Climate change is real and I like Greta Thunberg a lot. However I find the framing of COP26 as a singularity event unhelpful. The main reason being that I am not sure politicians have ever had less power in how they influence our lives. This may sound controversial coming out of a global health pandemic where good government vs bad has never more clearly demonstrated if you get to keep your life or not.
Recent events buck a trend. If I asked 1,000 British voters, which app or technology has had the most impact in the past decade, Uber, Netflix, Amazon, Gmail, Zoom or Spotify might all trip off the tongue. If I asked them which government policies in the past 10 years had the most impact, and if they would swap a single app or tech innovation for a specific government policy they couldn’t do without, I think some people might say Brexit, but I really wonder if they would give up Netflix for it.
We can limit the effects and damage of climate change (science says we can’t stop it entirely), but overly relying on the government is a fool’s game and denies us the opportunity to be optimistic about the future. A future in which we decide it’s less fashionable to consume like hyenas on crack and less cool to eat beef every day. In this future, the hard work being done today makes hydrogen power real and a replacement for the jet engine, in this future improvements in the efficiency of renewable energy and the options that come from small scale nuclear reactors, combined with sophisticated and liquid DeFi based carbon capital markets gives us a very viable carbon neutral future. Work is being done today on all these fronts, and should give us the optimism to want to work hard to fix a tough problem. A large group of global politicians with the very best intentions but often with no STEM or research background making declarations about things they don’t really understand does not give me a feeling of optimism. Without optimism the jaw dropping population decreases in fertility that the BBC reported on this week, could be the other more depressing way to solve climate change.
The Economist this week explained that they think a real time revolution in economics is occurring based on dynamic real time data sources. This will give governments the opportunity to make better decisions in shorter time frames. They articulate the point that bad and late data can lead to policy errors that cost millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in lost output. They claim that the financial whoopsie that was 2008, would have smelled better faster if the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to near zero in December 2007, when America entered recession, rather than in December 2008, when economists at last saw the data.
Patchy data about a vast informal economy and rotten banks have made it harder for India’s policymakers to end their country’s lost decade of low growth. The European Central Bank wrongly raised interest rates in 2011 amid a temporary burst of inflation, sending the Euro area back into recession. I think as Ethereum becomes understood by policy makers as a general purpose technology, the scale for this change in economics could be more fundamental. Until 2016 politicians were deemed credible in Western democracies on how their economic policies and ideology were perceived by the “markets” that would cast their judgement as an abstraction, but would then have a very real effect on the price at which a government could borrow to provide a quality of life to its citizens. Politicians who can now make decisions in real time over shorter time periods that allow them to adjust course based on data, is an exciting prospect. The missing bit in this analysis is how we as voters change in this model, where our Prime Minister and their cabinet is ideology blind and a set of data nihilists. I don’t know, if you have any ideas please let me know. What I do know is that blockchain data will not allow you to see the future or avoid it. Instead its promise is simple but transformative: better, timelier and more rational decision-making.
I don’t know how much a bitcoin futures ETF excites me as I still don’t know why I would buy one rather than take exposure to the underlying asset, but well done BTC. With this week’s Altair upgrade for Ethereum, please get in touch if you need any help with your Beacon and Validator nodes. Altair marks another big step to Ethereum becoming that general purpose technology that will change pretty much everything.