The Satoshi Papers

Reflections on Political Economy after Bitcoin

 

Call for Papers

The world order inaugurated after the Second World War, an order which has shaped political and economic life for generations, is over. Not only that, but the post-Cold War era characterized by unipolar US superpower is over.

 

We now live in a multipolar world. This world is characterized by the rise of multinational people and companies, new economic alliances across societies, and revitalized national projects and historical empires all enabled through the industrial capacities, commodity wealth, and technological advantages uniquely combining to carve out this new world. At the same time, the foundations of the nation-state--the historical form embodying the principle of “rule by the people”--have come increasingly into question as entire populations debate the basis of political community and practices of representation. The American debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, the social crucible which generated the US Constitution and the founding institutions of the fledgling Republic, appears to be gaining new relevance in this moment.

 

Into this shifting world order steps bitcoin, the world’s first digital asset to use its known regularity of issuance and credible scarcity to guarantee base money legitimacy. Suddenly, one of the core functions of the state appears to have been automated at the level of a global protocol. And this Layer-1 money is not only absolutely scarce, but easily divisible, portable, fungible, uniform, and acceptable. A vehicle for the preservation and growth of value has emerged and gained adoption bottom-up, without seeking the imprimatur of the state.

 

The Satoshi Papers invites contributions from historians, economists, political scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, political theorists, computer scientists, philosophers, and others seeking to clarify what uncensorable, sound money implies for the generative relating of individual, state, and society. We ask how the automation of certain state functions impacts our understanding of the social contract--that fundamental Enlightenment-era theory of just relations between state and society--and the relations between states themselves.

 

The Satoshi Papers are works of political theory, not policy. In times of crisis and upheaval, when the terms through which the world has been understood are actively shifting, the first imperative is to think. What is clear is that all the conceptual pieces are not already on the table. We invite you to think so that we may together clarify what is at stake and what distinctions will enable us to skillfully navigate this era of profound transition.

 

 

Questions Animating The Satoshi Papers

 


Some of the research questions to be taken up in contributions to The Satoshi Papers might include:

 

  • What is an optimal form of government, for whom, at what scale, why, and what role does bitcoin play in that form of government?
     

  • What role will bitcoin play in the 21st-century international financial system?
     

  • How does bitcoin’s adoption limit and/or enable new expressions of state power?
     

  • What effects will an absolutely scarce currency have on the practice of war?
     

  • Can bitcoin help societies forge a path toward optimal forms of relating between elites and non-elites?
     

  • How are natural rights, particularly rights to liberty and property, being re-conceptualized in light of bitcoin? What implications do these rights have for state-society relations?
     

  • The principle of independence in central banking was intended to bring fiscal accountability to polities and base money legitimacy to their currencies. Bitcoin's primary purpose is to use its known regularity of issuance and credible scarcity to ensure that monetary policy's bedrock state is unhindered in preserving the value of money. With this foundational mission of independent central banking now automated, and public confidence in it growing every year, does there remain a social function for central banking? What public good(s) can now gain attention among bankers?
     

  • Proof of Work is an independent money-creating institution comparable to independent central banking. How does the automation of the money issuance aspect of central banking change the mission and methods of commercial and retail banking when it comes to credit, market making, underwriting, bond issuance, and the like?
     

  • What does the future hold for new forms of currency in a world of unforgeably scarce, programmable base money? For example, what are the types of polities and projects enabled by locally circulating Chaumian eCash that is verifiably rooted in a bitcoin vault? What kinds of political autonomy might result at different scales? At what point and in what ways would a network of vault participants become an opt-in political project?
     

  • How will bitcoin mining and network maintenance impact global energy production, usage, availability, and the shift to more abundant and/or renewable sources? What effects will this have on global political economy?

 

In addition to taking up these more general topics, essays will also focus on bitcoin’s implications for American political economy specifically. Like the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers, these questions may include significant normative or prescriptive components:

 

  • What does “a more perfect union” look like, and why?
     

  • How does bitcoin prompt us to rethink the structures of Enlightenment-era government that the United States has inherited? How should these structures evolve, and why?
     

  • What role might bitcoin play in the evolution of relationships between US States and between States and the Federal Government?
     

  • What projects and outcomes might bitcoin enable at the Federal, State, and local levels that are either not possible or difficult to achieve without it?
     

  • What role, if any, does bitcoin play in furthering financial inclusion and wealth creation among historically marginalized populations?
     

  • Should the United States continue to strive to be a global superpower? What does being a superpower mean in a multipolar world?
     

  • Should the United States seek to preserve the US dollar’s status as the global reserve currency? What are the implications for domestic policy?
     

  • How do non-state, programmable bearer instruments (BTC) and state sponsored fiat bills (USD) or bonds (UST) interact optimally for the American people?
     

  • Is there a future for non-programmable reserve assets (gold), or are these collapsing into strategic reserves more generally (oil, helium, etc.)?

 
 

Selection Criteria

  • The list of above questions is intended to inspire thinking, not to be exhaustive. Proposals will be considered on any topic touching on the intersection of bitcoin, state, and society.
     

  • While authors are expected to have political points of view, they are also expected to couch their arguments in rigorous analysis and a strong evidentiary basis. Overtly ideological and partisan work will not be considered for publication.
     

  • The editors strongly welcome essays with diverging political, economic, and social prescriptions and recommendations. Post-publication, the Texas Bitcoin Foundation will host forums to discuss essays included in the volume, and these will include discussions between authors with differing points of view on similar topics. 

 

  • In addition to the quality of evidence and argument, the author’s background and expertise in the topics about which they propose to write will be considered as criteria for inclusion.
     

  • Contributions from anywhere in the world are welcome. Authors do not need to be US citizens or residing in the United States.
     

  • Authors do not need to be professional academics or scholars to submit papers. An academic institutional affiliation is not required for publication. 

 

  • Finally, this essay collection has a scholarly and scientific focus. Essays that are better suited for journalistic publications will be recommended for other venues.

Submission Guidelines

01

Submit an Abstract

Use the submission form below to submit a 500-word abstract. Deadline for abstracts is August 31, 2022.

Submissions may be anonymous or pseudonymous. See the form below for instructions on how to submit.

The Satoshi Papers' Editorial Board will determine which abstracts are selected for publication by October 1, 2022. The Board may also provide feedback about the title and abstract to tailor it to the purposes of the publication.

02

Submit a Manuscript

Initial drafts of manuscripts must be submitted by January 31, 2023. Manuscripts must be at least 5,000 words long and a maximum of 20,000 words long.

 

Manuscripts will then undergo a peer review process, with an aim to return comments to authors no later than May 31, 2023. Final revisions will be due by July 31, 2023.

Authors will receive compensation upon submission of their final revised manuscript.

03

Publication

The Texas Bitcoin Foundation aims to publish The Satoshi Papers and begin distribution in 2023.

The Satoshi Papers will be published both electronically and in paper format for those wishing to order physical copies.

*Note: All timelines above are subject to change at the sole discretion of the Editorial Board of The Satoshi Papers.

Publicity

The Texas Bitcoin Foundation will organize a series of media appearances, lectures, seminars, and discussions featuring contributors to The Satoshi Papers. Authors wishing to remain anonymous or pseudonymous will not be asked to participate in publicity that would reveal their identities. However, they may be asked to assist with publicity in other ways (for example, by authoring a blog post summarizing their essay, or by answering questions from readers in written form).

 
 
 

Initial Contributors

Nic Carter

Jason Lowery

David Zell

Matthew Pines

Andrew M. Bailey

Craig Warmke

Natalie Smolenski