The Decentralization Itch -- Simpleton Article on Let's Talk Bitcoin

This article just went live on the LTB Network:

Also, if you prefer a more theatrical audio presentation, listen to LTB Episode 233

The first part of the episode is an incredible talk by Andreas Antonopolous, followed by my reading of the article. The whole thing is very cool.

My great thanks to my editor, Cheryl Hulseapple (freelance as well as an LTB editor) for helping me give full expression to the thought. And immense plaudits to Adam B. Levine, Editor-in-Chief of LTB for putting together the presentation with music, etc., to increase the impact, and for being one hell of a guy to work with in general.


Anarchy != chaos. Anarchy = freedom of choice and interacting voluntarily.


WOW! Mindblown :open_mouth: I can learn a lot from this writing
Thanks for sharing & caring


Decentralisation is the meme of our time.

The desire for freedom, for independence, to control our own destiny are strong motivations. These cannot be delivered through majority agreement or by someone else claiming to speak for us.

It is something visceral, instinctive, deep inside of us. The need to be ourselves, to be independent, to forge our own pathway through life. It is why we push beyond frontiers. We need the challenge, the adventure, to drive ourselves to better things.

Centralisation provides the opposite. It provides safety, security, stasis. It doesn’t abide individuality and crushes attempts to reject conformity.

It has become suffocating, restrictive and oppressive. Even competition is being squeezed out by fear of the unknown. Risk is being averted at all costs, while rewards are drawn closer to the few at the expense of the many.

It is easy to see why decentralisation is craved. It is the antidote to much of what is currently wrong in this world.


Hi Fergish, I’m sort of with you…ish , but can’t quite get my head around the group thing. I get the Descartes “Cogito Ergo Sum” bit, which is then boiled down to autonomy of thought and expression….the right to make choices that concern us on an individual level – I’m with you on all this and in fact it is what Human Rights are meant to protect.
Where I take issue is in and around the idea that groups don’t exist, or that group decisions are made on an individual level, or that what is in some instances described as de-centralisation of decision making is what it says on the tin – is it not rather more correctly termed further democratisation, than de- centralisation? What I mean is that on an individual level when making decisions that affect us, we weigh up various inputs - memes/arguments/consequences etc then make a decision ,the action/outcome/course of action of which will be consistent with our will. I think it is the outcome that is the important/empowering aspect of the decision making process.
In the case of groups of individuals living together, then decisions need to be made for things that affect the group as a whole - things like tax, defence, NHS etc. I would maintain that “de – centralising” decision making to an individual level is not ever really occurring, only further democratisation. The decisions are made by the group as a group, democratically, not by individuals, as the individual’s desired outcome cannot be guaranteed, only the group’s, then the power of the decision making lies with the group, not the individual. That’s just the bit where I differ……
I see it like the individuals become the inputs to the group decision making process in the same way that memes/arguments are the inputs on an individual basis……you are stepping up from the individual ant’s perspective to the colony perspective so to speak.
Love what you’re doing btw- I’m just a contrarian git…lol… :smile:

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There is nothing wrong with groups. It is frequently more advantageous to work together towards a common goal.

However… The self must still be able to freely choose to subscribe to that group or not.

This cuts to the crux of the problem with state democracy; subscription is not optional, but instead imposed (in any reasonable sense).

So sure, have groups. Have different types of membership (cooperative, hierarchical, whatever) but let the groups compete for membership of individuals, without resorting to threats.

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Lol…not again!.. :smile: I’d just say that sometimes there are groups you are a member of whether you like it or not…these could be based on ethnicity ,sexuallity or geographical groupings. I can in fact choose to change my geographical location though or accept the group level decisions or vote/lobby democratically to change the decisions of the group.
It is correct that Democracy is not a perfect system, but in lieu of a better system, it is what we are stuck with. I have not to date on this forum read any workable alternative that is not highly Individualistc ideologically, or reliant on charity, or that considers the “group” or society as a whole.
Actually, this gets to the nub of the issue…you can’t reduce decisions that affect the group as a whole to an individual level any more than you can expect group decisions to affect anything that only affects a person on an individual personal level that affects nobody else… :smiley:

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Hi Al! I was just wondering what happened to you.

I’m not inclined to have a detailed back-and-forth on this, so I’ll leave that to you and @Traktion if you wish.

I’m not making any sweeping judgement here on the form of organization. Quite the contrary. I’m only pointing out an observable and testable fact that we often fail to value and thus get desperate about. Perhaps I’ll explore separately the individual urge to community, and how those things play against each other. I can’t claim to know the ultimate nature of things, only that in human experience, individual choice is the building block on which the rest is built. That’s why, to change the world, minds have to change, not just seating arrangements. (Oh, boy. There are some great analogies to develop on that image, but not now.)

Not trying to make sense of everything all at once here. The article points out something important, I think. People can make of it what they will. I hope it has value in making people examine their own part in what happens in their lives. That’s all.

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Whether you think being in the state group can be optional or not is actually beside the point being made. What is important is that the group does not have a self, only individuals do and we must always remember that.

We can argue the toss about whether subscription to the state group can be optional or not another time! :slight_smile:

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What is important is that the group does not have a self, only individuals do and we must always remember that.

Both those are assumptions, yes widely held beliefs, but moot IMO. For example, is the human self something that emerges from a large group of synapses?

Let’s not debate this! I’m just challenging your assumptions.

Even if you claim a group does have a sense of self, it doesn’t remove the sense of self of individuals within that group.

I agree, Mark. My piece is not meant to be authoritative or to make any categorical absolute. Quite the contrary. I make no assumptions about the ultimate truth of things, only what seems to be inescapable experientially.

The main point is not to say how things should be organized, but that we should be mindful rather than reactionary.

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I didn’t claim anything, I said that I regard what you presented as fact were assumptions.

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Fwiw, I didn’t mean to imply you personally claimed this. I mean you as in one, without sounding posh! :slight_smile:

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Wow what a good reading! I also like Bitcoin isn’t smooth jazz, Bitcoin is punk rock. That’s how I feel about maidsafe :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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Hmmm cello metal maybe?

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Loved the article. You are just as good on the proverbial paper as you are on the sound waves.

Thank you for scratching my itch, which for me as of late has been understanding what Albert Einstein meant when sad “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”