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How to become a ‘Blockchain Radical,’ according to podcaster Joshua Dávila

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Crypto has been the subject of much criticism from those on the political Left, many of whom see cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) 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.”

“Capitalism ruined crypto”

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.”

Related: Mutual aid, DAOs and activism: The Agenda podcast chats with PactDAO co-founder Marisa Rando

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 a blockchain’s design can influence its social implications.