The Ethics and Morality of Cryptocurrency and Art.

in cryptocurrency •  last year

Crypto. Music. Philosophy.

Some thoughts on the morality and ethics of when music, art and cryptocurrency collide.

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TL;DR: The overall premise of this post is equating the ethics and relative morality of one currency (US fiat dollars) vs others (cryptocurrency, others). I outline my philosophical views on what musical content I create means to me, and what it means for me to sell the content I create for wealth.

I've held an odd outlook on the monetization of my music.


Look, I don't want to get artsy fartsy here. Plenty of me is online out there to show that I hold unorthodox views on quite a few things. I've remained relatively quiet on my own personal beliefs and views here on Steemit when it comes to such divisive topics like politics. It is a realm I really don't like to traverse anymore because it leads to headaches and heartaches. Steemit is a wonderful site and I would like to try to reclaim all of the good I see in platforms like this, leaving behind all of the negative in the toxic sludge pit, dredges and ruins of previous social media/spying platforms.

So please, this post is not meant to derail into a smoldering heap of putrid banter and disgusting back and forth politicking. I'm guilty as sin of doing that, but I really don't want too anymore. This post is just my thoughts about the morality and ethics of cryptocurrency over fiat, and how that relates to me exchanging my music for wealth.

Problem is, I can't explain why I feel more ethical about selling my music for crypto without delving into some touchy political waters. I am the type of person who is very concerned about the ethical creation and distribution of currency. It feels absolutely crucial, that for our democratic western society to properly function, a sound ethical form of wealth transfer is a necessity. I believe one of the most dangerous things for a society is if the currency creation and distribution becomes corrupted.

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And a cursory explanation of how I feel about my music...

With music, I feel it is a part of my soul; an extension maybe. I write to encompass how I emotionally feel at the time I write. It is like writing an entry into a journal, only instead of words, it is a sad but quick melody or harmony to remind of of how I felt when I was broken-hearted back in 2004. Or maybe it is a happy little track I wrote to give to my friend to lift her spirits up in 2008. Or even perhaps a song I wrote to help me figure out and sort through some intense feelings I was having as a first time father in 2013.

All of these tracks are vital to me and I do believe in a soul, in a sense. It really depends on how someone would define soul. The music that I produce, especially the really intense emotional kind, is an extension of my soul. Music is the expressive language of emotion or multiple emotions, so by its very nature is quite personal. In order for me to want to pursue the idea of writing music for wealth...I have to feel morally and basically like spiritally ok with writing music for monetary gain of some kind or another.

So with all that said and getting to the point...

I just don't feel that great about the fiat US Dollar.

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This logo sums up why, in a nutshell, I could never sell my music for most of my life.

When you look into the who, what, when, where, how and why, the engineering and manipulation of the fiat US Dollar currency, the way it is backed, and how it comes into existence...it can lead down a pretty sad, broken feeling path. I really don't want to turn this post poltical, so I would just like to say that I believe in a sound US currency that is minted by Congress, as the United States Constitution has stated it should be, and that isn't what we have now. That is all. The terms "Federal Reserve" and "fractional reserve lending" send chills down my spine, and the thought of corporate, privately own banking controlling the minting of the money supply is downright terrifying to me.

I can't extend my soul to that. I really can't. I feel gross even contemplating writing music purely for USD cash.

I can already hear the cries of: "Amphlux is just some hoity-toity 'artist' who is too wrapped up in his dumb philosophies and conspiracies to look at things practically. Talking about his soul and morality and ethics of money pft! PFT I say!" and really, that's fine. I would never actually deprive anyone of their hard sought after earnings on the content they create. I know how hard it is being an independent musician. It's a rough go out there, and if someone finds a way to monetize, in whatever ethical fashion, great. It isn't like I have completely forsaken US dollars, that would be pretty hard to do as a US citizen. I've kept my day job, so to speak. I just have a chip on my shoulder over US Fiat.

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Collage of cryptocurrency developed, distributed or donated in arguably more ethical manners. $KWH, $PINK, $MANNA ,SwiftDemand, $DASH and $XRP/Ripple .

I've heard musicians say something feels amiss about writing music for cryptocurrency.


Crypto is relatively new in terms of wealth, and pretty cutting edge. It makes sense to be leery of something like this. I get it. I'm not really here to explain the technical sides of cryptocurrency, and try to convince you why encrypted transaction ledgers are cool. I'm here to talk about some of the more ethical sides of crypto.

There are coins that exist purely for altruistic purposes. KWHcoin as an example seeks to engineer a decentralized smart powergrid that distributes electricity from high resource area too impoverished areas that need it. PinkCoin is an example of a hybrid PoW/PoS coin build with macro-philanthropy in mind.

Even outside of coins built with charitable goals in mind, other coins exist that could be looked at as attempting to distribute a certain ethic. MannaCoin and SwiftDemand are both examples of cryptocurrencies trying to implement the idea of a completely universal basic income which many people strongly advocate for. And then there are cryptocurrency which are directed by the holders and stakers of a network. For example the $DASH network has taken steps to create a DASH Cares charity while recent massive donation of XRP/Ripple was given out to support US Public School systems.

Not to revisit my diatribe against US Fiat, but after chewing on the comparisons of the built in ethic some of these different cryptocurrencies vs US fiat, it dawned on me that I could actually begin to feel good about exchanging my musical content for these newfound forms of wealth. Sure I can earn US Fiat and give it to charity, but it wasn't something I wanted to really pursue. The ethic behind the fiat bothered me. But now a whole new world of wealth has opened itsself up and I can for once feel decent about attempting to aquire it with creativity.

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Collage of cryptocurrencies that show promise to enterprising independent musicians. Steemit, $BAT, $BTC, $ETH, Musicoin.org, $Indie, Sola, @voiceshares, $LTC, and $BCH

For musicians or any content creator, there are many entry points into earning and obtaining cryptocurrencies.

From cryptofaucets, to platforms that pay you for your content, so many avenues are open as entrypoints into crypto. Tokenizing advertisement platforms allow for honest advertisement, as well as up and coming new coins aimed at promoting wealth transfer between $indie musicians. There are many avenues musicians can take to begin to accrue crypto for themselves. With little to no investment outside of content, you can begin to gather encrypted wealth for yourself, and begin spreading those investments into cryptocoins that suit your own personal ethic. I've listed a few above, but there are many, many coins to look into.

So to wrap this all up, look, I'm not a super expert on this topic. I've been watching the tech grow for a long time now. Watching it get increasingly more sophisticated, a lot of the time I feel like I'm swimming through a sea of technical sophistication that might swallow me up. My passions don't lie in candlestick charts, they lie in writing music and performing it live. Writing the best music I can and throwing the best goddamn show I can possibly throw. I'm a firm believer that whatever humans consider to be wealth is very important to try to make it as honest and sound as possible. This is why this all matters to me.

This is why I'm so excited about this. It feels different. It feels like something new. Something big. And a little piece of me feels like this is all something incredibly historic as well.

In the future when historians are digging through #blockchain technology, I feel fantastic about being one of the earliest adopters of it as a #cryptomusician. @musicoins @steemit @AtomCollector sites like these give me hope, and push me to create music as much as I can

— Amphlux (@amphlux) April 22, 2018

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Really interesting write up and can only imagine the amount of dedication it took you to convey your message across.

I think that this is a VERY exciting time to be involved with cryptocurrency for any content creator, not just musicians but bloggers, videographers, gamers etc.

But the world we live in is all about what value one can bring to the table. By value, I mean services to others and whether or not your own core beliefs come across as genuine by the acts you do.

A lot of people will see cryptocurrency as a way to make a quick buck or for illegal activity but you and I (and I hope others reading this) know that if you want to make a quick buck, you need to understand technical chart analysis and research companies, and less than 1% of all transactions made on the blockchain (Bitcoin) are for illegal activities.

If you're intentions are true - in our case, expressing ourselves in a way that words can't express via the medium of music - then good things will come regardless if you stick to them. Good things such as feeling of well being, inspiring others (even if it's only for the duration of the song) and, if you want to further yourself and live off a passion, make a living from it.

There are a load of great ideas and projects in their infancy with this new technology to help create a true "universal income".

The tricky part is bringing it to market and get the mass population to care enough to get involved with it.

Moral of the story - keep doing what you love, good things will come :)

Excellent post, I enjoyed reading your views on this ever growing subject.

For myself, I create art for its own sake. If I can get paid for it, I don't get picky about how that happens. But that's just me...

Great write-up! I'm not as opposed to selling my music for fiat as yourself, but there has always been a bit of a dirty feeling associated with it to me. On the other hand, as I think we've talked about before, it is/was all tied up in what seemed like the best way to get stuff out there. It is indeed awesome to see a change happening in this regard!

Though I'm only just starting down this path, the holdup I see is on the listener end. I'm optimistic that this will change, but at least from what I've seen, there's no "Spotify killer" in the cryto-music world (yet). As much as I hate that company, they did do a lot right from the end-user perspective, and I think we'll need something similar if we really want listeners to switch. I'm sure I'm not the only one to realize this though, so like I said, I'm optimistic. Exciting times for sure.

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I agree there is nothing to compete "yet". Musicoin to me seems to be the most technically advanced of all the services and they are doing the right thing by concentrating on the technology first to build a strong foundation that can be built on. If you look at their white paper they are currently hosting the music files on their own servers but will be moving to a true decentralised system very soon. If this system allows instant playback then it will be easy for someone to build a Spotify like website to sit on top of it.

My main concern with decentralised music services is the delay in a song having to be fetched from multiple computers. An end user doesn't care that it is more secure and pays the artists a larger royalty. All they care about is having a huge choice of music and being able to access it quickly. If a service like Musicoin can crack that then I think independent artists at least will flock to it. Will record labels want to use it? They will resist tooth and nail but just like streaming services they may have no choice in the long run.

Exciting times in indeed!

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Very interesting take on ethical aspects of making money of art.

In my view, what we are experiencing now, is the currency system that is evolving. Initially we humans used barter, then commodity based currency(gold), fiat currency and most recently we see the rise of the cryptos. They are all means of storing and exchanging value, and if something had a value (like streaming a song from an online music service) does it really make a difference if you get paid in gold or bitcoins?

Let's take a basic human need. Food. Neither gold, dollars nor bitcoins could directly be used to fill your stommac. But you could trade their value for a piece of bread. If there is a currency system that everyone agrees on.

Is there really any significant difference?

Based on what my creations have made me in just over a year on the corporate bigs compared to what my creations have made me in crypto over the last few months, I'm definitely backing and putting my valuable time into Crypto more. Great write up man.