Be vigilant about the anarchist propaganda of overseas blockchain organizations in Chinese universities.

01 Is promoting blockchain pushing students into a pit of fire?

A while ago, Lawyer Honglin invited a well-known teacher from a domestic prestigious university to attend an offline communication event. This teacher was previously known in the industry for actively organizing blockchain activities, and Lawyer Honglin even visited the school specifically for this purpose.

According to the teacher, he hoped to let young students understand the future direction of the new economy, seize the dividends of the times, and have more possibilities in their future career choices. However, recently, the teacher has been unusually low-key and declined my invitation, even expressing that he has been feeling disillusioned recently and even wants to go abroad.

I asked the teacher why.

The teacher said that other teachers at the school told him that encouraging students to get involved in blockchain is pushing them into a pit of fire. It is very likely to lead to trouble.

This answer surprised me, but to be honest, I’m not very surprised.

As a legal service organization in the blockchain industry, we are eager for outstanding students from prestigious universities, so I often pay attention to the activities organized by blockchain associations in domestic universities and have added many students’ WeChat accounts. However, sometimes when I see the events they participate in or host, the event themes, the invited project parties, and the discussions, it does make me somewhat worried.

I don’t care about the possibility that the speculation of cryptocurrencies may lead the young people of our country to have a wrong understanding of wealth creation, but I am a little concerned about the unconscious infiltration of anarchism that goes hand in hand with blockchain among Chinese university students.

02 Anarchism and Blockchain

Blockchain is a distributed, decentralized, and tamper-proof data storage technology that can achieve functions such as peer-to-peer transactions, smart contracts, and digital identities. The advantages of blockchain are its ability to guarantee data security, transparency, and traceability without relying on any third-party institutions or intermediaries.

As a technological tool, the social utility that blockchain can provide depends on how we use it, for what purposes, and who uses it. Technicians can use it to solve the problem of sharing network resources; business organizations can use it to reduce transaction costs and improve organizational development efficiency; and anarchists can use it to preach and promote, and achieve their political goals.

Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates for the elimination of the state, government, and all forms of coercive authority and hierarchical systems, and the realization of individual freedom and equality.

Anarchists believe that the state and government are the greatest evils of human society. They maintain their own interests and rule through violence, exploitation, oppression, and control, rather than for the well-being and happiness of the people.

Anarchists advocate for a society without rulers or the ruled, replacing the state and government with voluntary, self-organized, and cooperative social relationships.

If you look at this statement, with a slight change of words, it often appears in promotional materials of various blockchain projects and DAO organizations, right?

There is a close connection between blockchain and anarchism, as they influence, promote, and inspire each other. We can explore this from several aspects:

Firstly, blockchain is the technological foundation of anarchism. Blockchain ensures the security and consistency of data through cryptography and consensus mechanisms, without relying on any centralized institutions or individuals for verification or management. Transactions on the blockchain are transparent, public, and irreversible, allowing anyone to participate and supervise. Smart contracts on the blockchain enable automated execution and enforcement without the need for third-party intervention or arbitration. Digital identities on the blockchain can protect individuals’ privacy and rights without the need for intermediaries or authentication. These features make blockchain a viable, effective, and trustworthy technological foundation for anarchism, enabling people to engage in free communication, cooperation, and creation without intervention from the state and government. Decentralized cryptocurrencies and encrypted social software are essentially about this.

Secondly, blockchain is the social practice of anarchism. Blockchain is not only a technology but also a social movement. Various projects and DAO organizations have emerged on the blockchain, aiming to solve social problems, drive social change, and realize social ideals using blockchain technology. For example, Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency designed to break the monopoly of the state and banks on currency issuance and management, allowing people to have control over their wealth. Ethereum is a decentralized application platform aimed at providing an open, innovative, and collaborative network space for people to develop and use various decentralized applications. DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) is an organizational form based on blockchain smart contracts, aiming to achieve democratic decision-making and resource allocation without leaders and hierarchical structures. IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) is a decentralized storage network that aims to establish a free information space without censorship and blockade. These projects and organizations embody the spirit and values of anarchism, as they attempt to realize the social practice of anarchism through blockchain technology.

Lastly, blockchain is the intellectual inspiration of anarchism. Blockchain is not only a technology but also a concept. The emergence and development of blockchain have brought us many new thoughts and inspirations, allowing us to re-examine and reflect on the society and world we live in. For example, blockchain allows us to redefine the nature and role of money, prompting us to reconsider the power and responsibility of currency issuance and management. Blockchain allows us to rethink the meaning and function of contracts, exploring new ways and standards for contract formulation and execution. Blockchain reminds us of the importance and sensitivity of identity, making us reconsider the methods and boundaries of identity expression and protection. Blockchain makes us understand the value and difficulty of trust, leading us to search for mechanisms and conditions to establish and maintain trust. All these thoughts and inspirations provide a new perspective and inspiration for anarchism, allowing us to gain a deeper understanding and exploration of anarchist ideas.

Blockchain is not the only way or choice for anarchism, but it is definitely a powerful tool for anarchist propaganda. With the development of the industry, more and more blockchain organizations and communities have become active in Chinese universities, promoting and organizing activities online and offline to spread the ideas and values of blockchain, attracting the attention and participation of many students. It is a good thing to popularize, promote, and publicize new technologies, but we must be wary of this good thing being misinterpreted by the twisted monks.

Due to the transnational nature of the blockchain industry, many initiators and managers of blockchain projects are overseas companies or organizations. Due to differences in legal systems, regulatory systems, cultural concepts, and political views in different places, many overseas blockchain organizations and communities often advocate decentralization, freedom, democracy, and equality, oppose traditional authorities and systems, and advocate using blockchain to achieve social change and innovation. They believe that blockchain can free people from the constraints of existing politics, economy, and culture, and establish a new world without central authority, without legal regulation, and more just and open. They advocate that through blockchain, people can autonomously choose their own values, lifestyles, and trading partners, without any external interference, to achieve true democracy, freedom, and equality.

We do not evaluate such ideological indoctrination and value promotion, but excessively radical political ideology propaganda and social experimental organizations can easily use blockchain to subtly indoctrinate and shape the minds of inexperienced college students, causing them to have a distorted understanding of political ideology and social reality.

03 What should we do?

Remembering a past event. On the day of the May Fourth Movement in 1919, more than 3,000 students from Peking University took to the streets. Before the students set off, President Cai Yuanpei came to dissuade them, but the crowd was full of boos and insults, and Zhang Guotao and others pushed President Cai Yuanpei out. That day, 20 students from Peking University were arrested.

Afterwards, Cai and the presidents of Beijing’s universities mobilized to rescue the students. After the successful rescue, Cai Yuanpei submitted his resignation. He left an open letter to the students and faculty of Peking University, in which he said:

I am tired! Those who kill the king’s horse are by the side of the road!

Those who ride on a fine horse walk on the road, and those by the side of the road applaud and cheer. The rider becomes extremely proud, urging the horse to go faster and faster. The faster the horse runs, the more applause and cheers there are. After running hundreds of miles, receiving countless applause, the horse finally collapses and dies.

President Cai does not want to be the rider on the fine horse, nor does he want his young students to die by the side of the road.

This article is inevitably inadequate, but the issue is worth raising for everyone’s attention and discussion.

As college students, it is definitely a good thing to learn and understand emerging technologies, including blockchain, with an open mindset. However, we should also recognize that: there are pros and cons to everything, and we need to maintain independent thinking and rational judgment.

Blockchain is not omnipotent; it also has its own limitations and shortcomings. For example, the operation of blockchain requires a large amount of energy and resources, causing environmental pollution and waste; the security of blockchain is not absolute, as it may be vulnerable to hacker attacks or internal divisions; the rules and consensus of blockchain are not fixed and may be influenced and interfered by interest groups or ideologies.

Blockchain cannot completely replace the existing social systems and orders; it needs to coordinate and cooperate with them. For example, blockchain needs to comply with laws and regulations and ethical norms, otherwise it may lead to legal disputes or moral controversies; blockchain needs to adapt to and respect the history, culture, and values of human society, otherwise it may cause social divisions or cultural conflicts.

We need to understand the complexity and diversity of human nature and the social relationship needs of people. For example, blockchain cannot completely eliminate people’s need for trust, authority, and sense of belonging; it cannot completely ignore people’s expectations of privacy, security, and sense of fairness; it cannot completely disregard people’s pursuit of the real world, family happiness, and real organizational identities.

Finally, as practitioners in the blockchain industry, although our position influences our perspective, we also need to watch our words and not only talk about the benefits of blockchain, but also point out the industry’s downsides. Promoting rationality and balance, preventing misunderstandings and misleading, avoiding extremism and radicalism, we should encourage everyone to grasp the advantages and opportunities of blockchain, while also reminding of the risks and challenges of blockchain. Only in this way can blockchain truly become a beneficial rather than a harmful technology, bringing more well-being to universities and society, instead of harm.

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