Why Democrats Should Love Bitcoin
A few weeks ago, I opined on why Republicans should love bitcoin. Thankfully, though, the GOP aren’t the only ones invited to the party. That’s the nature of bitcoin: it has something to offer to everyone. To illustrate, each section of this article begins with a quote taken directly from the Democratic National Platform, followed by a discussion of how bitcoin can address the issue in question.
For too long, we’ve had a financial system that stacked the deck against ordinary Americans. Banks on Wall Street played by different rules than businesses on Main Street and community banks…That behavior not only nearly destroyed the financial system, it cost our economy millions of jobs, hurt middle class and poor families, and left taxpayers holding the bill…A strong middle class can only exist in an economy where everyone plays by the same rules, from Wall Street to Main Street.
It’s not difficult to understand how Wall Street became so powerful. When both the currency itself and the mechanisms of its exchange fall under the domain of centralized control, corruption and inequality abound. With bitcoin, we don’t have to quibble about who’s playing fair and who’s not. There’s no need to worry about Wall Street fleecing, swindling, or otherwise antagonizing the populace at large.
In fact, there’s no need to worry about banks at all. The great promise of bitcoin is the democratization of financial transactions. Peer-to-peer exchange on a distributed network can upend financial authority, both public and private. The change will be evolutionary, not revolutionary: a slow bleed of the establishment’s Hippocratic humors.
Arts and Culture
Democrats are proud of our support for arts funding and education. We are committed to continuing the policies and programs that have already done so much for our creative arts industry and economy. Investment in the arts strengthens our communities and contributes to our nation’s rich cultural heritage…The entire nation prospers when we protect and promote the unique and original artistic and cultural contributions of the women and men who create and preserve our nation’s heritage.
Art thrives when artists are empowered, encouraged, and set free. The internet has forever changed audience consumption. Artists of all kinds—especially musicians—have become closer to their patrons, fans, and fellow creators than ever before. iTunes, YouTube, and other technologies have enabled the sharing of culture by reducing risk and financial cost for artists. Bitcoin essentially nullifies transaction costs, thereby making micropayments of all sizes economically feasible. Artists can keep more of the money you send. And it’s not just on the internet. Imagine a world in which you could send a small tip to the artist of a painting you enjoyed in a gallery. Bitcoin makes that possible.
We believe in an America where everybody gets a fair shot and everybody plays by the same set of rules. At the core of the Democratic Party is the principle that no one should face discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status…We are committed to ending racial, ethnic, and religious profiling…
A “fair shot” begins with a level playing field. For various reasons, minorities are often discriminated against. As an example, in the world of personal and commercial lending, discrimination is a reality, but it isn’t necessarily based on hate or racism. It’s based on risk. Pragmatism is the highest virtue of the financial professional.
Instead of attempting to alter the valuations and judgments of financial professionals or of the system itself, the Bitcoin protocol obsoletes the need for those judgments altogether. Technologies currently in the development stage include smart contracts and smart property. In short, these applications will utilize the protocol to enforce legal obligations, thereby protecting the interests of both creditors and purchasers—without the need for discrimination.
Advancing Global Development
[P]romoting global development is a strategic, economic, and moral imperative for the United States. Development expands markets for American products and creates American jobs. Strong and prosperous regional partners are critical to addressing global challenges, ending regional conflicts, and countering the spread of global criminal networks. And good governance and stability cannot take root, and basic human dignity cannot be protected, where poverty reigns and people lack access to the food, basic education, clean water, and medicine they need to survive.
A wealthier, more developed world benefits the whole of humanity. Right now, higher productivity in the third-world is being stymied by an access problem. That is, the capital resources of the first-world—financial and otherwise—are currently off limits. This is the plight of the unbanked population.
Access to international monetary resources would incite an immediate development boon. Unlike traditional currencies that require a third-party intermediary to facilitate international transactions, bitcoin can be sent immediately and inexpensively (free) to even the most distant corners. Restrictions imposed by political boundaries and geographic disparities vanish entirely.
The professed aims of the Democratic Party discussed above—undermining Wall Street’s privilege, enabling artists, promoting civil rights, and advancing global development—are things that people of all political leanings care about. Bitcoin is in a unique position to address each and every one of these issues in a positive way.