The Age of Anarchy

Crypto-anarchists are ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding how to navigate our seemingly chaotic digital existence.

Crypto-anarchists use cryptographic software to conceal the sending and receiving information over networks, to protect their privacy and political freedom while evading prosecution and harassment.

They have been around for many years, and have always wanted to operate outside the system. They are motivated by commercial profit, political gain, or both.

Bitcoin is the digital currency of crypto-anarchists. It is secure and cannot be tracked or taxed. The bitcoin economy operates independently of any government or central bank authority. A few years ago crypto-anarchists were the only people using bitcoin. It’s now being embraced by millions of users, including some governments, and has become a legitimate form of money. The value of a single bitcoin has hit $2,500. This demonstrates that the ideas of crypto-anarchists are already changing the world as those it was designed to undermine are actually adopting it.

What’s more, traditional financial institutions and governments are responding with a means of tracking the ownership of digital assets using a technology called blockchain, which is effectively a public record of all bitcoin transactions. This is a smart acceptance of the crypto-currencies rather than fighting them.

Unfortunately, crypto-currencies are also used in the Internet underground to pay for illegal criminal activities and for non-traceable activities, such as supporting election campaigns through fake news, misinformation, or politically motivated hacking.

For example, in the United States some liberals believe that right-wing populists are hijacking the future of politics, utilizing the Internet as their tool of choice, and driven by like-minded crypto-anarchists. In reality, and as proven by recent elections in Europe, any side can utilize digitally-fueled populism and its own crypto-marketers to support outsiders and deliver surprising results.

So looking beyond political affiliations, the times of crypto-anarchy we live in today could make way for a complete restructuring of global politics and our societies by those who can harness digital technology. The sooner everyone realizes the world has irreversibly changed, and learns the new set of skills required, the more likely they can all join in shaping the new age and reducing the upheaval being caused by early adopters who may be radicals.

From an economic point of view, we are told that the world is now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterized by unlimited choices thanks to digital technology with underlying data, algorithms, and artificial intelligence.

So, you could say we also have a crypto-economy emerging, with the likes of Uber and Airbnb. Not because the goals of these companies are secretive like the original crypto-anarchists, but because of the concealed result which is a massive disruption of entire industries. This has resulted in unemployment of traditional workers and closure of old-fashioned businesses that follow the traditionally accepted rules of applying for licenses with regulators, providing secure employment, paying taxes, and other aspects which crypto-anarchists view as examples of centralized governmental control. That’s why they are pleased to see the rise of the sharing economy.

And it’s not like they are hiding; conferences are held in many countries where crypto-anarchists, bitcoin enthusiasts, and hackers meet to discuss this socio-economic revolution and their role in a world with decentralized governance and little regulation.

This explains why politicians are struggling to decide whether to try to regulate or embrace these new realities. Soon, the positions of candidates regarding issues like the sharing economy, artificial intelligence, big data privacy and digital freedom will be decisive factors in who wins.

It seems that we are entering an age of entirely new forms of governance and society, initiated by the crypto-anarchists, driven forward by opportunist entrepreneurs, and capitalized on by unconventional politicians.

So is that actually a good or a bad thing? It’s not clear, but if and when a somewhat managed and semi-regulated form of crypto-anarchy becomes the norm, it won’t be regarded as anarchy at all by a population the majority of whom have grown up online and fully understand technologically driven human progress.