The John Adams Society
Christopher T. Wolff
John P. Augustine
April 21, 2021
“There are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate: when he can’t afford it, and when he can.” ― Mark Twain
THE IDEALISTIC AIM which inspires many devotees of cryptocurrency—that you should not need to use currency generated by government fiat as the principal medium of exchange between two private parties—is a laudable one, even if alternative currency has flaws. First conceived in the 1980s and later implemented after the establishment of a widely-accessible internet, cryptocurrency ownership or transfer of decentralized but limited cryptocurrency units only can be confirmed cryptographically. Cryptocurrency is supposed to be an anonymous equivalent to cash for a world driven by electronic commerce, but without being connected to governmental or centralized banking forces that can debase the currency’s supply.
With a broader acceptance of cryptocurrency, no longer would people need to be overdependent on regulated banks or credit card companies and processors for commerce. It should not be the purview of an intermediary to determine how people can spend their accumulated wealth. The value of cryptocurrency promises to be even greater in the future, as a hedge against inflation or as a shield against authoritarian “social credit” plans.
ON THE OTHER HAND, the anonymity, security, and practicality of cryptocurrencies are vastly overstated. The system is still too complex for most people to accept. Who will determine the value of something so obscure as virtual real estate being sold as a Non-Fungible-Token? The IRS has brought cryptocurrency transactions under its system of capital-gains taxation. The cryptocurrency system has evolved to the point where blockchains of encrypted data are too large to store on a personal computer, necessitating the involvement of a fee-charging third party to store data and confirm transactions. Those third parties then must pay taxes on the fees they collect for maintaining users’ digital wallets. Owners of cryptocurrency are out of luck if their passwords are hacked or lost, and there is also extreme price volatility, so it is not a good idea to rely on it as a repository of savings. The electronic addresses of people engaging in Bitcoin transactions can be traced. People have found ways to clone cryptocurrencies, endangering a system built on a fixed supply of cryptocurrency units. Unscrupulous individuals have been able to amass wealth through cryptocurrency theft or fraud. Not to be outdone, opportunistic big banks and even governments are beginning to peddle their own digital currency products to unsophisticated consumers, undermining the ability of digital currency users to escape government control of transactions.
THE CHAIRMAN, who overestimated his ability to get Satoshi Nakamoto to deliver a Society Lecture on the topic, has nevertheless called for a debate on this resolution:
RESOLVED: There’s gold in them thar cryptos!
The Debate will be held at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at Burger Moe’s, 242 West 7th Street, St. Paul, MN 55102.
The Chancellor and Chairman encourage people to arrive prior to 7 PM and to thank our host venue by spending money while partaking of food and drink. The debate will begin at 7:30. Please be responsible and follow current government edicts, as we need to project law-abiding conduct, lest the regulators get too interested in our social gathering. There is no dress code; however, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies are encouraged to adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen arriving sans tie yet wishing to discourse on the resolution, the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand several remarkable selections.
Questions regarding debate caucus procedures of about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (651) 494-9008 or Secretary at (651) 398-9316.