Bitcoins future is not so unknown — historical comparisons with Cocaine sales

Cocaine, the 1980’s UK Oil industry and the Russian Orthodox Church all give us valuable insights into bitcoins future

I’m a firm believer that history repeats — its an endless display of the same cycles and movements but with different stage actors.

Note about main ‘actors’

William Randolph Hearst — alleged legacy was to popularise the use of sensationalism and innuendo and thereby change the nature of modern news from being fact based to sales based (‘say whatever sells type philosophy’)

Harvey Washington Wiley — alleged legacy was to popularise and legitimise the use of preservatives into otherwise natural foods. The ‘purity’ of our modern foods is partly a direct consequence of Wiley’s work.

(Note on my use of the term allegedly — given the alleged problems that Orson Welles had after Citzen Kane, I am all too well aware that I should tread carefully over this particular area of history.)

What can we learn about bitcoins future from the following:

Coca & Cocaine (‘coca’ is the natural unconcentrated form, its a leaf of the coca plant; cocaine or more accurately cocaine hydrochloride is the highly refined lab version first isolated in 1859)

Cocaine in its popular infancy was heralded by Freud and Edison among others as a miracle cure for just about everything and yet within 15 years since it threatened an already established and lucrative trade in tobacco a cleverly engineered campaign including, allegedly, the Hearst media empire, and allegedly the Head of the USDA ( and leading doctors all brought about a downfall of this new wunderkind in BOTH its extremely efficacious natural form of ‘coca leaf’ and its super refined and concentrated sibling cocaine hydrochloride. A switch in public opinion against the refined form following ‘1 in 400’ americans becoming addicted lead to a public and political backlash. Unfortunately the mild and perfectly safe form which could help wean people off tobacco was also effectively banned.

Backstory — so 1862 Lincoln promotes Tobacco to help stimultae US agriculture. Additionally a propaganda campaign ensues to protect the US market demand for tobacco which is being threatened quite seriously by the nearly free supply of coca leaves.

Coca provides a much safer and effective way to wean people off tobacco.

Seeing this the industry responds and non other than allegedly William Randolph Hearst among others leads the assault (yes the WR Hearst allegedly alluded to in citizen kane). The campaign was a huge success and allegedly involved manipulated endorsements by leading doctors, misinformation and allegedly some sly use of regulation.

The anti coca campaign allegedly used a confusion between highly concentrated and refined ‘cocaine hydrochloride’ and much milder plant form of ‘coca leaves’ to allegedly destroy the market threat posed by coca.

Industry and government allegedly colluded against the american people to cause massive chronic health issues. And yes there were alleged concerns about tobacco that were suppressed for market reasons. Hearst had a media empire and he allegedly chose Wiley (head of the USDA) to be his partner to allegedly help destroy demand and supply of coca and its derivatives. Alleged clever use of legislation which unfairly focussed in on coca and cocaine while excluding nicotine lead the ultimate destruction of coca use in the US in its natural form and instead to a massive uptake of tobacco use.

  • popularized in the in the 1880’s by Freud and Edison.
  • Included in coca cola (1886–1903, 2.5mg cocaine per 100ml)
  • popular in hollywoods silent film industry which influenced millions more to adopt it
  • widely used across all social classes
  • by 1903 coca cola forced to remove it amid health concerns
  • 1905 popular to snort and by 1910 many recorded cases of nasal damage
  • 1906 Hearst Wiley alleged collusion to bring about USDA mandatory labelling (excludes nicotine, but includes coca and cocaine)
  • 1912–5000 cocaine related deaths in one year
  • 1914 Act to tax import and sales of coca and cocaine (regulatory pressure)
  • 1922 banned

We can see here that it rose to popularity (amid a media frenzy of hype), peaked at around 1900 and had a slow decline till 1922. This covered a period of around 30 years. The exponential growth occurs in the first 15 years and then the ‘industry’ is beset with problems stemming from engineered issues because of the threat it posed to tobacco sales.

I think there are clear parallels here between bitcoin and any government approved coin. So it really won’t be about technology, safety, or public interest but about getting the most profit in the fastest, easiest way while using a mix of media manipulation, abuse of public office and distortion of facts.

UK Oil Industry

  • Exploded in the early 1980’s as Margaret Thatcher took office (PM ’79 — ‘90)
  • The promise of huge wealth inspired incredible feats of engineering
  • Rapid expansion as dozens of new oil rigs built and put into service
  • Huge economic growth from the resulting taxes from the vast amounts being drilled followed by a series of deaths and disasters such the piper alpha disaster (167 deaths) when, for reasons of profit, maintenance was carried out while still drilling
  • 1972 price around $10 a barrel peaked at around 1980 at $40 a barrel

Again an alleged pattern of greed, technological innovation encouraged by government which allegedly benefitted them in the form of extra taxes etc and all allegedly at the cost of working class men and women who risked their lives at a time when the UK was seeing an unprecendented attack on the working class. Unemployment, miners strikes, governmental interference into the trade unions.

Russian Orthodoxy

  • 1957: 22,000 active churches
  • 1959–1964: Khrushchev closes 12,000
  • By 1985 fewer than 7,000 active churches
  • Late 1980’s Gorbachev encourages churches to become active again
  • However the ‘Bishops’ were in fact allegedly partly working with and for KGB — it has become a tool of governmental abuse of power

We see here that allegedly the upper echelons of the institution, namely Bishops upwards, are forced allegedly to work alongside the KGB. Could we say a similar thing might be happening with the movers and shakers in Bitcoin. Probably. We also see that depending on the political climate the church was either praised or blamed — nothing to do with the church which is largely functioning how it always has. So a thing can be neutral but depending on the political ‘climate’ that thing can be either developed or destroyed at will.

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