Phish Lot, Rural America And The Lightning Revolution

This is an opinion editorial by Patrick McCaughey, a live music fanatic, Bitcoin supporter and pragmatist living in western Massachusetts.Humans are innately social animals. We enjoy meals together, we exchange concepts with one another, and when the time is right, we set our soul free and give up to the flow of living in the moment with like-minded beings. We are, after all, just swimming in this real thing we call life. As technology advances with exponential rapidity, the approaches we use to share and interact information are going through a dramatic shift. Our trip may be brief but we have actually come a long method in just a couple of years of technological developments. These innovations are paving the method for a new frontier of linking with our fellow humans: brand-new methods of exchanging ideas, keeping details and transmitting value are shattering the legacy systems that have for far too long been the status quo. If we can imagine it, we can build it– and if we can construct it right we have the ability to invoke a world that values fact, fairness and an opportunity at a fair future for all. This bullish belief counts on a rather big presumption, however: That we will preserve continuous access to cordless communication by means of a robust and decentralized network.On Friday, July 23, I attended my 64th Phish show. The location was a very first for me: Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, NY. Bethel is most commonly understood for being the place of the iconic Woodstock Festival in 1969, the largest music festival in modern-day history which drew some estimated 400,000+ guests (unless you ask Trey Anastasio). The location is drenched in cultural history, and the surrounding landscape is as picturesque and awesome as you might envision. Despite over 50 years having passed because this legendary occasion, the little patch of rural America it took place in felt as though it was unblemished by the passing of time. For better or worse, this mostly agrarian community of the Catskills has yet to overtake the speed of connection that city residents have actually ended up being accustomed to.While unanticipated, I didnt really think this would position excessive of a concern. After all, there were no mobile communication devices in 1969 and they seemed to do just fine. But then I began considering the logistics of the night ahead of us, and how our society is ever closer to being reliant on continuous Internet gain access to in order to take part. Lyft, Uber, Instagram, Twitter, SMS messages– all of these services would soon be more or less unusable. While we quickly booked our Lyft from the hotels WiFi, once it came time to bring a flight back, we had no hopes of reserving a return journey utilizing any of the contemporary apps we consider given, let alone the capability to call a cab.Phish Lot: The Last Remaining Unfettered Free MarketUpon leaving the show we were immediately greeted with fragrances and subtle noises, like colors in the landscape, and textures of the town. Hot butter was sizzling on a grill, a crisp 77 “Eyes of the World” was roaring from a vendors speaker, and the whirring hiss of nitrous oxide seemed to cover our every moment. “One for $10, three for $20, ice cold!” announced the vagabond gas salesman. Some attendees lined up and happily gave his asking rate, while others attempted to work out, “How about 4 for $20? No? Okay, five for $25?” This is a typical phenomenon worldwide of Phish, a scene that is more akin to the Wild West than it is to a standard shopping experience today.This is cost discovery at its finest. On Phish Lot, there are market dynamics unfolding before our eyes that are rooted in pragmatism and very first principles. Free enterprises might not be the be-all end-all method to approach whatever, but they sure are effective. No calls, puts or leverage about it, this was a raw untainted area market, and we were here for it. After facing a couple of pals, saying our goodbyes, and enjoying a balloon or six, we chose to make our trip to the exit in hopes of capturing a ride back to our hotel. After what seemed like an eternity, the local taxi business (shoutout to Catskill Mountain Transportation!) appeared and started shuttling everybody to various hotels and campgrounds well into the night, and we eventually made it back to our hotel so we might rest up and do it all over once again the following day. The network issues I experienced that night showed a very essential point: we will not see a hyperbitcoinized world up until Internet outages are a thing of the past. If the very thing we need to use Bitcoin as a network (consistent Internet access) is highly central, it doesnt suggest that Bitcoin has actually failed us, it just implies we need to dig much deeper into how to outfit ourselves with resilient methods for securing high-range wireless communication. The only method Bitcoin stands a possibility at ending up being the global reserve currency is if continuous network gain access to is as common as life itself. Otherwise, were just brain dead and made of money: No future at all.Take Back The Internet With Mesh NetworksMesh networks are really a quite old school technology. They have long been used by the military to provide consistent interactions in places unequipped with wired or satellite service. Although the technology to build such a network is rather basic, we havent actually had the requirement for them due to the speed at which cordless cell towers have actually been built. In the year 2000, there were 104,288 towers running in the United States. By 2020, that number increased to 417,215. Source: StatistaOne of the biggest of these tower operators is American Tower, proclaiming on their site, “Our worldwide portfolio consists of roughly 222,000 communications sites, including more than 43,000 residential or commercial properties in the United States and Canada and roughly 179,000 properties worldwide.” While we are in many ways fortunate to have this infrastructure enabling modernity and a technologically skilled society, it is a far cry from the decentralized, peer-to-peer permissionless world we aim to live in.In the 2018 article entitled Understanding Mesh Networking Part 1, Ram Ramanathan, Chief Scientist at GoTenna describes mesh networks as follows: “A wireless mesh network is a network of gadgets (typically called nodes) that communicate with each other utilizing peer-to-peer wireless links typically over several hops– that is, by bouncing a message from one device, through another and landing at a third (or 4th, etc). This sort of network likewise operates in an infrastructure-less and decentralized way, meaning it does not need fantastic resources at the back end to be usable, and no one node is focused on over another.” Sound familiar? Its because mesh networks function utilizing the very same basic concepts as the Lightning Network if so. While I like Ramanathans concise definition of a mesh network and believe GoTenna has actually made a lot of development in this field, being beholden to a counterparty who can/will leakage your personal data is antithetical to the entire point of this technology. It can not be overemphasized that business like GoTenna are not our pals. No matter whether the rumors hold true that In-Q-Tel (the CIAs venture capital division) played a function in funding GoTenna, it is a closed platform that prevents interoperability, advancement, and innovation. In addition, they are plainly more concentrated on keeping federal government agreements than assisting the average citizen.Rather than rehashing what has actually currently been blogged about various times in this space, I will refer you to among my favorite short articles on the subject which came out previously this summertime: “Making Bitcoin Unstoppable Part One: Mesh Networks” by L0la L33tz. L33tz uses a broad summary of the historic significance of mesh networks being used for Bitcoin transactions (both using Lightning and transacting on-chain by means of the Blockstream Satellite), as well as technical procedures to set these up using easily available, non-dedicated, off-the-shelf hardware. Personally, I wouldnt be amazed to see mesh networks start to multiply over the coming decade due to numerous elements such as a reduction in hardware costs (lead by AI and robotics), residents ending up being progressively cautious of their governments capability to act on the behalf of individuals, and the drive to bring last-mile web connectivity to everybody on the world. Lighting On LotPhish has long been associated with the counterculture motion. On trip there is a growing microeconomy that has been growing alongside the band considering that the early days of their history. Food, drinks, art, clothing, pins, hoola hoops and intoxicants of all shapes and colors are offered for purchase before and after the programs from a plethora of unofficial vendors. For years, cash was the only accepted method of payment by these nomadic sellers, but as the world has actually shifted towards digital deals, it is ending up being a growing number of typical for folks to accept Venmo and Cash App for their items. While this is certainly practical for both celebrations in any given transaction, it does not come without its disadvantages. Aside from the obvious KYC part of these applications, chargebacks can still take place. If a buyer pays a Venmo/Cash App request using a credit card connected to their accounts, a chargeback can revoke funds a seller has actually gotten well after the sale has actually happened. For merchandisers that depend on funds coming in to acquire products for the next program, this can result in problems when preparing yourself for their next event. If grilled cheese and hotdog peddlers do not have liquid funds to equip their coolers with ingredients or refill their tanks with gas, these dynamic gray markets may not be able to sustain themselves as we propel ourselves into a future where the digital and physical worlds flawlessly merge.As CBDCs loom closer to coming true, it is up to us as a cumulative to focus on a censorship resistant, immutable and open financial network that is accessible to everyone. Otherwise, we risk not having the ability to pull out of a dystopian headache where authorities have the capability to surveil and stop our transactions at will. To be clear, I remain in no method, shape or type excusing illegal activity, cash laundering or anything of the like. I am just proposing that as we move far from a money economy, we keep the properties of cash as we understand it which enable personal, fungible and unsurveiled deals. The adoption rate of the Lightning Network is presently growing at an astonishing speed. On July 1 2022, the Lightning Network capability broke 4,000 BTC, equating to over $77 million worth of value throughout all channels. Two years prior, that number was under 1000 coins, representing less than $10 million in value. As the stating goes; gradually, then all of a sudden, then at one time. While the technology is still quite nascent, there are clear advantages to negotiating over the Lightning Network. Even bankers are keen on this fact. Previously this summer season, scientists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland wrote a paper entitled, “The Lightning Network: Turning Bitcoin Into Money.” The piece highlights these advantages, pointing out instantaneous settlement, low costs and reduction of blockage on the Bitcoin timechain, all of which are a boon for Lightning adoption.Today, lots of people require Bitcoin. It is an economic lifeboat for people that are under the oppression of authoritarian regimes dealing with double-digit inflation. There are numerous stories of people utilizing Bitcoin as a freedom tool in nations like Nigeria, Sudan and Ethiopia. People that are following a jam band around selling beers and grilled cheese sandwiches in the nation that holds the worldwide reserve currency status dont require Bitcoin in the exact same method individuals perform in say, Turkey, where the local currency has actually been disappearing. The Phish scene definitely doesnt require Bitcoin and the Lightning Network to grow. Arguably– today anyhow– it does not need Bitcoin at all. Nevertheless, there are couple of neighborhoods that have the tenacity, know-how and willingness to adopt this burgeoning technology in a significant and efficient manner in which will penetrate our culture.From Digital Music To Digital MoneyPhish fans are long known for being early adopters of budding tech. As the tape trading neighborhood pioneered by the Grateful Dead spilled over into the Phish scene, the quirky 90s geeks who consumed over the bands live recordings were probably a significant driver for the digital change of music that we consider given today. As the audio market made leaps and bounds in media formats, tapes caused CDs and eventually economical CD-Rs/CD-RWs and these tapers were on the leading edge of this audio transformation. At first these live music fanatics just utilized the web as a method to find and link with one another, however the real media itself was still physical until the late 90s. In 1997, if you had interest in obtaining a copy of a specific recording but had absences to trade in return, you would require to find somebody who was promoting the program in their collection through an online forum, send a message, and participate in what was referred to as “B&P” (blanks and postage). A taper or collector would merely provide the show free of charge as long as the inquirer sent blank CDs and return postage. While this worked all right, there was a drive within this community of tenacious tapers and traders to bring their recordings to the digital space. While this was talked about as early as 1996, the mix of sluggish internet speeds and big file sizes made this process absolutely nothing more than a pipe dream at the time. The exponential growth of web adoption was a crucial component in breaking this metaphorical nut. According to Statisa, the percentage of Americans who utilized the Internet increased from 14% in 1995 to a whopping 46% simply 5 years later on as we approached the year 2000. As highlighted by the chart above, this was the biggest increase of web users in a five year time period in the history of its existence. As web gain access to grew and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) servers spread out like wildfire, tapers were eventually able to make the most of their passion and craft in 1998 with the birth of etree, a decentralized digital file sharing community that permitted users to share lossless audio files online for the very first time in history. While this procedure was a bit clunky initially, it caused the notorious however short-term Napster, with the contemporary equivalent being Spotify and Apple Music, which a number of us have at our fingertips. Now, a quarter of a century later on, it is approximated that physical albums represent less than 10% of all music intake in the United States.Just like with the digital audio revolution, a new financial paradigm is not something that will occur over night. New technology is amusing; One day a device appears and a couple of people start using it, then all of an unexpected it ends up being deep-rooted in everyday life. Being an early adopter of tech myself, I keep in mind the exact day the very first iPhone came out: June 29 2007. I was at a yard celebration in Oakland and someone had just returned from the Apple shop with one of these glossy brand-new 21st century marvels, eager to show off their fancy new device. All the guests stood in awe as we looked upon a new age of info gain access to. Over the next couple of years it seemed uncommon to meet someone with among these new miniature supercomputers, with lots of still favoring the Blackberry or perhaps flip phones. In what felt like an all of a sudden transformation, the smart device became ingrained in day-to-day life. In 2022, the number of smartphone users worldwide is 6.648 Billion, which is over 83% of the earths population. This number is quite incredible when thinking about that the first iPhone hit the phase in Cupertino simply 15 years ago.Whether it pertains to costs or conserving, Bitcoin is objectively exceptional to government issued dollars. For audiophiles, Bitcoin is the FLAC to the.mp3 that is fiat currency. Much like lossless audio can not be deteriorated, Bitcoin can not be debased, and its discovery has actually allowed us as humans to include, transfer and reveal worth in such a method that is truly remarkable for our species. If we care about the time and energy we expend as individuals and as a group, we should all require the capability to transact utilizing a currency that is exempt to corruption, one that plays no favorites, and treats every participant in the network as an equal. Blockware approximates that by 2030, we will see 10% of the worldwide population utilizing Bitcoin. Whether or not this forecast comes to life is certainly yet to be seen, however if it does, it may not be a bad idea to get all set for the transition before it happens. The dollar is passing away and the oligarchy is doing everything they can to keep their power to control the money. This doesnt imply we are predestined for a de facto doom and gloom dystopian future.There are things we can do right now to much better prepare ourselves for the world we desire to live in. Are you thinking about how Bitcoin Core works? Run a complete node. Do you have some sats and want to offer liquidity on Lightning? Open Lightning Channels. Do you appreciate our capability to wirelessly communicate in a decentralized and immutable manner? Run a mesh network. Do you value discrete transactions? Discover how to utilize Bitcoin privately. Are you a developer? Develop on Lightning. Do you run a small company? Accept Bitcoin. By taking these small however effective actions we can form our reality in such a way that reduces economic friction, makes sure self-sovereignty and sends out an effective message to future generations: Keep whats important and know whos your friend.This is a guest post by Patrick McCaughey. Viewpoints revealed are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.

If the very thing we need to make use of Bitcoin as a network (consistent Internet gain access to) is extremely centralized, it doesnt imply that Bitcoin has actually failed us, it just suggests we need to dig deeper into how to outfit ourselves with resilient techniques for securing high-range cordless interaction. The only way Bitcoin stands an opportunity at ending up being the worldwide reserve currency is if uninterrupted network gain access to is as common as life itself. While we are in many ways lucky to have this infrastructure making it possible for modernity and a technically proficient society, it is a far cry from the decentralized, peer-to-peer permissionless world we aspire to live in.In the 2018 blog site post entitled Understanding Mesh Networking Part 1, Ram Ramanathan, Chief Scientist at GoTenna explains mesh networks as follows: “A cordless mesh network is a network of devices (typically called nodes) that interact with each other using peer-to-peer wireless links usually over numerous hops– that is, by bouncing a message from one gadget, through another and landing at a 3rd (or fourth, etc). If so, its since mesh networks operate using the exact same fundamental principles as the Lightning Network. L33tz provides a broad summary of the historical relevance of mesh networks being used for Bitcoin transactions (both utilizing Lightning and negotiating on-chain through the Blockstream Satellite), as well as technical procedures to set these up using readily available, non-dedicated, off-the-shelf hardware.

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