Thinks 539

FT on the FTX founder: “[Sam] Bankman-Fried is in the camp that views the value of most tokens as a bet on the potential of blockchain to build a better financial system. He takes the example of a simple cross-border payment. Using blockchain, he says, that transfer is “gonna be cheaper, it’s gonna be faster, and it’s much more likely to succeed. And that, I think, is the most compelling piece of it to me.” Bitcoin, he thinks, is a special case. He likens it to gold as “an asset, a commodity, and a store of value”, but says it will never work for day-to-day payments. The system used to validate bitcoin transactions isn’t capable of operating at the scale required, and the environmental costs would be unacceptable. Using bitcoin for daily payments would be akin to paying for purchases with gold bars, he says. “Why don’t we go to a store and pay with physical gold bars? First of all, it would be ridiculous and absurd. It would be unbelievably expensive. And I’m sure it’d be bad for the climate.””

Barton Swaim: “One of the great ironies of American political life in the 2020s is that the people most exercised about the spread of false information are frequently peddlers of it. Their lack of self-understanding arises from the belief that the primary factor separating their side from the other side isn’t ideology, principle or moral vision but information—raw data requiring no interpretation and no argument over its importance. It is a hopelessly simpleminded worldview—no one apprehends reality without the aid of interpretive lenses. And it is a dangerous one…With the two-year pandemic response now all but over, what stands out most is the absence of any acknowledgment of error on the part of anyone who advocated these disastrous policies. There is a reason for that absence other than pride. In the technocratic, data-following worldview of our hypereducated decision makers, credentials and consensus are sure guides to truth, wisdom is nothing next to intelligence, and intelligence consists mainly in the ability to absorb facts. That mindset yielded a narrow array of prescriptions, which they dutifully embraced, careful to disdain alternative suggestions. They can hardly be expected to apologize for following the data.”

Atanu Dey: “Entrepreneurs create wealth; governments destroy wealth. Ultimately, it’s about division of labor and specialization. Entrepreneurs specialize in creating wealth; governments should specialize in the protection of life, liberty and property; we should devote a part of our time and money to the extent we can in helping others as part of our social responsibility. Entrepreneurs sow the seed corn, we reap most of the harvest. Denying them seed corn will surely mean starvation for us.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

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