Cryptocurrencies are typically open-source, meaning that anyone with technical ability can contribute. On top of that, anyone disgruntled with a given cryptocurrency’s trajectory can “fork” it, creating a new coin (as we have seen in both bitcoin and ethereum). Cryptocurrencies are also famously designed to be extralegal – beyond the reach of the government – although of course the SEC and the IRS hope to quash that notion.
Meanwhile, artificial intelligence relies on the trend that came before it, big data, and big data is gathered by big entities. Historically, communist regimes like the Soviet Union and Maoist China sought to create highly centralized command economies, noted Thiel. A sufficiently powerful AI could realize the bureaucrat’s dream of accurately predicting peasant farmers’ potato yields months in advance from thousands of miles away.