“Even if we all agree that something is a problem, we may not agree on how to actually go solve it.”
So says Brian Armstrong of Coinbase as the newest shiny boy of Silicon Valley has clearly reached the stage of growth where some demand it virtue signals on all sorts of issues.
“It has become common for Silicon Valley companies to engage in a wide variety of social activism, even those unrelated to what the company does, and there are certainly employees who really want this in the company they work for. So why have we decided to take a different approach?
The reason is that while I think these efforts are well intentioned, they have the potential to destroy a lot of value at most companies, both by being a distraction, and by creating internal division. We’ve seen what internal strife at companies like Google and Facebook can do to productivity, and there are many smaller companies who have had their own challenges here.”
So says Armstrong as he navigates the tricky matter of becoming a mainstream company while still keeping the roots and focus. He says:
“It would go against our principles of inclusion and belonging to be more of an activist company on issues outside of our core mission.
We have people with many different backgrounds and viewpoints at Coinbase, and even if we all agree that something is a problem, we may not agree on how to actually go solve it.”
You’d think his argument is fairly persuasive with it boiling down to: bitcoin, not left or right. He effectively says as much:
“We are trying to create infrastructure for the cryptoeconomy, and that yes, this would create more equality of access for all people, but we aren’t trying to solve all forms of inequality in the world…
I don’t think companies can succeed trying to do everything. Creating an open financial system for the world is already a hugely ambitious mission, and we could easily spend the next decade or two trying to move the needle on global economic freedom.”
He concludes by declaring Coinbase is apolitical, save for where it directly affects cryptos. Stating in effect what many have been stating in this space for years, bitcoin is politically neutral.
Coindesk however, which has an axe to grind, asks dismissively what does apolitical even mean? “Even being apolitical can be taken as a political stance,” they say, which is true in some ways with their political stance being they want to focus on increasing global economic freedom through bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptos.
That such a simple matter should attract so much attention probably says a lot more about a certain pipeline bubble of power exertion that moves from Harvard, Yale and the like to the top companies and then is imposed on society in a brainwashing way that amounts to cultural control and imposition.
That Google could change the rankings based on political leanings for example is something we always new and warned against. But that they now actually do it is also generally known, yet not proven yet through some document leaks by a whistleblower.
Making Google the arbiter of information based on what Harvard or Yale thinks today, is extremely dangerous.
Making Coinbase the arbiter of what bitcoin is or who is it for or what party it supports and much of the rest, also has its dangers.
Yet others disagree and there are decent arguments against bitcoin being politically neutral, not that one has much choice there since it’s like connecting a plus and minus cable to create energy.
The cables don’t care who connects them or how, the connection always creates energy. But, Ben Weiss, the COO of the crypto ATM operator CoinFlip, says:
“Buying and owning Bitcoin is, and has always been, an inherently political act. Buying Bitcoin is a vote for an inclusive financial system, a vote for human rights, and a vote for a better future.
It is a vote against authoritarianism, a vote against legacy systems riddled with racism and discrimination, and a vote against an economic system that has left too many people behind. Therefore, we cannot exist in this space without being political.”
That’s a lot of very general statements which need books to shades of grey, but bitcoin is a choice, an alternative for global value transfers.
It’s outside the current system in some ways, but not that outside since you generally have to go through centralized fiat exchanges.
It’s inclusive if you can afford the fees and if you have a sufficiently lucky timing where price goes up rather than down.
Bitcoin is an opt out, but it can’t really do much about racism any more than any other tool we use can do about it.
And where the economic system is concerned, well the world has never operated on such hard money as bitcoin so we have no clue based on data as to what it would be like.
There are however plenty of things bitcoin can do especially where international trade is concerned or quickly transporting savings or storing them or gaining some efficiencies in value transfers.
But bitcoin is not going to solve racism, or sophisticated corruption in the political system, or the general lack of accountability in the three branches system that is nearing its third century of being ancient.
So focusing on what bitcoin can solve may well be better for a bitcoin and ethereum focused company instead of falling to easy temptations which have now given Google the nickname of gulag.