Orchid CEO Dr. Steven Waterhouse Speaks at Web Summit 2021Nov 8, 2021
On Thursday, November 4th, Orchid CEO Dr. Steven Waterhouse (Seven) spoke at Web Summit, an annual technology conference that brings together tech founders, thought leaders, and media outlets from around the globe. His presentation focused on the proliferation of digital currencies, and how people can safeguard their rights in the face of growing financial censorship.
Seven started his speech by reflecting on changes in Internet culture over the past several decades, and how those changes could influence the design and operation of digital currencies.
"In a very real sense, the Internet began as a type of 'punk' movement. It was oriented toward openness, decentralization, and individual autonomy, and was contemptuous of the 'establishment.' Right through the early 2000s, it seemed poised to create a more open, free, people-centered world.
"But somewhere along the way, radical openness, borderless connection, and limitless exploration gave way to mass surveillance, unprecedented government and corporate control, and increasing misery among the population."
Seven said that there is a very real danger that the same currents driving today's toxic digital discourse could come to dominate digital money. "The large organizations that have dominated and perverted Web2 are coming to do the same to Web3 by creating permissioned, closed networks that will not reflect the true, open ethos of decentralization.
"In 20 years, all currency will be digital—but the form this digital money takes will be the determining factor in whether we live in a free society or under systems of control that are more powerful than anything that exists today," Seven said.
Decentralized cryptocurrencies and the punk ethos
"We have a chance to right the mistakes of the legacy Internet through technology that once again centers the individual," Seven said. "Decentralization offers the technical tools to build an open, inclusive, democratic future centered around individual rights like privacy. Crypto is driven by the same individualist, anti-establishment, 'punk' sentiments that drove the rise of the Internet," he said.
"The fact that it draws such heated ire from so many vested interests—governments, regulators, corporations, banks—to me is proof of its power. People don't try to kill things they don't fear."
Many of the same entities cracking down on decentralized crypto are attempting to harness its power by creating various forms of centralized digital currency. "Authorities like the Chinese Communist Party, as well as companies like Facebook, are moving aggressively to introduce their own digital currencies and control the future of money," he said.
"The object now is to overcome the prejudices of regulators and governments and the avarice of large corporations. We can do this with blockchain: we can establish a digital future that strengthens freedom through decentralization—an open future that centers the individual and protects our rights against those of the powerful.
"That's why the most revolutionary thing you can do right now is to be a cryptopunk."
Orchid's VPN marketplace is built with this ethos in mind, using decentralized, open-source technology to deliver strong digital privacy. The network's unique system of probabilistic nanopayments is designed to ensure users always have access to ample bandwidth. And with pre-filled accounts, any mobile or desktop user can start using Orchid with an ordinary credit card and just $1.
Download Orchid today to start exploring the Internet freely.
If you enjoyed this blog, subscribe here for privacy news, commentary, and product updates from Orchid.