Art by: Jing Jin
Glenn Beck is a controversial figure. Known for his bombastic rants and crying fits while hosting his own (now defunct) show on Fox News. The conservative pundit now hosts his own radio show on the Radio/TV station he help found, BlazeTV. Recently, he expressed a belief that Bitcoin, and more specifically the blockchain could be a great tool in the fight for freedom.
Beck got some things incorrect about the blockchain, although it is hard to tell how much of that is due to ignorance, and how much is him trying to explain terms in a way his audience can understand while under time constraints. He spoke of “individual blockchains” (a blockchain for each person) and other contradictory statements (Beck may have been referring to sidechains perhaps?) but that really isn't the point.
Glenn Beck has a very large and loyal following. Blaze TV has hundreds of thousands of subscribers who pay US$10 a month to hear Beck’s, and the outlet's other media personalities’, perspective on things. Regardless of how you feel about him and his views, Beck has a massive audience and they put a lot of weight on what he says.
While speaking about Bitcoin, Beck stated that he felt a perceived degradation of culture is leading to the end of shame in our society. The silver lining to this, in his eyes, is that secrets will be more open. He sees the blockchain as an incredible tool for doing just that.
Beck isn't the first non-associated Libertarian personality to speak positively about Bitcoin. Alternative media outlet infowars.com, founded by Alex Jones, started taking Bitcoin back in August.
Beck says he spoke to a friend from “Silicon Valley” who educated him on the possibilities the blockchain opens up beyond simply allowing people to transfer value. The blockchain or blockchain technologies could be used to publish information that could never be taken down by any governmental authority. There are several services working on projects along those lines, and small amounts of data can already be stored on the blockchain.
This, as opposed to simply democratizing money, seems to be what Glenn Beck finds particularly interesting. While he does state that the ability to move money — particularly overseas — without governmental interference is important (Beck contends that money “is” free speech) he seems much more intrigued by the potential for media and whistleblowers.
Beck states that he thinks “weird times” are ahead, but sees bitcoin and blockchain technologies as a crucial tool in the fight against fascism that he says is growing across the globe.
People either hate or love Glenn Beck. Frankly, both emotions are understandable. Those that hate him likely aren't going to change their opinion on Bitcoin because of him one way or another, but those that love him and were on the fence about Bitcoin, might have just gotten a hard push onto our side.
[Writer's note: Thanks to Soundcloud user “Jane Smith” for finding and uploading the audio of Beck's Bitcoin speech]
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