Crypto-Current (005)

§0.05 — Bitcoin machines value. It follows that the prevailing conception of technology as instrumental capability, subsumed under extrinsic ends, is among the very many things to fall by the wayside as the process escalates. Traditional categories of thought (or conception) and action (or performance) are mutually subsumed into an irreducible cognitive action. The strengthening diagonal current passing between the notional and the actual, ‘ought’ and ‘is’, intelligence and mechanism – which in its aporetic articulation has been the exquisite torture of postmodern philosophy – is simply code. Bitcoin ushers this cryptic fatality into simultaneous conceptual and mechanical consummation.

§0.051 — It is necessary to go further. In the final analysis, nothing less than the nature of reality is brought into question by this event. It concerns the ‘Being of beings’ (at least). If the claim seems extravagant, it is nevertheless inescapable, once the transcendental status of an ultimate criterion based upon absolute succession is granted to the Bitcoin protocol. It is not only that no higher tribunal exists. When envisaged at a sufficient level of abstraction, no higher tribunal could possibly exist. The Bitcoin ledger is the first intrinsically reliable record. It is now known what happened, without argument. This is a situation without precedent which also reaches – immediately – an absolute limit, in principle. It thus exemplifies the synthetic a priori. There is no philosophical thinking of Bitcoin – in either the subjective or objective genitive – that is not also (‘simultaneously’) a re-thinking of time, or sovereign decision. ‘Re-thinking’ is a revision, but no less a restoration. Bitcoin introduces us to a time-machine, or time-synthesizer, which can only complicate any initial intuitions about its novelty. It has been on the way for centuries (at least). This will, in any case, constitute the stubborn, guiding assertion of the book.