government. And that's the reality of the Bildeberg group. No one who goes to the Bildeberg group needs anyone else there to further their aims.
One part of convincing me that the Bildeberg group is controlling AXA is demonstrating that that the Bildeberg group has a cohesive singular policy, and that they have ever acted on that. Personally, my experience with humans is that if you have five of them in a room, you get seven different opinions, and I don't think the rich are any different.
Moving on, this article on Bitcoin.com talks about how Blockstream has a particular guy who is a known former spy in it. Wait... so you're telling me that people who specialize in cryptography might sometimes do the same kind of work in the government, and also sometimes in the private sector? Shocking!
This connects back to the previous point about the fact that the CEO of AXA is also the head of the Bildeberg Group. People who are rich, successful, skilled, or knowledgeable, are in demand, and they move around a lot, network a lot, and have connections all over the place. You can probably draw a line between any two people on the planet, but the dots you need to connect are fewer when you narrow the pool down to 1% of the population.
This answer on Quora for example, shows how you can connect the CIA to Facebook. The CIA has an investment arm called In-Q-Tel. The first CEO of In-Q-Tel was also on the board of venture capital firm called National Venture Capital Association. Also on board member of NVCA was a guy who runs a firm called Accel Partners. Accel Partners invested in Facebook.
Is that chain of associations the thread you can pull on to unravel how the CIA is using front companies to create backdoor access to Facebook? Or are you just knitting your own scarf by selecting the strings you like out of the billions of possibilities that are created by all the random interlocking connections between people living their lives and getting jobs and making investments within their area of interest?
The only way to show that the Bildeberg connection to AXA, or the Facebook connection to the CIA, is more than just imposing your own patterns onto the chaotic systems of life is to show some actual evidence of that connection being used. Some kind of communication that followed the path. A directive or an order. A statement of intent. Something. Anything.
But there isn't anything. I've looked at more pages and posts than the ones listed above, but very quickly, I didn't feel I was getting anything new or different. As conspiracy theories go, it's pretty thin. It doesn't even begin to compare to the mountains of dubious evidence that support other unlikely situations that are almost certainly untrue, like aliens hanging out in Area 51, or that 9/11 was an inside job.
The problem with talking to anyone who believes in a conspiracy theory is that their ultimate fall back position is that by definition a conspiracy can't be proven to exist. If there was any objective, provable, verifiable evidence, then the conspiracy would be exposed and have fallen apart already. A lack of evidence, therefore, becomes evidence of an even better conspiracy.
And also, as I've experienced, I will be accused of either being duped by the conspirators into helping provide a cover story for them by coming up with plausible alternative narratives. Or I'll just get accused of being a paid shill tasked with providing a smokescreen.
If someone ever happens to talk to Blockstream, maybe let them know that they owe me for all this work I've been doing for them for free?