Making liberty practical: bitcoin, tech freedom and human flourishing

Since high school, Phil Glazman is out to change the world, growing to become a respected voice in the crypto world.

Is liberty a noun or verb? For Phil Glazman, liberty is a profoundly practical philosophical undertaking, “Some people think that if you’re interested in the ideas of liberty you can only go into academia, but I think the purpose of SFL is to make liberty practical: take those ideas and implement them in the world.”

Now a rising leader and respected voice in the crypto world, Phil got involved with Students For Liberty while in high school, founding the SFL High School Program to enable high school students around the world to connect and engage the ideas. Although he already had a keen interest in history and economics, it wasn’t until he read Bastiat and Hayek that he became convinced that, “we can improve the human condition if people act in a voluntary way.”

In 2013, he got a full scholarship to study computer science at Ramapo College in New Jersey, during which he started a libertarian club and later served in SFL’s North American Executive Board. Phil remembers how important it was that SFL connected him to other people and other organizations in the movement, including the Institute For Humane Studies and the Charles Koch Institute. One of his favorite memories from his time at SFL was when he attended ISFLC (now LibertyCon) because the event helped him connect with like-minded individuals and become a part of a community. “When you’re into liberty, usually there aren’t many people around you, geographically, that you can talk to and SFL’s conferences help you connect with them.”

In 2016, Phil founded the Students For Liberty Tech Freedom conference at New York University, aimed at exploring cryptocurrency, privacy, and improving the web through market principles. This conference was well attended and attracted a lot of big names in the space, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation. On SFL’s role in helping with this conference, Phil says “I had the idea for this conference and SFL helped me implement it. SFL is great about that - if you have an idea, they’ll help you with it. Students For Liberty provides students with the framework and the network to put their ideas into practice.”

A recent college graduate, Phil currently works as a core developer for Bitmain, the most valuable bitcoin company in the world. And it was through an SFL conference that he first got introduced into the crypto world. He became drawn to bitcoin’s potential to advance freedom in the world and works long hours to keep improving bitcoin because, “crypo takes us further into freedom because people can act in a voluntary way. Bitcoin separates money and the state and like never before in history, it provides an opportunity to show governments that we can create our own money and it can be better.”

Phil is currently based in Amsterdam, having recently moved from New York after graduating in May 2018. He’s already connected with the robust SFL community in Europe, and remains convinced that, “SFL teaches you that ideas matter. You also get to meet a lot of smart people who challenge you, and it is so important to have a community of supportive people who also don’t shy away from pushing you to think harder and to do better.”

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