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What I've Been Thinking About Lately #31

The Prince

The Prince by Machiavelli is timeless, the following is a passage from the book.

“Men who rise to sovereignty through their own abilities face all kinds of difficulties when setting up their states but then hold on to them fairly easily. The initial difficulties depend in large part on the fact that in order to establish their government and guarantee its security, they have to impose a new administrative system and new procedures. Here we have to bear in mind that nothing is harder to organize, more likely to fail, or more dangerous to see through, than the introduction of a new system of government. The person bringing in the changes will make enemies of everyone who was doing well under the old system, while the people who stand to gain from the new arrangements will not offer wholehearted support, partly because they are afraid of their opponents, who still have the laws on their side, and partly because people are naturally skeptical.”

If you attempt to disrupt something, you better be

  1. Significantly better than the status quo

  2. Strong enough to survive attacks from the establishment, because they surely have a resource advantage over you. (ex. Large Company sues Smaller Company and sucks up their resources in extensive and tiring legal battle because Large Company sees Smaller Company as a risk and has the surplus resources to expend

  3. Strong enough to win on your own accord, because you can't expect help from others

I liken this to crypto. When blockchains are created, new administrative policies and procedures are presented. These implementations are designed with sovereignty in mind and these new rules stand to benefit the people that use it. However, the rise of crypto challenges established financial systems, threatening the influence of those in control of governmental fiscal policies. Hence why the United States Government has developed a reputation of attacking crypto, causing potential adopters hesitate, swayed by fear of the old guard and inherent skepticism towards new financial paradigms.

Machiavelli's insights serve as a reminder that changing rules is hard and unlikely. That being said, establishing internet sovereignty through blockchains, even if it is unlikely to work, is the most exciting and important thing I can work on.

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