Breez is going all-in on bitcoin because it’s the right thing to do

Roy Sheinfeld
Apr 15 · 6 min read

Breez is an easy-to-use, non-custodial bitcoin payment platform. It allows users to transfer and receive bitcoin within seconds, safely, for everyday purchases, and at almost no charge over the Lightning Network.

See the people spending and transferring bitcoin? With one hand? That’s Breez.

Unlike many other payment solutions, Breez is not a “cryptocurrency” platform. It is a bitcoin platform — users can send and receive bitcoin and only bitcoin. And that is not going to change for two good reasons:

  1. Bitcoin offers unparalleled commercial advantages (i.e. it makes the most business sense)
  2. Bitcoin has an unparalleled social infrastructure behind it (i.e. it’s the best for the world at large)

Let’s break these down one at a time.

Bitcoin Is Good for Business

The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that is the way to bet. — Hugh Keough

At the moment (early April 2019), Bitcoin’s market cap is around $82 billion USD, which corresponds to a market dominance of 52% of the entire cryptocurrency market.

BTC market dominance adjusted for volume and liquidity. Sorry altcoins. [Source: JP Thor]

However, one analyst argues that if trading volume and liquidity are added to the equation, bitcoin’s market dominance is closer to 80% and rising. He also argues that this makes bitcoin a Schelling point in the cryptocurrency market, and of course it does.

If we pick the same flower, we both win. That’s bitcoin vs. altcoins. [Source: Vera Kratochvil]

(What’s a Schelling point?Imagine you and another random player have to buy $1000 worth of one cryptocurrency in the next 30 seconds without being able to talk about it. If you choose the same one, you both get a bonus, and if you choose differently, you face a penalty. Choose.)

Rough consensus and running code

If any single currency is going to dominate, it had better be decentralized. The US dollar is a global reserve currency, which has arguably let the USA punch above its weight for decades through cheap debt and the ability to dictate terms for many global transactions. The more influence any single person or institution has over a growing currency, the more investors, businesses, and consumers will be a their mercy.

That’s why bitcoin’s truly decentralized peer-to-peer organizational structure is so important. Nobody can hijack the network or make unilateral decisions about its future. While P2P mining characterizes most cryptocurrencies, many altcoins —especially bitcoin’s larger competitors— are deeply under the influence of some guru or other with a strong vested interest in that coin and its direction. If the guru wants a hard fork, the onus suddenly shifts onto everyone else to argue against it.

I cut, you choose: so effective, it even works among siblings. [Source: Wikimedia]

That is not the case with bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin’s ostensible founder, had the good manners to disappear after giving the world bitcoin (or never to have existed in the first place).

Bitcoin is an artifact of the network, lives in the network, and is directed by the network. This distributes the interests widely, so unlike a hostage asset, bitcoin runs more like a decentralized divide-and-choose game.

Bitcoin is also an eponym: even though almost everyone with a computer has heard of cryptocurrency by now, many of them know it simply as “bitcoin.” It’s like Kleenex®, Velcro®, and Aspirin®. Nobody asks their neighbor for a tablet of acetylsalicylic acid, and when the masses think cryptocurrency, they think bitcoin.

As far as we at Breez are concerned, bitcoin could be called “computational manna” or “unicorn dust,” and our commitment would be the same because of bitcoin’s technical and organizational design along with its market status and practical advantages. It’s just the best crypto out there. Still, bitcoin’s eponymic status is important for two commercial reasons:

  1. People will more readily adopt what they know (or at least think they know). Bitcoin has joined the cultural vocabulary; altcoins not so much.
  2. In the course of normal reporting on cryptocurrencies, the mass media are doing much of the product marketing. Searching for “bitcoin” on Google news yields over 576 million hits (and counting), “cryptocurrency” yields just over 93 million, and “Ethereum” — bitcoin’s closest competitor— yields less than half of bitcoin’s total with 246 million.

You can’t buy that kind of publicity, and even if you could, you (and we at Breez) don’t have to because it’s already being done … for free.

Bitcoin Is Good for the World

For many, knowing that bitcoin has the best profitability prospects of all cryptocurrencies is enough. That’s okay in the short term. Breez, however, is committed to building a sustainable business, which means that we also think about how our product affects “human needs and aspirations.” We do this in many ways, like publishing our code.

Bitcoin is a vital part of Breez’s efforts to operate sustainably: as a currency, bitcoin is good for the world because it provides the most freedom for all concerned. Freedom is a big word. Political theorists have filled libraries arguing about it. For us, it simply means the ability for people to make meaningful choices.

How do you depict the liberating potential of bitcoin in a photo? Frolicking puppies will at least put you in the right mood. [Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash]

The choices we’re talking about aren’t just the consumer’s benefit of being able to use bitcoin for more kinds of purchases (but that too!). Instead, it’s about the freedom bitcoin provides to everyone in the community from miners to users.

The bitcoin community runs on informed consensus. Together, they can make the best decisions about how to manage bitcoin’s present and future. As a group, they are high on pragmatism and low on parochialism. Since the network is set up such that no single participant can selfishly hijack the common project without hurting themselves, their common interest in bitcoin comes before their own particular interests.

As for users, it’s important to realize that national currencies, like the dollar or the yen, and even transnational currencies, like the euro, are virtual borders. Just like the fences, tariffs, and checkpoints of physical borders, they serve to divide people, not bring them together.

Bitcoin is democratizing money by transferring control from central banks and oligopolists to everyone using it as a currency. While not exactly 1 Satoshi=1 vote, this could be a major improvement. But the bitcoin democracy is currently limited by the size of its demos — the community of bitcoin users.

That’s where Breez comes in. By combining the speed and economy of the Lightning Network with an immediately intuitive user experience, Breez is tearing down the knowledge and cost barriers separating bitcoin from the masses. In doing so, we’re helping bitcoin even the playing field between the people and the weary giants of flesh and steel.

Some see an impenetrable border fence; we see a Breez-permeable membrane. [Source: Wikimedia]

That might sound grandiose, but the proof is that authoritarians hate bitcoin. And

for people living under authoritarian governments, Bitcoin can be a valuable financial tool as a censorship-resistant medium of exchange.

Bitcoin benefits the citizens of our global, digital society, and Breez is doing its part by supporting bitcoin.

And finally, some might say, “Wait a minute! If freedom is about choice, shouldn’t Breez give its users the widest possible choice of cryptocurrencies/altcoins/etc.?”

As sensible as that might sound, most altcoins feed profits upwards, not outwards. In fact, many of them exist precisely because someone watched bitcoin’s success and decided to make a pyramid scheme out of the technology. And “utility coins” are, generally, ordinary cryptocurrency bound to a specific platform. In effect, they’re just single-platform fiat. If the goal is to give people power over their money, utility coins are moving in exactly the wrong direction.

If you like bitcoin, whether because you like profits, because you like freedom, or you like living in a free world while generating profits (hooray!), Breez is for you. Download the beta, and see for yourself.

Breez Technology

Breez is developing a Lightning Network client & hub to enable simple, fast and safe bitcoin payments.

Roy Sheinfeld

Written by

Co-Founder and CEO of Breez (https://breez.technology)

Breez Technology

Breez is developing a Lightning Network client & hub to enable simple, fast and safe bitcoin payments.

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