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I made a poem about bitcoin on reddit once. Earned one Nyancat.

(orginally on reddit)

First, a little bit of meta to give you some context:

A poem I wrote using "found quotations".

The poem is my attempt to express something that has been kicking around in my head, but I can only seem to express it using other people's words.

I heard you like meta, so I'll put some meta in this meta, so you can get some context on this context:

A poem begins with a lump in the throat; a home-sickness or a love-sickness. It is a reaching-out toward expression; an effort to find fulfillment. A complete poem is one where an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found the words.

Sometimes I have my doubts of words altogether, and I ask myself what is the place of them. They are worse than nothing unless they do something; unless they amount to deeds, as in ultimatums or battle-cries. They must be flat and final like the show-down in poker, from which there is no appeal. My definition of poetry (if I were forced to give one) would be this: words that become deeds.

  • Robert Frost

I was inspired by the recent TED talk by Lawrence Lessig entitled "The unstoppable walk to political reform". I saw it on my Google+ feed being shared by Guy Kawasaki. The last quote in the poem is from that ted talk. I can't recommend enough taking a look at it.

I'm not sure what to give it for a title. I'll leave that up to you.

And now the poem itself:

Thanks to the Bitcoin protocol (crucially distinct from bitcoin, the currency it underlies), for the first time in history it is possible to transfer property rights (such as shares, certificates, digital money, etc.) in a fast and transparent way, which cannot be forged.

Moreover, these transactions can take place without the involvement of a trusted intermediary such as a government, notary, or bank. Anyone who fully appreciates these attributes will immediately acknowledge the tremendous value of Bitcoin.

One could argue that bitcoin isn’t chiefly a commercial venture at all, a funny thing to say about a kind of online cash. To its creators and numerous disciples, bitcoin is — and always has been — a mostly ideological undertaking, more philosophy than finance.

Enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies is based, in part, on entirely reasonable frustration with our existing arrangements. People on the left who distrust the power accumulated by global megabanks in recent decades have united with people on the right who see the government as overreaching. But history suggests that trying to build a viable national and international payments system completely outside the control of governments will not be easy.

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.

Now, by corruption I don't mean brown paper bag cash secreted among members of Congress. I don't mean Rod Blagojevich sense of corruption. I don't mean any criminal act. The corruption I'm talking about is perfectly legal. It's a corruption relative to the framers' baseline for this republic. The framers gave us what they called a republic, but by a republic they meant a representative democracy, and by a representative democracy, they meant a government, as Madison put it in Federalist 52, that would have a branch that would be dependent upon the people alone.

So here's the model of government. They have the people and the government with this exclusive dependency, but the problem here is that Congress has evolved a different dependence, no longer a dependence upon the people alone, increasingly a dependence upon the funders. Now this is a dependence too, but it's different and conflicting from a dependence upon the people alone so long as the funders are not the people. This is a corruption.

But we cannot ignore this corruption anymore. We need a government that works. And not works for the left or the right, but works for the left and the right, the citizens of the left and right, because there is no sensible reform possible until we end this corruption. So I want you to take hold, to grab the issue you care the most about. Climate change is mine, but it might be financial reform or a simpler tax system or inequality.

Grab that issue, sit it down in front of you, look straight in its eyes, and tell it there is no Christmas this year. There will never be a Christmas.

We will never get your issue solved until we fix this issue first. So it's not that mine is the most important issue. It's not. Yours is the most important issue, but mine is the first issue, the issue we have to solve before we get to fix the issues you care about. No sensible reform, and we cannot afford a world, a future, with no sensible reform.

So how are you ever going to solve the problems you're talking about? ... how are you ever going to address those problems so long as there's this fundamental corruption in the way our government works?


and A Haiku

This great Idea,

With it, could we change the world?

Corruption be damned.


and Haiku with Kigo:

Tulips blossoming,

Will this be a chance to grow?

Winter is coming.

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