How Bitcoin circumvents Tyranny by decentralizing defection

This opinion editorial is by Kyle Schneps (director of public policy at Foundry), a Digital Currency Group company. The legacy Cold War system rewarded those who publicly voted for Western democracies over authoritarian regimes. The Bitcoin network allows everyone, regardless of their social status or class, to freely opt out from tyranny through investing in autocrat-controlled currency into a global decentralized system of financial independence. As you walked through the maze-like corridors of the CIA headquarters in the 1960s, you would notice a small smokey light on the top floor of one office suite. You will see a gaunt, bespectacled man sitting on countless volumes of poetry and stacks full of human intelligence case files as you follow the trail of light. A single dim light would illuminate a cluttered ashtray and a perpetually creased face. James Jesus Angleton would be your gaze, the grandfather of U.S. Counterintelligence Analysis and Operations — and also one the most controversial figures in the gray corners U.S. History. Angleton, a Yale student of poetry, was recruited to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), during World War II. He learned much of his tradecraft through British Intelligence during World War II, and those highly controversial relationships would prove to be both a boon as well as a hindrance to his career. He would be a key figure in the transition of the OSS to its later incarnation, the Central Intelligence Agency. Angleton’s belief that complex poetry could be understood and deciphered was a similarity to the intelligence operations of the Soviet Union was what made him stand out as a leader of CIA counterintelligence for twenty years. Angleton devoted the most controversial years of the CIA tenure to finding moles and unravelling elaborate Soviet plots that used double and triple agents to mislead, disinform and mislead. Angleton was also obsessed with defectors. A defector is someone who leaves their country for a country with a different ideology or an elite position. For the information they provide, a defector is given financial compensation and physical protection. Angleton found defectors to be a more troubling problem. How can one determine the veracity and accuracy of information provided by a defector, especially if they are part of an intelligence organization such as the KGB? Are they really defecting and revealing valuable information? Are they simply defecting as part a larger intelligence operation to mislead America? One false defector might simply be defecting to discredit another legitimate defector… and the halls of mirrors would continue to circle from there. Anatoliy Golisyn and Yuri Nosenko were perhaps the most controversial cases of Angleton’s career as a defector. Nosenko and Golitsyn were both high-ranking KGB officers, who were allowed to defect to America. However, each provided contradicting intelligence that discredit the other. Angleton eventually sided with Golitsyn and locked Nosenko in a Maryland dark site. He was denied access to his possessions, and sometimes given LSD. Nosenko was finally deemed a bona fide agent four years later and was released from solitary confinement. Because of the many doubts raised by defection about the legitimacy and accuracy of intelligence provided, defectors were generally more valuable for their public propaganda than their actual information. Many Soviet defectors to America were often paraded before the press to show the victory of capitalism over communism. British defectors to the Soviet Union were also relocated to the Soviet Union after they had completed their training as agents. Kim Philby, a notorious British Intelligence officer, was shown around Moscow to show the failures of Western capitalism. The Cold War’s defection became more popular as an ideological statement than as a reliable source of intelligence collection. However, the problem is that only elite individuals have access to sensitive information and are allowed to defect from a perceived authoritarian or tyrannical regime. Many people living under the oppression of Soviet Union felt the need to defect. They wished they could escape the Soviet regime’s control or at least protect their wealth. They were unable to access any value to the other systems that might accept them and so they were left with no choice. They had to stay in the Soviet Union and continue to participate in its cultural and economic restrictions. This is what Bitcoin does. Bitcoin is a monetary system that allows anyone to choose to leave authoritarian and tyrannical regimes. Anyone with an internet connection can stop all financial participation in any country by converting the state-controlled currency into an incorruptible, decentralized store of value. Value that can be stored privately and carried over borders by refugees, without fear of confiscation; value free from debasement by corrupt or incompetent governments; value that has proved to be a hedge against inflationary policy in the long-term. Instead of being forced to leave behind their family and possessions by elite legacy defectors fleeing authoritarian governments, anyone can now opt out from the monetary restrictions placed on them by authoritarian rulers while still living in the society they live in. You can opt out of a tyrannical system to become a decentralized protocol such as Bitcoin. This eliminates the possibility of your wealth being confiscated through prejudicial laws, which has been repeated many times in history. Bitcoin is the best option for minority opinion, as it protects your wealth from corrupt regimes’ power players and political whims. The United States has always recognized that defection is more valuable as a public opportunity for Western ideals to be championed over those of tyranny. We must now acknowledge that the Bitcoin network, which allows everyone around the globe to opt into a free and decentralized currency system that cannot easily be manipulated for personal gain, is defection 2.0. The legacy cold war system allowed a few elites to defect from tyranny in return for a reward. The receiving nation was able publicly to claim a small ideological win in return. It is worth giving up the public nature of defections of a few to make way for the private monetary escape of many around the world who don’t wish to be bound by the strictures of authoritarian regimes. This is why so many authoritarian regimes like the Chinese Communist Party or the Supreme Leader of Iran have banned this technology. They don’t want the public to quietly opt out of their control. The United States must embrace Bitcoin as a symbol for the democratic and capitalist ideal so that people can privately defect to a monetary system that protects their wealth and independence from tyrannical regimes. Supporting networks that allow the global public opt out of financial ties that bind them with corrupt autocratic regimes is the best way to fight corruption. Bitcoin is the best network because of its decentralized nature and instant settlement. It also transports easily and offers unrivalled security. The United States government would be able to reaffirm its role as a beacon for democracy around the globe by supporting this technology. It decentralizes and sets the possibility of defection around the world. This guest post is by Kyle Schneps. These opinions are not necessarily those of BTC Inc.


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