The cat is out of the bag

Bitcoin is everyone’s problem now

An exorbitant privilege

Bitcoin is first and foremost a monetary phenomenon. The social climbers and false prophets who proclaimed it is a payments revolution have either come around or been repudiated by the market and washed out, embittered. Most who understood it that way are now moving on to new things. The world did not need another Paypal. The world needed a new monetary institution.

Our monetary system is disastrously redistributive

The wealth of political elites derives primarily from privileged access to the monetary spigot. This is no longer a secret. The heavenly mana of seigniorage has opened, first a trickle and now a flood. The world is grappling with inequality, and the dozens of populist revolts active in the world today are patent evidence of this. Yet the resurgent socialist parties misdiagnose the situation. The enemy is not a nebulous form of capitalism, but rather a form of socialism itself — a low-rates fueled perma-bailout to the owners of financial assets. It’s no coincidence that asset prices have steadfastly risen in the last decade, as the Fed has embarked on a ludicrously unshackled period of money creation.

The Cantillon effect pictured

Bitcoin is a system that explicitly rejects identity

Critics often ask who, exactly, Bitcoin is for. This perhaps a misspecified question. Bitcoin does not serve a “who,” or a subset of whos. It just serves, indifferent its end users. Bitcoin, by design, does not require identity data to work. Your counterparty could be on the OFAC sanctions list, they could be a sentient toad, or a few lines of code. Bitcoin has no way of knowing, nor does it care. The only requirement to send a payment is to provide a valid signature which meets the criteria sufficient to unencumber a UTXO.

  • ‘Can you vouch for the $463.39 purchase on 2/29 at Lululemon?’ No, I don’t habitually buy athleisure gear.

If you aren’t comfortable with evil people using Bitcoin, you should abandon it now

Of course, the jettisoning of counterparty trust (and risk) comes with some perceived drawbacks. Principal among them, you cannot evict someone from your network. This is very uncomfortable to people who believe that money ought to be a political tool, to be exploited to disempower political foes of the day.

Bitcoin is an apocalyptic death cult…

As Bitcoin hater-in-chief David Gerard so elegantly puts it, Bitcoin is in fact an apocalyptic death cult. Apocalyptic, because Bitcoiners recognize the futility of the current monetary system, and appreciate that it is likely to end in tears. Death, because States won’t give up their monetary privilege easily. Bitcoin is veiled in eschatological overtones. Cult, because you have to be somewhat deranged to take a pill this black.

Freedom is not “Free”.

… but it’s open to all

The exact reason that Bitcoin is despised by so many— identity, creditworthiness, and trust are irrelevant in this system, making it a fertile ground for criminals — is the exact reason why it’s so inclusive. Unlike Paypal, Venmo, or traditional payment processors, it cannot deplatform you for wrongthink, holding subversive political views, being a sex worker, or legally selling cannabis. Ours is the biggest possible tent. Don’t be distracted by the online discourse. Bitcoin is utterly indifferent to the political views of its users. Its core developers, the high priests of the protocol, can barely change it: (implementing a fairly routine upgrade, SegWit, took them years of cajoling and pleading). Getting it to do anything other than produce blocks, accept valid spends, resolve forks, and relentlessly march onward is virtually impossible.

Partner, Castle Island Ventures. Cofounder, Coinmetrics.io

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