Blockchains provide a trustworthy anonymous intermediary for objective transaction action, putting wealth transfers back in the hands of the individual and out of the hands of central control.
Unsurprisingly, this has trampled on a number of governments. To make matters worse, supporting this technology can be misunderstood as an attitude towards your home country and can pose a massive risk to a person’s reputation. So what can we do about it?
One exciting phenomenon that has cropped up in blockchain culture over the years is the choice to use an alias or a pseudonym when using the internet – a digital profile with no connection to your real identity, which often goes further hidden behind a VPN. This has created a strange phenomenon where the most believable information now comes from various animal avatars or obscure anime references.
To an outsider or “normy” it seems completely irrational to obtain information from people who do not have some form of confirmation in the real world. However, there are a growing number of people who believe that the days of their real or “meat-bag” identity are numbered.
Here’s why that could be a very good thing.
Giving voice to the voiceless
“To argue that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying that you don’t care about freedom of expression because you have nothing to say” – Edward Snowden
It goes without saying that these online personas displayed on Twitter are not anonymous, but, as Balaji Srinivasan noted, these aliases are pseudonymous. Completely anonymous users seen on sites like 4chan are less concerned about building a reputation. Here, pseudonymous profiles are of great use in those cases in which they can build up a reputation for their online alias regardless of their real reputation. The clear advantages of independent reputable personalities may not be as relevant in Western societies as they are in countries with more language restrictions like China or the more obvious and rigorous example of North Korea.
The Ukrainian-American comedian Yakov Smirnoff sums it up brilliantly: “In Soviet Russia it’s freedom of expression. In America, it’s freedom after speech. ”In an age of political correctness and oversensitivity, doing the wrong thing can cause you to lose your job and permanently damage your reputation, and in more totalitarian countries the consequences of crossing the border can be far worse. To compound that risk, social media interactions are perpetuated and can come back to punish individuals after years.
Balaji also makes an important point about the “cost” of your reputation: “Your bank account is stored wealth. Your real name is Saved Reputation. Only you can charge your bank account. Anyone can damage your reputation. ”Blockchain now not only offers a safe place to store values, but the permissibility of anonymity is now also a safe haven for your speech and your ideas, detached from the vulnerability of reputation in the real world.
The end of the prison of social normality
Social media used to be about everyone knowing you as someone you are not, but using a pseudonym on social media means being you without anyone knowing.
The majority of research on social media that has no questionable credibility (i.e., institutionally-run research) would suggest that social media as a whole was an abomination to our wellbeing – correlations observed include loneliness, depressive symptoms, suicide, lethargy, and social anxiety, to name just a few. However, it should be noted that when asked whether they would do without social media, the question “only for a lot of money” is often answered. Why does something that fulfills such a strong unconscious desire for connectedness have such a devastating effect on our psychological wellbeing?
Part of that reason lies in the nature of social media and the type of behavior it encourages. Social media is far less a social media than a social comparison platform. A peculiar phenomenon of Ghost users, people who visit these different platforms but never post or interact with any content, is easy to observe and common on social media.
Acts like a ghost, always there but invisible to everyone else. This behavior could be argued as an unconscious reaction of a person to understand what the current social norms are, with the intention of better facilitating your actions so that they are more in line with the normal.
If we are likely to behave primarily online in ways that are considered most accepted by individuals, then we are living with an opposite philosophy to mindfulness. That’s why the crypto culture of aliases is so exciting. It enables a new form of social media that actually promotes being social by removing the barrier of social comparison.
Rise of the Autistic
“What would happen if the autism gene were removed from the gene pool? You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave talking and socializing and doing nothing. ”- Grandin Temple
An interesting and enlightening observation in cryptoculture is the use of the term autistic. This slang usage is a revised definition from the traditional understanding of autism. In crypto, someone is autistic who is usually meant with positive connotations – another reflection of the new social structure that blockchain culture offers. This new definition of autistic people generally refers to objective thinking with little regard for social normality.
Online personas provide a level of anonymity that can remove repeatedly observed intimidation and prejudice in real-world social interactions. Without a specific person to judge or compare yourself with, all that remains is the content of the message being conveyed. This makes it harder than ever to slander a person based on irrelevant features of their physicality or even their past.
One way to explore online culture could be to examine the parallels between the behavior of people who spend a lot of time with objective programming language and rely on what is left (logic and rationality) or right (creativity and abstraction) thinking is meant.
The last line of defense
A unique and revolutionary aspect of blockchain technology arises from its ability to provide complete anonymity. As readers are sure to know, actions on the blockchain are encrypted and stored on multiple devices or nodes around the world that are behind a fairly sophisticated private key function. Although these interactions are public, it is almost impossible to highlight the person behind the interaction.
The multitude of data leaks on centralized platforms in recent years shows that technology used to be the weak point in data security. Blockchain offers a security promise that has never been made before. However, since technology is no longer the weakest link, bad actors need to target the next weakest link in the chain: the user.
Technology can be as safe as they want, but the person who has access to that technology will always be vulnerable to being hacked via the $ 5 wrench method – a term made famous by the XKCD comic book to hit someone on the head with a wrench until he gives in to their private key. A number of exchanges currently require Know Your Customer or KYC verification. It is therefore particularly important to protect your real identity, which is linked to your wallet account.
However, the alias culture can provide some consolation here, as the barrier between user and persona prevents potential attackers from easily identifying and tracking victims.
Freedom from self
“The beginning of a great day begins the night before” – Sukant Ratnakar
Overall, online personas can bring back freedom of expression. Speech is a freedom that has long been under attack since the rise of state-regulated political correctness. An online persona removes the shackles of social normality. Without an identifiable human user, the risk of being labeled an outcast becomes insignificant. This certainty enables autistic people, once ostracized, to demonstrate their unrealized potential on a large scale. Online personas have paved the way for objective conversation by removing the outdated potholes of antiquated social psychological tendencies. In addition, using an online persona creates another layer of security between a user’s interactions with the world and the value they have stored in blockchains.
Blockchain cultures have never really cared about traditional norms; they never needed it. One amazing thing about math is that it is the language of the universe. You can’t introduce social bias to prove math is wrong. If it’s right, it’s just like that, and it doesn’t matter whether someone is okay with it or not. I would argue that this has been an unspoken ethos of blockchain technology since day one.
Once we cook away flawed bad actors and influences like social conditioning, the cream rises to the top. Users who can offer the greatest value – regardless of their social position in the Meatspace. The blockchain movement has always been about liberation – an unstoppable digital revolution. Freedom from systemic control of your assets, freedom from systemic regulation of your language, and finally freedom from your physical identity.