By Spencer Kellogg | @TheNewTreasury
Contrary to popular belief: Bitcoin is not dead. It’s just sleeping a bit. And perhaps it deserves some rest given the parabolic and insatiable rise in valuation and adoption it has seen in its less than 10-year existence. Think about that: 10 years. In the history of money, 10 years isn’t even the blink of an eye. We are still in those early drunken stages of undisciplined poking about in which everyone is set to knock around the darkened room of questions until we find a door that leads us to the next confounding labyrinth. In truth, we haven’t even seen what this thing is capable of yet.
Over 6,000 years ago, humans first developed a system of market exchange: bartering and trade. Seashells, stone tools, teas, salt, spices and anything else that could provide an agreed upon value was used for the peaceful exchange of goods. Horses were domesticated and became a living currency to many of the native prairie nations that roamed the American southwest. It wasn’t until 600BC that King Alyattes of Lydia minted the first currency, a coin of gold and silver with a lion’s head on the front. Today, the mobile phone credit M-Pesa is used successfully as a unit of exchange in the nation of Kenya. Currencies are diverse and linger most reliably in the eye of the beholder.
– King Alyattes of Lydia Coin
What is a currency? In the Mike Maloney’s brilliant “Money vs. Currency” YouTube series, he defines a currency as “a unit of account that is portable, durable, interchangeable, and divisible.” From its inception, Bitcoin has attempted to answer each one of these demands through an encrypted network of peer to peer users working in a global, peaceful, and pluralistic system of equals. It strives to help humanity in a way that asserts an individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in face of crushing multi-national governments and banking entanglements that far too often overlook the majority’s interest in favor of wealth and power stratification.
Bitcoin is not nearly as anonymous as it probably should be and the speed/costs of using the technology are still too high in relation to other already viable payment options, but these are issues that are constantly discussed and addressed within the community. Sathosi Nakamoto’s currency requires time to reach a consensus and in many ways, this is how all great democracies have functioned; through anxious debate and slow lumbering changes. Tyrannies are those that are built behind bayonets in the dusk of an economic collapse.
In the Genesis Block of Bitcoin, there was a coded message. It read: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.” Created on the heels of the 2008 financial disaster, Bitcoin was a universal, internet-based alternative currency that rejected both the predatory boom and bust cycles of global Keynesian economics and the ‘injection of cash’ theory that modern governments asserted as they bailed out underperforming banks, mortgages and car companies along the way.
– The Times of London Newspaper January 3rd, 2009
Today, the United States national debt stands at a staggering 21 trillion dollars and growing. That’s roughly $64,000 dollars for every single American. For what? So that Bank of America could swallow up a few regional branches here and there? So that Chrysler and General Motors could go on making cars? So that we could torch and murder our way through entire nations only to find the chief architect of 9/11 hiding behind shining palace doors in the US-allied nation of Pakistan? I remember people losing their houses, the country is $21 trillion in debt, millennials are saddled with student loan debt and yet the stock market keeps rising. See anything wrong with the picture? Our leaders are happy enough to forget that any of this ever occurred. They are on to the next fundraiser in Iowa to bang the podium for a fat check. It’s all a farce!
What happens when the bill comes due though? Who do you imagine will pay the price? It will be the global majority of underpaid and overworked servants who are expected to answer the call. The ones who ride the ever-growing line between lower and lower economic classes will suffer most. The men and women who are shipped off to meaningless wars made possible by the various centralized banks of untouchable power and wealth. It is always the already weak made weaker by bloated, selfish governments who suffer the final, eager blows. Whether under the crushing weight of a religious text or the pervasive dogmas of 20th-century neoliberalism, the uber-elite of modern governments have held the final say.
Until Bitcoin. Yes, that Bitcoin. That decentralized, peer to peer, free market, global equalist, anarcho-communist, radical syndicalist, definitionless Bitcoin. We, as a global community, have overlooked it again. The real reason we all ended up with private wallets and paragraph long seeds: freedom. The freedom to opt out of the federal reserve notes that have provided the ultra-capitalist lifeline to an empire of war after war while the dollar devalues with greater certainty each passing quarter. Next, they tell us we must build a great military industrial complex in the sky. We just want bread.
This movement is not about the Hong Kong mansion parties. It’s not about crypto famous edgelords who may or may not have received an airdrop in their ether wallet. It’s definitely not about tacky, gaudy, ugly, pompous, gross Lamborghinis either (at least go for an Aston-Martin for God’s sake). Bitcoin is about what we are witnessing in Venezuela where citizens have turned to the cryptocurrency as a store of value while their own nation’s currency has become completely worthless over the course of one year. The people of Venezuela were neutered by a neo-socialist government that did not care for its people’s wellbeing. With Bitcoin, at least the people of Venezuela have the option of another way. – Genesis Block Of Bitcoin
The cryptocurrency community is in a sort of collective paralysis at the moment. Somber and gossipy, it’s tripping on a heady mixture of hedonism, jealousy, emptiness, and outright fear. Many were later to the game than they really wish to admit and the general consensus feels bearish. For now. The same greed and power that Nakamoto hoped to disembody have manifested themselves into the community where market vampires and juvenile venture capitalists have accrued en masse. They have unlearned, or never learned, the core narrative of Bitcoin’s original intent: a rebellion.
An American and a Russian and a Kenyan and a Columbian and a Pakistani walk into a bar and they all enjoy the same cold beer. That was always Bitcoin’s mission. Not fame or fortune but to bring differing peaceful people to the same beautiful table of ideas. To sit them down and show how much they each have in common with one another when the brutal nationalism of war and economy have been stripped away. To forge a new and humane way forward. The only question is if we are strong enough to do it.
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