TL;DR: On June 8th, 1949 United Kingdom publishers Secker & Warburg revealed George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). His dystopian future society captured imaginations around the world, unnerving fascist and communist regimes alike, while clearly warning those in the comparatively freer world. On its 70th anniversary, the cryptocurrency community has some unique and compelling ways to celebrate its lasting message.
Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four
Among Orwell’s biographers and literary scholars, 1984 isn’t considered his best writing. In fact, snobs found it slightly derivative of pre-Cold War literature of the time, namely Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We and Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon. That it was also set against a kind of romantic adventure seemed to sour critics.
However, no one can deny its lasting staying power. Essayist Christopher Hitchens in an interview explained when totalitarian governments became aware of 1984, they were simply amazed by how much Orwell had gotten right … without even having visiting the Soviet Union, for example.
Much of Orwell’s thinking is worth examining in both his other fiction and semi-autobiographical work, memoirs. He lived quite a lot of life in his 46 years, from police officer to lowly dishwasher to revolutionary. If there is a theme throughout all his work it is his intense distrust of government power (paradoxically, he was very much a man of his time, and referred to himself as something of a socialist). The total state would creep, insidious, through surveillance into every part of life, he warned, and it’s a juicy thought experiment to wonder at what he’d have to say about the invention of Bitcoin.
Three Ways to Seize 1984’s Spirit
It’s unclear if Orwell ever considered the bald, everyday issue of money’s ownership. So right in front of you, the phenomenon is easy to take for granted as inevitable, and like death and taxes should be a strictly government affair. The connection, however, between money and its ability to monitor users is an aspect Orwell would’ve considered at least problematic. Tracking. Data mining. Surveillance and potential censorship of purchases. All of them run counter to a free society, and so cryptocurrency can theoretically be an effective avenue to escape aspects of unwarranted monitoring.
The most obvious way to celebrate Orwell is to purchase cryptocurrency. Plenty of onboarding exchanges are out there, and nearly all require elements of know-your-customer (KYC) identification. That aside, buying cryptocurrency can be a way to experience being your own bank. Bitcoin.com just released their non-custodial exchange, Local Bitcoin. It looks easy enough to use, and is at the very least an experiment in avoiding the world Orwell cautioned against.
Once you have some, say, bitcoin cash (BCH), head over to Electron Cash, and download their latest wallet. Developers there prize privacy, and work hard to craft a tool that is decentralized and user-friendly. There’s even a BCH token version. And with your Electron Cash wallet, a tool inside that tool is CashShuffle. It’s a non-custodial coin mixing service, and can be used for even greater transaction privacy. All these steps take a little doing, some minor effort, but they embody a philosophy: what you do with your money is your business. Nothing could be more in line with Nineteen Eighty-Four‘s 70th anniversary.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.
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