Author: Alec Spier Date: To: unsystem Subject: Re: [unSYSTEM] DarkFi: The Coming Storm
Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 7:30 AM
From: "Amir Taaki" <amir@???>
Subject: [unSYSTEM] DarkFi: The Coming Storm
Our team is happy today to share with this list the first news of our
project that has been under development for the last 4 years.
It's 2013. The director of the FBI gives a speech titled "The Going
Dark Problem". Solemnly he warns of an emerging crisis within law
enforcement. Since the Snowden disclosures, increasing public awareness
of surveillance has encouraged the wide ranging use of encryption
technologies - what he calls the tech tool of choice for criminals.
> Unfortunately, the law hasn’t kept pace with technology, and this
disconnect has created a significant public safety problem. We call it
"Going Dark" > - James Comey, FBI director
The speech highlighted a risk emerging online: mass popularization
of encryption threatens to create a permanent online zone that is
impenetrable to law enforcement. We maintain these dark zones remove
the barriers for a truly democratic society to realize itself. Recent
developments in DAOs and DeFi represent an exciting step towards this
Additional breakthroughs in cryptography such as zero-knowledge proofs
are awakening a new era of challenge and upheaval. This document gives
an overview of these advances and introduces our project: DarkFi.
DarkFi is not a corporate startup. It's a democratic economic
experiment, an operating system for society.
# Societycide & the Megamachine
The situation has escalated since Comey first documented the "Going Dark
Problem" in 2013. The logic of state expansion together with infinite
money printing and industrialism have submerged society into a constant
state of war. Power and the state apparatus control, oppress and surveil
society while big tech wraps us in a digital prison.
This state of war has been called a "societycide". Society is
increasingly deprived of its moral and political nature. People have
been transformed into the fascist's herd-like masses.
Internet technology is centered around extracting profit from users
for low value work (clicking ads). This leads to huge data harvesting
operations and the construction of a surveillance mega-machine. This
encourages docility and consumption rather than active individuated
usership. It is an architecture of oppression structured on user control.
Newer and better artificial intelligences are constantly being honed
to wage war on the resistance and force the remaining people into giant
megacities. With the arrival of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC)
and universal basic income (UBI), centralized power is rapidly seeking
to close off all competing economic arenas. The corporate state seeks
to monopolize economic life. China's social credit scoring has been an
instructive experiment that Western states seek to emulate.
What remains in this impoverished world is a new sinister form of
fascism and a dead society that has lost its moral and political fabric.
Such a dead society is unable to self-organize or act with initiative.
The mega-machine constantly searches for innovative methods to extract
oil from the ground, fish from the oceans and lifeblood from society,
even as these resources are depleted to crisis levels.
For 20 years we worked on free software. It was a movement with
incredible vitality and creativity, exploring ideas long before
proprietary industry would dare touch them. But being a full time free
software developer was a tough situation. We created tremendous value
but were mostly without resources. We did not have a way to capture back
some of the value we were creating. Being unable to capture value meant
our expansion was limited and continually resource constrained. So these
brilliant concepts that were pioneered could never be realized and
society lost the full benefits of a free technology that could have been.
The free software movement possessed world class developers with a
community of strong believers. But the movement simply lacked resources
due to there being no economic model.
Through the power of tokenization, we now have an alternative.
Programmable money enables a rich set of techniques to
develop economic networks.
Token engineering and DAOs are shattering the basic structure of the
old world. The old world is corporate, hierarchical, and rigid. This
new world is rich, intense and creative.
In the classical corporate model, you have a consumer-producer
dichotomy. This distinction does not exist in crypto. The focus is on
community and squad wealth. Rather than a company exploiting users for
profit and protecting their property, the owners and producers are the
The value of a project is directly proportional to its community. Tokens
capture the value generated by a community and circle that value back to
the community itself. The ability of projects to foster participation,
enthusiasm and engagement is therefore crucial. Communities foster
autonomy through discourse, negotiation and narrative. This in turn
leads to democratic transformations of the individual, fashioning them
for the values of self-governance and self-development.
Nowhere is this social evolution more apparent than in DAOs. DAOs are a
new governance primitive that enable latent democratic forces to
assemble and organize themselves before power and capital forces can
narrow them ideologically. This enables the exploration of unrealized
liberation zones. The users are stakeholders that can participate
directly in governance decisions. They can decide on development
targets, features, salaries, capital allocation and investments.
The ideal of politics is to multiply public spaces. Crypto is therefore
deeply political. Politics concerns taking decisions regarding the
collective interests of society such as well-being, security and
freedom. In this sense politics and direct democracy are synonymous.
The old model of technology is anti-political because it removes
ownership from people and places it into the hands of monopoly. The old
model encourages passivity and indifference by design, reducing people
to consumers. This is essentially the orientation of modern technology.
Its arc extends back 5000 years to the origin of civilization itself.
The Wikipedia entry for civilization reads:
> Civilization concentrates power, extending human control over the rest
of nature, including over other human beings.
History has swung back and forth in the struggle between democratic
society and the state civilization system. At times this has broken
out into open conflict, while in other times has led to an uneasy
peace. Conflict between civilizational forms has accelerated in the
modern era. Society is under siege by automated weaponry, surveillance
apparatus and psychological operations which seek to undermine the moral
and political freedom of people.
# Autonomous Political Formations
Totalitarianism cannot be defeated through compliance. Compliance
only emboldens regimes of power. Totalitarian terror is let loose when
opposition has died down and the rulers are no longer afraid. Compliance
feeds totalitarians and never leads to normality. Resistance is
essential to counter the rise of totalitarian rule.
Parallel societies offer pockets of freedom that nurture ideologies of
resistance and form the basis of a new society. They can be societies
oriented around technology, economy, education or culture.
With DAOs and DeFi we can bring to life the democratic nation where
multiple cultures, ethnicities and political formations coexist with a
DAOs + DeFi = Autonomous Political Formations
With APFs multiple parallel nations can exist online free from external
coercion. These nations are owned by their community. Decisions flow
from the bottom.
There is a story of money that goes like this: it's the dawn of
history. People are trading their surplus goods. You have an apple. She
has an orange. Trade necessitates a medium of exchange. Money emerges.
We've all heard this story. Except that it's a myth. This never occurred
In Ancient Mesopotamia there were sophisticated banking networks long
before money existed. These networks offered all the modern operations
associated with a bank, such as loan operations, deposits, forex, and
debt settlement. Babylon, the cradle of human civilization, was home
to the flourishing banking center of the region and an active futures
market. Money emerged out of this system of credit networks. Deposit
slips and futures contracts were traded in the form of clay tokens that
could be broken. It was only much later with the emergence of the
Persian empire that the gold and silver bimetallic money was standardized.
The lesson history teaches us is this: economic networks are primary.
It is the transfer of value within networks that gives money its
meaning, not money itself. Money inherits different properties from the
financial networks they exist within.
In 2010, the concept of universal sound money was central to Bitcoin's
emergence. As crypto has grown, we have seen the emergence of other
asset classes. First, we saw the rise of blockchains with their own
unique features such as Monero. Ethereum was the first to generalize
this architecture, which was followed by the growth of ERC20 and the
initial ICO boom. But the nature of crypto has changed fundamentally.
DeFi has ushered in a new, ecosystem-based thinking that sees not just a
single coin in isolation but examines networks in a holistic way.
Previously we use to think about crypto-coins and their blockchain. This
is Bitcoin, this is Monero, this is Ethereum. The way people reasoned
about crypto was as self-sovereign atomic entities. But DeFi is enabling
a new kind of reasoning. We think in terms of ecosystems and endpoints,
networks and liquidity flows.
With DeFi we are seeing the sophistication of crypto and the emergence
of a parallel financial system. Blockchain-specific coins are being
de-emphasized in favour of instruments and networks. Financial
engineering allows these networks to interact, to lower volatility and
transfer assets seamlessly. This is the emergence of a proto-banking
layer for crypto. With it, crypto has gained a radical advantage.
Banking is more powerful and more fundamental than money.
Currently 1% of all Bitcoin exists inside Ethereum and this number is
rapidly growing. We expect this trend to further continue.
Crypto anarchy is the tactic of using cryptography to create a space of
freedom which cannot be penetrated by power and capital monopolies with
This space of freedom is the nascent seed of a democratic society. These
social structures are resistant to state control and totalitarian power
from the start. They are programmed with the code of resistance. They
are spaces which counter social atomization and promote voluntary
communal bonds by those who cherish freedom.
They are dark spaces used by an alliance of democratic forces.
Zero-knowledge (ZK) is a powerful technology, one that if used
effectively opens vast frontiers of freedom.
ZK allows us to create anonymous smart contracts. Anyone can write
an anonymous program which is called a proof. Even though the data on
the blockchain is encrypted, the proof makes a statement about what is
happening with that data. It cannot be cheated and is completely secure.
It opens up an entirely new design space of anonymous applications that
previously we could not create. The technology is mature, waiting to be
taken up and applied.
Now you might be thinking there is a performance penalty for ZK, but
actually ZK is fast. It is faster to verify a ZK proof than it is to
compute the actual non-ZK function itself. And no matter how big is the
data, the proof is always a constant size.
For example, we can compress an entire blockchain into a ZK proof.
Rather than downloading 300 Gb of data on initial sync with the network,
you can instead download a 22 Kb proof that the current state has been
correctly computed from genesis. There are already projects offering
this. This property of ZK is called succinctness.
Here is a simple program:
def foo(s, x, y):
return x * y
return x + y
Lets say Alice calculates z = foo(True, 4, 110). To prove z is
calculated correctly, Alice gives Bob the values of z, s, x, y and then
Bob runs the function to see he gets the same result as Alice. That's
not anonymous, as Bob can see the values that are input to the function.
Instead Alice can use a ZK proof to show she computed the function
correctly without revealing the input values.
Using this technique, we can create completely dark financial markets:
a global decentralized economic network operating fully anonymously.
ZK is a powerful design space opening up for developers. It is also a
new computational architecture different to the Von Neumann model that
we are all familiar with. Certain types of operations are more
favourable compared to others which takes some getting used to. There is
a lot of scope and exploration here for advancing the tooling around ZK
such as compilers which are still very primitive.
This is the first step toward a new economic model for technology that
is not based off the exploitation of users.
DarkFi is a base layer for anonymous applications and smart contracts
that is multi-chain interoperable.
DarkFi is an environment with a language for writing zero-knowledge
smart contracts. The research is still nascent but we already have our
ZK unlocks an entirely unexplored design space of anonymous
applications. Previously if you wanted to create an anonymous
application you had to think how to combine several existing
cryptographic schemes. Maybe it would be slow or impossible. But with
ZK, we have a generic cryptographic schema that any programmer can use
to create anonymous applications.
We can create anonymous services. Users can interact with DAOs and
markets where they use credentials. You attach a proof which says that a
statement is correct. Nothing else about your identity is leaked.
Services are operated in this manner.
Here is an example of a smart contract minting a credential:
We have a chat server on Matrix at: element.dark.fi
We already have a testnet bridged with Bitcoin and Solana networks. We
plan to add support for Ethereum and Monero soon. You can run the
application and send payments.
Our initial focus will be simple anonymous swaps and a DAO for
governance. We plan to focus on building out organizational tooling and
rapidly expand our ecosystem. Join us on this world-building adventure.
We are seeking political developers and offer competitive salaries. This
is an opportunity to help build an ecosystem and there will be many more
projects being launched and funded on DarkFi.
Every Monday 16:00 CET in #dev on our server, we have an open developer
meeting over text.
We are more than tool creators. We build applications and help support
teams building them. We welcome everyone on our exodus to the promised
land of opportunity.
# Let there be dark
> Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask is an
> idea. And ideas are bulletproof.
> - V
Everybody feels that there will big a huge macro political or economic
event in the next 5 years. Everybody is deeply discontented with the
power and capital monopolies ruling over us.
What is the next system to come along? Here is the answer:
We should not be thinking about systems. Human beings are not objects in
a mathematical apparatus. That is the thinking that got us in this position.
What thinking do we need?
What is happening around you? What are people doing? What are the
problems they face? What is truth, beauty and goodness? How can we
empower that face of humanity and nature that we wish to grow?
Luckily we have been gifted agorist counter-economics, not just as a
philosophy but as a powerful agent of change. Wield that power, make
The regulators are coming for us. They see us as children with boots
too big for our feet. We need to be put back in our place. They do this
from outside and within. Those crazy anarchists amongst us get shushed,
given freakish looks, shunned and told off for stirring the pot. Who
are these people and where did they come from? Certainly in their clean
corporate cages they would never have risked betting on Bitcoin in
2010. Yet here they are attaching themselves to success, making sure
things are done right.
The narrative right now is about trivial first world concerns: GameFi,
ArtFi, SocialMediaFi - the entertainment and celebrity biz.
But one need only look at what power and capital monopolies seek to
prevent to understand what is key to liberating the democratic nation.
They are going to regulate crypto which allows any person to send
crypto to any person anywhere on the planet. Or to establish private
organizations that are self-governed. This destroys all proprietary
models of the power and capital monopolies.
Crypto will split into two. RegFi will be unusable and bolted down. It
will be toothless. The other side will be the underground DarkFi. It
will have bite.
DarkFi is not a project or a company. We are a community and a movement.
Counter-economics gives us tools to architect systems that empower
Crypto-anarchy is the tactic of using cryptography for counter-economics.
Privacy technologies are emerging stronger than ever and are completely
Combine all this together and we get: DarkFi.
The darkness is here and will sweep over our digital world. It cannot
be stopped, since the benefits it brings are too great. All the latent
potentialities of humanity that are being pushed down will be allowed to
rise up to the top. This is a great power that must be used respectfully.
Remember every technological revolution in history had naysayers who
wanted to put the genie back in Pandora's box. But they were dragged
kicking and screaming into the future against their will.
There are no judgments or edicts being made here. Just statements
Take it or leave it, this is what will happen. Welcome to the agorist