A panel of five Bitcoiners took the stage at Bitcoin 2022 to discuss the topic “Becoming a Sovereign Individual”. The panel included Guy Swann of Bitcoin Audible; Pascal Gauthier, CEO of Ledger; Parker Lewis, Head of Business Development at Unchained Capital; Robert Breedlove, Founder and CEO of Parallax Digital; and Buffalo Bills quarterback Matt Barkleys.
The conversation covered topics ranging from what sovereignty means to freedoms, rules and regulations that impede sovereignty and what other possibilities exist to go beyond the state to enable sovereignty.
Swann moderated the panel while Gauthier, Lewis, Breedlove and Barkleys answered questions on sovereignty. The discussion centered on books such as “The Sovereign Individual: Mastering The Transition To The Information Age” by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg. The book details the history and then the collapse of the current governmental, economic and monetary system and the rise of the internet, digital economy and digital currency.
Swann began by stating that “sovereignty is not objective; it means something different to each person and it is a matter of degree not binary. He asked each panelist how they perceived sovereignty.
Gauthier sees his work at Ledger as enabling people to hold their own keys and keep a part of their digital lives to themselves so that their lives and money are not captured by banks and other institutions. He also explained how the standard subscription service of today’s digital life means you pay and own nothing at the end of the subscription. With bitcoin and cold storage, this digital monetary part of yourself was not yours before, but is yours now, making you more sovereign.
Lewis sees sovereignty as difficult to define but similar to freedom in that freedom is also graded. “Money is a tool that allows you to be more dependent on everyone but less dependent on one person. Money allows you to pursue the life you want. However, this tool has been corrupted by the inherited monetary system and Bitcoin brings it back to itself. Lewis also said: “Sovereignty and Bitcoin mean that an individual can produce value, and no other entity prevents that individual from taking that value and going out into the world. world and to do what he sees fit.”
Breedlove replied, “’Sov’ and ‘reign’ is like when a king reigns over his people and ultimately sovereignty is the authority to do as you see fit. Sovereign is he who can make the exception. If anyone can make an exception to the rules, then they are sovereign over you. People can opt out of this with Bitcoin and reign supreme over themselves. Bitcoin maximizes the sovereignty of those who use it.
Barkley believes Bitcoin gives freedom but also power over your own freedoms. Barkley and many panelists quoted the phrase, “Money is the root of all evil.”
However, Swann rephrased it, “Money is the root of society.”
Gautier expanded on the two sentences with, “The current monetary system is the root of all evil.”
Breedlove said: “Essentially the key to sovereignty is giving people the power to keep the fruits of their labor in something that cannot be violated. And then let the market sort it out by removing coercion from the equation.
Barkley spoke about the value of full self-authority and how people come into the community to assert their full authority over themselves.
Gautier extended to say, “Nothing has value unless we agree and say it has value and that’s how more and more people agree on value ; Bitcoin has become more valuable.
Swann asked: “If sovereignty is necessarily extralegal, because you ask for laws favorable to sovereignty, then are you not sovereign? Does sovereignty require the absence of jurisdiction?
Lewis replied, “There must be something beyond the state, other than fiat. In the end, enough people have to want freedom or it won’t happen. Money is only one of the tools and freedom is much deeper than any tool. Lewis believes that whatever is formed to enable this freedom cannot be dictated by a legal structure; it must be beyond.
Breedlove responded to the same question by saying, “The rule of law is a nonviolent way to resolve property disputes. However, at present there are no clear rules when it comes to money and hence property is violated. Maximize sovereignty and you maximize sanity.
Barkley believes that we crave some kind of structure, but when we are constantly told what to do and how to do it without good intentions or actions, we rebel against that authority. “Bitcoin is an answer because the rules are clear and the intention of freedom is good.”
Swann relayed a Dee Hock quote that related to both Breedlove and Barkley: “Complex rules and regulations lead to simple, stupid behavior. Simple and clear rules lead to complex intelligent behavior. This is called Hock’s principle.
Right now the rules are being manipulated and changed and the players are acting badly so the game is falling apart.
The panel culminated with Swann suggesting that you can build a new society and structure with a community of like-minded people who share your values of sovereignty and freedom. In this author’s opinion, this may be a better option in the privileged white West, but it is less possible in countries or regions where sovereignty, freedom, infringements of private property and coercion are much larger concerns and of a much greater magnitude.
This is a guest post by Heidi Porter. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or BitcoinMagazine.