Bitcoin and crypto consist of synthesizing a wide range of fields of study–social, political, and philosophical, but also legal, economic, and psychological just to name a few. In order to understand all of the aspects at play in how crypto is creating a new form of sovereign power–the new form of power hidden in crypto–one must have the intellectual scaffolding and philosophical development to appreciate just what is occurring. Bitcoin is not not simply the production of a new form of money, or just another technological innovation; but is the foundation of a novus ordo–a new order. An order for the age of the digital and for the promise of what a commonwealth of cryptography can offer, if we can keep it.
The following is a list of just a few of the resources that have guided the essays you will find on the cryptosovereignty website from Erik Cason, how we understand what bitcoin is, and how crypto is creating a form of power that can only be called sovereign. We link to free copies of the work whenever we can find them.
This is by far the most important series of work that has informed cryptosovereignty. Through extending Agamben’s research of Homo Sacer into the digital space, we start to unravel the mysteries of sovereign power and how crypto creates it through this idea whose time has come.
Much of the work of Agamben’s involves adapting Carl Schmitt’s theory of sovereignty to the modren age. By reading Schmitt’s works in light of Agamben’s, we are able to adapt Schmitt’s theory of sovereignty to the digital age using an inverted form of sovereign power which is creating a new order of the ages.
The most important texts of Schmitt’s in regards to our discussions are Political Theology, On the Concept of the Political, Theory of the Partisan, and Nomos of the Earth, which can be seen as a series of his thought on the topic of sovereignty.
Understanding Benjamin’s work in light of Schmitt’s work is extremely important because his work offers the key to decrypting the mystery of sovereign power and its functions. It is important to understand that works like Schmitt’s Political Theology and Benjamin’s Critique of Violence are a kind of dialog with one another, which is why we need to understand them both to have a full view of what they are speaking about. Two other crticially important works of Benjamin’s are Theses on the Philosophy of History and The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
Foucault was a French Post-structuralist who developed a theory of biopower, of which Agamben also see his work of the Homo Sacer series to be an extension of that. Each of the following works has directly influenced cryptosovereignty and how we understand dynamics of power. Some of his critical works that are applicable to crypto are Truth and Power, Discipline and Punishment, Society Must be Defended!, and What is an Author?
One of the most powerful philosophers of the 20th century and all around badass, Ardent heavily influence Agamben’s philosophy, and she also offers a lofty counterweight to many of Schmitt’s assertions. Her works On Revolution, and On Violence are both important in helping understand and integrate the ideals of the American founding fathers (John Adams is heavily quoted through out On Revolution) to the current times, and Eichmann in Jerusalem and The Origins of Totalitarianism both offer a deeper understanding into the evils of how the bureaucratic nightmare of totalitarianism works, and what we must do when we confront such a radical evil in the world.
The Final Boss.
While economics is not one of the key topics we focus on at cryptosovereignty, we acknowledge that a historical understanding of what money is and how it is created is essential to have even the most basic understanding of what Bitcoin is. The following are some of the key text in understanding the economics of bitcoin and crypto on a whole.
The foundation of economics written by Adam Smith in 1776, it still has many pieces of pertinent information for our cause.
Wrote in 1976 by Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek, it is the premonition of Bitcoin, and the coming crypto age. This book explains in great detail just what a world with non-state money looks like, and how it functions.
A short summery of the Coase Theorem and how transaction costs operate.
Written by Ludwig von Mises, who is widely regarded as one of the founders of the Austrian School of Economics, which is radically different from the mod
By Joseph Schumpeter published during WWII. Schumpeter takes a critical look at the works of Marx and essentially deconstructs them to display the the quasi-religious nature of marxism, but extends Marx’s economic thoughts. Most interestingly, Schumpeter helps make definitive schisms between capitalism, corporatism, and entrepreneurship and explains very accurately how the post-WWII would would transition away from naked capitalism, to an oddly half-aborted form of state-socialism deeply affected and corrupted by corporatism.
Anarchism, Syndicalism, and Radicalism
We believe that bitcoin is an anarchist tool and is part of a much wider strategy of creating a crypto-anarchist society. Through reading and understanding anarchism as a real political ideology that deserves merit and consideration, the class consciousness of crypto can accelerate to its natural fruition where a new epoch will be opened, and something totally new formed.
Written by Rudolf Rocker at the request of Emma Goldman to help spread the ideals of the anarcho-syndicalist in Spain during and after the Spanish civil war, it is the best breakdown of how anarcho-syndicalism functions vs. political socialism and state monopolies.
Emma Goldman’s short essay on the difference of syndicalism from other supposed revolutionary organizations.
The anarchist champion of the International Workingmen’s Association, he led the split with the socialist against using the state and authoritarianism as a method and mode to create a classless society (of which the 20th century is a testimony to the barbarism of this brand of authoritarianism). To this day anarchist are at odds with socialist of the use of the state, and Bakunin tells us just why.
Nick Szabo was writing about digital exchange and contracts back in the 1990s. His brilliant insights are not just into the functions of digital contracts, but also on philosophy, economics, information security, and more. Whoever Satoshi is, he must have been influenced by Szabo’s writings as Bitgold sounds very similar to Bitcoin. If you a looking for some great in-depth reading, I cannot more highly recommend reading through his essays.
One of the best resources of both Austrian economic theory, and Cypherpunk history, I found it was easier to point here rather than list all of them. Cypherpunk history is extremely important to understanding the direct development of crypto in the last 30 years.
A great resource for the themes of encryption, digital money, anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero knowledge proofs, reputation and information markets, black markets, and the collapse of governments.