image from Unsplash.com - Daniel Jensen
There can be no doubt that the current crypto market is full of scams, scammers, shonky tech, vaporware, greedy liars, thieves, plagiarists and cheats.
It is also full of genuine entrepreneurship, innovation, genuinely incredible tech, giving, hard work, integrity and hope.
Well that's human beings for you.....and it hasn't even begun to get complicated. When you consider that we all carry the potential to be good or bad. We are all a mosaic of each. The difference for many may be circumstance or timing. For instance, is it wrong to steal food from where it is plentiful in order to save a loved one who is dying of starvation? It is possibly quite easy to stay good never truly tested. On any given day, under the right circumstance, under the right kind of pressure, who can say categorically that they would always act in a manner that is widely considered to be, the right or good way?
Perhaps it is fair to say that all we can say for sure is that most of us have the best intentions and refer to our history, our reputation to add confidence and credibility to the idea that a person is good and will remain good.
Whilst that is all fairly obvious, the point I would like to raise is this. In a system where regulation is not equally applied to all, there can be no justice at all and it is only a question of time before the regulators act, as all humans have the capacity to act, and take advantage of the situation out of perceived necessity, greed, avarice, you choose.
It cannot be lost on anyone, the fact that holding today's traditional financial criminals to account is at best, grotesque incompetence, at worst, intentional two-tier justice making all too visible, the brutal hand of totalitarian oppression.
Let's give everyone the benefit of doubt. Let's assume that the terrible injustice in our world, largely due to the egregious financial system, is all the result of our best intentions. They say that the road to hell is paved with best intentions. I don't believe in hell or heaven, unless they are on Earth and I believe that all too many human beings are living in a kind of hell on Earth.
So, what does this tell us? That despite our "best" efforts, we have failed so many of our fellows and we must do better. Urgently.
All the regulation in the world, so far, has achieved the WORST DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH IN HISTORY. Not only do the majority of people have absolutely nothing relative to those that have everything, but also that the negative influence on our environment, moderated as it is by so few interests, is having a devastating effect on more individuals than ever before. Regulation so far has not worked. They say that crazy is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. No argument there.
Yesterday, I watched the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) and CFTC (Commodities Futures Trading Commission) give testimony to the Senate (Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee) about crypto currencies and blockchain (or distributed ledger) technologies. What they covered was fairly basic, bitcoin-centric and as you might expect.....we need to understand, we need to keep an eye on, there's some good stuff, there's some bad stuff, we might need more money, we might need some new rules, we're working together with x & y, it's difficult because it's global and often beyond our jurisdiction. What was unexpected was their tone, which seemed fairly measured and accepting. However, I would not read too much into that, they appear to be seriously behind the knowledge curve at this time and once they begin trying to regulate blockchains, in the end they will be forced to conclude that only total control over the internet and several other individual and collective freedoms will suffice in giving them the control they need in order to regulate this technology. A horrific prospect for what would be grand stupidity, brutality, inefficiency and hubris. Thankfully we're not there yet and we have a chance avoid such a terrible fate.
Instead of enforced regulation, we might consent to self-regulation instead. We may just have the time to demonstrate that self-regulation is not only possible, but far superior. What is self-regulation? To me, it's the kind of light, sensible regulation that is possible when a community's economic interests are generally aligned, when everyone in a community has voluntarily adopted a clear set rules for engagement within a network and therefore everyone has consented to the means for establishing and maintaining reputation and accountability and the means for resolving disputes by arbitration. A community empowered to regulate itself will have a far better chance of achieving it's objectives.
The crypto space is growing at an ever accelerating rate. The regulators are already incapable of regulating traditional financial markets. They are disasterously under-resourced to regulate crypto markets and the use of blockchains. As Daniel Larimer mentioned in the EOS telegram channel...
"saying blockchains should be regulated is like saying databases should be regulated."
If we can build a community on a blockchain that makes it impossible to steal, that has accountability, the rules for which are consented to by all, self-regulation has a far better chance of working for that community than any external regulation that is forced upon it. Self-regulation can be automated, can have millions of active participants and is transparent. External regulation has a budget, maybe a few thousand participants and is accountable only to itself.