When reading “Our privacy has been jeopardized, our social media weaponized and our democracies compromised” in the description of the documentary on its Kickstarter campaign, it is made clear that the documentary has taken a quite political approach to the theme.
Such an approach isn’t inappropriate, Bitcoin and most well-known cryptocurrencies are quite political.
Cryptocurrencies aren’t just about speculation, money, and profits. Bitcoin is the child of distrust towards the traditional financial establishment, governments and central banks, not an asset born for speculation. The origins of this industry aren’t forgotten by the ideators of the documentary and apparent in its trailer.
A challenge to the establishment
Protecting privacy and ensuring freedom have been the most important objectives of most hacktivists out there. Whatsapp contains backdoors, Facebook sells your data and hacks happen daily, and the political climate is getting ever more worrisome, so a system that can’t be compromised by no one is increasingly necessary.
Still, granting freedom is in and of itself a brave act, as lives of people like Julian Assange have proved. Also, many people don’t like the idea of economy and currency transfers being uncensorable and — in some cases — even anonymous.
Unlike what many may think, those aren’t necessarily bad people. Some are just afraid of the use that criminals could make of such systems. However, what those people don’t understand is that criminals will use such systems even if they were made illegal (only positive use can be effectively forbidden) and that they were among the first adopters of Bitcoin. Another thing that many don’t know is that just an incredibly small percentage of cryptocurrency transactions are used for illicit activity.
Still, there is a reason to think that some people are against Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies because of the potential for improving freedom and privacy that they have.
“The existing banking system extracts enormous value from society and it is parasitic in nature.”
-Andreas M. Antonopoulos