Comments on “decentralize” hosted by Tony S. with guest Steve Albini.

I recently listened to a radio podcast “decentralize” hosted by Tony S. with guest Steve Albini. I just want to make some comments I think might be useful to anyone that supports Steve’s perspective on how the industry should work. No doubt I will make mistakes paraphrasing his perspective, I don’t mean to put words in his mouth, but I think my general points might open dialogue for some people and groups. For this I won’t give a lot of context.

Steve asks for an example of bitcoin doing something useful that doesn’t involve transactions-he is correct. There isn’t really such thing. What we should understand rather, something different, is that in a way, all useful events involve “trans-action” and transfer of value of some kind (energy is value?).

So the real benefit that I think Tony might have brought up with Steve comes from the possible or hypothetical replacement of “money”. HOWEVER, this is where people often make the mistake of using the word “money” when they really mean “fiat” or government sponsored monies. Bitcoin gives the possibility of and “indie currency”. The implications and ramifications of this possibility are immense.

Now I think we might have laid the foundation for something that Steve would be far more interested in.

It’s one thing for the government to collect taxes in name of the public good, but why should there also be a 3rd party that manipulates monetary policy that effect, among other things, the nature (quantity) of that tax collection (as well as affecting the quality and purchasing power of that money).

On the subject of contracts and in relation to the radio talk, it needs to be pointed out to Steve that by “contracts” what were really are referring to are any day to day engagement or event. By “contracts” Steve seems to mean “those encumbered unenforceable costly one way weapons”. I want to bridge this understanding and show that we can separate out the negatives of contracts and reveal a hidden value I think someone like Mr. Albini would immediately see.

We make contracts with a vending machine when say “I will put $X.xx in you if you give me Y item”. In the studio one would like to make contracts with different sliders, buttons, actuators etc. “When this happens, do that” We make a contract with our vehicles when we turn them on. The lock on the studio door and who is allowed to enter at what time could be a contract, entered and exited via “private keys”.

In regard to the music industry, I think we cannot deny shows might get double booked from time to time. It is only one basic example of something that is not possible when you have smart contracts, as only one band could possibly hold the keys that turn on the “lights” for the stage.

If we understand not the usefulness but just the general concept of how far the metaphor of “contract” goes then we can understand “Ethereum”. Ethereum deals with what Albini points out as a negative reality of contracts, their un-enforceability. Ethereum being P2P is the most robust system in the world for enforcing contracts. It creates a theoretical concept of the most enforceable contracts our world could possibly have. This has massive implications for every system man has created and relies on.

I think at the very end of the show Steve showed his intelligence as he immediately seemed to realize the value of “storj” when he basically says something like “Ah, so its your OWN private encrypted storage?” He said he would be interested in that.

I think that bridges and extends the argument of “intellectual property” to a place people who have natural insight like Steve might not have realized could, will, and basically does exist.

Our quarrel isn’t with “money”, its with 3rd parties controlling that money. Our quarrel isn’t with contracts, its with 3rd parties writing/designing and “enforcing” those contracts. Our problem isn’t with intellectual property rights but rather “intellectual property rights”. Our problem isn’t a music industry, but 3rd parties and centralized power that unfairly and unnecessarily controls that industry.

I have more to say but wanted to make some of these points. I thought it was really great when Steve said something like “A business of optimal size doesn’t need to grow”.

Lastly I just want to point out, Steve’s insights and model are great, but we must all support a system that both allows and incentives SOME people to create more and more “adventure-some” business models. Sustainability and stability are great and important for most people. We want to remember to have a system that inspires dreamers as well.

Also there are parallels from the Keynesian debt based global financial system to the way that Steve describes the debt based contract system from the historical music industry. I believe the latter was an extension of the former, and not a coincidence.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s