Fire, Bitcoin, Teleportation
Before Bitcoin (BB). After Bitcoin (AB).
The Bitcoin Times Ed 4 is now available for download, free. We will be publishing each edition, in high quality hard cover this year.
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During Bitcoin 2021, Francis Pouliot, Madex & I were driving back from an event in Miami, talking about (as usual) how important of an invention or discovery Bitcoin was.
Francis made an off-hand comment and said something along the lines of:
“In a few thousand years, we’ll look back on humanity and say that the most important inventions were fire….then Bitcoin….then…well….probably Teleportation”
I’m paraphrasing of course, but the concept is clear. It struck me so deeply that I was inspired to use it on stage the next day during the “toxic maximalist” panel at Bitcoin 2021.
That video can be found here:
It’s been almost 6mths since that drive and I’m finally writing the first dedicated piece on an idea that has infected my mind and magnified the importance of Bitcoin.
Whilst I will not do the topic justice enough in this piece alone — it will require an entire series of essays or perhaps a book — I hope, at the very least, it performs a few functions:
- Inspires you to think about the grander, broader, more macro view of what Bitcoin represents on a multi-millenia, and perhaps galactic timescale .
- It reminds you that this is not just about “the money”, but about “The Money” in the deepest, most profound metaphysical and existential sense. Whilst Bitcoin may spend a very short period of its very long lifetime as some “instrument” that the fiat world ‘trades’ in the blind pursuit of getting ‘rich’, it is so much more than this.
- I hope it inspires forward thinking science fiction to be written. SciFi that takes into account the discovery of energy money by an intelligent sentient species, and their struggle to see it implemented in the face of a broken society collapsing around them. I’ve not seen science fiction accurately grapple with the reality of a discovery like Bitcoin, and it’s about god damn time!
- I hope real physicists read this, think about it and may it plant the seeds for future Einstein’s to imagine what humanity can make possible when metaphysics and physics come together so that work (energy) can be transmitted across time & space in high fidelity.
One might view these as fanciful, fantastical or grandiose, and perhaps they are – but I hope that by the end of this piece you’ll see as I see, and feel as I feel, and we may both realise that some dreams do come true.
Have you ever watched the flames of a camp fire dance as they heat the air around you?
Have you ever lit a candle and stared at the flame as it moves, sways and emanates heat and light outward?
Have you ever stopped to ask:
- What is this thing?
- How did we discover it?
- What was and is its importance for humanity?
If you’re reading this, you may be one of the few who have.
Irrespective, the next time you light a match or a candle, observe it for a little while. Take a moment to admire the beauty, power and sheer brilliance of the flame, and then perhaps ask yourself those questions.
The answers are truly fascinating, and as you’ll find, very related to Bitcoin.
What is fire?
Some say The Sun is a great big ball of fire at the centre of our Solar System, and whilst that’s not technically true, it’s directionally true. The sun, like the flame dancing on the candle, is performing a process that unlocks or transforms energy. The difference being that the sun performs this at the nuclear level.
Fire is the chemical transformation of potential energy, into a spectrum of other forms or wavelengths of energy including light and heat (infra-red).
It happens when a fuel (some form of relatively weakly-chemically-bonded matter at rest) is combined with heat and oxygen. It is literally the visible process of combustion.
Fire is also the phenomenon that helped transformed us from the basic ape, into the intelligent bipedal sentient species known today as “Homo sapiens”.
Fire literally enhanced our biology by unlocking latent potential energy in food sources which downstream enabled the evolution of our pre-frontal cortex and the higher level cognitive capacity of the brain.
The first major evolutionary breakthrough (or experiment) was bipedalism. This was extraordinarily unique for any species at the time, but did two very important things:
- It made movement more energy efficient (~1/6th of quadrupeds)
- It set the stage for more dexterity in the hands and thus began the process of the evolution of the brain beyond primal consciousness.
The success of the bipedal experiment was cemented in time with the discovery of fire, and the subsequent shortening of the intestinal tract.
Fire is what allowed the body to evolve such that more energy was captured from food (energy density) whilst less was used up in digestion. The excess energy was then diverted to and used by the brain, growing it in capacity and complexity until enough neurons were present for true, complex consciousness to emerge.
In other words, we discovered fire, and fire forged us into who and what we are today.
“You don’t change fire. Fire changes you”
It’s a profound discovery and it transformed not only our biology, but laid the foundation for civilisation. Whilst we hunted, gathered and transformed potential energy into kinetic by throwing sticks or rocks, fire was our first successful attempt at harnessing, transmitting and using energy at scale for a multitude of applications.
I’m not sure it’s possible to fathom how significant and necessary this discovery is on the timechain of human evolution. It truly kicked things off for us.
Sorry to be a wet blanket, but writing a description of Bitcoin for general audiences is bloody hard. There’s nothing to relate it to.
- Satoshi Nakamoto, July 5th, 2010
The next great discovery on the timechain of humanity is Bitcoin.
I know what you’re thinking. “This guy is crazy”. You may even want to point out that we had a few ‘minor’ discoveries along the way, like you know… metals, agriculture, language, math, electricity, steel, oil, quantum physics, or perhaps the internet.
And whilst I’d agree, I’d retort by saying they were all necessary building blocks for the ultimate sentient invention of perfect, physically and metaphysically sound energy-money.
I know this is a big claim, but allow me to substantiate it.
Each of the great discoveries above were critical on our path to finding Bitcoin. In fact, without them, we wouldn’t be here. But….
None of those would exist had a technology not emerged that enabled us to collaboratively use, trade and compound our collective labour and measure the inter-subjective value of all action (human input) along the way.
The technology I am talking about of course is Money.
It solves the problem of intersubjective value, and makes possible complex cooperation by enabling value judgements in the context of finite time & access to energy. (Note that all action by all forms of life is economic in nature).
The first half of the human timechain is merely the progression toward perfect money such that accurate value judgements can be made. This is the pathway to paradise.
The essence of money is metaphysical. It has and always will exist. Until now, its primary mode of representation has been physical, and the historically recent digitisation of money has untethered it from reality completely.
Bitcoin changes everything. It is the fusion of the metaphysical notion of money and the physical realities we’re bound by. It gives us money with the best elements of the digital and physical realms.
Bitcoin is the ultimate metaphysical map of the territory of reality.
It continues to evolve into a high fidelity unit of condensed time & energy upon a global, always on, transmission medium.
In the past I have called it a “Time and Energy Superconductor”, because its fixed supply and inability to be changed by mere mortals maps perfectly to the fundamental laws of physics.
It’s a direct link between the metaphysical realm of sentience and the physical realm of existence.
It’s the philosopher’s stone. The alchemic substance. It’s what we’ve been searching for since the dawn of ‘time’ as we know & experience it, ie; since Fire transformed us from Ape’s into self aware, conscious, intelligent Homo Sapiens.
It’s hard to truly describe Bitcoin, let alone define it, so I shall conclude my rant here with a suggestions that you read this and prior editions of The Bitcoin Times in there entirety, along with a short snippet from an old interview with Buckminster Fuller:
So..if Bitcoin is so profound, what could possibly come next?
If matter and energy are technically the same thing (E = mc²), then perhaps the way we discover teleportation is by inventing a means to transform matter into energy, then transmit it across both time and space.
Similar to Fire and Bitcoin, a discovery like this would be an energy transformation mechanism coupled with some mode of transmission.
By no means do I have any idea how it would work, when it would be discovered or whether it’s even possible – but I am certain that it will not come before we achieve ‘energy mastery’ whose prerequisite is of course the discovery of energy money and near perfect resource management.
We know that ‘quantum teleportation’ can occur at the subatomic level, but that is very different to what is usually depicted in movies. In the quantum realm, teleportation involves the transportation of information, rather than the transportation of matter.
For example, if we have two distant, quantum-entangled particles, we can instantly “teleport” the state of a third particle to the two entangled particles.
“Quantum teleportation” may have some nearer term applications in Quantum computing, but is by no means a discovery that would have us anywhere near the cusp of discovering a mechanism for the teleportation of matter.
That will require a level of combinatorial intelligence, that in turn is derived from a level of energy mastery that is yet unfathomable. Our current capacity barely extends to feeding a subset of the population, let alone working on grand, meaningful problems.
Bitcoin fixes this, and will allow us to once again transform magic into science.
Impossible to do it justice in such a short piece, but since it’s at the core of our entire discussion, we should at least attempt to define it.
We know that Energy is the only ‘universal currency’. To act, to think and for anything to be done in the knowable universe, one of its many forms must be converted into another.
We see energy manifest from the small, micro-biological processes within the cell of a human body, through to the terra-forming forces of plate tectonics that part ocean floors all the way up to the thermo-nuclear reactions in stars, and the galaxy forming gravitational forces of the greater universe.
The very structure of history is related to our capacity as a species to harness energy, and although we’re still quite early on our journey toward energy mastery (hence the constant battle for it on our pale blue dot), we are continually learning to come to terms with it, align with it and utilise it.
To quote Vaclav Smil’s work; “Energy & Civilisation”:
“…from a fundamental bio-physical perspective, both prehistoric human evolution and the course of history can be seen as the quest for controlling greater stores and flows of more concentrated and more versatile forms of energy and converting them, in more affordable ways at lower costs and with higher efficiencies, into heat, light, and motion”
This concept is given credence in Alfred Lotka’s “Law of Maximum Energy”:
“In every instance considered, natural selection will so operate as to increase the total mass of the organic sys-tem, to increase the rate of circulation of matter through the system, and to increase the total energy flux through the system so long as there is present an unutilized residue of matter and available energy”
We’ve evolved to the point of discovering maxims such as:
“All matter is energy at rest”
“Energy cannot be created nor destroyed”
“Energy does not spontaneously pass from a colder to a warmer body (entropy)”
And whilst all true, none have actually helped us define what energy is. In fact, even Nobel Prize winners have great difficulty in giving a satisfactory answer. Richard Feynman (1918–1988) in his famous “lectures on Physics” stated:
“it is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy is. We do not have a picture that energy comes in little blobs of a definite amount”
It’s similar to Fire & Bitcoin in that we kind of know what it is. We’re familiar with it. We’ve used it, played with it, perhaps even thought that we’ve ‘held’ it, but do we actually know what it is?
I’m not sure. It’s almost like a koan.
Much like ‘consciousness’ and ‘randomness’, I don’t think we have precise definitions for these phenomena, but we can make approximations or analogies in an attempt to understand them.
I like to think of energy as the primordial substance. It’s everywhere and not only permeates all, but is the base composition of all
Not to get all woo woo on you, but “everything is energy”.
One could argue that life is the most advanced manifestation of “energy”. Life is the fingertips of energy and conscious, sentient, intelligent beings are the fingertips of life. Reaching. Expressing. Becoming. Stretching.
What does that all mean? I‘m not sure
Perhaps it means our ultimate destiny is to reunite with the source, or perhaps it is to become a source of our own. Maybe we continue to evolve and stretch the bounds of what constitutes life, or perhaps it means consciousness is a transient phenomenon of life’s great journey and energy’s constant flux.
It’s impossible to know. Only to assume. But…
What I do know is that we have evolved to the point where we can ask these questions. We can measure energy, we can transform it, use it, direct it and understand we are bound by it. We know we cannot create it, nor destroy it. We know that there is an unfathomable amount of it, and we clearly hunger for it as we continue to develop as a species.
What I do know is that life is energy in action and for life to continue to expand, it must get better at harnessing, transforming, transmitting and transmuting energy.
If we are life incarnate, we are the stewards. Morality suggests that we honour this role and continue to improve.
If there was ever an answer for ‘why bitcoin’?, this is it.
Which brings me to my next section…
The Kardashev Scale
Nikolai Kardashev was a Soviet Russian astrophysicist and doctor of mathematics amongst other things.
He attempted to describe the evolution of intelligent, sentient species (whether human or alien) through the lens of energy mastery.
Starting at the local level, through to planetary, galactic and inter galactic.
Modern scientists, much like SciFi writers have extended the original levels out further and blended them with multiverse and simulation theories.
Unfortunately none of them have actually taken what they’re saying seriously or considered it practically. They’ve just made grandiose claims as if the mere discovery of a new theory or the hyperbole inherent in their wild assertions is enough to bring them to bear.
At this point, much of the babble presented by modern fiat scientists is indistinguishable from grade 4 SciFi. They attempt to blend politics with science fiction and in doing so fail at both.
Kardashev’s scale has its own issues including the attempt to rank the civilizations along more ephemeral lines such as ‘empires’ or ‘nation states’, along with the fact that we cannot predict the behaviour of an advanced civilisation because we cannot understand it.
Notwithstanding the shortcomings of the theory and the bastardisation of his work, Kardashev’s contribution toward understanding societal evolution through the lens of energy mastery was groundbreaking, and in my view, extraordinarily useful.
His greatest blind spot, and an area in which seemingly all physicists lack, is a misunderstanding of economics. It belies all action, decision making and energy flow from the micro to the macro.
The conservation of energy, entropy and activation energy are all economic forces. The ‘decisions’ made by everything from where and how the planets orbit through to the expansion of mycelial networks, the evolution of life on earth and the mitochondrial reactions in our body are complex economic calculations and implementations in action. They are all operating within the constraints of time and the physical laws of the universe.
As such, no study of societal evolution, nor model through which to understand or predict its path can be complete without a deep and profound understanding of natural economics (aka; the Austrian school).
This reality, along with the lack of practical thinking exemplified by modern scientists is why I will introduce the Nakamoto Scale further below, as a more accurate way to think about societal evolution.
The Great Filter
The Fermi Paradox is the term used to describe the lack of evidence for extraterrestrial life in the face of a universe that should be, by the numbers, bursting with it.
Whilst many have proposed solutions as to why this paradox exists, in the 1990s, Robin Hanson postulated a theory that has become known as “The Great Filter”.
It suggests that intelligent sentient lifeforms must realise a series of critical steps on their way to becoming an interstellar race and at least one of them must be highly improbable, or their interrelated, path-dependent nature means that they must occur in a particular order and must all happen before a major cataclysm.
Hanson suggested some basic hurdles (or steps), which I’ve listen below. I’ve also taken the liberty to add my own steps and some alterations to his (in italic):
- A planet capable of harbouring life must form in the habitable zone around a star (often referred to as the goldilocks zone)
- Life itself must emerge, perhaps as an extension of the randomness inherent in quantum realm (ie; proteins)
- Those lifeforms must be able to reproduce (eg; RNA, then DNA in our case)
- Simple cells (prokaryotes) must evolve into more complex cells (eukaryotes)
- Multicellular organisms must develop.
- A method of increasing genetic diversity (eg; sexual reproduction in our case), must take hold.
- Complex organisms must evolve into species capable of repeatably transforming potential energy into kinetic energy (capable of using tools).
- The complex, tool wielding species must discover Fire (heat energy), thus shortening their intestinal tract and re-directing energy toward the brain.
- The increased brain size of this species and the interconnectedness of neurons must reach a point where consciousness emerges and they are able to communicate on abstract terms.
- This species must develop a tool for measuring time, energy and scarce resources, enabling them to cooperate & coordinate across space & time. (Money)
- The species, using this technology must develop complex societies that culminate into the advanced technologies required for space travel.
- The species must discover and transition onto an energy money standard before it destroys itself.
- The spacefaring species can finally master and harness the energy of their star system, and then go on to colonize other worlds and star systems.
Step 12 above is where we come into contact with The Great Filter.
I am convinced this step is not only the one most missing from any analysis by physicists all throughout history, but it is the most important and difficult to achieve in light of the technological advancements of an intelligent species and its propensity to want to ‘control’ the uncontrollable.
I’m also of the belief that it’s compatible with the Kardashev Scale although I’ve not seen that connection made anywhere.
As such, I’ve attempted to incorporate the idea of the Great Filter into the Nakamoto scale.
The Nakamoto Scale
As an homage to the creator of Bitcoin, I would like to propose a new model to understand the evolution of sentient, intelligent societies.
The Kardashev scale is cute, but it’s become more sci-fi fantasy than reality.
The Nakamoto scale is based on a real, practical discovery, not just theory.
This scale takes into account the race between the very real threat of technological or cosmic self-destruction and the zero to one discovery of energy money and its relationship to the laws of thermodynamics.
The entire point is to understand evolution not just through the empirical study of physics, but to incorporate the complex and not-so-empirical study of economics.
Only then can we build a symbiotic relationship with energy, time and the physical universe around us. Only then can we appreciate how to actually harness, direct and utilise the universal currency with a level of respect and mastery making us worthy of becoming inter-galactic species.
Until then, we’re just kidding ourselves. Lies & fiat will not take us to the moon. They will only take us all to the grave. For life to thrive, we must re-align with natural order. We must progress beyond The Great Filter, and enter the next stage of the evolution on the Nakamoto Scale.
Before Bitcoin (BB) & After Bitcoin (AB)
To date we’ve had AD and BC, and more recently scientists and atheists have decided to use CE and BCE. You may think I prefer the latter, but I actually think the former is more powerful because it marks a point in human history where the mode of being shifted.
CE & BCE remind me of participation awards.
Either way, I’m here to propose a real, more important and fundamentally more impactful scale.
The Nakamoto scale gives rise to what I believe is how we shall measure the timechain of consciousness, in its manifestation as ‘humanity’.
There will be a time Before Bitcoin.
There will be a time After Bitcoin
There will be a short transition. Short in the broader historical sense, but long in the context of an individual’s life.
Most importantly, BB and AB will be fundamentally different.
Commencing around the discovery of fire, the period “Before Bitcoin” can be thought of as our ‘trial by fire’. Pun entirely intended.
It’s the necessary journey all emergent species must experience and endure on their path to enlightenment and mastery.
Technologies such as money and language help us to understand, measure, express and compound the lessons and discoveries along the way, allowing us to make progress by standing on the shoulders of giants.
The challenge has been the use of low fidelity and easily corruptible tools that lack precision, the most important one being money.
Poor money = poor value judgements = poor decisions = poor existence.
When the fabric that binds us all and measures human action (money) is constantly torn then mended, torn then mended, it should come as no surprise that history to date has been cyclical; where strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create hard times and hard times once again create strong men.
Can we transcend these cycles?
I believe we can, and I’ll explain why below. But let’s first quickly explore morality, cycles and human action from an evolutionary lens..
Our genes are an excellent micro-example. They vary with a high degree of randomness to promote their own production without regard to the larger organism, and at the expense of their rivals.
Humans, as a more macro example, have been doing the same, battling the elements, other species and each other in order to survive since the beginning of our time.
The difference in our case is the unknown quantity of consciousness through which we are also interested in ‘thriving’. As a result, we are the most capable of concocting elaborate methods and mechanisms of cooperation and coexistence; whether they be politics, religion, laws, engineering, farming, philosophy, computing, money, organised force or a multitude of other belief systems and shared fictions.
Whatever the method, tool or abstraction, we’ve had to work within the reality of:
- Unevenly distributed, and scarce resources*
- Limited access to energy*
- Fixed and finite time
*Although energy (in particular) and resources are inherently abundant, our capacity to extract, harness or utilise each has been and in some senses remains poor, thus subjecting humans to a relatively constant state of ‘lack’.
Innovation, or capitalism, is the increasingly effective and efficient utilisation of what we have at our disposal within the bounds of these limitations. Evolution is simply nature or life’s manifestation of innovation / capitalism.
Emergent phenomena being as they are, we encountered problems. As we began to support more life, lower mortality and proliferate, our ability to extract energy and utilise resources effectively did not keep pace.
The result was a world and life of lack, where survival meant weighing up and deciding on one (or a blend) of two options:
- Attempt to subsist against the spectre of destitution or death from starvation, or;
- Beat someone over the head with a club to avoid starvation, but risk retaliation, injury or death.
History is merely a story of both choices. On the one hand, the chance of prosperity through innovation, productivity, collaboration and energy input at the risk of potential destitution. On the other hand, low-level-consciousness survival, by way of taking another’s things, or in other words, the chance of plenty through plunder (low energy) at the risk of death.
The former is an additive and often multiplicative method of people getting what they need in order to subsist and secure their future, whilst the latter is the necessary aberration humans concocted in the face of a harsh reality where we emerged from the dirt & jungle
To manage this, we created mechanisms to incentivise the former and disincentivise that latter. The protection and sanctity of ‘private property’ was and remains the cornerstone of it all, whether we realise it or not.
This is how kings, lords, nobles & empires originally emerged.
This is also how & why religion emerged.
The learned man, whether Jesus or Buddha, taught private property rights in some form or another.
We may not have known it at the time, but every institution built was one in which private property rights of some sort could be better guaranteed such that cooperation would be the way we ensure survival and acquire the resources needed to subsist and secure our future.
EVERYTHING that has come along, from the cave man’s fist bump, to the handshake, to hunter gatherer ‘zones’, Hammurabi’s code, the Tora, the Bible, the Ancient Scrolls, the Roman Republic, Taoism, the Mayan Scripts, the Magna Carta or the American Constitution have all shared a common basic premise:
To develop a framework in which cooperation could take the place of theft in the process of acquiring resources and wealth.
The core issue of course is that every institution, despite its flaws, advantages and dissonance with respect to outside peoples is subject to coercion, corruption, decay, infiltration and usurpation both from within and without.
Being creations of language alone, they have all decayed over time, irrespective of how accurate or flawed the attempt was. Each had its own advantages & disadvantages, but the fact that they were ‘shared fictions’ untethered to reality meant that distortion was guaranteed to occur over time.
The very private property rights they were consciously or unconsciously set out to protect became those they violate. This is the core of the problem with ‘the state’. It’s become an apparatus for sophisticated theft and its most effective incarnation is Democracy. The version that gives its constituents the illusion of choice and enough rope with which to build some wealth and feel like their property is theirs, only to have it stripped from them over the long run (via taxes, inflation, regulations & mandates).
And so the cycles that mark the era Before Bitcoin go.
Private property rights end up stripped, the whole things falls apart and society becomes a tragedy of the commons where we devolve back into theft because:
a) the veil of protection that existed to enable peaceful cooperation between one another is gone, and thy neighbour sees that the consequence of taking your shit is no longer there
b) the above is drastically accelerated as things fall apart because there is now more people, with greater dependencies on a fragile state, producing less goods, less energy, accessing less resources, less efficiently. All resulting in a wave of ‘lack’ that turns everyone into a crazed animal that must steal in order to survive.
We basically get lord of the flies.
Bitcoin fixes this not just from a cyclical perspective, but as a step change in the way society functions.
Bitcoin is the most important incarnation of private property, ie; money, and is now protected not by religion, the state or some institution, but by raw, pure math. To alter it, censor it or distort it, you must have the ability to defy mathematics, time and thermodynamics. Good luck with that.
Bitcoin moves money into the same realm as the physical laws of the universe. They are unchangeable, they are incorruptible and they are not subject to the decay, corruption or entropy inherent in the institutions of BB.
The result is a world in which the tendency to beat someone over the head with a club in order to take his or her wealth is greatly diminished.
Not to say that that tendency disappears tomorrow. Because it won’t.
In fact, for a time it will seem worse because this tendency will grow as the old system falls apart. But it will happen. We just need to transition through the Great Filter.
The Great Transition
The transition to a Bitcoin Standard will be brutal and harsh and as the veil of the old falls to reveal a little Wizard of Oz pushing buttons, people will get desperate.
Mark my words, during the early days of the transition, theft will be rampant. Virtual scammers and physical thugs will be everywhere. People will fall to the worst version of themselves and use whatever measures needed to give themselves the illusion of getting ahead.
The calculus of “it’s not great for us as a group” is not front of mind when starvation or lack is in the way. As a result, the tendency to steal will prevail.
The silver lining during this storming phase is that over time, as more people learn to use math to protect their Bitcoin (self custody) the harder it will become to acquire it through theft and the greater the incentive to acquire it via trading the product of one’s labour.
This behavioural change sets the tone for AB.
I don’t know how long it will take. It may be centuries, or the network effects of a connected world may accelerate it beyond what we can imagine.
I personally err toward it taking some time because habits and culture need to change and this might mean a few generations go by.
New norms and customs will need to emerge in which we once again become allergic to theft. It will take time to cleanse the bad habits and primal survival tendencies from a world falling apart and a populace turned desperate.
We just need to endure and get to the point where the difficulty to steal is greater than the difficulty to earn honestly.
We can probably accelerate it through education and good networks, but overall the transition will be turbulent, and it’s part of what we and any other intelligent species must endure as a rite of passage from pre to post energy money civilisation.
After Bitcoin (AB)
Bitcoin infects every holder in such a way that they become a person who more deeply respects time preference and private property rights. As such AB is a time in which the very behaviour of individuals evolves toward majesty and respect.
After Bitcoin is like an ever expanding Renaissance on repeat where higher order morality is literally baked into our DNA through subsequent generations of ever more majestic human beings coming to this earth and solving an ever greater quality of problem.
Imagine having generation after generation full of Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Rafael, or Einstein, Maxwell, Bohr and Planck all collaborating and competing.
There is a bright future ahead and the stars are only the beginning.
The discovery of energy money marks the point from which the science of matter can speak to the study of what matters. In this way it enables if not a unification, at least a direct relationship between physics and metaphysics.
I call it energy money not because it’s some literal battery that’s ‘storing’ energy in containers full of miners. I call it energy money because it’s the only form of scorecard (money) whose validity is priced in actual energy expenditure. The feedback loops between the cost of validation, the risk of fraud and the demand in the market by humans seeking to cooperate on a functional standard all tie into unfalsifiable work.
When resources, energy expenditure and the input of time are tethered to something that cannot be faked, co-opted or cheated, inter-subjective value can be more accurately measured and market signals, ie; prices, become real. We begin to discover once again what things actually cost, and as such we as individuals and societies can make more accurate value judgements.
Behaviour at the level of individual re-aligns toward natural order (arguably the definition of morality) and at scale results in functional, useful coordination amongst members of a society.
Without something like Bitcoin, intelligent sentient species cannot utilise their resources effectively or efficiently enough to become meaningfully advanced before wiping themselves out!
They cannot reach the point of energy mastery required to actually reach for the stars because 99% of what they do is wasted.
Reconciling physics and metaphysics means an intelligent, sentient species can precisely measure & use the scarce resources it has toward maximising energy output whilst minimising resource and time wastage.
Without such a high fidelity transmission mechanism, the quantum of wastage is not only too high, but completely unknown. As a result, the road to serfdom via the incessant fear of loss and the knee jerk reaction to ‘control it all’, will prevail.
Bitcoin Fixes This.
Bitcoin Breaks all the Cycles
Bitcoin doesn’t just “break all your models”.
Bitcoin breaks all the cycles.
Bitcoin isn’t just some fourth turning minutia or the end of another generational cycle. It’s the fulcrum for the transformation from a Type Zero into a Type One civilisation.
Characteristic of the tumultuous BB period is the creation of a multitude of models and cyclical theories, whether the HOPF cycle, Kondratiev waves, Schumpetarian cycles, short & long term business or debt cycles to name a few.
These cycles are how we make sense of a complex emergent history. They may be useful to forecast a world in which the same paradigm applies and where the same forces function, but they are utterly useless post the transition onto a total Bitcoin Standard.
In this sense, Bitcoin may be the genesis of a truly objective record of history in which events are recorded on the timechain. Forever Laura. Forever.
This is why whilst many won’t want to believe it, Bitcoin breaks all the cycles, not just the models as Saylor said to Mr Quad Poor.
The Future…Not the Past
The Founding Fathers of America tried to write up a constitution that would save us from ourselves….but we found ways to tear it up.
Bitcoin doesn’t require the protection of the state. It’s not a piece of paper. It transcends shared fictions. It is objective truth. It is math and energy.
Bitcoin isn’t just about a return to a time that was better, for example some prior gold standard or a period of time like the Renaissance, but progress toward a better future.
I’m guilty of this framing also. I’ve called it Renaissance 2.0 in the past but I now realise I was wrong. It’s so much greater.
Bitcoin’s discovery doesn’t merely usher in a time similar to that which has long since past. It ushers in a world we are yet to imagine.
It is a portal to a new dimension. One in which the map becomes the territory, where action, time & energy are perfectly encoded into maximum fidelity signal and near perfect information.
This is not simply the fourth turning emergence of a ‘new technology’ nor is it merely a ‘technological revolution’ like oil, electricity or the internet were.
We must think bigger.
The behaviour that emerges, the incentives that direct action and the combinatorial effect of greater morality and direction by all individuals will bring about an age of man that’s yet to be written about in any science fiction novels.
Don’t mistake my optimism for some blind Utopian ideal. I don’t foresee sunshine and roses on the path, nor at the destination — for life is a journey, and not an end point. Our minds are relative. We must continue to be challenged in order to be fulfilled. What I envision is an ever increasing quality of problem that the human race, perhaps as homo-bitcoinicus, will contend with.
What we shall encounter after a few centuries of energy mastery will not be “how do we feed people in Africa”, but more like “how do we transform barren planets or asteroids into habitable spaces so that we can support 200bn people”.
This is progress.
The discovery of energy money is a step change for an intelligent sentient species and it transforms them from victims of their environment, into masters of their environment.
And the future it will usher in will not be like the past.
Beyond the Great Filter lies a world where energy mastery is possible.
Beyond energy mastery lies access to the Galaxy.
Beyond the Galaxy we open up The Universe.
Darwin considered language and fire the two most significant achievements of humanity.
Bitcoin is an extension & blend of each. It is both an energy transformation process like fire, and an information transmission medium like language.
What comes next is anybody’s guess, but for it to be of similar magnitude to Bitcoin, one can only assume it will have to be of a similar essence. Something to do with transformation & transmission of the very fabric of reality, ie; energy & time.
I’m convinced Bitcoin marks if not the midpoint of civilisation, then at the very least a step change into becoming higher order, god-like beings who can transcend the limits other non-conscious species are bound by.
This will not happen overnight, nor in a few generations. It will happen over hundreds and thousands of years. But in order for it to occur, the foundation upon which it is built must be true. It must be tethered to reality.
We cannot build castles in the sky atop of a lie.
If money is a form of language, and the money we use is a lie, we have the ultimate house of cards, built on quicksand… about to be hit by a tornado.
We have to get this right and I believe it’s our last chance. We are on the clock.
Fire was the first big step. It led us to money and since then our history could be summed up as the path toward discovering Bitcoin.
Money is metaphysical. It is so critical that we understand its importance.
It is the way we encode time, energy, and the way we make value judgements on the use of natural resources and direction of human action. We use it as a tool to solve the problem of inter-subjective value, which then allows us to cooperate and create diversity akin to the complexity inherent in ‘life’.
Should other species with a prefrontal cortex or some sort of brain capacity enabling them to build complex, inter-relational societies exist in the universe, they too will need to discover the technology called money in order for them to exceed the respective bounds of their biology; in our case, Dunbar’s number.
Progress is inextricably linked to the effective and efficient transformation of resources, time and energy into higher order objects or services of greater subjective value.
As such, each enlightened or renaissance age was characterised by the implementation or use of as sound a money as possible.
Each collapse or catastrophe is a result of this technology failing because the object or method in use was either inadequate or was co opted, gamed and used as a way to strip-mine real wealth from society.
The better the money is, the more progress an intelligent, sentient species can make. If the money is perfect, if the map and the territory are one and the signal is of such high fidelity & strength that it cannot be distorted, I’m not sure an upper bound to what the species is capable of exists.
I don’t believe any of us can truly fathom the profundity of the discovery of Bitcoin. Nothing in our history, since the discovery of fire, comes close.
And no other event will represent such a step change until we discover Teleportation.
By Aleks Svetski
12, 12, 21
Thankyou for reading, and I sincerely hope you found value in trading your time for it. There will be loads more to come.
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