The Bitcoin Bullshit of 21, Inc.’s BitShare

So here’s the deal behind that tweet. I don’t really know a whole lot about 21, Inc.–no one does (that should be thought of as a problem). They have recently achieved a very impressive $116 million dollar funding round. Investors in that round (Peter Thiel, Drew Houston, Marc Andressen, etc.) are of very dubious ethics if you are of the anarchist persuasion.

21, Inc.’s recently stated goal is to create a chip/processor for smartphones called “BitShare” (no relation to BitShares) that would allow mobile devices to act, essentially, as nodes to help secure the Bitcoin blockchain. Now, from the standpoint of securing the blockchain, this isn’t a half-terrible idea. But in my opinion, that’s where anything good about this ends.

A dedicated chip being added to your smartphone, that you likely won’t have control over what data or metadata it sends or where it sends it, is a privacy nightmare. It’s bad enough how easily you can be tracked just by the apps you use, or even your battery usage of your mobile device, but to have a whole chip in your device from a company we know practically nothing about, particularly one getting funded by the psuedo-libertarian creator of the willful disinformation distributor and government-loving company Palantir TechnologiesPeter-fucking-Thiel…is another insane story entirely. Fuck that shit.

surveillanceThe security of ARM processors (think Baseband firmware) is bad enough (READ: they have no security in place and are designed to accept and act upon all transmissions received, malicious or not), and to go adding another chip (that you likely equally have no control over) to that block of sensors in your pocket, known as a smartphone, makes this whole idea no longer just a privacy nightmare, but a security nightmare, as well.

I don’t want this to be long, and it doesn’t need to be. This is a bullshit idea being funded by a bunch of bullshit Surveillance State-loving big shots that have no concern for anonymity. And for me, if a technology isn’t about making Bitcoin more anonymous (and thus private and secure by default, SEE: DAPS), then it stands against the very purpose and empowering possibilities of Bitcoin.

Fuck off, 21, Inc., and may you fade away like just about every other Bitcoin startup.


Carpe lucem!