Crypto, CBDCs and whispers of ancient wisdom

What is civilization? 

The answer, of course, is highly contextual. 

Your answer will be based on what you believe. 

You may have been taught that civilization was a progression from hunter-gatherer to agricultural revolution to industrial revolution. 

And this progression is precisely the narrative behind the concept of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In this version, the state is the ultimate form of civilization. Here, people are units in the vast enterprise of the nation. This managed economic model is the idea behind the CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currencies). 

On the other hand, we might have another vision of civilization. This idea of civilization is that human beings have always been intelligent and sophisticated in their political and economic arrangements. 

In this vision, people assemble, debate, and structure their associations in a way that counteracts the various ills of central authority. Authority is tempered with various informal checks and balances. 

These are like the core principles of crypto. 

And in 2023, we are seeing the start of the existential battle for the world play out. 

CBDCs are a visible manifestation of this battle. 

And the appearance of crypto represents something much deeper than merely a form of currency or payment system. It could be argued that it’s a reflection of ancient wisdom. 

We’ll get to that in a moment. 

First, let’s review the core differences between crypto and CBDCs. 

Image of old Spartan helmet with Macedonia on the top. Image courtesy of Tugay Aydin at Pexels

CBDCs are a digital control grid

Now, you might be thinking that crypto and CBDCs are basically the same. 

They appear to both be digital payment systems. 

They rely on networks.

They also shape financial interactions between people.

But the two philosophical underpinnings are not the same. 

A Central Bank Digital Currency is a centralized control grid controlled by the central bank of a nation. It is designed to facilitate trade and remittances. But it is also designed to express power through the ability to control how and where remittances can be used and exchanged. 

This isn’t cash converted into electronic money. 

This is an entire system of governance facilitated by digitizing value exchange and placing it in control of one entity. It’s a digital centralized control grid. Augustin Carstens of the BIS (Bank of International Settlements) has said so publicly. 

While it will look like each country is developing a separate fiat like CBDC, it’s also programmable money. 

Which begs the question, how hard would it be to convert every national CBDC into one supranational CBDC under the control of the BIS? 

Remember, the BIS is beholden to no government on earth. 

Crypto is a contrast to this concept. 

Crypto, by design, is the antithesis of a control grid

Crypto gives users the ability to opt out of the national payment infrastructure. 

You can exchange value and interact freely with whomever you please, when and wherever you please. As a result, the user is avoiding numerous toll booths in various peer-to-peer exchanges. 

The system can be utilized as a storage system or a payment system allowing you a certain freedom. 

Crypto also gives you the option to participate in whatever project you want and engage with that community. Or choose to participate in multiple projects and communities simultaneously. 

And we have argued in these pages previously that crypto can represent other opportunities for users. 

It represents a new approach to financial literacy

It can be used as a form of pure financial independence through self-custody. Otherwise known as being your own bank

And there is the concept of going to crypto school. You are learning the concepts of caveat emptor and how to employ a fiduciary standard to your own financial interactions. 

These important distinctions are becoming relevant right now. 

You and I, the people, are the stewards of humanity

Australian Pete Evans interviewed Dr. David E. Martin in early 2023, covering a wide range of topics. 

In the interview, Martin described human beings as an expression of all the life force and wisdom of humanity. That all of the accumulated wisdom of the ages is within us. We are all connected by it. And that we are stewards of this incredible life force. 

Author Steven Pressfield describes this life force in a slightly different way. He says that the goal of the artist is to connect with his or her muse. The muse is this life force of ancient wisdom inside us all. The writer merely puts to paper the vision supplied by the life force. It does not belong to him or her. But the ability to access it is a powerful skill.  

This is consistent with what the great Renaissance sculptors believed. They did not shape the rock. They merely uncovered what was inside the rock all along. 

And during his interview, David Martin speaks of the fact that he can turn rock into liquid in 17 seconds and turn it back into rock in another 17 seconds. He is using this ancient insight into the relationship between things to build extraction technology for energy. 

How does he do this? By accessing the ancient wisdom in all of us using all of the senses. We are born with a dozen, according to Martin, not just the five or six we are told we have. 

Why is this important? 

Because I would argue that crypto appears to be a digital manifestation of some ancient wisdom. 

And the timing of its arrival is auspicious given the global power grab we may be witnessing. 

Freedom is ancient wisdom

In the book The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, David Graeber and David Wengrow take you on a journey of ancient peoples and traditions. They ask important questions about the origins of equality, freedom, and the state. 

And throughout, they challenge the concept that ancient people lacked sophistication in their thought and governance. 

As I read this book, I thought about how crypto, in a sense, embodies some of the core principles of the ancient Americas. Although the narratives and arguments around crypto have at times muddied the core principles of the innovation by focusing on the pursuit of capital gains. 

Crypto seems to be an expression of three important core principles of ancient America’s wisdom. The book describes three specific rights that the various people of the Americas held up to the 17th century. 

These rights were exercised by individuals in different ways, even in groups that interacted with each other. 

Wengrow and Graeber described these rights as “the freedom to relocate or move away from one’s surroundings, the freedom to disobey orders and commands given by others, and the freedom to shape entirely new social realities or to shift back and forth between different ones.” 

One specific native intellectual, Kandiaronk of the Wendat tribe, was an articulate spokesman for their way of living. He was also a reasoned critic of the way the French lived in the 17th century. 

While it is seldom acknowledged, it was these conversations with the sophisticated natives of that day that has shaped in many ways views of freedom and rights of the individual. According to Graeber and Wengrow, native critiques influenced Montesquieu, whose influence then manifested in the separation of powers in the US Constitution. 

Limited and contextual authority

The people of ancient North and South America self-organized in unique ways. Evidence points to long periods where authority if granted to some, was temporary or symbolic. It was often seasonal and resource-dependent.  

But the ideas of authority and governance implied that our ancient ancestors knew something about the costs of centralized authority. And yet, we still ended up with the state. 

The state is an altogether recent development historically. Prior to this, people chose arrangements that worked for them in the context of where they lived. Often governance was situational. There would be a leader with authority during times of the year when resources were scarce. 

During seasons of plenty, these leaders had no power.

In other instances, leaders were required to act as servants, giving away what they had. 

And numerous tribes interacted and lived in proximity to those whose values may have differed significantly from theirs. Or, to put it another way, one value and governance system could intentionally be the opposite of a neighboring group. 

Which is to say that crypto projects, in a way, represent the way people saw themselves in relation to others in ancient America.

The people were connected through personal networks of native clans and personal relations. The values had similar core principles, but they could differ markedly depending on a variety of factors, not unlike crypto as a whole. 

Now to be fair, this is a simplification of a gigantic intellectual journey this book takes you on. 

But the core principles of the people of the Americas struck me as quite similar to the core values of various crypto projects. 

Bitcoin as a modern manifestation of ancient wisdom

Crypto, as we know it, arrived with Bitcoin right at the tail end of the Great Financial Crisis. This was when all of the central banks across the world secured their positions as the buyer of last resort. 

Every time the market gets hit with some sort of crisis, the central banks create money and buy securities. Those securities can be held to maturity or sold. Their involvement in markets, to this extent, shapes price discovery to the point that it could be referred to as price distortion. 

As a result, central banks have an extraordinary amount of power.

The US dollar, for example, is often thought of as the world reserve currency. 

But it is also a weapon used to achieve geopolitical ends. Some argue that this is what is happening to some extent today.  

This challenge isn’t new. The debate between philosophers of the people of North America and those of Europe took place during the Enlightenment period. 

European intellectuals were influenced by North American Intellectuals as a result. Although they pretended not to be. 

Or put another way, when native intellectuals from the Americas schooled the Europeans on the contradictions of their way of life. 

Bitcoin, like these ancient intellectuals, has demonstrated that there are alternatives to the way we approach interaction and connection. 

Crypto as a whole builds on numerous innovations over many decades, and now it joins good old cash as a bulwark against one world government. 

Is crypto a message from humanity’s muse? 

A crackdown on crypto has started. Influencing this is no doubt the various blowups in 2021. There also appears to be aggressive posturing about access to the banking system in the US. 

You will notice that at the same time, CBDC projects are being announced, and their narratives are being tested in media outlets. 

There is celebration of all that these wondrous control grid instruments can do. 

They are convenient. Simple. And mean less friction. 

But is this a good thing? 

Will the CBDC system still allow you the right to embrace your ancient freedoms to move, to disobey, and to set up something new? 

As a society, we are being presented with a dizzying array of changes. Although, it seems unclear whether such changes are as necessary and urgent as some would have us believe. 

The globalist agenda seems a bit like the story of Henny Penny, but in this case, there are a lot of acorns.  

The solution? Well, don’t give up on cash just yet. Cash is portable, anonymous, and untraceable. It’s the antidote to the potential of a one-world CBDC. 

Then exercise your connection to the muse, the ancient wisdom. 

Add to that some self-custody with a dash of peer-to-peer exchange, and you have it all. 



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