The internet, the network we are currently using for our bitcoin needs, should be decentralized, auditable and private. After decades of choosing comfort, ease, and speed, the internet is actually pretty centralized today. Millions of information about websites and services are stored in a few data centers, all of which are served by a very limited amount of regulated or even government data. own provider.
All user data is transmitted through a reduced number of cables and cell towers. So far, all data is identified, analyzed and traversed most of the time. Even the tools that are supposed to free us from part of this global surveillance have to rely on this over-controlled infrastructure, which, because of its centrality (as desired by these tools themselves), is vulnerable to attack, seizure and censorship.
Some people believe that beyond this malicious architecture, they can communicate and transact securely, privately, and even anonymously, using tools that are supposed to be effective in hiding them or preventing them from being easily identified – they defend the idea that it doesn’t is individually targeted or attacked, and shutting down an entire region just to deliberately separate them is too much; that neither the government nor any other entity will go as far as to silence them.
Not only has this happened already, but more regularly. And the situation is only going to get worse because if the media we connect with is available to those who want to censor or stop what could undermine their power, no doubt they will.
2021 has only just begun and we are already seeing a glimpse of what lies ahead. From the targeted muting of individuals to the blocking of communities to the de-platforming of apps and services, the violation and disclosure of centrally stored personal data (PII) and the imposition of fines for access to the Internet via means other than those investigated by governments and even the complete shutdown of the Internet in entire countries.
Closing gaps in Bitcoin’s infrastructure
All of this only adds to what 2020 showed us. But Bitcoin users aren’t affected, are they? Well, unfortunately that’s not true.
To be very clear, we are all only allowed to use Bitcoin today. They know we access central offices and hosted wallets through the IP addresses of our homes and phones. They know we are giving the entire Bitcoin blockchain to others. They know we have a hardware wallet and that we check its balance on a daily basis (not just the price). They even know what’s behind this VPN or the impenetrable anonymity tool we use to buy banned items like flags and plastic straws online. We’re only allowed to do what we’re doing until they don’t want us to.
Fortunately, Bitcoin has a way to fix the lack of stable infrastructure by continuing to do what it has been doing for the past decade: volunteering to coordinate the funding, development and implementation of solutions that fix every broken part of the internet, that may undermine Bitcoin’s potential to become the censorship-resistant and private electronic money we all need.
It all started by creating the hardest form of money ever made and in ingenious ways solving problems that we previously thought were impossible.
Before Bitcoin itself gets into the pit of laziness and low time preference in finding quick, effortless (insecure and censable) transactions by using IOUs instead of real Bitcoin with proof of work – mere digits stored in databases, the reborn cypherpunks have us reminded by their ideas that we should not only encrypt our conversations and wait if we really want permissionless freedom for sufficient confirmations, but also our own hardware.
Thanks to them, we now have hardware wallets, as moving from centralized switchboards and hosted wallets to lightweight wallets was not enough. They are even now leading the effort to bring secret open source elements to completely remove trusted parties from the equation. After it looked like we lost the battle against pools, the miners are now upgrading to a more individual and sovereign way of pooling. Thanks to the amazing tools designed to make it easy to run the numbers, run your own knot, and run, those few thousand full knots could easily be in the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of hardware in no time.
But what can all these innovations and tools do to expand the freedom of the individual when everything is running on the currently easily shut down, monitored, targeted and confiscated central Internet infrastructure? What solution do Bitcoiners have for such an important part of the stack that is needed for Bitcoin’s existence? Thrive?
The answer is hardware; Bitcoiners run hardware.
Bitcoiners run hardware
The part of the internet that currently risks our path to a truly non-seizure, permissionless, censorship-resistant Bitcoin is the internet service providers (government and private), their cables, their towers, and their desire to keep every single one of their users were identified and located, tracked and monitored at all times.
The solution to this Orwellian apparatus can be summarized as the “owner of the cables” or, better still, the owner of the radio frequencies by contributing to a self-sufficient sovereign mesh network of hardware devices to establish communication over the Bitcoin network and to grant access to it Data in a decentralized way, with no central server and with sufficient resilience to overcome any attempt to prevent us from exercising our rights to freedom of expression, assembly and trade.
Only open source software and open source hardware projects like Locha Mesh aiming to create purpose-built mesh network hardware could potentially get Bitcoin to realize its original plans.
In order to create sustainable, resilient and authoritarian-resistant mesh networks, each user must be their own means of accessing the network to transfer Bitcoin block data, transactions, messages, apps and access to services. You need a mobile, battery-based device that is small enough to be carried around concealed and that has such a low energy consumption that it can last for days on a single charge or can be operated with small panels of solar energy and can be adapted to specific needs ( longer range, stationary, connected to other hardware …) and open enough that it can be replicated by anyone, anywhere, if its manufacture, distribution or even use are also seen as a risk to the facility.
In this way, anyone can become a node within the peer-to-peer Locha mesh network and relay messages that find paths through hops to achieve their goals. Offer services; and connect, transact and get paid in bitcoin so others can exercise their rights in this crypto-anarchist, capitalist free market.
We bitcoiners don’t just have to learn the basics of business. Let’s open our eyes to the lies that are turning the wheel towards the kidnapping of all liberties, learning the differences between custody and non-custody services, entering the numbers, running the hardware, teaching our kids how to use a hardware wallet and our parents on how to protect their assets from government inflation and expropriation.
Do we join the cypherpunks or become phreakers. If that’s what it takes to have a truly permissionless bitcoin, so be it.
This is a guest post by Randy Brito. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.