Bitcoin gave us 4 freedoms, but I only use 3
Some came for the tech, some came to make cheese, but most say you gotta hold on to them keys
Bitcoins 4 freedoms
The only truly decentralized project that has succeeded so far is Bitcoin, and its succeeded in freeing people from
- having to trust others with the custodianship of their wealth
- having to trust someone else’s ledger
- having to trade through middlemen
- having to trade under someone else’s oversight
Small aside-Explaining the freedoms that Bitcoin has given us is hard. I’ve actually written the following sentences over and over and still dont feel happy about them. Add ideas in the responses and I’ll be eternally grateful.
Without good ol’ BTC, you need to trust someone else with your money, and then rely on a combination of debit cards, credit cards, and mobile phones to make payments.
Let’s be honest, its actually super hard to survive using ONLY BTC, but it’s still possible!
Before Bitcoin, there was no way for you to physically carry your wealth around with you and also share it with people across the world without trusting a 3rd party. For the 1st part of that statement: no one walks around with all of their money unless they are homeless. For the 2nd part of that statement: we only were able to pay people in foreign countries pseudo-instantly once we had the Internet.
BTC’s promise also went one step further and keeps our wealth in a currency we all completely control through our voting power. There is no currency other than Bitcoin who’s supply is fixed. We know for sure that Bitcoin will never have more than 21 Million Coins. This cannot be said of any other major currency. That is a powerful attribute that most people still don’t understand. Venezuela and Zimbabwe act as cautionary examples of what can happen when a government decides to print its way to wealth.
This week, Trace Mayer has started sharing the ProofofKeys.com movement.
Every January 3rd the Bitcoin community HODLers of Last Resort participate in a Proof of Keys celebration by demanding and taking possession of all bitcoins held by trusted third parties on their behalf.
I’ve been thinking about this movement since he first shared it. I support it in spirit, but I don’t love the “You don’t own Bitcoin if you don’t hold your keys” theme.
What can go wrong at a bank
The citizens of Cyprus can definitely tell you. I’m not sure about the specific number, but I believe it was something around 30% of all deposits were taken directly out of everyones bank account. This was done in the blink of an eye, and there is no recourse. The government needed money and decided to take it from it’s citizens.
In any country, if you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, you could also find your assets seized or frozen without discussion. This is mostly understood by people that have had it happen to them before. Citizens of authoritarian countries are well aware of the constant spectre of asset seizure. It’s why we see Bitcoin adoption growing faster in those countries.
Ofcourse, banks can be robbed, but thats a weak argument against banks. I think it’s unrealistic to act like we have better personal resources at our disposal to protect our wealth than these major business corporations do (but that’s not an argument I’d start with hardcore maximalists or people named Jameson Lopp).
Why did we start banks in the first place?
I need to do more research, but banks have been around far longer than coin clipping did. In Saifedean Ammous’s “The Bitcoin Standard”, we learn that coin clipping began in the Roman times, but banking existed before that, so we know that the creation of banks wasn’t connected to executing that process, although today it is definetly fundemental in fractional reserve banking. Banks weren't made for the reasons we love Bitcoin.
Was it for security? Did we create banks as a way to protect our wealth in a fortified location? The movies set in the Wild West certainly make me think thats a possibility — while else would these banks exist despite being continuously robbed? That bank in the “Ballad of Buster Scruggs” was pretty well defended. There are plenty of examples of bitcoin holders getting physically attacked for their holdings. Yes, fiat owners get robbed everyday, but the amount of money could be exponentially higher with Bitcoin, since it’s extremely rare for someone to hold their entire wealth at home in fiat land.
There is also the faciliation of loans. We know that money-lending existed in biblical times. Is it possible that was the reason we made banks, or was it a side benefit we thought of after we thought of holding all our money together in a safe place? I don’t want this to be a discussion on loans, but they serve a good role in society. How can we have a loan system if all of our wealth is kept in our wallets? Don’t we need someone else controlling that money?
In a bit of reading, I also learned that some banks were used for money validation. It makes sense that people would try to counterfeit, but it didnt dawn on me that the function of validating currency had to also exist. I’ll expand more on this point when I’ve learned more.
Pick your flavor of Freedom
We see that the idea of everyone holding their own wealth wasn't always universally pursued; there were use cases for banks before we worried about sovereignty or fractional reserve banking. Maybe most of us didn’t even consider it a problem until Bitcoin came along.
Bitcoin has given us 4 of freedoms — we can now put our wealth in an asset that has gold like scarcity with credit card like usability, and without anyone being able to make a decision over our wealth without our permission. Well, maybe not completely without our permission, but people who want to take our money from us will have to physically attack us. I’m not sure that last bit is something I’m ready for.
I guess my final thought is: Bitcoin gave us 4 freedoms.
Can’t we still support it by only using 3?
It’s been exactly 1 week since I posted my intentions for TBT and I’ve kept to the schedule, all thanks to a supportive community of writers and followers. You guys are the best!
A few things I’ve learned as an Editor
- Getting quality writers is VERY hard. We’ve had over 20 submissions for publishing this week and I’ve had to read every single one of them. Many of them will be published in the future, and many of them will not. I’m committed to always telling writers what the result is as soon as I’ve finished reading.
- Sharing is as important as writing. It’s part of the job no one really thinks about, but without readers, there wont be many writers. The realization that quality sharing is as important as quality writing is something i’ll be thinking about for quite awhile. It’s why we continue to see the dominance of the same names in media; its a virtuous cycle
- Sticking to deadlines is a challenge. Keeping to publishing the content I’ve laid out everyday of the week is proving difficult, but not impossible. The quality has to get better. That’s my number 1 focus for the week.
Wednesday is meant to be Editorial, so I think i’ll also make it more fun to write. I usually stress about finding quotes that substantiate every idea in detail and locating the perfect pictures to compliment the paragraphs. In this series, I wont be using links, pictures, or quotes. Well, I’ll use a few, but I wont feel like I have to. Like that, I can take a bit of a rest from research and enjoy the process of writing my thoughts. Plus, I can do it without an internet connection!