BITCOIN-A REBEL’S RENAISSANCE
By Stefen Reid on The Capital
The world is experiencing one of the most disruptive, unexpected, and behavior-altering events of the last century. Billions of people are facing a new reality due to our global reaction to a Pandemic. Never in the history of the earth, have this many people been quarantined and forced to stay home under penalty. Global fear and uncertainty are sure to heighten the emotional charge of all Sapiens. What long term effects will this have on our future? History does provide some reasons to be optimistic.
One of the most influential and recognized periods in mankind’s record was launched after another world-altering pandemic experience. The Black Plague was believed to have ravaged Europe from 1347–1352. It may be no coincidence that most historians identify the mid 14th century as the beginning of the Renaissance.
The Renaissance has been defined as a transition from Medieval times and the rebirth of Humanism, derived from the concept of Roman Humanitas and the rediscovery of classical Greek philosophy, math, and science. Scholars and artists of the Renaissance were fascinated by the great cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. They believed that studying the achievements of the past was the key to creating a glorious future. The teachings and building blocks from antiquity like Thales, Pythagoras, and Aristotle were methodically unearthed and studied, shaping the beliefs and endeavors of the Renaissance man.
The Renaissance was about the Rediscovery, Improvement, and Application of ancient knowledge.
Necessity is the mother of Invention….Plato
The Renaissance spawned 3 innovations that changed the world.
1)PRINTING PRESS-Johannes Gutenberg-1450
Knowledge is power
The invention of the mechanical movable type printing press helped disseminate knowledge wider and faster than ever before. The printing press accelerated the Renaissance by empowering ideas to spread through the democratization of printed information.
Printing powered the Scientific Revolution due to the precision of printed text and access to these ideas. ‘On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres’ by Nicolas Copernicus (1543) is believed to be the text that opened Europe to the power of Science. The increased availability of printed text was the impetus for the proliferation of literacy and education. This marked the inception of opinion pieces, alternative news, and propaganda.
Euclid’s Elements has been referred to as the most successful and influential textbook ever written. It was one of the very earliest mathematical works to be printed after the invention of the printing press and has been estimated to be second only to the Bible in the number of editions published since the first printing in 1482.
The democratization of information and opinion destabilized power centers like the Catholic Church.
Lower cost reproduction and literacy led to people's ability to read the Bible and gain personal insight into the word of God. The Printing Press enabled differing interpretations of the Bible to emerge, propelling Humanism as the Church lost authority as the gatekeeper to God.
Guttenberg's Printing Press was a precursor to the Industrial Revolution. Mechanization and Industrialization would grow to power and pay for the transition from Monarchs to the emergence of the Nation-State.
Man is too often unaware of the grand change that surrounds him.
2)TIMEPIECES — 1430
The earliest existing spring driven clock is the Chamber Clock given to Phillip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, around 1430.
The precise measurement of Time was a crucial development in the evolution of mankind.
Until the late Middle Ages, people had to rely upon sun or water clocks, which did not play any role in basic life and business activities. Mechanical, spring-loaded clocks became widespread in the 15th century as they were used in medieval monasteries to keep the regulated schedule of prayers known as Canonical hours.
Mechanical astronomical clocks were initially influenced by the astrolabe. The astrolabe was used primarily to make astronomical measurements, typically of the altitudes of celestial bodies, however, astute philosophers, astrologers and sailors devised hundreds of uses for the instrument. Astrolabes were analog computers that had many uses, however, they fell short of solving the Longitude dilemma.
To solve for Longitude, star measurement was inadequate. Due to the spin of the earth, a precise measurement of time was required to determine the hour of the sun’s zenith. This information could then be used to calculate how many hours your position differed from Greenwich Mean Time. One hour of time difference corresponds to 15° of longitude (360°/24 hours = 15°/hour). Solving the Longitude dilemma enabled sea explorers to accurately map their North/South coordinates enabling Columbus’ landing in the Bahamas. Prior to this, most open sea exploration was limited to East/West navigation using Polaris or the southern equivalent to track Latitude. Timepieces allowed for the precision of time measurement and synchronization of activity, which led to the advancement of sea exploration and celestial study.
The Heliocentric discovery altered the reality and trajectory of mankind.
Precision timepieces led to Nicholas Copernicus’ Heliocentric theory. The discovery that the Sun is at the center of our Solar system was due to his ability to more accurately track celestial bodies relative movement. This was a supremely controversial theory that was a massive threat to the Church and a direct challenge to the convention of the time. This concept was so dangerous that Copernicus chose not to publish his theory out of fear of repercussions from the Church. His findings were later publicly expanded on by Galileo, who spent the last 10 years of his life under house arrest for acts of heresy against teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
3)DOUBLE ENTRY BOOKKEEPING- 1340
- Earliest European record 1340 Genoa
The Black Plague was indiscriminate and ruthless. Rich lords and paupers died alike. After the death of millions in Europe, the social order was reconfigured as merchants emerged into a new elite. Historical records show that since the second caliphate, 634–644. Muslim civilizations had adopted written accounting. However, it was the Italian merchant class that utilized Double Entry Bookkeeping to advance civilization.
Every financial transaction has equal and opposite effects in at least two different accounts. Double Entry Bookkeeping provided a quantitative, transparent account of the financial state.
In 1425, Cosimo Medici was an Italian merchant, investor, banker and patron of the arts. The Medici family was an example of the great wealth that grew, in part, due to the application of Double Entry Bookkeeping. This innovation helped expand their business interests in the region as they pioneered banking and the advent of interest.
Financiers became the patron of the arts. It was Cosimo that began to commission artists like Donatello, Michelangelo, and Leonardo DeVinci to paint, sculpt, design, and build Renaissance architecture. Double Entry Bookkeeping was the balanced financial record that enabled businesses to finance sea exploration and works of art.
This newly documented state of balance reflected the duality of entries in the system and the exchange element in transactions. This led to the inception of conservation laws of matter, momentum, the First Law of Thermodynamics, and Newton’s Third Law of Motion.
The Printing Press, Timepieces, and Double Entry Bookkeeping were important innovations and the applications had consecutive order effects that shaped the future.
History doesn’t repeat, but it often rhymes…..Mark Twain
Humanity’s storied past is circular, one of epic struggle and achievement. Natural growth occurs as a response to resistance, just as trees reach for the sky, strengthened by the force of gravity. Today, billions of people are forced to sit and think as uncertainty has gripped the planet. How do we respond to such times?
Introspection leads to creation.
Just as the Renaissance of the 14th and 15th century’s quest for knowledge was accelerated by a pandemic and the rise of Humanism. The current global slowdown and central banks’ currency creation may lead more people on the quest to rediscover the concept of Money and Trust.
The darkest hour is that before the dawn…..Proverb
Throughout the dark annals of history, victors have written the script. Similar to the Medieval Church, today’s governments and power brokers control the public narrative and psychology. As the Church was the arbiter of God’s will, governments and their central banks have become the gatekeepers to the mystery of Money. This is all about to change…
Bitcoin was presented to the world over 10 years ago as a working concept that harnessed older technologies and innovated upon them to create an entirely new paradigm. The Truth Machine. Imagine a world where no story could be sold unless agreed upon by a consensus of participants (peer review), which possess an immutable, uncensorable, record of fact. A righteous democracy.
Bitcoin is the keystone innovation to the Rebels Renaissance.
Like 14th and 15th-century scholars, today’s renaissance thinkers are rediscovering ideas of the past, but through a modern lens. The Bitcoin network is a digital settlement layer, composed of thousands of participants contributing real computational resources to support and verify the state of the transaction chain. Money is the first and most obvious application.
To understand Money, we must recognize both the properties and context within Austrian economics. The foundation of all of Austrian Economics is that each individual is a conscious actor, has chosen goals, personal preferences, and attempts to achieve desired ends. Society is seen as merely the complex of interacting individuals, not an independent entity.
Ludwig Von Mises is acknowledged as the father of Austrian economics. In 1940, Mises authored ‘Human Action’ which many considered the largest and most scientific defense of human freedom and capitalism ever published.
Human civilization is not something achieved against nature; it is rather the outcome of the working of the innate qualities of man. Ludwig Von Mises
Another giant of Austrian economics, Friedrich Hayek, is considered a major social theorist and political philosopher of the 20th century. His theory on how free-market price discovery communicates information that helps people determine their plans is widely regarded as an important milestone achievement in economics. In 1944, Hayek published ‘The Road to Serfdom,’ which is a treatise on the importance of Classical liberalism relative to the dangers of Centrally planned economies.
An economy is a compilation of transactions between willing participants with adequate information to make personal decisions. The information that all actors require is represented by units of account or cost. Money is the measure that provides this information to facilitate the transactions. Money is information as a measure of value similar to how a Clock provides information as a measure of time or the Ruler a measurement of length. In order to be a measuring tool, the unit must be constant.
For example, we quantify speed as a ratio of a length over time (Km/hr). How could we agree on a speed limit if the measurement of a KM changed daily based on some arbitrary board that manipulates the standard measurement of length? It seems obvious that both of these measuring units must not fluctuate or this ratio would be meaningless. It is for this reason that Money must remain a constant unit as a measure of value to provide accurate information to the participants in a transaction.
Store of Value is the primary differentiation between Money and Currency.
Both Money and Currency are Mediums of Exchange, Units of Account, Fungible, Portable, Divisible, and Durable, however, only Money is a Store of Value.
A Store of Value must be scarce and difficult to replicate.
A store of value is the function of an asset that can be saved, retrieved and exchanged at a later time, and be predictably useful when retrieved. More generally, a store of value is anything that retains purchasing power into the future. Bitcoin has a coded constitution that will only allow 21 million full units to ever exist. A predictably scarce unit that takes considerable resources to create and difficult to manipulate is Hard Money.
Fiat currencies issued by central banks are not finite or a store of value. Governments around the globe are participating in currency creation at alarming rates. The currency they create competes against your earnings for the same goods and services. Imagine playing the ‘Monopoly’ board game competitively, but the other player gets to start with all the Bank's money.
He who owns the Gold makes the rules..Wizard of Id
You are playing against the Bank and they get to counterfeit the currency out of thin air.
Money is a public utility and the lifeblood of a society. When contaminated, society becomes ill. Bitcoin is the people's money which will help build a sound society for the people.
Why Does Hard Money matter?
First, you must ask what other commodity is finite? Time! Should you invest your time to earn Currency or Money? Why then do we accept Currency for our efforts? It is because Fiat Currency must be accepted for credit and debits by Government decree. Therefore as per the chart above, each hour you trade for a depreciating Currency diminishes the return on your time. Debasing a currency is theft. Currency steals Time. Why do we accept this?
Keynesian economics is a theory that says the government should increase demand to boost growth. Keynesians believe consumer demand is the primary driving force in an economy. As a result, the theory supports expansionary fiscal policy and centrally manipulated money supply. This is the antithesis of Austrian economics, which believes the production of goods and services and capital allocation based on free-market information is how prosperity is created.
Murray Rothbard stated “the fundamental political question is why do people obey a government. The answer is that they tend to enslave themselves, to let themselves be governed by tyrants. Freedom from servitude comes not from violent action, but from the refusal to serve.”
Tyrants fall when the people withdraw their support.
Bitcoin withdraws your personal support of a Fiat Currency system by moving to a Finite, Digital, Transportable, Divisible, Durable, Store of Value. Bitcoin saves Time.
Bitcoin leverages and improves upon existing innovations.
Encryption, Proof-of-Work, and Network effects all existed prior, however, it was Bitcoin that captured the synergistic power of these concepts.
Encryption is the method by which information is converted into a secret code that hides the information’s true meaning. The science of encrypting and decrypting information is called cryptography. The first known evidence of the use of cryptography (in some form) was found in an inscription carved around 1900 BC, in the main chamber of the tomb of the nobleman Khnumhotep II, in Egypt. Encryption enables users to privately and safely store and access information digitally.
Proof-of-Work was invented in 1993 to deter frivolous or malicious uses of computing power. In the Bitcoin network, each transaction or new block added to the chain of transaction or ledger is created using energy. Miners expend real-world resources in a race for computational power to secure the ledger. This concept is key to the security of the network as the ledger is protected from malfeasance by the sum of all energy utilized to create it. In other words, it would require more resources to undo a transaction than would be gained from the spoils of the attack. This race for computational power has accelerated the advancement of hardware improvements and capture of energy efficiencies through renewable resources and innovative ways to harness stranded energy. Bitcoin is now the largest, most powerful computational network in history.
Proof-of-Work is elegantly designed as the ultimate culmination of Skin in the Game, Game Theory, and a Space Race.
Network dynamics play a critical role in how we govern and value connected groups. Metcalfe’s law states the effect of a communication network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system.
Network effects are an example of exponential growth.
Gutenberg’s printing press created a network of content creators and consumers which led to the proliferation of literacy. This network effect made printing and reading invaluable to society hundreds of years later. Similarly, Bitcoin’s network of miners, speculators, developers, and consumers are coalescing around a new technology that enables a true measure of value to be sent over communication channels. Just as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) dethroned long distance service providers, Money Over Internet Protocol (MOIP) will usurp the entrenched currency monopolies. Bitcoin is a decentralized communication network.
Bitcoin is stored energy
Bitcoin is a base layer time chain
Bitcoin is digital time
This may be about more than money
It is possibly an immutable, universal reference point for ultimate objectivity.
Linear perspective drawing utilizes math to conceptualize reality. This advancement led to the proliferation of Renaissance art and architectural achievement. Similarly, the Hard Money characteristics of the Bitcoin protocol provide a stark contrast to the incumbent financialized whore house of today. This emerging resolution is providing a new perspective that many will use to build the masterpieces of our future.
The invention of Timepieces provided Renaissance-era scholars and explorers a new tool of precision and synchronization that revealed consecutive order effects like discovering North America and the Heliocentric reality. Bitcoin’s block sequence and consensus mechanism provide a digital beacon of relativity that new worlds can be aligned upon.
Time preference is the valuation of today relative to the value of tomorrow.
Perhaps the greatest aspect of seeing the world through the lens of a digital finite resource is the realization that our world is also finite. Mountains, streams, fresh air, and time with loved ones are limited in amount. It is with this framing that we understand that discipline and sacrifice today can lead to a better tomorrow. The Timepiece taught us precision; Bitcoin can teach us perspective. In Bitcoin we CREATE>consume.
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit-in…. Greek Proverb
Transparency equals trust. Double Entry Bookkeeping provided the world with balance at a glance. An innovation that altered history through banking, sea exploration, and the theories of Physics. Bitcoin is a Triple Entry Bookkeeping system where all transactions are verified prior to entry through the consensus mechanism (peer review). Verification is the 3rd-degree element that has been missing in modern transactions. Bitcoin is the input, output, settlement, and audit all in one. Imagine the wonders that will be built on this trustless, transparent, settlement layer.
Cut out the Middle man
Prior to Gutenberg’s movable type printing press, church scribes were tasked with the translation and replication of books. This process was easily manipulated by revisionist agendas. In other words, even God’s word could be altered to meet the inclination of the scribes and their commissioners. The printing press enabled more accurate copies of text, in addition to the increased distribution and cost efficiency of information. Modern-day solicitors of information have become siloed and concentrated into a technocracy of censorship. Social network de-platforming and other attacks on freedom of speech have highlighted the digital information power hierarchy of Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. In a world that is becoming less tolerant of controversial opinions, Bitcoin’s uncensorable communication network provides a non-negotiable constitution of code upon which information is unstoppable.
What about 2nd Generation technology?
A common argument against the long-term success of Bitcoin is that a newer, faster mousetrap will be designed that makes the first-generation Bitcoin obsolete. Bitcoin is less technology and more innovation.
Ideas can only be overcome by other Ideas.
Bitcoin is a new idea equivalent to the concept of placing an axel between two pottery wheels. Thousands of years later the wheel is still relevant. Flight, space travel and particle accelerators have developed alongside, however, the wheel still propels man today. Many innovations will be constructed on top of the Bitcoin base protocol. The infrastructure for Bitcoin’s future is currently being built, just as industrialists 200 years ago developed railways which provided utilility for the ideas created atop the wheel and axel.
Today we find ourselves in a new world where the populace is forced to contemplate, question and recalibrate. For it is when we are made uncomfortable by the interruption of our habits that we begin to change. Curiosity and imagination are the main elements of creation. I posit that Homo Sapien's superpower is to imagine and build his own future. An important question we collectively must confront is “Where do we go from here?”. Let the answer be Onward, with Life and Liberty, not by force, but by the powerful ideas of Freethinkers, Dreamers, Creators, and Pioneers.
Rediscover, Innovate, and Apply. Contribute your authenticity to the Rebel’s Renaissance.