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Guns and Crypto: No, It Isn’t the Mark of the Beast


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This is the first of a five-part series on cryptocurrencies as well as their uses benefits for the Second Amendment community. 

By Rob McNealy

When shuffling between gun show tables full of essential oils, overpriced 1911s and stacks of tasty beef jerky, it never fails that when the topic of cryptocurrencies comes up, I end up getting sucked into conversations about the ‘mark of the beast’. Now, I can understand that end times prophecies are endemic in the 2A world, but comments like that still grate on me.

So, just for the record, cryptocurrencies as a technology, are not actually the mark of the beast.

People often fear things they don’t understand. Technology, like all tools — including guns —  can be used for good or bad purposes, which is determined by the users.

In simple terms, cryptocurrencies are just a new form of digital money run on computer networks called blockchains. Digital money isn’t new. Most fiat currencies (government created money) are already digital. Americans already buy most goods and services with some form of digital money using debit cards, credit cards, and third-party payment options such as PayPal and Venmo.

The big differences between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies are who creates them, how they are managed, and who controls them.

Any group or developer can (technologically) create and launch a cryptocurrency, as cryptocurrencies are just a type of open-source software. However, most cryptocurrencies are created by communities of people wanting to solve a particular problem.

For example, Bitcoin was created in response to the TARP bailouts, to act as a hedge against inflation and the reckless monetary policies of the federal government. TUSC was created to protect 2A retailers from being financially de-platformed due to politics.

Unlike fiat currencies, once a cryptocurrency is launched, it is governed by code. Cryptocurrency developers often say “code is law”. What they mean by this is that the rules on how a cryptocurrency is governed is transparent and public for everyone to see. The rules about how a cryptocurrency is operated can’t simply be changed by the whims of the creators, in fact, it’s very hard to do. That is a feature, not a bug.

That is in stark contrast to how fiat currencies are operated. The rules about fiat currencies (a.k.a. monetary policy), can and often do change on a whim by greedy politicians, usually in secret closed-door meetings.

For example, all the “transitory inflation” we are currently seeing with the US dollar is largely happening due to politicians deciding to print and borrow more money, which dilutes the value of the dollar. That is a form of stealth tax.

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One of the other benefits of cryptocurrencies is that they are decentralized. What that means is that the blockchains (think computer servers) that cryptocurrencies run on are independently controlled and operated. There isn’t one central entity that controls all of them, so if one goes down, the network just routes around it.

That also means that there isn’t a central point of authority that, like Visa or PayPal, that can arbitrarily cancel accounts because of politics. With Bitcoin or TUSC, there isn’t a way for any of the creators to stop a person from sending a payment across the network.

Being financially de-platformed has been a huge problem for business owners in the 2A industry since Operation Chokepoint began in 2013. Since then, the PayPals and other financial institutions of the world have become more and more hostile to honest 2A business owners, shutting many off from financial services and leaving them no way to process online and in some cases, in person payments.

Cryptocurrencies are still very new, but they can serve as a continuity-of-business insurance policy for businesses that are at risk for being financially de-platformed.

 

This is the first of a five-part series on cryptocurrencies as well as their uses benefits for the Second Amendment community. 

Rob McNealy is an entrepreneur, 2A supporter and co-founder of TUSC, a 2A-friendly crypto payments and NFT project, and Krappy Art, an NFT and digital art collective. Rob lives in the Salt Lake City area with his wife, four kids and their ferocious guard doodle. You can listen to his podcast or follow him on Minds and Twitter.

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