§0.6 — Chapter Six closes the Bitcoin cycle, by attending to the absorption of socio-economic identity into cryptography, the matrix of philosophy. The Bitcoin wallet is a mask. Asymmetric cryptography formalizes irreversibility at an unprecedented level of techonomic intensity. It initiates the age of the open secret (or of masks). Bitcoin is its currency.
§0.61 — Cryptography envelops philosophy, in reality. The practical processing of secrecy defines a transcendental horizon. Epistemology is broken by its own naivety when it assumes an object without intrinsic impulse to escape. To know is to capture, grasp, or seize. It is thus, at least roughly, to fight.* Bitcoin, whose lineage is cryptographic, inherits better instincts – by far – in respect to knowledge, and truth than those typifying professional philosophy. It expects trouble, and not only difficulty. Its technical specifications are strategic, at the root. Rather than seeking shelter, Bitcoin makes cryptographic attack an intrinsic part of its security infrastructure. Its miners are poachers made game-keepers.
§0.62 — The twin-key cryptography which Bitcoin builds upon is a philosophical innovation of extraordinary – and still enormously under-estimated – importance. Recursively, it is itself a key, to the secrets of the dyad. The crudity of dialectical and structural articulations is comical in comparison. The cryptographic lineage directs application of this machinery, initially, to the public / private distinction, which it practically and conceptually solves.
§0.63 — Bitcoin significantly accommodates agent-identities to the rising Age of Masks, in which digital avatars implement the ‘empirical ego’ of transcendental philosophy. Identity, address, and account (‘wallet’) are brought into exact coincidence. All are a single fully-publicized disguise.
§0.64 — The concept of property remained weakly defined prior to the age of advanced cryptography, and the rigorous abstract determination of keys.** It is upon lockings and unlockings that the entire reality of property is built. When critically collapsed onto the plane of cryptographic immanence, privacy and property are indistinguishable. Both are accounted in keys. No other valuables in reality exist.
§0.65 — Asymmetry, as operationalized within public key crypto-systems, is an implementation of time – a temporalization, or current. Things go one way rather than another. It is cryptography, then, finally, that unlocks the historical meaning of philosophy, by retrieving the keys of time. Bitcoin realizes absolute succession as accomplished artifice. The cycle is closed.
* Perhaps Francis Bacon never proposed that nature be “hounded in her wanderings and put on the rack and tortured for her secrets.” Regardless, the culturally long-sustained plausibility of this quote is itself suggestive. Secrecy, and not mere ignorance, was the topic. The object of systematic knowledge was recognized as positively elusive. Modernity in science germinated in realistic soil.
** The historical precursor to the cryptographic key is the seal. Between the two, the functional analogy is striking, but a seal falls short of a crypto-key due to its dependence upon transcendent authorization. Seals distribute permissions, not capabilities. A seal does not protect itself. It presupposes an extraneous apparatus of authority and enforcement. In this respect, the comparison to the pre-cryptographic history of property rights and protections is only strengthened. What crypto-protection affords, sealing the first true property, is immanent security. The demand for cooperation is relieved.