Blockchain technology has been a boon for counter-economists. Prior to Satoshi’s white paper, in order to conduct a transaction with an individual or firm not physically present, a third party was required to verify transmission and receipt of funds. Historically, the state, whether directly or indirectly, has played this role – albeit poorly.
Therefore, most of the items on this list will be new ways to utilize blockchains, fresh takes on existing infrastructure, or entrepreneurial paths to spread the mass adoption of cryptocurrency.
1. Sell Crypto
We’re all aware central banking is evil. The question is: What to do about it?
We can cross our fingers & support the Federal Reserve Transparency Act for the 4th time (the bill died in the Senate on 3 previous occasions), or we can use competing currencies to instantaneously liberate ourselves from the cartel.
Using p2p exchanges, you can not only help others make the transition from fiat trash to crypto, but you can earn a profit for doing so. Sites like local.bitcoin.com, localcoinswap.com, & localethereum.com allow buyers & sellers to connect & place orders using a variety of payment processors. When an individual opens a trade with a seller, the funds are placed into escrow & payment is made. Once payment is received, the funds are released from escrow to the buyer.
Denying the state revenue is the essence of counter-economics & this is an easy and highly profitable way of engaging the grey market.
2. Smart Contracts
Know how to code? Consider writing smart contracts professionally.
Smart contracts are protocols designed to automatically execute the terms of an agreement based on a set of pre-determined conditions. Agorists use smart contracts to disintermediate the just-us system. By easing the public’s dependency on court services, smart contracts help bring the outdated & barbaric court system into a state of irrelevance.
In the state’s kangaroo courts, public employees are regularly treated like first class citizens while the rest of us are their personal cash cows. Pigs, prosecutors, & public employees, are given breaks that you and I are regularly condemned for.
No more of this nonsense. With smart contracts, all parties are equal and judgement is free of bias and prejudice. Moreover, all parties to the contract agree to clearly definable terms prior to it taking effect.
Smart contracts will also help facilitate the internet of things, which I expect to cause cascading disintermediation in a variety of industries.
3. Tokenization of Securities & Assets
We’ve covered the tokenization of securities and assets here at The New Libertarian, and also on The Agora extensively. The idea is simple and goes back to Rothbard’s conception of compulsory cartelization.
Essentially, cartels aren’t possible in a free market. They pollute the economy like tumors pollute the body and can only be maintained by the state apparatus. Cartels are formed when a group of industry leaders agree to cooperate rather than compete. They decide on a particular price and everyone agrees to stick to it. At least, that’s the idea.
In a free market, one member of the cartel will always let ambition get the best of them. In a bid for increased market share, they lower prices beyond the agreed upon number & briefly enjoy market dominance. Once other cartel members realize they’ve been duped, they can either lower prices to establish an equilibrium, or exit the market entirely. To avoid this inevitable breakup, cartel members eventually began bribing politicians to enforce their rules. Thus, it became the job of the agorist to bust the cartel.
FINRA, is one such cartel, composed of brokers. They pay the state to enforce their stranglehold on the brokerage of securities. By creating digital tokens to represent ownership shares in a security or asset & then trading them on decentralized exchanges, we strip the state of their ability to cartelize the brokerage industry. This will open the flood gates and allow capital to pour in to projects previously inaccessible.
The SEC’s days are numbered.
4. Tokenize a Raffle
That’s not the only thing you can do with tokens. Using a different type of token, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), like the ERC-721 or SLP NFT, you can create digital tokens with unique identifiers. This may include group tokens with a subset of child tokens.
This is useful for generic purposes such as issuing tickets for an event. You’d create a group token for Event A and child tokens representing tickets – each bearing a unique identifier – say, seat, row, etc.
For the agorist this opens a world of possibilities.
Imagine for a moment, creating a political death pool, similar to a football pool – 100 boxes containing the names of politicians who individuals can buy in the hopes that the parasite occupying their “box” will croak first. The owner of the winning “box” receives a payout, and the agorist running the raffle, a small percentage.
With the use of NFT tokens, we can now digitize this process and by incorporating smart contracts, we can automate it as well. Tokens representing a particular box can be sold, funds can be stored in escrow and payouts may be issued automatically based on input from the entrepreneur.
5. Trade Crypto
This one isn’t for the faint of heart & I only recommend it to those who are well versed in day trading. I tried this method years ago and had limited success. Before Poloniex required KYC I’d spend most of the day in the trollbox. I didn’t get rich, but thankfully I didn’t get my clock cleaned either.
That being said, there are a number of successful day traders in the crypto community. Those who are able to pull it off make a good living. I personally know several millennial day traders who take their laptops & move where the cost of living is cheaper and the sun is alway shining.
By doing so, they help stabilize crypto-markets and in this way, help promote mass adoption.
Although mining has become less profitable, it remains a valuable tool in the agorist toolkit. There are two main reasons for this.
First, mining increases the hash power of a chain, making it stronger & more secure, & thus encouraging wider adoption.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, mining allows agorists to acquire cryptocurrency without going through an exchange subjected to government imposed KYC/AML regulations. This clean crypto can then be traded on p2p exchange without the state’s knowledge.
Masternodes are servers carrying a full copy of the blockchain, backed by collateral & are used to provide auxillary features & governance. They were discussed in detail on this episode of The Agora.
This can be a bit costly. Running a masternode on DASH for example will require 1,000 DASH upfront.
However, DASH masternodes empower individuals to use the Private Send & Instant Send features. DASH masternodes thus help conceal user identity & transaction details from the prying eyes of busy body federal agents. Masternodes also enable quick transactions – a necessary prerequisite for any commodity seeking to become a general medium of exchange. For their services, DASH masternodes are rewarded with roughly 7% return on their collateral.
8. Dark Web Retail
Deep web retail is a great way to protect income from political parasites. Ross Ulbricht proved, with the legendary Silk Road, that an encrypted marketplace combined with a p2p cryptocurrency, can effectively enable free trade.
You can buy or sell anything!
From unregulated showerheads (yes, most countries including the USA, regulate the water flow of showerheads) to pure China white heroin, deep web retail is a powerful tool for the counter-economist.
Indeed, it has brought agorism from the theoretical to the practical.
9. BlockFi High Interest Savings Acct.
BlockFi wealth management offers up to 8.6% APY on crypto savings accounts. That’s certainly a better deal than the banking cartel will give you. Also, blockfi accounts are not FDIC insured – thank God.
10. Be Your Own Bank
Quit banking with the cartel like you’d quite any other habit that is detrimental to your health. Although crypto infrastructure remains sub-par, it is nevertheless, a better option for agorists & cypherpunks than legacy banking.
A BCH wallet using CashShuffle, or a BTC Wasabi wallet (or for that matter, a Dash or Monero wallet), is generally more secure than a Swiss bank account.
Open two wallets; use one as a checking account & the other as a savings account. Draw funds from the former to load a BitPay card. The latter can be a vault wallet, meaning a 48 hour window must pass before withdrawals can be made.
You can even have your paycheck direct deposited into crypto using BitWage.
As you can see, crypto-currency and counter-economics are natural bedfellows. Considering all of the ways one can use blockchains to disintermediate the state, it’s no wonder crypto has been in the cross-hairs of governments around the world.
My advice to budding agorists is to begin with the use cases which you’re comfortable with, and as you grow more accustomed to utilizing blockchain technology, advance incrementally.
Find ways to disrupt, disintermediate and decentralize state infrastructure in a secure and profitable fashion.
Even if you aren’t prepared to engage in radical counter-economics, there are small steps everyone can take to either participate in, or at a minimum, support the counter-economy. I’ve assembled a list of 5 simple ways everyday people can participate in the agorist revolution.
Food trucks not only often have excellent food, but they can also help push back against the state. In what is normally a cash business, food truck operators are better positioned to hide income from the state than other vendors such as chain grocery stores. Also, the more amateur the operation, the more likely the vendor is unlicensed; see the 7 year old NY child-slave, who’s lemonade stand was shut down by emissaries from Emperor Cuomo.
Given the grey market dominance of the food truck business, it’s no wonder we’ve seen the industry blossom over the past couple decades. Food trucks have progressed from the standard roach coach to the present diverse array of taco trucks, grilled cheese trucks, Korean bbq trucks, burger trucks, donut trucks, & much more.
Everyday citizens have a problem. On one hand, if they keep their wealth in cash, politicians and bankers will rob them via inflation. On the other, if they store their wealth in traditional financial instruments like securities or assets, they’ll be subjected to range of taxation. In any case, the political parasite successfully feeds from the host.
An individual who believes they’re going to be robbed, will try to spend their money before the robbery occurs. In other words, their time preference falls & they’re less inclined to save the capital necessary for production & investment. Historically, low time preference societies carry higher debt loads. Also, having a low time preference affects our personal lives. Folks who prefer present consumption over future consumption are more likely to use drugs and exhibit other risky behavior.
Agorists have a trick to avoid this trap. Rather than storing wealth in a currency subject to constant devaluation, consider using precious metals. Gold and silver bullion has been the world’s most reliable store of value for thousands of years. Simple price appreciation of precious metals outperforms the average savings account interest rate, and metals are less volatile than cryptocurrency. Best of all, your wealth is safe from political parasitism.
Like the food truck operator, the neighborhood mechanic runs an all cash business and is thus better positioned to hide earnings from the war-makers. Chances are greater than not that he or she isn’t reporting the majority of their income. Why would they?
Nor do these modern day heroes seem to care about labor laws, OSHA requirements, or the dirtbags at the EPA. Neighborhood mechanics are more willing to remove catalytic converters or employ local neighborhood kids below the minimum wage. So, next time your car is in need of repair, forget about white market franchises & go see that greasy guy your friend told you about.
Grow Your Own Food
If this seems like a no-brainer, it’s because it is. Farmers and ranchers pay tax on their production, as does the shipping firm hired to take it to market, as does the grocery store owner, the restaurant owner, etc. All of this revenue will only be used to further your own oppression. Home-grown food not only tastes better, but also comes with the added satisfaction of knowing the cost of your meal didn’t fund a child’s murder in some country you’ve never heard of.
Tip in Cash
Another one that seems like a no-brainer. Cash tips are rarely reported, but the ubiquitousness of plastic means many no longer carry bills. Although a brief stop at the ATM on the way to dinner or drinks seems inconvenient, remember: taxed money is blood money. Five minutes out of the way, will allow you to eat with a clear conscience.
Indeed, no tip is better than a taxed tip; at least the former doesn’t finance the forced starvation of children in Yemen.
Empire refers to a grouping of territories under one common authority. Although nowadays it’s more applicable than ever, the term has peculiarly disappeared from the political lexicon. The term connotes romantic images of Rome and Britain at their heights. As the Irish say, the sun never set on the British empire but that’s only because God couldn’t trust the English in the dark. So it goes with all empires…
For all intents and purposes, the Philippines is such an empire – albeit, an empire of islands. Like Rome & Britain, the Filipino state struggles to maintain control of its periphery. From the relief map, we can see the state’s territory extends over three island groups. Luzon in the north, which is mainly Christian and hosts the capital, Manila. The southern island chain, Mindinao is largely Muslim & the two groups spend most of their time vying for control of the central island chain, the Visayas.
Tensions reached a tipping point in 2001 when American tourists were kidnapped from the idyllic province of Palawan (from which I recently returned) by Islamic radicals affiliated with Abu Sayyaf. The subsequent botched rescue is detailed vividly by former US Admiral William McRaven, in his new book, Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations. Ironically, I read the book and his frightening account of the events on the flight back from Palawan. Nevertheless, having recently returned, I can attest to the fact that the only terrorists I saw were the US military personnel staying in our hotel in Manila.
The reason US taxpayers are forced to put up US soldiers at 5-star hotels in Manila is the closing of Subic Bay naval station in 1992. At the time, the US and Filipino states couldn’t reach an agreement on the price tag for a lease extension, but given the tension in the South China sea, it’s a safe bet that both parties regret that diplomatic failure. Only two years after US forces departed, China moved into the Spratly islands. One of the locals expressed remorse to me over the closing of Subic Bay, citing the increasing scope of Chinese communism.
Another factor stalling Filipino development is the colonial legacy left by first the Spanish, and later the Americans. Whereas former British colonies retained a legacy of strong institutions which helped foster a degree of stability, the Spanish colonies were burdened by leftover inquisitional-Catholicism.
As James C. Scott details in his book, Seeing Like A State, spanish colonial authorities imposed on the native Philippine population hispanic surnames in order to standardize taxation and land titling. Names were drawn from a Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos, which contained a list of surnames to be distributed based on geographical location. For example, families living in major cities were given surnames beginning with the letter A. Those in secondary cities were given names beginning with B, and coastal communities were given names starting with C. Although this pattern can still be seen in certain provinces, the continued existence of native Philippine surnames suggests the presence of agoristic non-compliance.
As for the legacy of US imperialism, Bob Kaplan sums it up best in his book, Asia’s Cauldron:
Perhaps no other large country in the world has seen such a political, military, and economic investment by the United States for decades on end. Perhaps nowhere else has it made so little difference.
According to one western economist, “[The Philippines] is still a bad Latin American economy, not an Asian one.” The East Asian economic boom of the 90s was predicated on an export-oriented economic model. Unfortunately, Filipino exports continue to compose only about 30% of GDP – a far cry from the standard Asian model of 75%. Moreover, where other Asian economies have focused on manufacturing, the Philippine economy continues to rely on raw agricultural products like bananas and coconuts.
Despite this, the situation is certainly improving. Downtown Manila is beginning to resemble a tempered version of Manhattan, and one can’t help but notice the increase in foreign investment throughout the country or the entrepreneurial spirit of the locals. If rampant corruption can be brought under control and direct foreign investment continues unimpeded, its a matter of time before this empire of islands becomes a major regional power.
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