In our second interview with Emin Gün Sirer (the first one being lost to a catastrophic file system failure!), we discuss the current state of cryptocurrency, and just what Emin means when he says that Satoshi Nakamoto is 'dead.' We discover the secret shared lineage between BitTorrent and Cryptocurrency, and how they both tackle the 'chaos of the commons'. Of course TRON's recent acquisition of BitTorrent, Inc. comes in for some scrutiny -- Emin remains, let's say, skeptical. And, finally, we look at Emin's work on and around the all-new Avalanche protocol, which he sees as the most significant contribution to cryptocurrency since Bitcoin itself. 

Emin Gün Sirer is a co-director of The Initiative For Cryptocurrencies & Contracts and associate professor of computer science at Cornell University. Known for significant contributions to peer-to-peer systems and computer networking, Emin was behind the first Proof-of-Work system for cryptocurrency, Karma, which debuted before Bitcoin. Having since become a respected commentator on and contributor to Bitcoin itself, Emin is now working on Avalanche, a new cryptocurrency protocol based on an entirely new model, promising fast, reliable transactions with significantly lower power overheads.

Hello to new Patreon supporters: Brett Gaddy, Alexander Sirazh and Liquid Reign! Thanks for your support, guys. We really appreciate it! 



In this episode we meet Zenna, Andre and Zack from Scuttlebutt, a P2P-based social 'network of networks' based around a BitTorrent-like distribution technology. 

After figuring out what Scuttlebutt is (and is not) we discuss: the roots of Scuttlebutt in New Zealand, the system's politically anarchist/libertarian ethos, how Scuttlebutt survived (or shrugged off) a right-wing deluge; and how SSB's technical architecture eliminates the need for moderators.

With social networks like Facebook, Twitter and 4Chan increasingly becoming propagation tanks for viciously partisan net cultures, we talk about what makes Scuttlebutt different: it's a network that resists aggregation, massification,  and centralisation. Scuttlebutt is succeeding where Diaspora failed precisely because it doesn't seek to replace the social media behemoths: Scuttlebutt is tiny by design, happy to be human, and based around the ethos of 'solarpunk' -- a vision of a future we actually want, where high technology is put in service of humans and the environment.


Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editor Lucas Marston (Hollagully)
Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch


Presented by TorrentFreak Season SponsorPrivate Internet Access

Episode Sponsor ZCash Company

 

Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez, Adam Burns, Daniel, Grof.

Sponsorship slots are currently full. For future sponsor opportunities, please email [email protected]

In this episode we meet Cory Doctorow, sci-fi author and co-founder of Boing Boing. Cory's most recent book, Walkaway, is a story of refusing a life of surveillance and control under a high-tech oligarchy and the struggle to live in a post-scarcity gift economy where even death has been defeated. Over this one hour plus interview we discuss:
  • Whether filesharing & P2P communities have lost the battle to streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, and why the 'copyfight' is still important
  • How the European Copyright Directive eats at the fabric of the Web, making it even harder to compete with content giants
  • Why breaking up companies like Google and Facebook might be the only way to restore an internet -- and a society -- we can all live with.
After taking a detour into Cory's views on cryptocurrency and Bitcoin's chances of ''bailing out' an economy saturated with fictitious money,  we move onto discussing Walkaway and a future of 'Fully Automated Luxury Communism' versus one of mega-rich plutocrats (think Bezos) controlling the economy -- and our lives -- via massive machine empires.  How do we exit from a scenario in which machines make everything plentiful -- but none of them are owned by us?

Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editor Lucas Marston (Hollagully) Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch


Presented by TorrentFreak

Sponsored by Private Internet Access

Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez, Adam Burns, Daniel, Grof.

Sponsorship slots are currently full. For future sponsorship opportunities, please email [email protected]

In this episode, we meet Primavera De Filippi, author of the recently published 'Blockchain and the Law', from Harvard University Press (co-authored with Aaron Wright). Primavera is interested in how the law will change to accommodate blockchain -- and how blockchain might replace parts of the law. We've already seen how P2P filesharing strained the world's copyright law: what changes will be ushered in by P2P money? We discuss the future of blockchain-based technologies, and whether decentral systems are doomed to create new incumbents and new forms of centralisation; whether (and how) forking could be a solution against this 're-centralisation'; and how Ethereum's smart contracts may have a fatal flaw that the philosophy of law already knows about.
Primavera De Filippi is a permanent researcher at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris, a faculty associate at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and a Visiting Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute. She is a member of the Global Future Council on Blockchain Technologies at the World Economic Forum, and co-founder of the Internet Governance Forum’s dynamic coalitions on Blockchain Technology (COALA). Her fields of interest focus on legal challenges raised by decentralized technologies, with a particular focus on blockchain technologies. She is investigating the new opportunities for these technologies to enable new governance models and participatory decision-making through the concept of governance-by-design.

Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editor Lucas Marston (Hollagully) Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch


Presented by TorrentFreak

Sponsored by Private Internet Access

Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez.

For sponsorship enquiries, please email [email protected]

In this episode we meet Abhishta, one of the authors of the paper 'The Business Model Of A Botnet', from the University of Twente in Netherlands.  This fascinating research was widely discussed on release, at least partly due to its insights into the astonishing sums of money botnet operators are making -- and how they're doing it. We sit down with Abhishta to discuss  how Botnets are created, and the multiple ways they can be used to make profit for their operators; attacks on critical internet infrastructure like Dyn; and the surprising actors behind some big DDOS attacks on banks in the Netherlands. Abhishta fills us in on so-called 'stresser' botnet operations like Lizard Stresser, a kind of rent-a-botnet model, and we consider the surprising accessibility of mother of all attacks: a DDOS against the internet itself -- and how it could be used to net billions of dollars.

Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editor Lucas Marston (Hollagully) Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch


Presented by TorrentFreak

Sponsored by Private Internet Access

Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez.

For sponsorship enquiries, please email [email protected]

This is the second part of our interview with Chris Beams, founder of the decentralised cryptocurrency exchange, Bisq. We discuss the inner workings of the Bisq service, how it compares to the widely used platform Local Bitcoins, and the intricacies of designing decentral P2P systems for financial operations. From there, we move into some of the political/philosophical implications of Bisq as a Distributed Autonomous Organisation (DAO): are we evolving, with Bitcoin and other P2P networks, functionalities which parallel certain present-day institutions, and which could one day eliminate the need for  establishment altogether? And could a future democracy be composed of "opt-in" components that actually do better at providing for our basic human needs?

Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editor Lucas Marston (Hollagully) Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch


Presented by TorrentFreak

Sponsored by Private Internet Access

Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez.

For sponsorship enquiries, please email [email protected]

     
What is the alt-right, and what does it have to do with online culture? In this episode we meet Elizabeth Sandifer, author of Neoreaction, A Basilisk. Riffing off the material in her book, we talk through the origins of the alt-right, Richard Spencer, and a potential relation to 4Chan's Anonymous movement. Then we look at so-called Neoreactionary (NrX) theorists such as Mencius Moldbug and Nick Land, asking what it is they want for the world and what their arms may (or may not) have in common with early Marxism. Finally we look at the fascinating concept of The Great Filter: what is it, how do we survive it, and are Elon Musk, Nick Land and Peter Thiel all hunting for different solutions to the same problem? And last, but not least: the many lives of The Red Pill. Please note that although Elizabeth is referred to as 'Phil' and 'Philip' in the episode, she has since transitioned and is now known as Elizabeth.

Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editor Lucas Marston (Hollagully) Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch


Presented by TorrentFreak

Sponsored by Private Internet Access

Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez.

For sponsorship enquiries, please email [email protected]

In this episode we meet Chris Beams, founder of the decentralised cryptocurrency exchange Bisq. We discuss the concept of DAOs (Decentralised Autonomous Organisations), and whether The Pirate Bay was an early example; how the start of Bitcoin parallels the start of the Internet itself; and why the meretricious Bitcoin Cash fork of Bitcoin is based on a misunderstanding of Open Source development. Finally then we get into Bisq itself, discussing the potential political importance of decentralised crypto exchanges in the context of any future attempts by the financial establishment to control cryptocurrency. This is part one of a two-part interview; the second part will be released to Patreon supporters first, and then on the main feed.

Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editor Lucas Marston (Hollagully) Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch


Presented by TorrentFreak

Sponsored by Private Internet Access & Premiumize

Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez.

For sponsorship enquiries, please email [email protected]

In this episode we meet Sam Woolley, director of the Digital Intelligence Lab at the Institute for the Future, to dig deeper into the topic of troll farms, political disinformation and the use of social media bots to create what Sam calls 'Computational Propaganda'. What happens when the ability to create propaganda is democratized out of the hands of governments and corporate media and into the hands of unknown, weird and downright dangerous online actors? The paper Sam co-wrote, 'Computational Propaganda in the United States of America: Manufacturing Consensus Online', is available here.

Showrunner & Host Jamie King | Editor Lucas Marston (Hollagully) Original Music David Triana | Web Production Eric Barch


Presented by TorrentFreak

Sponsored by Private Internet Access & Premiumize

Executive Producers: Mark Zapalac, Eric Barch, Nelson Larios, George Alvarez.

For sponsorship enquiries, please email [email protected]