I have spoken many times about Mastercard’s hegemony over the BTC and the general blockchain ecosystem. The information is public and verifiable, but critics band together to label the information “conspiracy theories,” which is offensive as Mastercard’s blockchain patents and news of their acquisitions can be found with simple Google searches.
That made me think about other so-called conspiracies. Corporate, government, and military conspiracy theories are often silly. Things like the enigmatic Q, the flat earth, and the reptilian elite, though tempting, started in paranoid corners of culture and found their way into the mainstream, much to the chagrin of actual explorers everywhere. People like David Icke, the modern face of reptilian humanoid storytelling, have made millions of dollars on ideas like this, without anything other than half-truths and (admittedly funny / interesting) hearsay.
Meanwhile, very real conspiracy theories are pooled and thrown out the window along with the crazier ones. Some great examples would be the Gulf of Tonkin incident. In 1964, the National Security Agency alleged that the North Vietnamese Navy had fired torpedoes at the USS Maddox, required a military response, and created the predicate for the United States’ entry into the Vietnam War. The problem was that it never happened, but the US entered a decade of war anyway!
On the home front, from 1932 to 1972, the US government allowed syphilis infections to be found in rural Alabama among African Americans in order to document its natural history without penicillin and to study them for free food and subsidized health care from the state.
There is nothing more scary than “I’m with the government and I’m here to help!”
Add these to your reading list along with MK Ultra, Operation Paperclip, or Edith Wilson’s one-year unofficial presidency! The fact is, crazy things happen, especially when money and power are at stake, and the bitcoin economy is no exception.
A moderate corporate conspiracy
Did you know that McDonald’s ice cream machines have over 15% downtime? This is grim by any business standard, but it is true! The largest restaurant in the world has a terrible user experience with its ice machines where the cleaning cycles are extremely tricky and error codes are indecipherable for the company’s employees, resulting in incredible downtime.
In fact, there is so much downtime that there are even internet conspiracy theories to explain why.
The ice cream machines have been manufactured by a company called “Taylor” since the early days of McDonald’s and have had a successful partnership. So successful, in fact, that Taylor manufactures Wendy’s, Chick-Fil-a, and other major chains’ ice machines with exponentially less downtime.
True, Taylor makes an incredible amount of money selling service solutions to McDonald’s franchisees because the machines don’t work very well – due to their design. Their business model is to build Taylor ice cream machines under exclusive contract into McDonald’s restaurants to force them to rely on their centralized (and profitable) solutions for their constant break and to guarantee control and profit forever due to complicated corporate structures. The spill-over benefits go to McDonald’s competitors in the form of more reliable machines.
If franchisees want to switch solutions, the only option the parent company allows is to switch to a software upgrade called Powerhouse Dynamics, owned by Taylor’s parent company (a company called Middleby) that doesn’t really escaped the system. All roads lead to the profit of the central planners of the system, all at the expense of the franchisees and McDonald’s customers.
Source: The REAL reason McDonald’s ice cream machines keep breaking
What does this have to do with Bitcoin?
Contrary to popular belief, “Bitcoin” core (the repo, development team, and everything else related to BTC) is not decentralized. Decentralization doesn’t even exist in a practical sense, although BTC has been working to maximize it for years. In reality, most attempts create de facto business units with significant liabilities that fall on individual contributors to systems while creating a “theater of decentralization” for the public. But for venture investors, it’s all business, and the developers are collateral damage. However, they are not all innocent. For example, the name “Bitcoin Core” has been used to establish an online presence to imply leadership or centrality or even ownership of the system used as a bargaining chip for investment capital by large corporations.
Today, the BTC core team is largely paid by Mastercard Ventures through various venture offices and they are the rulers of the network through their developer proxies.
Can someone show me a time when BTC Core was not being used as a reference client for protocol consensus changes? I’m waiting … (Source: BTC Core GitHub)
Before 2015, most of the developers were unpaid volunteers in the bitcoin economy, but the value of the project grew despite not getting rich unless they spent their hard-earned money on their day jobs and bought bitcoin like any other person.
This led to a drive for investment, and by 2015 Mastercard had seeded Mitt Romneys Bain Capital, Transamerica Ventures, FirstMark Capital and New York Life to create a company called the Digital Currency Group, led by Barry Silbert, Darling from Silicon Valley. Silbert stated, “Structuring as a company as opposed to a fund allows us to evolve with the industry due to our permanent capital base and flexible mandate,” which means that they are less restricted by financial regulations and therefore have more influence over theirs Portfolio companies.
This led to the creation of the paid BTC development company Blockstream, and the rest is history! Her portfolio also includes Lightning Labs, Kraken, Coinbase, BitGo, BitPay, Blockstacks, CoinDesk, Circle, Chainalysis, Curv, eToro, Fireblocks, Genesis Trading, Grayscale, ItBit / Paxos, Ledger, Parity, Ripple, Hedera (Hashgraph), RSK Labs, Ripio Network, ShapeShift, Xapo and many, many more. Basically, they own over 90% of the public infrastructure for BTC and all of its competitors.
With hegemonic control in 2015, Mastercard was able to change the bitcoin narrative from a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system”, forcing its user experience into uncomfortable and occasionally useless business opportunities for its other Portfolio to create brands to benefit from specialized services for BTC such as Lightning Network.
Much like Taylor / Powerhouse / Middleby / McDonalds, Mastercard has gotten itself into every aspect of managing all profitable non-scaling offshoots of BTC, and they make money whether it wins or loses based on the provision of services like deposit and debit cards Where just a year or two earlier, intrepid entrepreneurs would have simply built native Bitcoin point-of-sale systems.
To what end?
As with McDonald’s / Taylor, there is no shady conspiracy theory. It is only a business if you are willing to follow the money. Bitcoin was disruptive, so Mastercard silenced it and used “number go up” as a lubricant to end the story that Bitcoin was a real fintech reveal. “We are still far from Bitcoin being a functional currency,” says Silbert. First, it will function as a speculative investment that will drive the price up and create a larger monetary base that Wall Street will attract to trade. “
Once a company comes to pump the pockets of early investors, it makes things “safer” for other players to enter the area, such as:
And in the midst of the malaise years, Mastercard has bid with the central banks to be the provider of central bank digital currencies instead of replacing such things with years ago [checks notes] Bitcoin. Then, as for the suits, BTC and everything else will be thrown on the scrap pile of history while they hold onto their power. And it was simply because everyone was silenced by becoming the petty bourgeoisie just for “fumbling around”.
BTC – Powered by companies built in the 80s by smashing transfer paper onto plastic cards … (Source: Cointelegraph)
Now, instead of going out of business, BTC’s largest infrastructure partner wants to completely eliminate the need for BTC payments, saying: “Mastercard is innovating with the public sector, banks, fintechs and consultancies in researching CBDCs and is working with partners to that are aligned with our core values and principles. This new platform supports central banks in making decisions about the future path for the local and regional economy, now and in the future. “
The ultimate goal is control. It has always been like this. The unlimited Bitcoin protocol eliminates the need for Silicon Valley tech startups, old world banks, inefficient money transmitters, credit card giants, and a whole host of other financial services providers. And it was precisely for this reason that Mastercard led the charge of confusing the influencers, media and service providers in the Bitcoin economy, thereby creating the Altcoin trading, ICO, DEX, DeFi nightmare.
On the altar of fiat profits, small blockers enabled corporate subversion of BTC, which sparked the start of the ongoing Bitcoin civil war for the benefit of banks and the big payment and fintech titans. But the BSV blockchain remains evidence of Satoshi’s vision for a truly unlimited bitcoin.
It is really that easy.
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin For Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide, to learn more about Bitcoin – as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto – and blockchain.
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