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Tools for Digital Sovereignty
How I protect wealth and network from macro-failure
Macro failures in discussion making can lead to consequences that are experienced by individual members of the population. (You.)
Voting aside, at the end of the day, we can’t really prevent these kinds of decisions from being made, and sometimes they even should be made, but that’s not to say that there are not adverse effects for the individual when an entity makes a move to alleviate a larger problem.
Over the last year, the government increased the total money supply by 26% when it printed over ten trillion dollars across a handful of stimulus packages. While (a portion) of that money went to aiding the broader population, the adverse effect of adding more money supply to circulation is always inevitably inflation on some scale. The micro consequence of this for the everyday citizen is that the value represented by the dollars in their bank account decrease. But how can you store wealth in a way where it’s value isn’t manipulated by the decisions of larger entities?
I’m doing it, I’m gonna talk about Bitcoin. Feel free to hop to the next section if you’re already drinking the kool-aid.
Set aside any vision for Bitcoin as the currency of the future or something else, there’s one thing that’s for certain: There will only ever be 21 million of them.
Retail and hype investors aside, I think this is the idea that’s carried the linear growth over time, and as more people realize this, and see the buying power of their dollar decrease, they will begin to hedge that bet.
CC: Jack Butcher
One more thing to note about buying Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency:
If you’re going to invest, eventually store your currency on a hard wallet. I acquire on Coinbase using a weekly buy order and move sums over to a Trezor One once a month or so. This will protect your wealth if there is a sudden change in regulation that inhibits being able to access your BTC or other cryptocurrency through a 3rd party, which isn’t an unprecedented issue.
I’ve been experimenting with a project called Urbit over the last few months. Urbit is an escape from the tragedy from the commons that we find on the broader internet and a friendly Segway into the world of sovereign computing.
To be the true owner of your information and of your computer's hardware resources, as well as to share these things in any way you want and only with whomever you want. …To participate in the Internet free of the middleman, as an autonomous, independent and sovereign individual.
— Definition for ‘Sovereign Computing’ from The P2P Foundation
Urbit is an operating system that is all your own, but also open source, meaning that anyone can contribute to the platform to improve it. It is a reconstruction of the internet based on first principles, and built to put you in control of your presence on the internet.
More tangibly, think of Urbit like a version of Facebook, Slack or even Venmo that you can boot and run from your own computer, which enables you to own the data and connections that you make on the platform.
Why bother right?
When you go to send a message on Facebook or even email, this is your experience with additional context:
Login to an identity you don’t own and can be taken or shutdown at anytime
Send a message through network infrastructure you don’t control
That message is stored in a database that you also don’t own or control before being networked back to your pal on the other end
Without getting into too much technical mumbo jumbo, Urbit solves for this problem by putting you in control of the software that you use, and establishing direct connections to the people you interact with through that software.
For a more technical download on Urbit, here’s an overview that helped me break the ice. There are many projects that aim to solve the same problems I lay out above, but I’m sticking with Urbit because none I’ve seen solve those problems like it does.
While Bitcoin may not be all that novel these days, I’m pretty confident Urbit is still under the radar. If you do decide to play with Urbit, or even Bitcoin for that matter and not sure where to start, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or ~padlyn-sogrum on Urbit.
In one last bit of exciting news, Urbit has just this week announced their first in-person conference to be taking place later this year. See you there?
Next week, I’ll be putting out another page crimp post for The ONE Thing, by Gary Keller.
Try new things.