A Tech Subculture

This weekend’s Financial Times had a great cover story on Bitcoin titled "The Bitcoin Believers"

While I’ve been following Bitcoin’s developments closely and the article’s insights into the development (and continued struggles) of the currency were very interesting, what I found most fascinating was one description of the subculture of “Bitcoin believers” that I thought very elegantly captured a cultural theme that could describe a large and growing subculture of tech generally:

Around the world, a generation is growing up whose intellectual framework was forged in an economic conflagration which destroyed the reputations of government, finance and central banks alike. The only heroes in this landscape are the hoodie-wearing tech entrepreneurs with their billion-dollar businesses.

This is one of the topics touched upon in George Packer’s recent article in The New Yorker, "Can Silicon Valley embrace politics?".

The sentiment is certainly a driver of the outrage in the Valley (and certainly more broadly) over the NSA’s activities exposed by Edward Snowden. For periods of times in the days following Glenn Greenwald’s article on the matter in The Guardian, every single link on Hacker News was related to the issue. I’ve never seen anything like that happen.

I’ve heard similar sentiments in conversations with friends in the developer community related to issues like Bradley Manning, bank bailouts, taxi regulations affecting Uber, internet sales tax, and so forth. 

For these reasons, I do believe this is a very significant aspect of Silicon Valley. I’m going to weigh in with a more thoughtful post on whether or not I agree with the sentiments embodied in this subculture, but for now I just wanted to highlight it and the fact that more people broadly seem to be noticing as well.