an American author and historian of libertarian studies, and a voluntaryist. He has written articles for Reason magazine, the Libertarian Forum, Mises Institute and the Journal of Libertarian Studies. Although use of the label “voluntaryist” waned after the death of Auberon Herbert in 1906, its use was renewed in 1982, when George H. Smith, Wendy McElroy, and Carl Watner began publishing The Voluntaryist magazine.
That newsletter, The Voluntaryist, was published continuously since October 1982. For almost four decades Watner, a family man who ran a business in South Carolina, made time to share ideas he believed would foster human flourishing. He also wrote and edited a bevy of books, and is credited with tracking-down and making again accessible the seminal essay by Lysander Spooner, Vices Are Not Crimes.
Watner excelled at communicating a clear, consistent, strike-the-root message. Indeed, in no uncertain terms, Wendy McElroy wrote on her blog that Watner “was the primary hand in founding the modern Voluntaryist movement in the early 1980s.” She continues:
One of the strengths of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is its open, decentralized nature. The code itself is open source, as released by the anonymous “Satoshi Nakamoto” back in 2009. Anyone can “fork the code” – copy it and create their own cryptocurrency, tweaking the software however one wants. This has been done many thousands of times in the last decade and has resulted in an overwhelming number of cryptocurrencies, many of which are very interesting to speculate about but have very little real-life relevance. Bitcoin (BTC), far and away is still the king-of-the-hill of crypto.
In 2017, for the first time ever, a different kind of fork happened with Bitcoin. This one happened internally and contentiously. Some history: In 2017, Bitcoin’s network was full of transactions, just like it is today. Similar to recent months, network fees then were rising dramatically as people looking to send transactions as quickly as possible bid up the fees to ridiculous levels. For instance, within the last week, I paid about $10 worth of BTC to send a transaction. This is CRAZY expensive for sending crypto, which shouldn’t cost more than one or two cents or even less.
The Bitcoin programmers and community could not come to an agreement on how to scale up Bitcoin to meet demand and keep the fees low. One side offered a simple solution they said was Satoshi’s original vision – increase the block size. The block size is a technical term describing the number of bytes maximum that a “block” can be when it’s “mined” onto the “blockchain”. The blockchain being the major innovation that makes Bitcoin such an important development – it’s a public ledger of all the Bitcoin transactions that have occurred since the beginning. The blockchain is decentralized and distributed. There are thousands of copies of it across the world. This distribution is why Bitcoin cannot be taken down by world governments – it exists in too many places at once.
Anyway, when Satoshi created Bitcoin, there was no limit on block size. Later, Satoshi added a block size of one megabyte apparently without telling anyone. Satoshi later disappeared from public view and hasn’t been seen since. Why did Satoshi add the limit? There is speculation, but apparently Satoshi never explained it. Regardless, it exists and some in the Bitcoin community say it should be raised. The larger the block size, the more transactions can be fit in a block, which are generally mined onto the blockchain roughly every ten minutes. More transactions per block means more transaction volume can be handled at once and therefore, lower network fees. Simple, right?
Bitcoin mining doesn’t actually look like this.
Unfortunately, not everyone agreed. Another group was against the raising of the block size, instead proposing much more complex ideas including “Segregated Witness” and “Lightning Network” as solutions. I don’t have the ability to explain them, so I won’t try. Suffice it to say, they implemented “Segregated Witness” and its effect on the network fees was completely unremarkable. The much ballyhooed “Lightning Network” is still in development, so the jury is out on that. The two sides could not come to an agreement, so for the first time in its history, on August 1st of 2017, Bitcoin (BTC) had a “chain fork” aka “chain split” and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was born. Instantly, everyone who had Bitcoin (BTC) also had the same amount of the then-new Bitcoin Cash (BCH). I prefer to call the event a schism however, because outside the technical aspects, from the human perspective, a chain split resembles a religious schism. Two groups of people, who previously agreed, come to irreconcilable differences, and go their separate ways. Whether political, sports, or crypto – human nature appears to be very tribal. For better or for worse.
Are we better off or worse off for having Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin (BTC)? It depends on your perspective. I think it would have been better if the BTC programmers just increased the block size, fixing the problem of the full network and the ridiculous fees. Unfortunately they would not do this, and so Bitcoin Cash had to happen. However, the increased competition has done nothing to get Bitcoin’s programmers to fix the problem, meanwhile, network fees for sending Bitcoin (BTC) are on the rise – just like happened in 2017. Just one week ago, the average fee was over $10! As I write this, it’s over $6. Most people buying Bitcoin (BTC) are unaware of the insane fees, because they are buying on sites like Coinbase and apps like Cash App and if they never move the funds off those platforms, they never experience the insane network fee, so to them it’s an investment vehicle, not money.
In fact, this now-common viewpoint about Bitcoin (BTC) – that it is a “store of value” rather than “electronic cash” was not always the case and has been cultivated by its supporters in recent years. Satoshi’s whitepaper was clear. Bitcoin was supposed to be electronic cash, which also is a store of value. For years, Bitcoin’s network fees – paid by the sender – were no more than a penny’s worth of BTC per transaction. There are some interesting theories that suggest old-money companies like Mastercard via its membership in the “Digital Currency Group” are funding key Bitcoin programmers by investing in a company called Blockstream, who put those programmers on its payroll several years ago, after which all the trouble started. Another investor of Blockstream is AXA Group, a massive global bank. Satoshi created Bitcoin to undermine the old money institutions like Mastercard and big bankers like AXA, but now they are funding its key developers?
Which will be the “true” Bitcoin Cash?
Whether its through a conspiracy to make Bitcoin less useful in the marketplace or just the inaction that sometimes can result from being the king-of-the-hill, Bitcoin has not been fixed. It’s still broken due to network congestion driving up the fees. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is a much more useful alternative than Bitcoin, primarily because its network fees are what they should be, around one cent’s worth of BCH. Of course, plenty of cryptos have low fees, like DASH, but Bitcoin Cash has had the staying power to keep in the top ten while DASH – once as high ranked as #5 by market cap, has fallen down the charts.
Unlike DASH, however, Bitcoin Cash’s existence so far – behind the scenes – has been somewhat dramatic. DASH has never had a chain split, but Bitcoin Cash had its first in November of 2018, just over a year after it came into existence as I described above. Bitcoin Cash has regular upgrades every six months that require a “hard fork” of the currency. A “hard fork” means that all users must upgrade their software to continue to use the network, whereas a “soft fork” is a software upgrade that is optional and backwards-compatible with previous versions. Hard forks are an ideal time for disagreeing parties to attempt a chain split and create a new competitor and so in November 2018, a group led by an Australian man claiming – without evidence – to be Satoshi Nakamoto, decided they were going to have themselves a schism and “Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision” aka Bitcoin SV (BSV) was created from the Bitcoin Cash chain. This was the first time Bitcoin Cash had a schism of its own. However, it may not be the last.
I apologize for all the backstory, but I feel it’s necessary to tell it in that detail to bring new users up to speed on why things are happening. This electronic cash is like nothing we’ve ever seen before and there is a learning curve. As a founder of Bitcoin Embassy New Hampshire, I don’t want people to be in the dark if they don’t want to be, and a little bit of knowledge is useful to those willing to learn. Sure, you can ignore all this stuff and probably everything will be fine, but there is a chance of some confusing things happening, and so we bring our story to the current day:
Two years after Bitcoin Cash schisming into Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV), Bitcoin Cash is once again facing another looming chain split on November 15th. Plus, it’s looking like the possible drama-factor could be higher than ever. What’s happening this time? Bitcoin Cash’s most visible programmer, Amaury Sechet, has called for an “upgrade” to send 8% of the mining rewards to the Bitcoin Cash programmers. Mining rewards go to the miner who successfully “mines” a given block to the blockchain. The rewards are currently made up of the 6.25 BCH “block reward” that are “mined” into existence with each block and the total amount of transaction fees collected for that block’s transactions. Normally miners keep 100% of the mining rewards, but Sechet’s proposal changes that to 92%. So far, the miners who are currently mining are signalling their opposition to the planned “upgrade”, so there’s a chance it won’t get off the ground and nothing will change.
Cointelegraph’s Artist’s Interpretation of a Bitcoin Hash War
However, the supporters of the 8% programmers’ fee could turn on a bunch of mining power on the day of the possible split and then it could actually happen. The supporters of the 8% fee are being referred to in various places as “Bitcoin Cash ABC” (BCHA) and they have their own software. The opposition, who are running different software, are referred to frequently as “Bitcoin Cash Node” (BCHN). Neither of those names are particularly catchy, but the important thing to note here, is both of these camps are going to be fighting over the name “Bitcoin Cash”. Because crypto is decentralized, it will be up to the market to decide. In recent days, various exchanges and other cryptocurrency service providers have been announcing their plans on how they will be handling the possible schism. As you might imagine, it’s a patchwork. Many are preemptively choosing a winner and siding with BCHN. Others are saying they will be watching the situation closely and awarding the “Bitcoin Cash” (BCH) moniker and ticker symbol to whichever chain wins the mining “hash war” that could occur, based on various factors.
It wasn’t really a big deal when Bitcoin SV split off from Bitcoin Cash, as Bitcoin SV never tried to call itself “Bitcoin Cash”, so as confusing as chain splits are to the new user, at least there wasn’t confusion in naming. Now with two competing groups vying for the Bitcoin Cash name, the potential for confusion is very high. So what can you do if you have Bitcoin Cash (BCH)? Here are some possible options:
Do nothing. If the chain splits, some wallets will support both chains. A chain split means whatever amount of BCH you have at the time of the split, you’ll get the exact same amount of the newly split coin, whatever your wallet decides to call it. Unless your wallet won’t be supporting one of them, in which case you technically still have the new coins, but may have to move your balance to a wallet that is supporting the split to see both balances.
Sell off your BCH and avoid the whole thing. If you sell before the possible split, you avoid any drama but also avoid the possible benefit of having both new BCH competitors after the possible split.
Move all your BCH to the same wallet. If you’re expecting a chain split and have BCH in more than one wallet, you may want to move it all together to the same wallet before the 15th, preferably a wallet that is planning to support both coins.
Move all your BCH to an exchange. Note, it’s risky to hold crypto on an exchange. That said, if you want to get both coins at the time of the possible schism and have the immediate ability to trade away the coins you don’t want, you ought to send your BCH to an exchange that will be supporting both split coins, like Coinex.
Whatever you decide to do, you may want to do it before November 15th as many wallets, exchanges, and other services will be freezing all BCH transactions as November 15th gets closer, in preparation for the possible schism. Also, if the chain split occurs and a new BCH competitor is born, the new coin will not have what is called “replay protection” and the “replay attack” will be possible. This makes it dangerous to send BCH transactions until wallet providers can update their software to ensure safety or until the coins themselves add replay protection. It would be wise to be patient after a chain fork, don’t move your funds, and stay connected to the crypto community to learn more as it develops.
If you’re in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, please join our Telegram chat and our Meetup group. If you have any questions it’s always a good idea to crowdsource the answers as in situations like this, opinions can range. No one is an expert and no one can predict what might happen.
I hope you found this article informative and thank you for reading this far. Good luck with the fork – if it even happens!
Here’s what it was like voting in Fear World as a mask-free individual in 2020 at the New Hampshire state primary on September 8th. Republican gubernatorial candidate “Nobody“, and state rep candidates Matt Roach and me headed down to Keene’s Ward 4 polling location together where we discovered that mask-free people were made to vote outdoors. This was fine as it was a nice day out, but it’s likely going to be very cold come November.
After the poll worker falsely claimed we needed to show ID to vote, we informed her that was not the case and were allowed to vote without ID, though all three of us had differing experiences in this area. This short video is an interesting look at the various voting options available to those who aren’t willing to go-along-to-get-along:
Chris in Simpler Times, Acting as Security for the Hallowkeene Dance Party in 2014.
Today a jury at Federal district church in Concord, NH returned two guilty verdicts for “Crying Nazi” Christopher Cantwell. He’s facing up to 20 years in prison for felony interstate extortion and threat charges for telling another despicable Nazi over the Telegram chat app that Cantwell was going to fuck his wife in front of their children if the “victim” didn’t cough up information about another white supremacist. No doubt, it’s easy to hate Christopher Cantwell. He himself is a hater. He judges and hates other people for the color of their skin, their belief systems, among other things. He also hates himself. Cantwell is aware of his various faults and failures and he despises himself, punishing himself with drug abuse and distracting himself by hating others. How do I know this about him?
I know Cantwell – I don’t know whether he’d admit it, but I’m basically his minister. I try to minister a message of peace to a man whose name literally speaks to who he is – a man who Can’t-be-Well. He and I have spent countless hours together prior to and since him becoming a racist and Nazi. I have chronicled his story here on this blog from as far back as his early days. Before becoming a racist, he was a controversial cop-hating libertarian comedian that escaped from New York to move here to Keene, New Hampshire.
At one point, Chris admitted that his formula in life for financial success was the more people hated him, the more money he made. At another time, he publicly stated that Christopher Cantwell was a “character”. I’m not sure where the real Chris was in relation to the “character” of Cantwell, but I do know his fall has been tragic and also entirely preventable. The government gang deserves plenty of blame as well, and I’ll get to that, but for now let’s focus on three of Cantwell’s biggest mistakes:
1. Racism is stupid and inhumane. – When Cantwell was a libertarian, he would have judged people by their individual actions and character rather than by their circumstances of birth. Sadly, around 2015 Cantwell started to become a racist as he was following an apparently similar arc by one of his prime influencers, Stefan Molyneux. Cantwell likely believed that he’d be so hated if he became a racist that he’d make way more money than being a less-hated libertarian comedian. He dove in deep to racism, destroying a ton of productive relationships. For instance, I fired him from my radio show, Free Talk Live. Cantwell had been one of our best hosts, before his fall to racism – he was really entertaining on-air. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after he became a racist until Cantwell completely abandoned any semblance of libertarian thought and totally embraced statism. This turn towards statism also left him with the delusional belief that the police could be a helpful tool.
2. Don’t talk to the police! – When he moved here as a cop-hating, crass libertarian comedian, Cantwell was likely being watched by the FBI for his public statements that skirted the line of advocating violence against the police. After he moved back to Keene in 2015, he had an encounter in downtown Keene which altered his views about the police. In the encounter, KPD officers didn’t shoot Cantwell who had drawn his gun to defend a young woman from an attack by a drunken man. While it was good for Cantwell to stop hating and collectivizing the humans behind the inhumane role of “law enforcement officer”, it went bad for him because he went too far and actually started to embrace and trust the police. When he became a racist, he saw them as his future ally and tool of force to use to create his fantasy white paradise.
First they came for the racist assholes…
So, he started talking to them regularly, from a local KPD sergeant to FBI agents including Phil Christiana, the longtime investigator of various libertarian activists in Keene. Ultimately, Cantwell’s habit of chatting with cops led to him being charged and convicted as a political prisoner. Based on testimony I witnessed during a federal bail hearing and further testimony at trial – which was covered in detail by Hilary Sargent – it’s clear Cantwell sunk his own case. First, by admitting to the FBI that he was the person behind the account-in-question on Telegram and then further by using the term “threat” to describe the obviously hyperbolic chat in an email to his “friend” at Keene Police. Without claiming the account in his talks with the FBI, there may have been no way to prove it was Cantwell behind the account. As one agent admitted under oath at the bail hearing, Telegram is not operating servers in the United States and the agents can’t subpoena them for information like IP addresses for its users. Cantwell’s own admissions to police likely were factors that sealed his fate in this case. Speaking to police is a grave danger to your freedom.
3. Don’t make haters your hobby. Ignore them as best you can. – With publicity comes haters, it’s just part of life. Per his life plan, Cantwell relished every opportunity to engage his haters in the hopes they would hate him even more, and spread his product around. At one time his product was a libertarian radio show and various blog posts. He had his haters in his libertarian days, but it wasn’t until after he became a racist that he met haters willing to sink even lower than Cantwell himself. Always a divisive figure, but intelligent and well-spoken, Cantwell quickly rose to prominence in the white nationalist community. True to his form, he got into internet conflict with various racist people and groups including the “Bowl Patrol”, a group of Nazis that were even more detestable in their opinions than Cantwell, if that’s possible. The group took its name from the haircut of Dylan Roof, the mass murderer at a church in South Carolina some years ago. Originally Cantwell fans, their honeymoon with Cantwell ended and they turned on each other. Bowl Patrol raided Cantwell’s phone lines incessantly with awful prank calls during his online radio show, among other online targetings. The point is, Cantwell became obsessed with them, trying to identify who the members were and spending time telling the police all about his issues with them. At one point Cantwell even called Child Protective Services on “CheddarMane” aka Benjamin Lambert, the supposed “victim” in the case in which Cantwell was convicted today. Had Cantwell just ignored and blocked the haters rather than engage them, none of this would ever have happened. (more…)
It late April I shared some outrageous video of uniformed, masked Concord gang members threatening a group of peaceful parents who had come to a local playground with their kids during the “stay at home” lockdown. The masked bullies targeted the small group of parents but the same gang ignored mass anti-lockdown demonstrations at the state house with hundreds violating the “orders” of “HIS EXCELLENCY” Chris Sununu. The armed gangsters knew they don’t have the numbers to challenge 400 demonstrators, but picking on a few peaceful families when no one else was around, now that’s more their speed.
Now one of the parents, Rochelle Kelley of Weare, NH says that even though she left the playground when the armed gang members ordered her to, several months later they issued a warrant for her arrest on charges of “Criminal Trespassing” and “Disorderly Conduct”. Two other parents from the same playground incident, Pamela Jewell and Tyler Workman were also arrested recently, according to WMUR. Curiously, WMUR was able to get the Concord police gang to comment on the story and actually provide information. The government lapdog media gets special treatment, apparently. When I requested the information about the case from the Concord gang records division on Tuesday I received a response back saying it could take up to ninety days. It wasn’t just me, Kelley herself requested records from CPD and was also given the same response. WMUR had no such difficulty, apparently.
The good news is that Kelley is planning to fight the charges and has retained liberty lawyer Dan Hynes to take the case. ReopenNH founder Andrew Manuse has put together a fundraiser for her legal defenses that in just a few days has raised over $2,600 of its $10,000 goal.
Just to be clear, multiple parents in the so-called “Live Free or Die” state are now facing two years behind bars for bringing their kids to a playground. It’s a perfect example of how insane this Fear World is and how far the state is willing to go to ensure people’s obedience. Were the parents at risk of infection by bringing their kids to a playground? Maybe, but it should be their risk to take. We are always taking risks. Until 2020, risk was a regular part of life and still is. It was probably more risky to just drive to the playground in the first place, but few people worry every day about getting behind the wheel of a rolling deathtrap.
The police gang would have you believe they are enforcing these draconian measures to help keep people safe. What would be worse for the kids, though? A young family coming down with an easily-defeatable virus, or mom or dad going to jail for two years? The reality is that the government gang is doing this to centralize their power and further their control of our lives and sadly most people are just doing what they are told, even if it destroys their business and freedom. I will continue to cover those like Kelley who are willing to stand up and fight. Her arraignment in Concord at district court is October 19th.
We figure you were about sixteen-and-a-half when you passed away on Monday. I don’t need to tell you about the immense number of people whose lives you touched over those years. You were there and you had that experience, conscious for every moment, until your final day. What you may not know, is the impact you had on the world – because you were good. I wanted to tell you why you were so special.
Did you know we may never have met if it weren’t for the sad death of a puppy? My partner Jackie and I adopted a very young Pit Bull mix puppy from the Humane Society in Florida, where you’re from as well. She was only a couple of weeks old and surely she’d have been as sweet as you, as being a Pit Bull doesn’t mean she’d have been a bad dog. But tragically she died within a couple of weeks. Turns out her whole litter was missing organs, purportedly due to inbreeding, and she was the last of them to die. It was sad, but that door closing quickly led to you being brought into my life.
I’m not a dog expert. Maybe some dogs are really born bad, but I’d be willing to be that a bad dog is usually thanks to a bad owner. Not necessarily that the owner is purposefully abusive, but perhaps just ignorant, not realizing the consequences their actions or inaction might have on their dog. Perhaps they also underestimate animal intelligence. I always presumed you understood me and that you were smart. You never disappointed me.
Photo from September 2004 – you were about six months old.
When I got you in 2004 I did some research into dog training methods. I came across the “no free lunch” method and it felt right. Dogs need to be in a hierarchy – they are a pack animal. The “no free lunch” method is all about establishing the dog’s position as beneath the humans and rewarding it with love for its good behavior. Unlike independent-minded humans, a dog needs to be able to find its place and be comfortable there. In your case, you were directly beneath humans and on top of the pack of dogs, ever the alpha.
“No Free Lunch” is simple and effective. Anytime you wanted something, you had to give me something first. When you sat, I said “good sit”, and praised you. I gave you love and attention – not food, as some do when attempting to train their dog. So, any opportunity I had, I’d employ “no free lunch”. If you wanted to go outside, I’d ask you to sit first. Same thing when we’d come back inside the house. If we were playing with a toy or something, I might ask you to sit before giving it back to you. We quickly expanded to a multitude of things you could do in order to get what you wanted.
I figured you were smart, so anything you did that I named with “good” in front of it, I presumed you remembered the word and its associated act the very first time I spoke it. I don’t think you ever disappointed that expectation. Of course, just because I said “no free lunch” is simple doesn’t mean its always easy. You definitely pushed the envelope to see what you could get away with. You’d act like you didn’t know what I’d said, doing the wrong thing, on purpose. I remember the times when I’d already successfully taught you several commands and you’d run through your whole inventory of tricks – EXCEPT the one I asked you to do, expecting I was going to give you what you wanted. You were frequently testing me. Training a dog with the “no free lunch” method, in my experience, requires significant discipline on the part of the trainer. You were trying to beat me at the game and I had to hold firm on not giving you the thing you wanted, no matter how adorable you were.
Eventually, you were performing multiple tricks on command in order to do special things, like receive a meal. You could sit, stand, roll over, wait, come, lay down, roll over, bow, give kisses, speak, shake right, shake left, look, back up, and probably some more I don’t recall off the top of my head. At some point, you realized that you were well fed and you weren’t going to run out of food, so we moved to an open bowl where we just kept adding to it daily and you decided how much to eat and when.
Renee Spinella and Jazzy on the UCC Rainbow Bench!
You were indeed quite beautiful. You regularly received compliments from total strangers who frequently commented that you had an unusually expressive face and raved about how pretty you were. You had collected a large number of fans including neighbors, libertarian activists, people in the area lucky enough to encounter you, and even people on the internet who watched you on the Free Talk Live Jazzycam during our nightly radio shows. You mostly slept through the shows, but hey, talk radio’s not for everyone. Free Keene blogger Garret Ean even named you Keene’s #1 Dog Activist and you deserved it. You were regularly my secret weapon to get hundreds of Keene State College students every year to accept CopBlock know-your-rights flyers. You participated in and helped bring attention the United Church of Christ’s rainbow bench situation, were a regular attendee of the Porcupine Freedom Festival and Forkfest, the official greeter at Keenevention, and of course were at my side through countless instances of freedom activism and beyond.
Even more impressive was that bulk of your amazing activism & outreach career came in your senior years, since you didn’t move back in with me until you were 10. When Jackie and I broke up in 2006, after being with you and training you for those first two years, I chose to let you go. They say if you love something, let it go. I love you and I loved her, and I’d always rather a breakup go as smoothly as as possible, so I made the choice to let Jackie have you. As it turned out, she was unable to take care of you immediately, so we got to spend another six months together, until Jackie was finally ready, then I sadly gave you to her. That happened to be right around the time when I moved to New Hampshire as part of the NH Freedom Migration. (more…)