July 17, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Crypto

Bitcoin as a notarization layer for political agreements

Introduction

Bitcoin will revolutionize politics, not replace it.

Even if hyperbitcoinization were to become a reality with Bitcoin at the center of the monetary system emerging from the ruins of the current fiat system, the state would still be the domain of international relations. It would rise from the ruins of its predecessors, like a phoenix from its ashes.

As Max Weber wrote more than a hundred years ago in his famous essay “Economy and Society,” the state will continue to use legal coercion and violence as its specific and distinctive means of action. This is due to its essence as an aspiring monopolist of internal and external force. rex superior not recognizable externally.

Thanks to Bitcoin, the State will undergo new and diverse transformations, which are difficult to foresee today. It will undoubtedly face significant challenges and reductions compared to its current state, which will encompass changes in geographical scope, resources, competences and ambitions. However, even with the wishes of the most staunch anarcho-capitalists and libertarians, the State will not disappear completely as a social organizational structure.

While the voluntary, transactional and cooperative aspects of human interactions may dominate in a hyper-bitcoinized world, they will not be the exclusive components.

There will always be individuals who choose to resort to force to enforce their beliefs, simply because it is a feasible and convenient option. Furthermore, a certain level of violence is inherent to our nature as beings with animal instincts, and as long as humans inhabit this planet, violence will exist. Consequently, as long as violence persists, there will be efforts to organize, legitimize, and regulate it. This leads to the inevitable “historical necessity” of the State as a regulator and concentrator of power among individuals. Whether originating from a social compact among equals, imposed from above through annexations or invasions, or arising from an anarchic “man is a wolf to man” scenario where the strongest dominates and takes control, the State has evolved over time through various forms – from tribal societies to nation-states to empires – and has been sustained by various political systems such as monocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and more.

The “new state” in a global Bitcoin system will be stripped of broad monetary power, significantly limiting its ability to run up debt and manipulate currency. It will consequently need to shrink in size and scope, returning to its basic functions: legislating, judging, ensuring security, and providing defense. In an ideal scenario, it would resemble a minimalist state, such as that advocated by minarchists, voluntarily accepted by its citizens and founded on mutual consent. This imagined state could be a small entity, similar to a city-state among many others, or a compact nation-state centered on religious, linguistic, ethnic, and moral identities that will surely not disappear with the arrival of a Bitcoin world.

This future trajectory suggests a global landscape reminiscent of past political examples, such as medieval Italy with its city-states, ancient China with its pre-imperial states, 6th-century BC Greece with its poleis, or even the 19th-century American West. One might expect one with a much lower degree of political violence compared to previous examples thanks to significantly higher average material well-being (the result of enormous technological progress providing an abundance of goods, discouraging predatory human impulses driven by resource scarcity) and a level of commercial and informational interconnectedness unprecedented compared to historical precedents.

Technological progress has facilitated and will continue to facilitate communication as a solution to the prisoner's dilemma and the widespread use of trade as a beneficial alternative to war.

That said, we should not expect perpetual peace as Kant envisioned. War between states will likely be less frequent and a last resort in such an environment, but it will not be completely excluded from the realm of possibility. Some communities will still attempt to use coercive means to achieve their goals at the expense of their neighbors ending up in war. However, this infrequent occurrence will likely result in less bloodshed and resources than today, given the reduced capacity and economic power of the new state, as well as the prevailing interests in peaceful trade and the fresh historical memory of the horrors of war and bellicose states in our era.

Diplomacy and blockchain

In this hypothetical context, with a multitude of small sovereign states, intense trade and relative international anarchy, there will be a proliferation of diplomatic activities, a flourishing of bilateral and multilateral alliances, and this is where the Bitcoin network will come into play again. What better place for states to ratify and archive agreements and treaties than on Bitcoin’s layer 1?

Diplomatic negotiations have many similarities with commercial ones. In one case, they revolve around negotiation between States and treaties; in the other, they revolve around contracts. Just as contracts are not concluded if there is no trust between traders, treaties are not ratified if there is no trust between States. Therefore, a certain degree of trust is not only essential in private economic relations, but also in political-diplomatic relations.

In a politically much more decentralized and fragmented world than today, where every monetary transaction will be based on “trust” in the Bitcoin blockchain or its higher abstractions, and where the security and inviolability of the code will be guaranteed by a huge amount of energy and the largest network of computers ever seen, it would be quite reasonable for new states to choose it as the place to store their legally binding relationships. But how?

One could rely on Bitcoin's ordinal theory to develop a dedicated standard for digital signatures originating from public wallets/keys belonging to sovereign states and build from this an “official” protocol for the ratification, registration and amendment of international treaties on Bitcoin's layer 1 that is universally recognized through a consensus criterion by the network's nodes and as a common law between sovereign states.

Why Bitcoin Layer 1 specifically?

In addition to its symbolic value as a cornerstone of the future international monetary system, Bitcoin’s native blockchain offers many practical advantages as a platform for recording international treaties. These include its inherent features such as publicity and traceability (monitorability), immutability, ordinality (the timestamp mechanism to obtain a specific date for each transaction), and last but not least, neutrality (as a public good usable by anyone, not owned by anyone and therefore not subject to influence).

Looking to the future, an additional benefit could be its higher cost due to the increase in transaction fees, which would give more weight and value, compared to today, to what is agreed between the parties and recorded in it (similar to positional assets).

If we consider the possibility of building “smart treaty” tree structures on the upper layers of Bitcoin based on events (transactions) occurring on the main blockchain or on other layers, we can see how the flexibility of this tool can expand the options and functionalities of current diplomatic treaties. This expansion can make them very detailed and interactive, and therefore effective and adaptable to a highly fragmented and complex international political system.

Conclusions

In conclusion, using the Bitcoin blockchain as a decentralized ledger to record and archive international treaties and agreements could offer numerous advantages in terms of publicity, traceability, immutability, neutrality, cost, and programmability. This technology could revolutionize the way international agreements are drafted, managed, updated, and monitored, ensuring greater security, transparency, and trust between the parties involved. These improvements, in turn, should promote collaborative behaviors (as taught by game theory) and thus reduce the risk of interstate conflicts, maximizing the benefits for all members of the future system of international relations.

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