Despite its libertarian reputation, author and podcaster Joshua Dávila, aka The Blockchain Socialist,
believes crypto is for everyone — including the Left.
Crypto has been the subject of much criticism from those on the political Left, many of whom see cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin BTC$29,938
as being associated with libertarian or right-wing ideas. One common perception is that
cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based technologies, such as nonfungible tokens (NFTs),
exist for the primary purpose of concentrating wealth, scamming investors and otherwise replicating
existing financial and power structures — just in a more unregulated manner.
On Episode 16 of The Agenda podcast, hosts Ray Salmond and Jonathan DeYoung chat with author
and podcaster Joshua Dávila, host of The Blockchain Socialist podcast and author of the new
book Blockchain Radicals: How Capitalism Ruined Crypto and How to Fix It. Dávila is critical of the
capitalistic tendencies of much of the crypto space and offers up an alternative informed by his
perspective as a self-described “socialism maxi.”
Dávila acknowledged that there is a fundamental capitalistic mentality within most of crypto,
saying the space has been “heavily influenced by kind of, I would say, more right-leaning libertarian
thought, which includes a lot of, let’s say, support for capitalistic structures, for free markets and for
all these things.”
This is reflected at a core level within the consensus mechanisms of most blockchains,
which tend to rely on profit-seeking and asset accumulation to incentivize validators, he argued.
“If there was no reason to accumulate profits or wealth in our society,
then blockchains would crumble because that’s the way that they’re designed.”
Dávila pointed to venture capitalists, in particular, as a negative influence on crypto.
He believes that while there were a lot of interesting experiments in the early days of crypto,
the influx of venture capital has brought with it the expectation of massive returns for investors,
which just ends up replicating the traditional economic order.
“If there is no protection or some reason stopping them from coming in, of course they’re going to
come in, and they’re going to ruin things because that’s like the modus operandi of what they do.”
What’s the alternative?
There are many applications for cryptocurrency and blockchain that don’t fall within the existing socio-
economic order, argued Dávila, who pointed to alternative chains such as Cosmos as examples of the
way that blockchain’s design can influence its social implications.
He gave the example of a 2022 incident on Juno, a part of the Cosmos network, in which the
community voted to “expropriate” $35 million worth of airdropped JUNO tokens from a wallet
that had allegedly managed to receive more tokens than it was supposed to. “They have very clear on-
chain governance directly for the chain itself that had obvious sociopolitical consequences,” he said.
“They would not have been able to do that if this was Bitcoin.”
For Dávila, that is a good thing: “Ultimately, we are the creators of our destiny,
so we should embrace that fact and implement that in technological code the best we can.”
As for his broader dreams for the crypto and tech landscape, Dávila said he would love to see
“the creation of applications that allow for collective ownership of digital infrastructure.”
“They [Web3 founders] need to create something that is different, that specifically gets at the
root of the problem, which I think is how we own things and how we govern those things, and
recognizing that our resources should be shared in common rather than completely privatized by
whatever next billionaire comes up with another Big Tech company.”
To hear more from Dávila’s conversation with The Agenda, listen to the full episode on
Cointelegraph’s Podcasts page, Apple Podcasts or Spotify. And don’t forget to check out
Cointelegraph’s full lineup of other shows!