Is Satoshi's vision revealed after 10 years?
It is very common to see heated discussions about what was Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision based on Bitcoin’s white paper. I find very interesting that many people try to interpret it in a literal way, isolating words and extending their meaning to the whole content, or/and use technical details as arguments to support improvement theories based on wishful thinking about Satoshi’s vision. At the same time, we see that a lot of people opposing such points of view try to refute such arguments focusing on the avoidance of the technical improvements proposed by the cited narrative, denouncing eventual risks to the integrity of the decentralization and security level.
As a matter of fact, the technical narrative is backed by an economic one. When the literal interpreters get attached to "A peer to peer electronic cash system", most of them argue that Bitcoin has to be adopted as a medium of exchange for every single transaction possible in order to fulfill such expression and hence we need to keep improving it technically under such premise. They really need to buy a cup of coffee with Bitcoin and that is supposed to be a key element of "the vision" Satoshi had but unfortunately what they are doing is in my opion is a major confusion in between Method of Payment and Medium of Exchange.
Usually, even those that oppose the so called "big blockers" tend to agree that to be a medium of exchange for small transactions is fundamental for Bitcoin to achieve mainstream adoption independent of any theory agreement. So the main difference is basically how to do it. This is really a very common debate even among those that see the real importance of Bitcoin in its capacity to be sound money.
Well, now we can start to go trough the theory I believe is the one that makes sense. We need to start by making the question about what is the real economical problem we have nowadays. Is it about having methods of payment, mediums of exchange for small transactions or sound money? What is making the financial system a mechanism of social control? Can we trust in monetary policies made by politicians and central bankers? Having said that we can quickly conclude what really matters, which is to have exchangeable sound money out of the government and central banks control. We need primarily a "sound money standard" that we can hold personally (if one desire to do so) and with that we can have several methods of payment and mediums of exchange pegged to it.
Now we are getting closer to the point. We already know what matters, but how we can do it? Have people tried before? Yes. What happened to those people? Not really nice results. Government and banks are not really into giving way easily their reign of control over everyone and the wealth we produce. Efforts to compete with legal tender money have been a major risk. People that tried went to jail and no one discards even the fear of murder trying to achieve what we are talking about.
The gold standard was a milestone in our economic learning process. It provided a fundamental lesson and the greatest sustainable prosperity period we ever had, but because of its characteristics was mandatory to involve third parties to make the system work. After all, to store and move gold is not something simple an safe.
What about Satoshi's vision? Despite whatever sentences are written on the white paper and based on the real fact that the Bitcoin protocol prioritized the immutability and decentralized characteristics over the scalability of transaction volume, we can't run away from the fact that efficiency as a medium of exchange was not the goal. It is possible to transact it worldwide, but the focus of it — translated by reality — was not based on efficiency for a large volume of transactions. It was based on creating a decentralized, independent and worldwide transactionable sound money, solving the real problem. Bitcoin can be considered the improvement of gold. It is out of any government and bank hands and no one can stop it.
Now to the point and the core of my theory(Don’t know if someone already wrote about it with the exact same point of view). I believe Satoshi’s intention when “he” wrote the famous "A peer to peer electronic cash system" on the white paper was to distract everyone from the real goal. He made everyone — specially governments and banks — believe it was just another electronic payment system. Another paypal, game money or some kind of medium of exchange pegged to the financial system they control. We all know that in the beginning Bitcoin could be easily destroyed or controlled by governments or even wealthy people. So it had to be low profile until it became an irreversible thing, to big to be controlled and clearly sound money like it is today.
If we though that creating Bitcoin was already a genius achievement, the way it was presented and implemented was up to the same level of geniality. Satoshi knew that to reveal "his" identity was not only a personal hazard but also a major point of failure to the whole plan. The myth does not suffer the same level of judgment as a person and all its human imperfections. It also provoked the highest level possible of authority balance on the debate to develop Bitcoin’s improvements. It really became all about consensus and we have already entered in the age of the Bitcoin Standard, that was brilliantly put by Saifedean Ammous in his recent book. Thanks Saifedean.
I believe the words of the white paper were chosen very carefully to say what it is tecnically and how it works but misguide the mainstream understanding about the ideological objective, letting Bitcoin be born and grow until was to late to destroy it or control it. Only now — Almost Ten Years later — we are all realizing such reality and there is no way back. The goal to make something better than gold to support the economic freedom idea leads back to the mentioned inspiration on Nick Szabo’s "Bit Gold". Thanks Nick.
To conclude, it is now a reality that economic freedom is tangible. It is up to us to be free now. We already have what we need. We just need to spread the word with responsibility and honesty, studying and understanding Bitcoin the best we can like great people such as Andreas Antonopoulos that focused his life on it. Thanks Andreas, thanks Satoshi Nakamoto and every one of the brilliant people that contributed (and keep doing it) to such miracle to happen upon the unprecedented concentration of power governments and central banks reached so far. The vision was — and will ever be — to provide to the people economic freedom no matter what and… #fuckcentralbanks