'We Need 30 Different Words for Censorship,' Feat. Andreas M. Antonopoulos

The rallying cry of the totalitarian is "He farted first", but if both systems have produced similar outcomes, is there much of a difference? Today's wide-ranging discussion features Stephanie Murphy, Jonathan Mohan, Adam B. Levine and Andreas M. Antonopoulos

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The best Sundays are for long reads and deep conversations. Recently the hosts of the Let's Talk Bitcoin! Show gathered to discuss state-sponsored propaganda, corporate censorship and how cryptocurrency or decentralization changes the game.

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The episode is sponsored by eToro.com and The Internet of Money Vol. 3.

The rallying cry of the totalitarian is "He farted first" – but if both systems have produced similar outcomes, is there much of a difference? Inspired by a recent article in The Atlantic, in today's wide-ranging discussion the hosts of Let's Talk Bitcoin! dig deeply into the questions of censorship, propaganda and how things are both better and worse than in years past.


  • Who are they censoring from and how do we unpack this manipulation?
  • The rallying cry of the totalitarian is always “He farted first”
  • Who gets to decide what is censored?
  • The squeaky wheel of child pornography gets the attention, the much more insidious problem of silencing certain voices, or giving preference to other voices. 
  • Propaganda goes hand-in-hand with censorship
  • Propaganda is harder to detect ‘reverse censorship’
  • Private platform curation have the right to moderate which can be interpreted as censorship.
  • You have to choose if you’re a publisher or a platform
  • What if AT&T listened to your phone calls, sold ads against them and disconnected you whenever you say something that would trouble sponsors?
  • Common carriers vs. publishers
  • FOSTA, SESTA and turning platforms into publishers 
  • Crony capitalism will always co-opt government
  • The only way to win is not to play
  • The only way to not be coopted as a protocol is to have it not be owned by anyone.
  • It may be impossible to be a platform if you’re not a protocol
  • Information overload and compartmentalization
  • Are the solutions that are being proposed the solution that we need to solve this problem?
  • What kind of side effects does the solution have?
  • It’s one thing to say “there are idiots out there who have not developed critical thinking and are easily swayed and we need to fix this” and a whole other thing to say “And that’s why only the landed gentry should vote”
  • Do tech companies think they’re helping?
  • Benevolent fascism is still fascism
  • The public school system was never meant for the average person to be able to form their own opinion, “it is for factory men not philosophers”
  • Manufacturing consent with the power to control, censor, frame, set up the base assumptions of belief and then seek to nail them down.
  • A dictatorship of the mind is far more effective than a dictatorship of violence.
  • If Let’s Talk Bitcoin! Were on Youtube, we wouldn’t be able to say the word Covid-19. Avoiding totalitarian controls means missing opportunities presented by big would-be platforms.
  • Government surveillance vs. private surveillance provided to the government
  • What we learned from Edward Snowden
  • Does China commercialize surveillance?
  • If both systems have produced the same outcome, is there much of a difference between them?
  • A virtual prison camp
  • Suppression of information does not translate to changing reality
  • Biblical verses in the blockchain and 
  • “A platform puts data out but search is editorialism”
  • Phone numbers, the yellow pages, cocaine and liability
  • Privacy, anonymity and another form of censorship
  • We need 30 different words for different kinds of censorship
  • Is it censorship when private companies do it?
  • Where did the word censorship come from and what words should we be using?
  • “The problem with censorship is not the content, it’s the person in which the control is vested”
  • Is this worse because of growing polarization and partisanship?
  • Was the internet free-er when nobody used it?
  • Letters to the editor and platforms that amplify
  • Even more insidious than censorship are the algorithms choosing what is seen and by who.
  • Geographic boundaries vs. idealogical boundaries and the demise of newspaper monopolies on local discourse
  • 5G and Coronavirus: Niche ideas wouldn’t propagate if censorship worked
  • The Streisand effect, reach and survivor bias
  • The influence that Google’s page-rank has on congressional primaries
  • A generational divide in social media management skills and critical thinking
  • Masks, conspiracy theories and narrative control
  • Manipulating the wisdom of the crowds as manipulating the wisdom of society
  • Censorship by private forces for profit and by government for state control, and the coalition of the two. 
  • Censorship as controlling access to the publishing of information vs. controlling what is amplified vs. how much reach it has.
  • A big difference is visible in implementation of severe consequences for speech
  • The chilling effect of harsh penalties and being “disappeared” for speech
  • Ostracism, state punishment or private corporate consequences
  • What are your favorite words or terms for specific kinds of censorship? Send us an email at adam@ltbshow.com 
  • If you light your brainfarts on fire, is that flaring?


This episode of Let's Talk Bitcoin features Stephanie Murphy, Jonathan Mohan, Andreas M. Antonopoulos and Adam B. Levine. Music provided by Jared Rubens and Gurty Beats, with editing by Jonas.

Listen/subscribe to the CoinDesk Podcast feed for unique perspectives and fresh daily insight with Apple PodcastsSpotifyPocketcastsGoogle PodcastsCastboxStitcherRadioPublicaIHeartRadio or RSS.


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