Since her break from world’s richest man Elon Musk, Grimes, the pop artist, has dipped her toe back into the world of politics and economics. She thinks our future is in gaming, but ‘hasn’t ironed that idea out enough yet to explain it’.
We’ve had a good chuckle on Twitter over the last few days at the totally-not-staged photos of Grimes.
It seems she arranged these pictures to rekindle some popularity after her split from multi-billionaire Elon Musk. And she chose to pose in a mole-skin cloak reading Marx. She’s now clarified in an Instagram post that she isn’t a communist (shocking). She does say that Marx includes some ‘smart ideas‘ in the Communist Manifesto. Instead of communism, she proposed this:
‘I’m more interested in a radical decentralized ubi that I think could potentially be achieved thru crypto and gaming but I haven’t ironed that idea out enough yet to explain it.‘
Interesting. I’m not surprised that the ‘post-internet’ musician, Grimes, hasn’t ‘ironed out’ the details. Some people think it could be challenging to fix the world’s economy using entirely incompatible ideas. But let’s dig a bit deeper.
Gaming + crypto = profit??
So crypto is certainly very trendy at the moment. But how does Grimes see gaming factoring into it? The plan seems to be:
- 1: Video games
- 2: Crypto currency
- 3: ????
- 4: UBI
UBI stands for universal basic income. It’s actually a really old idea – even older than Marxism. Thomas More proposed it in 1516 in his socio-political satire, Utopia. It’s something that’s been trialled around the world, from Kenya to Scotland. Next up is Wales.
The idea is that by covering people’s basic income needs, you will improve a society’s well being. Housing and food insecurity will dissipate. Stress levels will go down, which has huge social benefits. It also doesn’t cost much more than a regular welfare state. UBI cuts back on the admin needed to income test or assess an individual’s eligibility.
Unlike crypto, UBI is something that has been trialled by governments to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable. There’s evidence to show it does improve health outcomes.
So, Grimes. Baby. Sweetie. How would we administer UBI without a central government? Crypto is decentralised. How would UBI payments arrive in everyone’s crypto wallets? How does gaming come into it, Grimes? Maybe we can go through the Super Mario games and earn Doge coins by jumping on goombas.
The hype behind crypto
It’s not the first time a leading figure has claimed crypto was the answer to social ills. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, claimed that Bitcoin could unite the world and bring about world peace.
Crypto currencies have huge carbon footprints, which can have devastating impacts on the environment. The value of the different coins rockets up and down on a regular basis, and numerous gigantic fraud cases at crypto exchanges have seen customers lose millions. But it’s the tech of the moment.
This is a well known phenomena in technology. Once a new discovery or invention is made, it’s briefly viewed as a solution to all of humanity’s ills. It happened with AI, robotics, electricity and radioactive materials. Eventually, the technology is incorporated into everyday life and loses it’s utopian shine.
A possible explanation for crypto’s current ascendance is the pandemic. Lots of people have lost their jobs and are at home on their phones. Traditional industries are suddenly unstable. So lots of people have been drawn into investing in crypto currencies.
The history of crypto
The precursors to modern crypto currencies were untraceable digital tokens. These tokens were used in digital communities to trade for stuff you didn’t want showing up on your credit history. Or police checks. Things like illicit substances, stolen goods, illegal pornography.
Bitcoin was the first official crypto currency. It combined blockchain technology and finance to come up with an anonymous but traceable credit system. The blockchain records the movement and whereabouts of every coin. Storing this vast amount of data is what creates such a huge carbon footprint.
Now there are a number of crypto currencies, with new ones added all the time including: Dogecoin; Shiba Inu Coin; Ethereum; and Bitcoin. Several countries have begun to legitimise them. There’s even talk of a ‘Britcoin’. This adoption by central governments does undermine the idea of crypto currency being an alternative to the mainstream.
Crypto has thousands of passionate adherents. However, exactly how it will benefit society is unclear. Some suggest that it could open up finance to those traditionally excluded. How will homeless people, refugees, those in violent relationships or in exploitative working conditions benefit? How will they be able to afford the tech and strong wifi required to mine or trade in unstable ‘currencies’? What will they be able to buy with the various novelty coins if they get them? A handful of large tech corporations accept crypto, but you can’t buy your groceries or pay your rent with them, at time of writing.
What do you think about Grimes’ latest idea? Let us know via our social media channels.
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