PETER HOWSON


Let Them Eat Crypto puts blockchain, cryptocurrency and ‘Web3’ under the microscope like never before.

 

Peter Howson cuts through the jargon and bluster to tell an alarming story of how right-wing libertarian crypto entrepreneurs – often aided by charities, politicians, and philanthropists – seek out and exploit conditions of poverty, oppression, corruption, and conflict. Their goal? A new front of ‘crypto-colonial’ extractivism. Let Them Eat Crypto reveals the alarming truth: far from ‘banking the unbanked’, saving the gorillas, or freeing people from oppressive governments, blockchain offers only false solutions, surveillance, and hi-tech snake oil.

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February 2023 | Jacobin

Texas start-up Intuitive Machines has achieved the first moon landing by a private firm. It’s dumping rich people’s detritus on the lunar surface — a grim sign of how the superrich plan to plant their flag beyond our own planet.

(De)colonising the cosmos: exploring the political ecologies of NewSpace industries

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October 2023 | Context

By suggesting possible links between the crypto industry and terror threats, we don’t highlight the urgent need for cracking down on crypto. But rather, we perpetuate a myth that a militarised response solves everything. 

October 2023 | Deceleration

Texas is the epicenter for what is perhaps the most purposefully polluting industry in the world today. 

September 2023 | The Herald (no paywal)

Fairytale promises of jobs in space whilst selling Scotland’s natural heritage off for cheap as a firing range, will end in the wrong kind of fireworks.   


August 2023 | Human Geography

While the rich speculate, the poorest in Latin America are paying the highest price for crypto.

July 2023 | Exeter Society and Cultures Research Group 

The Blue Belt could be an ideal opportunity to heal colonial scars, build resilient communities and compensate local people for maintaining pristine islands for everyone’s benefit. 

May 2023 | Thomson Reuters

Like the colonial conquests of the past, in today’s space race, indigenous people are losing their land and identities

September 2022 | Thomson Reuters

Despite its failings, bitcoin devotees are finding new speculators in the Global South keen to follow El Salvador’s lead. 

 September 2022 | The Conversation

The world's 2nd biggest cryptocurrency plans to cut its energy use by over 99%. But the industry still has a long way to go.

July 2022 | Frontiers in Blockchain

The developing world has become a key staging ground for blockchain governance applications and bitcoin maximalist policies. This collection will critically assess these developments and evaluate the ‘blockchain for good’ paradigm with an understanding of colonial and extractive legacies.

June 2022 | Novara Media

Conservatives aren't faking their enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Tory Boys and Crypto Bros have always been peas in a pod. Continue reading.

May 2022 | The Conversation

The cryptocurrency crash is bitcoin's 2008 moment. It's time for the grownups to crackdown on crypto's carbon emmisions.  Continue reading.

May 2022 | Reuters

Across the world’s troubled spots, resource wars and economic crises are being fuelled by a new kind of high-tech blood diamond - cryptocurrency. Continue reading.

March 2022 | The Conversation

Greanpeace's campaign to switch bitcoin from Proof Work to Proof of Stake will almost certainly fall on deaf ears. Continue reading.

March 2022 | Jacobin

Despite all the apparent generosity, war in Ukraine will be protracted by crypto, rather than relieved by it. Continue reading.

February 2022 | The Conversation

Animal jpegs and cryptocurrencies may seem like a harmless way to fundraise.  They're not. Continue reading.

February 2022 | Reuters

The Pacific nation of Palau is kicking off a digital residency scheme for anyone wishing to become a crypto-citizen. What could possibly go wrong!? Continue reading.

December 2021 | The Independent

There’s a bizarre fantasy popular in crypto circles known as the ‘Bitcoin Citadel’. Continue reading.

Nov 2021 | Energy Research and Social Science

Effective regulation of cryptocurrencies is urgently required, both to reduce the threat of catastrophic climate change, and to help the world's poorest towards sustainable development. Continue reading.

Nov 2022 |  Marine Biologist

With a ‘blah blah blah’ growth-oriented post-COVID-19 recovery, mass tourism and fishing will prove environmentally and socially disastrous for the Overseas Territories. Continue reading.

Sept 2021 | The Independent

Developers seek out populations suffering debt crises, war and climate disasters, the more scarred from past colonial abuse the better, to experiment and incubate new crypto ideas. Continue reading.

July 2021 | Coin Desk

Blockchains can’t rebuild roads or end sectarian violence, famine or natural disasters. Why are blockchain Innovators drawn to fragile states? Continue reading.

June 2021 | One Earth

Blockchains replace the need for trust between people with a need for distributed webs of computers and electrical energy. Continue reading.

June 2021 | The Independent

Bitcoin can do very little to address the structural problems preventing Salvadorans from accessing financial services. Continue reading.

June 2021 | The Conversation 

China appears committed to putting its own house in order, but Bitcoin’s social and environmental impacts urgently need a global response.

May 2021 | Political Geography

Whereas capitalist techno-fixes are leveraged in pursuit of economic growth and are reliant upon crises, we consider how degrowth innovations can enable political-technical strategies for more equitable human development, without an associated profit-incentive for crisis. Continue reading.

April 2021 | The Conversation

You own little more than bragging rights. Creators are also likely to pass the costs for creating your NFT files (or “minting” them) on to you. Most of the time, what you’ll also be responsible for is an enormous carbon footprint. Continue reading.

March 2021 | Ecological Economics

Blockchain has potential for facilitating redistributive and regenerative economies. But if blockchain is ever to prove useful for degrowth it would need to overcome challenges in three important areas. Continue reading.

February 2021 | The Conversation

It might all seem like a harmless game of digital bingo, but with more and more people enticed by the heady rewards, bitcoin mining on some days uses as much energy as Poland and generates 37 million tonnes of CO2 each year. Continue reading.

It works like this. Your everyday crypto enthusiast is rarely an expert in the complex realities of disaster relief and humanitarian aid projects. But with crypto giving, donors are able to remove flexibility from the experts while exerting maximum control over the charities’ actions. Continue reading.

December 2020 | Nonprofit Management and Leadership

For the nonprofits naïve to the risks, crypto-giving offers a Trojan Horse. Continue reading.

November 2020 | The Conversation

Blue belt territories shouldn’t face a choice between poverty or environmentally ruinous growth. Continue reading.

July 2020 | Ocean and Coastal Management

To be economically feasible, the UK's bold conservation targets are integrated with wider tourism, fishing, and economic growth-motivated governance agendas. Continue reading.

April 2020 | Frontiers in Blockchain

Blockchain is implicated in neo-colonialism in 3 ways. Firstly, it plays into ongoing narratives of 'green grabbing', where local claims to resources are liquidated for green investments. Secondly, the technology perpetuates North-South trade and investment inequalities, and thirdly, a new power asymmetry is enabled by the technology through data colonialism and surveillance capitalism. Continue reading.

April 2020 | Non-profit & voluntary sector quarterly 

Global lockdowns are isolating hard-up donors. Coronavirus restrictions are also placing barriers between charities and beneficiaries, especially in the Global South. Novel fundraising strategies are called for and disruptive technologies, like blockchain, are emerging as a useful tool. Continue reading.

April 2020 | Global Environmental Politics

According to Symons in Ecomodernism, fear-based appeals to drum up public support for frugality are turning people away from action on climate change. The book requests more faith in government and corporations and underscores the value of individual aspiration and technological innovation to provide a more hopeful response. Continue reading.

February 2020 | Marine Policy

Public distrust in conservation operations, as well as in the provenance of seafood, is growing. Some organisations have found practical solutions in disruptive technologies like blockchain. But, riding this wave will only prove worthwhile if coastal communities and artisanal fishers are on board and stand a chance of landing a fair share of the benefits.

Full text HERE

August 2019 | Nature Climate Change

Concern about the carbon footprint of Bitcoin is not holding back blockchain developers from leveraging the technology for action on climate change. Full text HERE.

March 2019 | Geoforum

Flagging REDD+ projects are hoping that blockchain technology can generate income. But, like with any powerful new technology, the benefits remain ambiguous. Continue reading.

June 2018 | Mongabay

Blockchain is providing bizarre bedfellows with more efficient ways of connecting Indonesia’s carbon projects with eco-conscience consumers. But will Indonesia’s forest communities get a share of the goodies? Probably not. Continue reading.

More updates coming soon.