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The meaning of freedom and the importance of eCash

The other day someone asked me if I was free. The question caught me off guard, and it surprised me that I couldn’t just answer it with a simple yes or no. I thought it over for a few days before realizing that I first needed to figure out what being free actually means to me.

I decided that for me being free means not having to be afraid. I’m not talking about being afraid of getting cancer, or having a fear of heights, or anything like that. I’m talking about not being afraid of my government.

I think of being free as knowing your rights will be protected and that the powers that be can’t punish you without cause. As an American, I grew up taking my freedoms for granted. I never worried about the government coming after me for saying the wrong thing, or practicing the wrong religion, and if someone had asked me if I was free back then, I would have answered yes without hesitation.

But that’s not how I feel today. With the advance of digital technology, everything is changing. We’re seeing people gettting deplatformed from social media just for having a different opinion. And for our neighbors to the north, it’s even worse as Canadians are getting their bank accounts seized because their prime minister declared they hold “unacceptable views“.

My fear is that things will only get worse as technology makes it even easier for authoritarians to exert their control and influence. Imagine what will happen as the entire world shifts away from using physical cash. China has already introduced the digital yuan, and the US is working on a central bank digital currency of its own. Such initiatives will will not only allow the state to see every financial transaction you make, but it will also give them the power to exclude you from participating in the economy with the simple push of a button.

Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you see yourself as a law-abiding citizen and therefore have no reason to be worried. But even if that’s true, why would you want anyone to have that kind of power over you? And what happens if one day they enact new laws you don’t agree with?

They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Well, a government that has total control over our finances will have absolute power over its citizenry. The mere threat of losing access to our money will handcuff our ability to challenge the status quo and explore new ideas. I fear the introduction of CBDCs can lead to the end of freedom as we know it and mark the beginning of a new prison state where we are constantly being watched and monitored.

Enabling such a system effectively creates a central point of failure for humanity. It will serve as a way to enslave us, not free us. But what if I told you there was a way to avoid this scenario? What if we could create the proper checks and balances so no government can ever have that kind of power?

This is why I am so passionate about cryptocurrencies in general and the eCash project specifically. Because I believe it might be our only chance to fight the tyranny and authoritarianism that is fast approaching.

What’s needed is an alternative system that works. A new financial system that doesn’t rely on any central authority but on a purely peer-to-peer network that can’t be shut down because there is no central point of failure and is resistant to censorship because it doesn’t rely on any third-party intermediaries.

But systems don’t just build themselves. Perhaps my greatest disappointment since I first discovered crypto is that so much of this industry has shifted away from its original purpose. Rather than focusing on creating the best form of money the world has ever seen, we’ve become distracted by the digital gold narrative. Rather than working to scale these networks to out-compete the legacy financial system, we’ve become more interested in partnering with legacy finance to make number go up.

The result is that we’re essentially recreating the old system rather than replacing it. Without the necessary tools and technological breakthroughs to enable massive scaling, users will be forced to rely on custodial solutions like centralized exchanges that admit they are neither permissionless nor censorship-resistant.

As Jesse Powell, the CEO of Kraken, admits, the exchanges cannot protect you. What we need is the ability to trade peer-to-peer without having to worry about high transaction fees or slow confirmation times, and that’s exactly what the eCash project is working towards.

It’s one of the few teams in all of crypto that is laser focused on the mission of creating peer-to-peer electronic cash. They are doing this by leveraging the latest developments in blockchain technology such as the revolutionary Avalanche consensus mechanism to improve the user experience without sacrificing security or decentralization.

I support the eCash project because I see it as the continuation of Satoshi’s original vision while also being one of the few crypto projects out there with a serious roadmap laying out how they plan to achieve their goals.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to say I’m totally free, but I know that if we can separate our money from the state, it can effectively create a check on the government to prevent bad actors from ever gaining too much power. By limiting their ability to print money out of thin air, or confiscate funds with the push of a button, it will make it harder for governments to fund unnecessary wars, or impose financial sanctions on their political opponents.

If you support economic freedom, help build the foundation for the kind of future where we no longer have to be afraid and we can all say that we are truly free.

“I think that the internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that’s missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable eCash, a method whereby, on the internet, you can transfer funds from A to B, without A knowing B, or B knowing A.”

Milton Friedman, 1976 Nobel Prize winner in Economics