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On June 1, a group of technology specialists published an open letter in which it called on the US Congress to resist the lobby of cryptocurrency industry participants and take action against the emerging industry.
The appeal was signed by 26 scientists and employees of technology companies, including Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. Politicians have been asked to question the claim of “unconditional good” that cryptocurrencies carry.
“Not all innovations are unconditionally good; not everything we can create needs to be created. The history of technology development is full of dead ends, false starts and wrong turns,” the letter says.
The signatories argue that blockchain technology “is poorly suited for almost all purposes that are presented as an existing or potential source of public good.”
According to them, products built on the basis of a distributed registry have no application in the real economy, but are “a tool for highly volatile and speculative investment schemes.” The authors of the letter believe that this poses a threat to ordinary citizens.
“We recommend [Конгрессу] ignore the hype around the industry and focus not only on its inherent flaws and extreme defects, but also on the list of technological misconceptions on which it is built,” they said.
The appeal caused a reaction in the community. The founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, noted that among the authors of the letter is technical journalist Cory Doctorow, who was considered a supporter of blockchain technology.
Buterin agreed that the crypto community has become more hostile in recent years. In his opinion, this is a consequence of the growth of the industry and the contradictions that have arisen in it.
A big difference between the “new idealistic movement” scene 10-15 years ago vs today is that back then it felt possible to be on all the good-guy teams at the same time. Today, much more adversarial thinking and conflict.
I’ve been trying to understand.. where to from here?
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) June 2, 2022
“The big difference between the scene of the ‘new idealistic movement’ 10-15 years ago and today is that back then it seemed possible to be on all the good guys’ teams at the same time. Today, adversarial thinking and conflict prevail,” he wrote.
According to Buterin, the emergence of various classes of “normal people” and unscrupulous players is an inevitable part of growth. He noted that the same thing is happening in non-financial sectors.
The letter was criticized by University of Wyoming philosophy professor Bradley Rettler. According to him, the authors did not support the presented theses with any evidence.
I’ve now read the tech bros’ anti-crypto letter.
tl;dr When you’re writing an essay, you need to support your claims — the bolder the claim, the more support needed. This letter is long on bold claims and short on support. In short, it’s shockingly bad.
— Bradley Rettler (@rettlerb) June 1, 2022
“When you write an essay, you need to support your statements – the bolder the statement, the more support is required. There are many bold statements and few arguments in this letter. In short, it’s shockingly bad,” he wrote.
Rettler noted that no one called blockchain technology “unconditionally good,” and none of the key players in the cryptocurrency industry called for anarchy instead of regulation.
General partner of Castle Island Ventures and co-founder of Coin Metrics Nick Carter questioned the competence of the authors of the letter.
i dont see how being a mid level engineer at linkedin/hubspot/etc with no track record of working on blockchains confers you any authority, especially when the entire letter is an appeal to authority
— nic carter (@nic__carter) June 2, 2022
“How many of the 26 signatories to this letter are true ‘technical experts’, particularly in the field of blockchain? I don’t understand how working as an engineer at LinkedIn/HubSpot/ and so on without blockchain experience gives you any credibility, especially when the entire letter is an appeal to authority,” he wrote.
Recall that in March 2022, eight members of the US House of Representatives in a letter to the head SEC Gary Gensler was pointed out to the groundlessness of the investigations that the commission conducts against cryptocurrency companies.
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