Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin has been actively involved in a discussion relating to rumors that the infamous Rothschilds banking family are getting involved in cryptocurrency, and may even be creating or supporting one that is allegedly called “IMMO”. To this, Buterin seemed dismissive and doubted the ability of the Rothschilds to influence crypto. He also clarified his current stance on online privacy, and why he feels that it is now something of great importance.
Cryptocurrency and the Rothschilds
For those that don’t know, the Rothschilds are a well-known and highly secretive family that could very well be one of the wealthiest families on earth today. Not much is known about the secretive group today, but their investments have been tied to most of the world’s largest banks including Goldman Sachs and ING just to name two. The family began it’s involvement in global finance sometime back in the mid 1700s.
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Conspiracies relating to the Rothschilds go back centuries and include suggestions that the family intentionally causes wars and then profits from governments taking out massive loans in order to fund the battles. Most of these accusations are nothing more than conspiracy theories and rumors, and no hard evidence exists today that prove or even suggest that they are true.
Lord Rothschild is chairman of RIT Capital Partners and of J Rothschild Capital Management, Image from The Times
In the theme of rumors and conspiracies, a report came out recently that suggested that the Rothschilds are currently getting involved in cryptocurrency, and might be launching a project of their own. Some of the rumors suggest that the aim of the project is to create a new stable coin to act as a private bank-to-bank transfer system.
Again, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that this is true. However, just the idea was enough to get Vitalik Buterin interested in the discussion. In response to what sort of impact the Rothschilds joining cryptocurrency would have, Buterin said:
Are “the Rothschilds” even well-coordinated enough to be worth caring about as a group these days? I read the wikipedia article on them a few days back and these days they seem to just be a few hundred or thousand people born into various old-money-type high society positions.
Apparently, Buterin is not particularly concerned or impressed with the possible involvement of the group in the cryptosphere. He then continued:
If old-money-type high society people want to make their own currencies, go ahead, more power to them; see you in the moderately-free market.
Buterin’s evolving stance on privacy
Later in the Reddit discussion, the question of privacy technology and mass surveillance was brought up.
User padpad asked:
“What is your honest opinion on mass surveillance? Sometimes I feel like technologies around blockchain could potentially be humanity’s last hope in balancing out the power between the state and its people.”
To this, Buterin outlined his opinion on the subject, noting specifically that his thoughts on the importance of privacy have evolved over the last few years. Specifically, his belief in the importance of privacy has grown significantly, and he now considers himself to be staunchly pro-privacy.
What changed his mind? According to Buterin, reading the works of author Robin Hanson and others on signaling, and how he “sees privacy as a way to prevent signaling concerns from encompassing all of our activity”.
He also considers having a “deeper understanding of the ways that it’s possible to make other people’s lives suck”, as well as his idea that people “are not always virtuous, and that social pressure as a mechanism for influencing people’s behavior doesn’t always lead to results I approve of”.
Don’t fear the Rothschilds?
Villa Rothschild, France. Image from Pixabay
While this may be an interesting thought experiment to consider whether or not a well-known old money family like the Rothschilds getting involved in cryptocurrency would make a major difference or not, we have to remember that so far this information is largely coming from unverified sources.
Further, the Rothschilds themselves, or even any member of the family, have not made any concrete statement or press release that details even any degree of interest in cryptocurrency, much less plans to create their own. What will be interesting to see is if these rumors turn out to have any truth, what a Rothschild-backed cryptocurrency would look like, and what it would be used for.