The Internet has changed everything. It’s democratizing information and because of that evolution is occurring exponentially faster. Paradigms can now shift globally within days, pretty soon, hours and minutes. Increasingly, knowledge is being more freely shared, raising living standards worldwide. Because of this, it’s becoming less and less acceptable by the day to oppress. Oppression is under attack like never before so much so that oppressors are being oppressed; with love and compassion often being left aside.

To be fair, oppression isn’t a unilateral relationship. To relate exhaustively; you need an oppressed for there to be an oppressor. The oppressed can always fight to the death in defiance of oppression. The oppressed can also vanquish the oppressor despite whatever odds or risk of failure. Tales of David vs. Goliath are entrenched in our culture (spoiler alert) like when John Wick single-handedly kills an entire mafia. Passive Martha, who works in accounting; she defies probabilities every now and then and gets that promotion over her more aggressive colleagues. Milton, red stapler and all also has that hot wife (presumably).           

There are even groups of men who feel oppressed by gorgeous woman? Would you think that beautiful women are oppressive or conclude that these men just need personal growth?  

Every relationship has balance of power

I’m very fortunate to never have been systemically oppressed. I am a white male who grew up passionately fighting at hockey. I’m more likely to be a bully than being bullied. That said, I’ve always been mindful of sovereignty. I’ve spent 12 years developing a professional expertise in investment management so that I would never be encumbered by the financial system. I’ve met many people who are. I’ve seen grown men in tears because there aren’t any more options.

These men were oppressed by their relationship with economics but are they fully to blame?

Our financial system is oppressive. It’s oppressive in that not everyone has the same opportunity to share equal influence within it. Central banks and their charter members have the most influence in that they dictate the supply of money through their lending policies. Lending is what creates money and these practices move stock markets, housing markets the price of gas and ultimately, the cost of a head of lettuce. It’s a strong butterfly effect, to say the least. Capitalism is intrinsically monopolistic so they use these levers of influence to consolidate their power and sometimes I can be to our detriment.

In 2008, the US banking industry was caught in a fraud on a scale never before seen in modern day history. This was perpetrated all in the name of wealth consolidation. The guilty parties were (and still are) so influential that public authorities not only turned a blind eye and but rewarded them by not letting them fail. It was a disaster that only echoed what everyone already knew. Our financial system is broken.

A reaction was what the masses were craving yet nobody delivered so people organized online and the internet spoke. Bitcoin was released in January 2009 by the now infamous Satoshi Nakamoto. It was revolutionary not in that it’s an internet currency; digital currencies have existed since the early 90s. It garnered interest because it implements a monetary system that’s impervious to corruption. This is based on an encrypted distributed ledger technology called the blockchain.

An encrypted distributed ledger technology called the blockchain; let me break that down for you

A monetary system is at its core a system that authenticates transactions. It’s a ledger or group of ledgers that keeps score of trade. Banks have historically been the scorekeepers. The problem is that they’re run by humans. As seen with the 2008 financial crisis, humans can be prone to cheat when stakes are high in competitive environments. The blockchain is a ledger that is run by its users where transactions are authenticated by a group known as miners who also participate in the system. No one participant can alter the system or manipulate it because it’s run by consensus. The ledger is distributed and decentralized whereas monetary policy is established by mathematical protocol. The blockchain is like Wikipedia for financial trade.

Banks are in the business of consolidating their economic authority by being the point of settlement for as much trade as possible while the internet devised a way for us to share that authority. Many who know the story of Bitcoin are familiar with its political motivations. It was built by someone or a group who clearly was Libertarian leaning, who more importantly wanted decentralize monetary authority. This was no friend of traditional banks though its adoption relies on its cooperation with incumbent factions.

You can’t just all of a sudden switch money systems unless the status quo fails

Money is valueless unless someone believes in its value. Even gold is valueless unless someone covets it. Bitcoin started to gain value based on its superior integrity as a settlement network. It’s technically stronger than human networks because it’s not held together by the ethics of individual human beings.

Despite the rise of decentralized and particularly autonomous digital networks, human networks will remain valuable. The banking industry understands this, particularly in countries such as Canada where the banking sector has invested large sums into blockchain projects such as Ripple. This project may very well serve as a bridge from the traditional economy to the new one.  

Ripple is a hybrid system

It’s the banks version of cryptocurrency. It leverages the blockchain as part of its settlement network without ever giving up authority over policy. There are no miners and their blockchain is permissioned and private. Its token, the XRP only has about a third of its total possible supply circulating and the plan is for Ripple to allocate more based on financial need. Allocation of their token is used as a financing mechanism based on how they see fit. The system on the other hand is more efficient than and safer from hacking than incumbent systems because there is no one single point of failure.If you are looking to hold it, XRP can be purchased on using either Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH). It can be held in the Ledger Nano S wallet. 

True cryptocurrency enthusiasts and internet fundamentalists are reluctant to endorse the project. It doesn’t embrace the core philosophies that the blockchain was built upon. The blockchain is a network where individual trust is not required. It makes systemic oppression impossible within its networks. The core supporters of Bitcoin like it because of the social ramifications it can have on the world.    

The blockchain is a social technology, let’s be mindful and use it for good.