Climate Change Podcast RCast

RCast 43: The Why of RChain

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Greg Meredith is joined by Isaac DeFrain, Nora Germain, Darryl Neudorf, and Christian Williams to discuss the driving reason behind the creation of RChain: the creation of coordination technologies to prepare for climate change.


Greg: The primary thing we want to talk about today is climate change and how blockchain addresses some of the climate change problems. I hope that everyone has had a chance to see Greta Thunberg’s amazing speech at the UN summit.

I’m with her all the way. It’s wrong for her to be the one that’s up there. She should be back at school. I’m laughing because if I don’t laugh, I’ll probably burst into tears. Greta pointed this out pretty clearly: there are consequences that are already happening. We’re already going to deal with consequences. There’s no way around that part; it’s already in motion. 

Part of those consequences will have to deal with the displacement of people and having to move infrastructure: move coastal cities, move agricultural efforts. There’s going to be a lot of global coordination just to deal with the fallout of where we are now. Beyond that, what can we do to turn the situation around? We wanted to have this motley crew talk about how blockchain addresses some of those things. Let’s go ahead and do a round-robin of introductions. I’ll pass it over to Nora.

Nora: Thank you so much. I’m Nora Germain. I got into this project because Greg invited me to be part of it last year. I’m really passionate about the climate crisis, as I think all people should be. Darryl and I have been working pretty closely on trying to define some of the ways that RChain can guide this conversation and invite more people to be part of it. We’re trying to refine that conversation and invite more people in. I’ll pass it to Darryl.

Darryl: I got involved with RChain back in the Synereo days when we were working on an open-source social network. I still carry that thought with me whenever I think about RChain. When you look at the front page of RChain, it says “RChain is a cooperative building a blockchain platform and social coordination technologies that address the world’s greatest problems.” 

I agree with Nora and Greg that climate change is the biggest problem that humanity has ever confronted. We created it so we can stop it. When I first realized that in a more profound way was when I listened to the audiobook of James Hansen’s Storms of My Grandchildren. At that moment I realized that I was going to do what I could to help solve the problem. I’ll pass it on to Christian.

Christian: Hi, I’m Christian. I’ve been on these podcasts many times now. I’m a researcher for RChain and I’m very glad to be a part of this. I wanted to talk about climate change today because in the past year I feel like I’ve woken up to reality. There’s a big difference between acknowledging that it’s a problem and actually comprehending the urgency and magnitude of it.

Reading the 2018 IPCC Report really woke me up. Now I’m trying to figure out how to wake other people up as well because I do think it’s really a psychological problem. I really want to talk about how RChain could help because we have so much infrastructure that we take for granted now that might not be stable over the next century. The internet, even though we depend on it so deeply, is something that depends on so many things going right. If it becomes unstable, we need to have robust, decentralized, local networks so that people are able to coordinate, like Greg has been saying. This is a really important issue and I think that RChain can help in a big way. I’ll pass it to Isaac.

Isaac: Hey everybody, my name is Isaac. You’ve probably heard my voice many times on this podcast. Like Christian, I’ve also appeared on several of these. I am a mathematician and I do some development and research work for RChain on the formal verification front. As everybody has stated so far—and I agree with that climate change is one of if not the biggest problems that humanity is facing—I know that blockchain will play an integral part in our coordination efforts and trying to come to some sort of different state of existence where we can have a positive impact on the environment (or a less negative impact as we’re having now). What I would like to get out of the conversation is more specific ways that the RChain platform can play a role in this. 

Greg: I really appreciate each and every one of your efforts for RChain, but also just standing up and saying why climate change is important to you. It still takes courage in the US. It doesn’t take the same kind of effort in some other parts of the world where it’s accepted as a fact. But in the US it still takes courage to stand up and say, “Climate change is a real thing and we need to start working on it now.”

With respect to consequences we cannot avoid, most of the scientists and folks that I’ve talked to recognize, for example, the Malibu fires, which displaced a whole bunch of people—among them, my wife’s sister, who ended up having to leave her home, which was burned to the ground and come live with us for a while until she was able to get back on her feet—this kind of thing is only going to happen at a greater frequency and greater volume and greater urgency. In her case, she didn’t have to move from one part of the world to another. Her driver’s license still worked and her credentials followed her; her passport still worked. 

But a lot of people are going to be facing displacement where their identification doesn’t work. A lot of people are recognizing that the caravan, as it was referred to last year, were effectively climate refugees. We’re going to see more and more of that. If they cross these kinds of jurisdictional boundaries where their identity is no longer so easily established, their credentials are not easily established, that’s going to present a major problem if we start seeing these en mass. 

The example that I use is the Syrian refugee crisis. People were not able to prove that they had been doctors or lawyers or teachers. The blockchain provides a really nice solution for that. The blockchain provides a means by which people can establish online their identity. As a part of that, they can hang their credentials on that identity. 

They’re addressable in another way, which is that they can be the recipient of relief funds. Their identity can be tied to an address on the blockchain, which could be a place where relief funds can be issued. That’s a big issue in refugee camps. People don’t know where someone is from and whether or not they’re the appropriate recipient of relief. That causes all kinds of issues for people who are providing relief as well as for people who are in need of relief. 

The blockchain, at a minimum, begins to address those kinds of problems. Admittedly, identity is a deep and complex issue, but it’s one that a lot of people have been thinking about for a very long time now. We do have workable solutions that we could put into play today to begin to solve these kinds of problems. It’s not as complicated as carbon sequestering or other kinds of things. Blockchain can provide a really nice solution there. 

Let me just kick off and get other people’s thoughts about this, maybe some other ways in which the blockchain can begin to address the consequences that we’re going to be dealing with before we get to turning things around.

Nora: As Greta said in her speech at the UN the other day, so many millions of other kids have this huge burden; a lot of them are the lucky ones, which is crazy to think about. A lot of people have this high level of climate anxiety going on, which I also have. My grandfather founded the state natural areas program in Wisconsin. I was taught that saving the planet was really important. I grew up with a lot of anxiety about it and it’s getting worse. I haven’t had any family members that have died because of a natural disaster that has been exacerbated by climate change.

To get back to what you were saying, there are going to be a lot more refugees. They’re not going to have bank accounts that can transfer between countries. The fact that they might be able to have crypto-enabled bank accounts would really help. Your idea about identity is really going to be helpful. It’s possible that RChain might be able to say, here are some key areas where RChain could provide solutions or ideas for the climate crisis. One of them could be identity solutions. 

People are not only migrating because of military conflict or uprisings. You mentioned Syria, but also the crisis at the border. A lot of those people are coming because they can’t grow crops. Syria had this extremely long drought, which obviously destabilized the region; of course, the war broke out. It’s really easy to get climate defeatism. People have been writing articles that hint at the fact that we really can’t change what’s going to happen. 

It’s true that there’s a level of catastrophe that is already baked in, but some people are also saying climate denialism and climate defeatism are two sides of the same coin because they basically both result in us doing nothing. As we talk about these issues that are really complex and really overwhelming and really difficult, it’s important that we don’t fall into the defeatism trap and that we realize that there is still something that we can do.

Christian: I definitely agree that it’s really crucial to be positive, but I feel like my perspective on this has been evolving pretty quickly as I dive into all the information. Everything we can do toward mitigation will be a matter of many millions of lives. I’ve also noticed that the vast majority of the thought and effort, from what I’ve gathered so far, has been focused on mitigation. Like Greg was saying, we’re already feeling many of the effects. 

The other very pressing issue is adaptation. It shouldn’t be an either/or thing. We’re at a point where it’s late enough in the game that both are completely essential. Blockchain is going to help millions of refugees by handling their identity and their relief. That’s a form of adaptation. 

Greg: I tend to agree it’s both adaptation and mitigation and lots of other things as well. I fundamentally believe that we’re going to have to get to a more decentralized approach to things like agriculture. The agribusiness is really destructive to the environment. We’ve known this for a while and we have to think about the entire supply chain holistically. 

A lot of this has to do with a kind of global coordination. I’ve said this a million times, but this is really the nub of the issue. We now have to be able to coordinate in a way that we haven’t ever contemplated coordinating before. It’s not just supply-chain management, but it’s also the management of resources that we thought geography mattered, but maybe geography doesn’t matter in the same way.

It makes a lot of sense for people living in the Amazon region to be shepherds and stewards of that region. But at the end of the day, they’re shepherds and stewards of a region that the entire planet depends upon. Since all of us depend upon it, maybe we all need to be able to have a discourse about those resources. That’s a radical idea. I’m not going to pretend that that’s not a radical idea, but I think that it’s something that we absolutely have to begin to contemplate—not just contemplate, but begin to take action on. That means that we need a new way to capture will and sentiment that transcends a lot of the existing jurisdictional boundaries. That’s another place where blockchain begins to play an important role. 

Nora: What you’re talking about sounds like more “glocal” awareness, which is the global-local awareness: if everybody takes care of their local environment, the whole world will be taken care of, which is something that I think everybody needs to really focus on if we want to take care of the planet. It’s so easy to think, “What’s happening on the other side of the world,” versus, “What’s happening in my backyard, what’s happening in my neighborhood?” Darryl turned me on to that concept. That’s been really helpful for me to understand this whole issue. 

Greg: That’s part of it, but I’m also suggesting something radical, which is that maybe everybody on the planet gets to have a say about what’s going on in the Amazon and with other kinds of resources. I’m not picking on the Amazon as the only thing, but I believe that there are resources that are so precious in terms of the interlocking of ecosystems that it might be the case that we need a different kind of order, that the existing geographically-based jurisdictions don’t make sense anymore. That’s a very radical thing to say. That says that existing governments don’t have the same kind of jurisdiction. I understand how weird and crazy that sounds, but when we’re talking about an existential crisis—and that’s what we’re talking about—then we have to consider all solutions.

In particular, I’m very interested how blockchain can record the sentiment and will of large-scale communities. When I say sentiment and will, think of Facebook. People go to Facebook and Twitter and Instagram to get a feeling for how people are responding to a particular phenomenon. Do they like it? Did they love it? Does it make them angry? That kind of collection of sentiment information is really important. I don’t think that that kind of information should be stuck in the hands of centralized businesses. If we were to put that on a global computer, like the blockchain, a scalable global computer, like the RChain blockchain, then it would become an information resource that is of vital significance when we’re talking about coordination. 

It goes beyond just the collection of sentiment. The collection of sentiment feeds into the formation of will. We’re going to put resources behind an action. We’re going to fund a particular project. We’re going to appoint people who have roles of responsibility and those kinds of actions require the democratic exercise of will—voting or other kinds of mechanisms. Again, blockchain-based democratic expression of will is another piece of the puzzle. 

This is just one of the pieces of coordination technology that blockchain supports. I hate to dive in at the deep end with respect to this discussion. I do think that this is where we are. I feel reluctant to say this out loud, but that’s where we are in terms of the kinds of solutions that are necessary and actually the step that humanity is being asked to make.

Isaac: I agree with what you’re saying, Greg. We’re dealing with a global issue on a scale that we’ve never dealt with before. We’re still approaching it from the same paradigm that we’ve had for who knows how long in terms of having only local jurisdiction or things of that nature when really it’s everybody’s planet. We all need to be able to get together and express our sentiment and will about particular regions, not just if you live there.

Christian: It’s a really important point you’re making. It is radical because it’s questioning the largest structural authority on the planet: nation-states. But there’s this mismatch between dealing with things on a national level when you’re trying to address a global issue. There’s a conflict of interest there, where nations are instinctively designed for self-protection and self-preservation. A nation comes with a preconception that they have a stable world and self-preservation then becomes limited to a definition of economic stability and growth. That’s extremely limited. 

That’s why we’re seeing this ridiculous mismatch, where at the meeting of the UN, it’s fantastic that we have the UN but it doesn’t have the authority. Nations are still able to sit back and say, “We’re going to do our best as we define our best to be.” We’re still limited to these preconceptions about what needs to be done. That’s a really important shift in mindset. It makes you wonder, how do you possibly affect such a radical transformation in the power structure?

Greg: That was what attracted me to the blockchain in the first place: the moment people began to talk about smart contracts and how it relates to a legal contract. People began to understand that smart contracts running on this global computer can involve entities spread around the globe. There are no jurisdictions that can address it. How do you adjudicate a smart contract that involves resources that are tied together in Europe and Asia and the US and South America, which is quite easy to do with the blockchain? It’s a no-brainer. You don’t even have to break a sweat to put together smart contracts that do that. 

On top of that, just because some judge in one of those jurisdictions says there’s a problem with this smart contract, it doesn’t mean that anything can be done about it. The resources can be cryptographically secured and that’s that. You spend the next 10,000 years breaking that code.

Christian: As long as the entities involved recognize the authority of that chain.

Greg: Exactly. The blockchain was right smack dab in the middle of that conversation. It asserted, “Hey, we’ve got a problem with the way jurisdictions work because the blockchain was offering this.” It does offer a much more radically efficient infrastructure for a lot of the kinds of things that we’re going to need to coordinate. But it doesn’t line up with the jurisdictional boundaries. That’s why I was attracted to the blockchain in the first place. I could see this looming issue of a need for a mindset shift. The blockchain was right at the forefront of that discussion. 

There are other things that can be done here that the blockchain offers. We’re going to have to radically shift supply-chain management; the blockchain offers fantastic tools for supply-chain management. A really good example is that there are all kinds of metadata associated with energy trading. We know lots and lots about whether a particular supply or lot of energy is clean or brown or its provenance. All of that can be added to the trading mechanism if you use the blockchain. 

There’s a company called Xpansiv, which RChain gave a lot of funds to, that has been working on this problem. I don’t know where they are in their overall development, but they have been working on exactly this problem. Many others need to be working on this problem. We’re just beginning to add important metadata to the transaction. The nature of our transactional behavior has been myopic. Just looking at the chits on the scoreboard as opposed to looking at the overall consequences of does this transaction has knock-on effects that we don’t want to support.

We’ve begun to see this. There’s been this kind of consumer activism that’s been going on for a few decades now, but this can happen at a much greater scale the more you can get information associated with the transactional behavior. The blockchain is really, really good at that, especially blockchains that can handle data. Payment-based chains—chains that are optimized for payment-style transactions—are not going to be so good at this. Chains that develop to the point where they can handle data at scale, they’re going to be ideal for this kind of coordination. 

One of the things that I’ve been on and on and on about, with respect to RChain, is that the next phase for blockchain is to escape the optimization loop that keeps it stuck at payments-type solutions and move it into data-style solutions. Once you do that, you can go after these kinds of supply-chain management problems. Whether you’re talking digital assets or digital tracking of physical assets, these are real problems that the blockchain is really good at. In particular, RChain can excel at because we’re talking about data at volume. That’s another place where I think blockchain has a lot to say in terms of climate change. In particular, this is all about the adaptation part. We know that we cannot continue business as usual. 

Darryl: It’s obvious to some of us here that the question really isn’t how can blockchain help climate change, but how can climate change be solved without blockchain? 

Greg: Yes. 

Darryl: I’m so happy to be in a conversation with people who seem to all agree that we do need to go through some kind of radical transformation. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about is how are we going to be able to do that peacefully? 

The real source of the problem is potentially the real source of the solution: 20th-century capitalism. Twentieth-century capitalism brought forth untold development and wellbeing for more and more people around the planet, but it also created the biggest problem that we have to solve. That’s because of how 20th-century capitalism evolved, where we built in a system that ignored externalities. We’ve now created the world’s greatest externality through the use of oil. How do we solve that problem? 

The way to solve that problem isn’t to fight against the problem. It’s to create new solutions that help the problem transition to the next level. We need to find solutions for externalities outside of taxing and punishing. We need to build the solutions of the externalities into the next generation of what capitalism will become. Some call it post-capitalism. I don’t know what you want to call it. I don’t think people will have a name for it until we find it, but it’s not this. We need to find it within this generation. 

Christian: Approaching all of this from an economic perspective, even more than the political perspective, might be the most effective. The economy is a lot more responsive to changes in the collective ethos than the insulated bureaucracies of governments. We’ve been seeing that in the way that we can pressure companies to make changes and in the way that competition forces. As soon as one of them capitulates to some demand, the other ones need to follow, otherwise, there’ll be a falling behind. 

There is a really good article by Bill McKibben about divestment. It could be one of our most powerful levers in this fight. Even if everybody switched from a bank like Chase—they are by far the world’s biggest investor in the fossil fuels—to a credit union, that’s one lever that people forget about. Everybody can make a difference. 

Greg: I look at it systemically. When I look at the overall economic landscape, I see that the vast majority of the capital is concentrated in the hands of a few. They’ve shown little interest in shifting that landscape, even though it’s been pointed out for quite some time that this is a major source of problems for a lot of people and sits very much at the nexus of human suffering. 

What I’ve suggested is completely value-neutral. It’s just a mathematical fact that if you have that kind of landscape, then you cannot explore the full range of coordination models that are available through economic activity. If you’ve committed to deployment of resources and that deployment of resources is not changeable—it’s fixed or relatively fixed—then there are fewer models that you can actually explore, which means that the ability to coordinate is less flexible.

That’s a value-neutral. It doesn’t say whether I think highly or poorly of plutocrats and oligarchs. It’s the fact that as long as we have an oligarchical arrangement, we cannot explore the full range of coordination models. We need all the models available now because the situation is so dire. The ability to get to a new arrangement comes from blockchain. Blockchain allows the community to create a new value system. They can say, “these are the things we value.” Here’s the token or financial infrastructure and computational infrastructure that supports this kind of valuation. We value these behaviors that diminish carbon emissions, for example. We’re going to give economic benefit to those agents—the humans and institutions that are engaged in that behavior.

I have long suggested, “Hey, let’s start with a few experiments.” Let’s start with that kind of idea in a lower-risk situation like music or entertainment. At this point, I think we’re out of time. We don’t get to run those nice experiments in quite the way I had anticipated or hoped for. But we might have to jump to the chase and start rebooting financial systems for communities that are willing to take the plunge. Again, it’s a radical idea at this point. I think it’s time for radical ideas.

Christian: When you were talking about recording more valuable metadata in economic interactions, I wasn’t sure exactly of an example that you had in mind, but one that I’ve always had in mind was that we need to start monitoring supply chains so that we account for the carbon emissions of the production of any good or service. It’s a big question that may involve some estimations, but by now we have the technology that if we want it to, every time you buy something, it should come with information about its environmental impacts. This should be made transparent to the consumer. Something that you have to know every time that you choose to buy something or fly somewhere that needs to start being very explicit at the forefront of everybody’s mind. 

We certainly have the technology to do that right now. It’s just a matter of whether we set up the framework with blockchain and whatever kind of instrumentation we need and whether we can get companies to agree to it. It’s one of those issues that so common sense, it’s not even a partisan thing. It’s about general awareness that would be totally possible in five years if we worked really hard.

Greg: Yes, that’s exactly right. I was using the example of energy trading, where we know a lot more about the cleanliness (or other kinds of production provenance) with respect to lots of energy, whether you’re talking barrels of oil or natural gas or even electricity. We know whether those lots are green, in the sense that they’re environmentally friendly, or brown, in the sense that they’re environmentally unfriendly. That data can be associated with those transactions. It’s not currently done with energy trading.

Darryl: Just last week Nora introduced me to a fellow named Christophe who started this thing called Nori. It’s connected to what you guys are talking about: a blockchain initiative that is a “two-sided marketplace as a scalable incentive system to measure and verify soil carbon. We make it simple for companies to pay farmers to restore their soil health and pull carbon dioxide out of the air.” 

The general idea of food, if I understood Christophe’s explanation, is that people have the ability to purchase credits that are verifiably doing something to help offset carbon levels. I love Christian’s idea of some kind of labeling system that whenever anybody wants to buy something or travel somewhere, they have an understanding of the environmental footprint involved. Then Nori would fill in the blanks, saying, “Okay, here’s how much money you’d need to pay and here’s how to pay it.” Then you pay this amount of money and that money goes toward doing something to help stop the problem. 

Christian: Yeah, that’s awesome.

Nora: It’s a great idea also because it’s not just that you’re paying money to offset your carbon footprint. That money actually goes to verify that the carbon that you polluted is being taken out of the atmosphere. The money is not just going nowhere, it’s being verified on the blockchain. The trick is using a blockchain that also doesn’t use an enormous amount of energy. 

I found a lot of different projects. Darryl and I have been working on making several lists of different blockchain and non-blockchain based environmental and climate-based projects to invite to either become members of RChain or to be part of our community.

We really want to expand the conversation. Darryl and I really want to clarify the why of RChain. What is the impetus to build this blockchain? Is it just to look at the price of RHOC or REV, or are we really trying to do something that is going to transform the way people are able to coordinate? Obviously, nobody has a singular answer for the climate crisis, but inviting more people to be part of the RChain community who are passionate about the climate is going to be a big step forward.

Darryl: That’s so great, Nora. One thing I want to emphasize is that eventually, everyone is going to come to the realization that this is the greatest problem we have to solve as a global species. That’s going to become the biggest way to make money. If you’re somebody who is strictly focused on making lots of money, get into this. It’s part of the way to solve this. I don’t think it’s going to get solved by punishing. I think it’s going to get solved by realizing that there’s greater reward for all by getting involved in this. One of the perks will be the survival of the species.

Christian: Is that list available somewhere?

Nora: Right now I’m working on four different master lists. There are four main categories of different groups that I thought would be great for us to reach out to. There’s a climate list, a social good list, arts organizations, and social coordination organizations. Most of these are not blockchain projects, because most climate projects haven’t integrated blockchain yet. I’m looking for more who have or who want to.

Greg: This is a cautionary tale for the blockchain space. This summer I had a conversation with one of our star developers. He’s been with the project from the beginning. He started asking questions on one of our channels and I realized immediately this was a real mind. This is someone who thinks for himself and thinks in a way that he can get things done. It’s been my honor and privilege to work with Kent Shikama. 

But this summer he came to me and said, “Look, I’m just really not inspired by the blockchain community. There’s  too much focus on speculation and not enough value on what makes me excited.” As a result, he’s moving on from the blockchain space. As of October 15, he leaves the co-op, and then he’s not going to be working in blockchain, at least according to what he’s told the team. Fortunately for us, we were able to find another talented developer to take up the position that he left vacant. Not that we can fill his shoes because Kent is just one of those people who anything he sets his mind to, he can get done. We need those people. We need young people who really have the fire burning. 

We’ve been filling a project manager position. Yesterday I spoke with one of the candidates and he was asked who the stakeholders for RChain are. After I gave the sort of traditional list of stakeholders, I said there’s another implicit list of stakeholders. These are the people that Greta Thunberg and my children represent. These are the people that need a set of tools to help them coordinate long after we’re gone. Those are also the stakeholders in this project. His response was, “Wow, that really makes a difference in terms of how I approach this role; that invigorates me; that excites me and gives my work purpose.” 

The more we make blockchain about speculation and making money, the more the people we really need to attract are going to go, “This is not what I came to do. This isn’t my purpose. This isn’t my meaning.” I think we really have to understand that what people want and what gets them out of bed and what makes them excited and be able to give that extra effort is meaning and purpose. I can’t think of greater meaning and purpose right now than to address humanity’s existential crisis, which we brought upon ourselves. 

Sorry to give such a long-winded response. I did want to hear from other people. One person who normally stays quiet and neutral in all of this is Derek. I know that it’s your job to be host, but I think you might have some opinions about what we’re talking about as well. I wonder if you wanted to say a few words.

Derek: Sure. I’ll take a slightly different tack, but one of the things that really has taken me aback—I guess it shouldn’t be surprising in the current political environment—is the number of people on social media attacking Greta Thunberg as if she were a plant by adults or that there’s an agenda behind it. I mean, there is an agenda—an important one—but it’s really disconcerting seeing people, peers of mine in their forties, talking about a 16-year-old in such a way. It makes me wonder if as adults we have become so bitter and polarized that we can’t think that teenagers can think for themselves. 

One of the points that she makes, and some other teenagers were at the UN conference this week were discussing, is that we’ve left them with this world. They would like to make it to their seventies and eighties and nineties as we hopefully will be able to, yet they’re going to have a much greater challenge than we are.

There’s a philosophy in Buddhism of constantly seeing through new eyes. It’s part of empathy and the development of compassion: the understanding that we were also teenagers who had ideas and to be able to look at the problem and what they’re facing from their age and the obstacles that they have to overcome. I wish that people of any age would understand that. These people care passionately about this problem. It’s sad the way that we’ve polarized these situations where, as you’ve said many times, Greg, it’s an all-hands-on-deck situation. If we don’t treat it like that, then the consequences are going to be dire for everyone involved.

Christian: That’s why I really want to think and talk more about the crisis as a psychological issue. There’s a lot that we don’t understand there. There are people coming from quite an extreme and disturbing perspective of bitterness and division and apathy. We can’t just look at it and say, “Oh, this is crazy. What are you doing? This isn’t right.” We need to actually understand how they got to that point so that we can fix it. 

The good news is that the window of people alive and in power is always moving. That’s how the mindset will really change. Unfortunately, the timescale is a little too short now and we actually can’t wait for the youth to be in power. I have various theories about how people can get to that point, but they’re not very well developed yet.

Greg: I really appreciate those comments. In my experience, real authority is received, not taken. How is it that a 16-year-old like Greta Thunberg can be addressing the UN summit? It’s because she was given that role, not because she’s stormed the gates. That’s because of who she is.

Christian: She just speaks clearly. It’s so crucial that we choose just the right words for this time.

Greg: I agree 100%.

Darryl: When she opened up her speech with, “We’ve been watching you,” that hit me between the eyes. 

Greg: I also really appreciate Derek’s comments. That was in part why I wanted to put the radical cards on the table—to be upfront. I know a lot of people who are against action with respect to climate change, they have become convinced—I don’t know what the process was—but they have become convinced that this is a play for global government. I wanted to put on the table the fact that these are global issues and we’re going to have to address our coordination from that perspective. Hopefully, we can do this the way nature works, which is scaling from the ground up. 

There is no king tree that governs all of the forest. There’s no king bear that governs all the bears. Nature does things from the ground up. That’s the most scalable form of coordination. Yet we find that there are networks within networks within networks of coordination, even amongst the trees. We’re just now beginning to appreciate that. 

That’s the kind of thing that we have to bring to bear when we’re talking about practical action. We are going to have to coordinate in a way we never have before and it’s going to require this balance between the collective and the individual that we’ve never seen before. Unless we are open and transparent, people will view these kinds of discussions with a great deal of suspicion. But if we say, “Hey, this is just a fact, we can’t avoid this anymore,” that moreover this is the step that humanity is being called to take, we might be able to bridge the gap. I know a lot of people have these concerns that climate change is a play for a global government.

Christian: There’s so much to say here. This is a really good conversation and I hope that this could somehow be a series. It’s clear that RChain is coming from a really important perspective that most of the blockchains aren’t. I think that RChain could make more explicit this fact in order to attract the kind of people that you were talking about. Its success in some kind of hypothetical world where everything is fine and it becomes a normal good internet, that’s never going to happen. It sounds like we all agree that the real purpose of the whole system is going to be helping the world manage with all this. This kind of conversation should become a lot more explicit in RChain itself and how it brings in people. 

Greg: I agree. That’s why we had this conversation today: to begin to make that clear.