Who controls your online accounts and identities? For most of us, the answer will be some combination of Big Social -- companies like Google and Facebook -- as well as a host of smaller platforms and services, all of them parceling up and selling our information for profit.

But after a series of high-profile hacks, trusting social media corporations to store and safeguard our personal information looks an increasingly bad idea. And many are understandably wary about letting platforms look after their cryptocurrency investments. Custody of our digital assets, it seems, is shaping up to be a key issue for network citizens.

Enter Dark Crystal, a project based around Scuttlebutt (interviewed in a previous episode) and recipient of a recent grant from Ethereum Foundation. Dark Crystal enables users to store private keys -- from Bitcoin to email encryption and beyond -- with and inside their communities and social networks.  To do this, i makes use of the mathematical magic behind Shamir's Shared Secret, allowing groups of friends to safely store different 'shards' of a key,  bringing it together as and when needed.

In this episode, we meet Peg and Kieran from Dark Crystal to discuss the implications of the project: what happens when custody of our most precious digital resources can be taken away from banks and megacorps and entrusted to friends, family and community? And do projects like Dark Crystal signal the beginning of a new, cryptography-based 'information commons'?



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 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]

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]

     
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]