The Panopticoin Is Coming
Resisting digital surveillance currencies won’t be easy, but our freedom depends on it
Hello friends, welcome to Surviving Tomorrow, a podcast, newsletter, and publication about navigating life in an age of democratic destruction, ecological collapse, and economic irrelevance, now available for free on Substack, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Facebook, and Youtube!
I’m your host, Jared A. Brock, and today we’re going to discuss one of the most dangerous pieces of technology that has ever been invented.
But first, I wanted to let you know that I’m running a giveaway! One lucky winner will get a free copy of a book called The Bitcoin Standard, which is a great introduction to cryptocurrency, plus I’m going to send the winner $100 in free Bitcoin to spend. If you’d like to enter for free, click here.
Okay, let’s dig in:
“The more strictly we are watched, the better we behave.” — Jeremy Bentham
At some point between 1785 and 1786, while visiting his dictator-serving brother in Russia, the now-stuffed utilitarian social engineer Jeremy Bentham started asking himself a series of questions that two centuries later are about to yield disastrous consequences for your freedom, privacy, and personal autonomy:
What if there was a way to design a prison that would allow one person to oversee the activities of thousands of inmates?
What if the watcher couldn’t be seen by the inmates, and therefore not even need be on duty at all times, effectively leaving the watching to the watched?
What if the surveilled inmates were coerced into working in their cells in order to stay alive?
What if the prison was named after Panoptes, a mythical Greek giant who possessed a hundred eyes?
The result was the Panopticon.
The Panopticon prison design was devilishly brilliant. The inmate cells lined the outer circular wall, with a surveillance tower in the center. The watcher could see all cells at all times and even speak to the inmates through a network of “conversation tubes,” but the inmates could never see the watcher.
Bentham declared his invention was a “new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind.”
Only a dozen or so Panopticons were ever constructed — Fidel Castro was once imprisoned in one — but unfortunately, it created an insidious panopticon paradigm that lasts to this very day.
Because a panopticon is no longer just a physical building; ultimately, it’s a system of totalitarian control.
Patrick Henry said, “give me liberty or give me death,” and he wasn’t being hyperbolic.
He understood that humans without freedom are just inmates in a panopticon prison — without free will, we’re just dead people walking.
Panopticons derive their ultimate power by creating a state of conscious visibility, assuring automatic obedience through coercive and anonymous power.
Under the panopticon eye, people wither and die.
We already live in a panopticon.
Anyone who owns a smartphone is being surveilled at all times.
Every word spoken…
Every sentence typed…
Every photo and video taken…
Every item purchased…
Every relational connection forged…
Every movement made…
The only difference between today and Bentham’s poor prisoners is that:
a.) most people aren’t punished for wrongthink, wrongspeak, and wrongaction, and
b.) most people aren’t conscious they’re being watched.
“All data is credit data, we just don’t know how to use it yet.” — Douglas Merrill, Google
Nearly all the other pieces necessary for a modern panopticon society are already in place:
IoT surveillance (via your fridge, car, etc.)
Non-anonymized consumer data harvesting
Biometric under-the-skin tracking
Heart rate and body heat monitoring
We’ve literally never been more surveilled at any point in human history.
Panopticon culture is already changing our behavior and policing our free speech.
We’re becoming more risk-averse.
We’re self-censoring constantly.
There’s even a term for it: Social cooling.
Have you ever not said something because you thought it would hurt your reputation? Have you ever avoided posting something online for fear of reprisal at work? Have you ever hesitated to click on a link, watch a video on Youtube, or buy a book on Amazon for fear it might be tracked and come back to bite you in the future?
That’s social cooling.
When we let elite-controlled algorithms change our behavior in any way, we become less human.
And now there’s a piece of technology coming on the market that will make everything monumentally worse:
Digital surveillance currencies.
Panopticoin: A digital currency that allows totalitarians to surveil and completely control the economic activity of their subjects.
Imagine a world in which all money is digitally controlled and monitored by corporate-corrupted national governments.
Yes, we already have digital $USD, but this is something else.
Imagine a government-issued cryptocurrency — a digital file created from nothing by the most dangerous power-seeking sociopaths on the planet — that can be completely controlled.
They can create it at will — inflating prices, crushing purchasing power, draining wealth from productive workers to those closest to the money printer.
They can surveil every transaction — knowing exactly how you spend, where you spend, and who you know.
They can destroy it at will — if you fall out-of-bounds of the powers that be, they can delete your money, impoverishing or bankrupting you instantly.
They can exclude you from the global economy — in fact, economic exclusion is an eventuality predicted in the Bible nearly 2,000 years ago.
In a hyper-monetized global economy, there is nothing more dangerous than a surveillance currency that can be tracked, traced, devalued, or deleted at will.
Sure, countries are letting bitboys have their Ponzi-like casino fun with cryptocurrencies for now, but the whole cryptoverse experiment allows them to silently watch and learn.
When governments launch their own Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) — as some have already done — expect them to fully ban cryptocurrency and pair their CBDCs with Orwellian social credit systems and under-the-skin surveillance.
Believe in a better tomorrow
At the end of the day, it all comes down to what we believe.
I believe the United Nations should enshrine into international law the illegality of social credit systems and surveillance currencies as an egregious invasion of the human right to privacy.
I believe in the old-fashioned notion that everyone is legally innocent until proven guilty in a court of law by a jury of their homo sapien peers.
I believe that conformity culture is anti-cultural.
I believe in a future without mass surveillance.
I believe in the right to make mistakes.
I believe in the right to be unperfect.
I believe in the right to be human.
We don’t need to live in a panopticoin world.
In fact, we can go in the exact opposite direction, toward a coinified future where there are thousands of non-coercive trust-based currencies, all non-surveilled and even completely private.
To get there, we need to do two major things:
1. We need to vote out of office every single sociopathic corporate-captured politician who’s ever taken a single dollar in dark money. We must absolutely resist digital surveillance currencies.
Maybe that means you need to run for office.
2. Instead of hoarding cryptocurrency and hoping for a price spike like it’s a Ponzi scheme, we need to buy, spend, and give coins as far and wide as possible.
(To put my digital money where my mouth is, I’m giving away $100 in free Bitcoin right now.)
If we can revolutionize the new global economy before the surveillance coins get to market, we have a far better chance of securing our future economic freedom.
Otherwise, the panopticoin is coming.