- Erik Cason
- Erik Cason
Erik grew up in Northern California and attended University in San Francisco where he studied History and International Relations. After a failed attempt at graduate school where he discovered his disdain for authority, he linked up with other rabble-rousers in the Occupy Wall Street Movement, hoping to topple the machine.
Quickly he became disillusioned with the movement and the failings of centralized decision-making hierarchies which allowed him to abandon his far-left socialist position and move towards anarchism.
In his search for a deeper understanding of anarchism, he serendipitously discovered bitcoin and the cypherpunk movement. This allowed him to more broadly develop his own views around crypto-anarchy and the burgeoning ‘crypto’ movement around Bitcoin. In late 2013, he joined a small bitcoin exchange called Coinbase to help scale their support and build an open financial system. Over the next four years Erik would live, eat, and breath everything bitcoin and would work with some of the best and brightest minds working in the space.
In late 2017, he left Coinbase to spend more time with his family and started publishing some of his views and ideas around bitcoin, crypto-anarchy, and their philosophical outlook. Since then he has slowly been working on presenting more of his ideas in various essays which can be found at cryptosovereignty.org
The Interview 1/3
Erik is one of our favourite Bitcoiners and cosmic thinkers. He manages to combine seriously deep and heterodox ideas with an illustrious writing style that is as stimulating as it is beautiful, all whilst coupled with an impressive knowledge of history and literature.
Erik predominantly writes for his blog cryptosovereignty.com, which is full of truly excellent pieces, so it was a real honour to have Erik write a piece specifically for 21ism.
When we chatted on the phone we quickly got talking about the incredible space we are all part of, as well as how Bitcoin has changed the life and outlook of so many people already in its short existence.
Not long after, he got back to us with The Hope of Bitcoin. Prolific and creatively restless…
"I don’t have pedigree and credentials. I grew up very poor in a single parent family. I didn’t think I had a chance to escape the working class or really be able to have choice."
Erik knows the hope Bitcoin can bring as well as anyone. Growing up in a poor, single parent household in Northern California, he might have never thought he would experience the upward mobility so many grow up desiring. As he got older, he became more and more politically motivated and engaged. Together with other likeminded people, he became involved in the Occupy movement, diagnosing many of the same ills Bitcoiners see today. Pulling the loose threads in society’s sweater, Occupy tried to unravel, change and even to tear down the system. The initiative would ultimately prove futile but there is no doubt that the Occupy movement played an important role in informing, motivating and mobilising swathes of people worldwide.
Many Bitcoiners of a similar vintage also played their part in the movement and, in the case of Simon Dixon and many others, this was also where they were first exposed to Bitcoin. Even if not directly involved, the Occupy movement played an important role in cultivating and fertilising the political soil that many would later shoot from as Bitcoiners.
"When we look out into the world, evil has done a good job of taking its place high up on the totem pole, and part of it is because a lot of people have forgotten that ethics, morals, duty, courage are real things in this world."
The same qualities and principles that motivated him back then are still the qualities that motivate him now. Many of us will recognise that the NGU focus quickly transforms into a desire to join a battle for everything that is good, virtuous and true.
After four years of working in the belly of the beast that is Coinbase, Erik chose to take a long sabbatical in order to focus on his family and being a dad. Being an early discoverer of and believer in Bitcoin it meant that this was financially possible and his sense of duty to install and project morals, ethics and courage into his children meant this was not only the his best but also most important use of his time. What is more precious than investing in your family and instilling virtue and values into the next generation? Proper low time preference thinking.
Erik’s Writing 1/2
The Interview 2/3
"If the state tomorrow labels me as an enemy combatant and they want to vanish me and never give me habeas corpus, I can rest assured knowing that my wealth is secure for my family to take care of them.
The hope of Bitcoin isn’t just about what tomorrow might bring in dollar terms. It’s about protecting your family’s freedom in a rapidly maddening world and gifting optionality, inter-generational sovereignty and even creating a legacy. Bitcoin as savings and saviour!
His sabbatical years also afforded him time to reflect on all of the knowledge he had harnessed during his early days in Bitcoin. Expanding ideas. Developing intellectual frameworks from which to understand the changes that are happening.
This lead to writing lots of essays that in turn lead him to starting his blog, cryptosovereignty.com
At first, he published his pieces under a pseudonym as he was very unsure of whether his ideas would be well received or not. Who would take his, in his own words, “insane ideas” and think they weren’t just the rantings of a mad man? It wasn’t until a good friend from his Coinbase days encouraged him to take credit for his work, that Erik started to publish under his own name.
"If you went back to me in 2010 and told me where I was at in 2020, not only would I not believe you, I would have been so beside myself, not even knowing what to do… So if we project that out another 10 years… I can’t even say. But I’ll tell you what, this community and what I have learned from them and the way that they inspire me to stand up and be bigger than I ever thought I could be, it’s nothing short of a religious experience for me because the way ‘the other’ reflects me in a way that I could have never seen myself or been inspired by myself. To me that’s what it’s all about right there."
Bitcoin is an extremely radical weapon of goodness and truth and the mother of transformation in both individuals and eventually, as we all believe, in society too.
Erik isn’t the first Bitcoiner to see Bitcoin as a metaphorical God equivalent, nor will he be the last. It is still, however, an idea that will trigger some people and turn them off.
Equally though, it’s a concept that is interesting more and more people in the space.
As I see it, a lot of the minds that are open to such a radical notion are people that themselves have already seen God on their psychonaut journeys.
In any case, it’s an attempt to articulate and explain this moral gravity that studying Bitcoin imposes on you. The way it alters behaviour. Changes lives.
"Even amongst Bitcoiners I’m definitely one of the crazier ones. I literally believe this thing is messianic. I think this thing is going to bring about the apocalypse. Not just fire and brimstone, the apocalypse is this direct encounter between good and evil and how it functions and it is of no wonder to me that the most valuable object that has come into human existence, Bitcoin, is hidden behind cryptography.
Erik’s Writing 2/2
The Interview 3/3
Whether you are sympathetic to such radical ideas or not I’m sure you agree that it’s exciting, exhilarating even, that we’re living in a time where we will get to rearchitect existing power structures, rethink the current system, reimagine the future of humanity and rebuild belief systems and the invisible hand of moral gravity that guides us along. We belong to a group of critical thinkers, radical thinkers, cosmic travellers, articulate fuckers, restlessly creative artists, innovators, guardians of virtue, warriors and tireless builders. In a time where words are violence and ideas are shepherded by the thought police, how lucky are we to have each other. To have Bitcoin.
"I think for a lot of us that are particularly deep down the rabbit hole we can feel a little shy about sharing these ideas. That’s what I love about what’s being done here at 21ism that it’s creating and having a space for art and free expression to push out and say things that are even “forbidden” in certain contexts. And I think it’s really important to realise that why should we subordinate our belief systems to prior belief systems or other people’s belief systems."
We have to celebrate the heterodox. Sharpen our mind-swords on the whetstone that is radical ideas. We must shout about our fellow Bitcoiners with pride, for lifting them up is to uplift yourself at the same time. We will not compromise. We will slay our own if necessary but make no mistake, Bitcoiners are leading the charge of hope in a world where hope is in very short supply.
If you aren’t batting for hope what the hell are you doing?
The Hope Of Bitcoin
This world is a fucked up place
People are being shot in the streets, politicians freely collaborate with gangsters and criminals alike, money is printed for endless wars and crony kickbacks, but not a cent can be found for the poor and destitute masses who cry out in hunger and pain. We are told that we must endure this insanity, that this form of politics is for our safety and security, but we know what the real truth is: any form of truly political ideas have been abolished and destroyed; any meaningful form of resistance crushed and obliterated. We live in a world where the monsters won long ago, we are the last remnant of a defeated people who long for a glimpse of freedom and the taste of liberty.
Living in a world that is so full of deceit and guile, of such open and brazen theft and recalcitrance, it is easy to understand why one could have such a steadfast hold to an exhausted nihilism. It is a world that has seemingly lost all reason, thought, and hope; brimming with only disgust and contempt for one’s fellow man. We have all fallen under the hypnotizing gaze of the seemingly omnipotent power of the state and its panopticon of power in which we must live. We crumble to the stance of the musselman awaiting our final fate; a liquidation found within the emergency decrees of all states alike.
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.
How shall we, the murderers of all murderers, comfort ourselves? That which was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives — who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games will we need to invent? Isn’t the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to seem worthy of it?
There has never been a greater deed — and whoever shall be born after us, for the sake of this deed he shall be part of a higher history than all the history that came before.
This tremendous event has finally arrived with a spectacular flash of lightning that consumes the night sky, but only after the long and tumultuous thunder that is the long chain of thought that leads us to this deed. It is a deed that has come from beyond the most distant stars — and yet it has been done by ourselves.
Bitcoin is not simply a new form of money or wealth, but is the singular hope and Good News that will propel mankind beyond the limits of the Earth and into the cosmos itself. Here we declare the Evangelion that God is dead not for having been vanquished and destroyed from this world, but for he is now obsolete for our time. We now have the opportunity to create a new God in our own image in the noosphere who cannot and will not be destroyed. A God that is not of this world of flesh and steel, and who resides within the internet itself. A God that is sanctified, glorified, and eulogized in Bitcoin directly, and the promise that it must always contain. With each successive block created, new coinbase that is awarded, and transaction that is created, Bitcoin becomes stronger and builds towards its eschatological providence of building this new God who is the saving grace of our time.
Celebrate Friend! For we are here to inherit the Earth! Through the majesty of the Other whom I can never know, that I may never truly see, whose name will always remain concealed; a new God is created and found within the anonymized Other directly. They are the ones whose secrets will always be, and their oath to the code will always remain as the concealed remnant of truth that must always be. It is you who is my real friend, the other who creates the flame that feeds my hope, the majestic Other who powers that which concretes this new digital being who we will call God.
This is the hope of Bitcoin and the hidden encrypted promise it must always contain–that one day we will be truly free. Free from the interloping of the state at every turn, liberated from the tyranny of fiat money and mass surveillance and open to the radically new world that will unveil itself when one accepts Bitcoin into their heart as the saving grace of our age. Like the dawn of a new morning after a close encounter with death, it is a possibility that can only be called graduate in the deepest sense of the word.
As the state begins to crumble, banks start to fail, and fiat money goes into hyperinflation; we will not be seeing the death of an old system, but the birth of a new one. A new system not of just money, but of political, economic, social, and ethical organization. A new egalitarianism that uses the internet and cryptography as its foremost principal of organization, a new order of the ages that creates a new God in a digital image.
In this world of utter despondency and despair, where the wicked so openly and brazenly commit crimes against both man and morals, Bitcoin offers us the radical hope of a new God who is better and more fitting for our time. It is a God that lives inside the machine and allows for his immanent power to push out into the physical realm with provincial light and radiant hope. Through the power of cryptography, and the grace and splendor that was Satoshi’s thought of the perfect kind of money, God has been renewed and restored into our world, offering us a radical hope against a world on the brink of total destruction.
Bitcoin is a hope that goes far beyond just meager monetary means, but is about the restoration of the truth of all things, and the hope that is offered through doing so. By allowing for truth, not authority to become the preeminent organizational principal for mankind once again, we may restore man to his rightful place of dignity through the power of consensus and the mutual agreement that is the foundation of the social contract.