If You Love Freedom, the Earth and the Environment, Consider Becoming a Bitcoiner
Bitcoin is Easily the Most Misunderstood Phenomenon in the World Today.
It’s not easy becoming the most misunderstood thing in the world. To be massively misunderstood, people must first be aware of a thing’s existence. Then, despite so many of them being aware of it, it must somehow elude being understood. Yet, this is the situation in which Bitcoin finds itself.
Nearly Everyone Has Heard of Bitcoin:
Somehow, just about everyone in the world is aware of the existence of Bitcoin. This itself is profound, since Bitcoin is, at its core, just a piece of software that keeps track of coins that exist only in the digital realm.
Bitcoin isn’t even a company. It has no employees. It hasn’t got any money and it can’t spend anything on marketing. Its creator’s identity is not known and he disappeared in 2011, only a couple of years after launching it.
Yet, almost everyone has heard of it. Why?
Talk of Bitcoin has spread worldwide because it intersects with every major issue in the world: economics, money, technology, the internet, politics, the environment, energy, climate change, wealth inequality, finance, freedom, property, and rights. This takes us to the misunderstanding part of Bitcoin.
Nobody Fully Understands Bitcoin
The more one studies Bitcoin, the more one realizes that it is such a complex phenomenon that understanding it fully is practically impossible.
Bitcoin is based on just a few principles and technologies, but the interactions between these are deeply intertwined with the chaotic systems of both nature and human civilization — and these systems themselves are in such a constant state of change that nobody understands any of them fully either.
Bitcoin also involves cryptography, a branch of mathematics that almost nobody has studied, and the way Bitcoin uses cryptography is different from what people understand cryptography to be about. For example, no messages are encrypted or decrypted in Bitcoin’s use of cryptography.
To cap it off, Bitcoin is itself an early stage exponential growth technology, and it has been shown time and again that humans have a very hard time understanding exponential growth technologies at their early stages.
In this tempest of growth and complexity, misunderstanding is everywhere. Media headlines accuse Bitcoin of being for criminals and terrorists, of destroying the environment, of being a tool of totalitarian regimes, of wasting energy, and so on. All of these are gross misunderstandings.
Sadly, the media present themselves as experts even on things they know little about. Like all of us, they could do with a little modesty when it comes to trying to better understand that which they don’t yet understand. The pursuit of “understanding” necessarily requires relinquishing the claim of already knowing what is true. There is nothing dishonest or shameful about saying “I don’t know”. Moreover, it is virtuous to add “… and I would like to learn.” to that statement.
If you have come here with the spirit of a learner, let me share with you some observations that will hopefully take away the fear and bewilderment, and potentially replace them with love and ‘bewonderment’ (a word I just made up whose definition would replace ‘bewilderment’s’ perplexed and confused elements with those of being inspired and astonished).
Bitcoin and Freedom
Not Your Government’s Money
There’s an old advertising line that goes “This is not your grandfather’s” … fill in the blank. Advertisers use it when trying to rejuvenate a brand, as in “This is not your grandfather’s Oldsmobile”. Well Bitcoin is not your grandfather’s money. More importantly, Bitcoin is not your government’s money.
Bitcoin is a new system of money in which nobody is in control, including even your government. Nobody being able to take it over means it can’t be corrupted. There are no powerful elites or rulers in Bitcoin. It is a peer-to-peer, decentralized system. (Bitcoin has lots of imitators that also claim to be this, but none are, so watch out.)
Because nobody is in charge, nobody can be prevented from using Bitcoin and nobody can change its rules. You don’t need a government issued identity card to use it. You don’t even need a name. You are free to use it. So is everyone else in the world. Nobody, however, can change the rules.
That’s not the case with your government’s money. Governments stop people and other countries from using their money all the time. Banking and finance is the most heavily regulated industry in the world. And those rules and regulations behind your government’s money change all the time. People are in control of that system, and there is a very big prize for getting them to adjust its rules in favor of one player at the expense of another.
In fact, one major reason why everybody in the world seems to have heard of Bitcoin is because the government money system is so badly broken that everyone in the world seems to be looking for a solution outside of it (except for that small group who benefit from the brokenness of it).
If Not Your Government’s Money — Then Who’s Money is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is your money. It is freedom money. Let me explain.
The dictionary defines freedom as “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”. The fact that Bitcoin exists outside the rules and regulations of governments means its users have the “power and the right to act, to speak and to think what they want without hindrance and restraint” when it comes to using their money.
Bitcoin users cannot have their accounts frozen, their funds seized, or even their savings inflated away.
If you stop to think about it even just a little bit, you’ll see that governments’ total control of the money system gives them powers, which they regularly use, that restrict people’s freedoms around the world in many ways. Every country has its own money and its own regulations and its own middlemen. The rules are arbitrary and unpredictable. This control leads to bad outcomes.
Currencies collapse, inflation destroys savings that people worked hard to build, government policies to stimulate economies lead to the wealthy and powerful benefiting while the poor and middle class are overwhelmed with rising prices and huge debts. Those with lots of money can use it to ensure they receive more of the increasing supply of money that is created through stimulus programs, while paying less of it back in taxes.
That system is broken. Bitcoin is not. Moreover, Bitcoin is unbreakable. I know that last sentence is hard to believe. (Proving it is outside the scope of this article. I wrote a short three minute article about how it achieves that if you’re interested in light reading on the topic.) However, it’s true.
That means Bitcoin allows everyone in the world to take their monetary freedom. (Freedom must be taken — it is not given.) Once taken, monetary freedom opens the door to a lot of other freedoms.
For one, living free of fear that your money could be seized or frozen by the government or by banks gives you greater freedom to criticize them. Criticizing, when done objectively, requires critical thinking. So you can see how this freedom encourages free thinking too.
Being outside the rules and regulations of government power also allows freedom for a type of action known as innovation. Governments will warn that acting outside of their regulations is ‘criminal’. However, the regulations of the financial system are very hard to justify as protective of the weak, poor and powerless. In fact, the current rules really seem to exploit the poor and middle class. (That felt good to call them out. See what freedom brings!) Bitcoin is, among many other things, the freedom to innovate in the realm of finance and money.
Bitcoin, The Earth and The Environment
Consume More, Consumer!
Like our money, our economy is heavily manipulated. It’s actually manipulated through the manipulation of money. You’ve probably heard of stimulus, or quantitative easing, or asset purchases, or any of a long list of government actions intended to stimulate and improve the economy. These all amount to efforts to get us to consume more.
Why does the government want so badly to have us consume more?
Isn’t obesity a problem that will only get worse if we consume more?
Isn’t pollution a problem that will only get worse if we consume more?
Isn’t the environment suffering from over-consumption?
What the hell do we need expensive, environmentally damaging, bottled water for when we have clean and nearly free water piped straight into almost every building?
None of this makes any sense.
The reason for all this madness is that the field of study known as “economics” is also broken. Today, this field places a single metric, economic growth, above all other considerations. Why does it do this? There’s no good answer really. The best attempts claim that jobs and prosperity come from it, but we don’t actually observe these things improving when the stimulus actions are taken. We just see bigger cycles of inflation, volatility, and crashes each time. The poor and middle class are always left further behind and less prosperous than where they started, with fewer and lousier jobs.
Another problem with economics is that economic growth is not measured in terms of actual things and services produced, but rather in dollars. Why is this a problem? Imagine if it suddenly became easier to produce everything (like if we discovered a more efficient way to make things, which we regularly do.) Imagine if we still produced exactly the same amount but only had to charge 90% as much for it thanks to that discovery. Today’s economists would see that as a 10% decline in “Gross Domestic Product”, which is what they call the size of the economy. They would call for significant actions to stimulate the economy. Their calls would be acted upon. But it is obvious that this stimulation was completely unnecessary. However, rather than deal with this discrepancy in their models, economists declare such an event, called deflation, to be a force that must be avoided. Think about that for a minute!
These stimulus decisions are generally made by unelected officials. Not that making these decisions those of elected officials would matter anyways. All the elected candidates want to create jobs and more wealth by “stimulating” the economy. But that’s changing now that Bitcoin is here.
You’re a Human Being, Not a Consumer,
If you’re someone who cares about life, the Earth and the environment, seeing the economy continue to grow may not be your top priority. Maybe you’d like to consider slowing things down a little, at least in your life. Stop and smell the flowers as they say. If only you had the freedom to opt out of the system that endlessly insists on growth at all costs.
Bitcoin gives you that freedom. It lets you choose what to focus your resources on. Your bitcoin can’t just be seized and handed over to the financial class to stimulate the economy. Nor can new bitcoins be willed into existence by economists to stimulate the economy. If you want to withhold your money from sectors of the economy you don’t support, you can do that. That’s exactly what Bitcoiners are doing all over the world.
Bitcoin is more than just a protest against economists’ damaging policies. However, it is absolutely a protest — and an effective one at that. Unlike the now forgotten “Occupy Wall Street” movement, Bitcoin can’t be washed away with bailouts for the banks or with fire hoses aimed at the protestors.
Becoming a Bitcoiner
The aim of many bitcoiners is to take away control from that small group of individuals who control all the money in the world and to never give it to that group or any other group again. It’s not to keep that power for themselves. It’s to ensure nobody has that power ever again. That’s what all this ‘decentralization’ talk is about. In Bitcoin, this is a lot more than just talk.
Bitcoiners are interested in freedom and quality of life. They are themselves the little guys who are sick and tired of being exploited and who just want to be left alone to live a normal human life where they can afford a house, take care of their families and to pursue non-monetary things like friendship, love, healthy activities and, well, being human. Bitcoiners don’t care about manipulating the ‘aggregate monthly gross domestic product’ through stimulus. Think about that.
A Brighter Future For Politics, the Environment, The Earth and More
You can expect Bitcoin to bring about a new type of politician too. One who is unswayed by lobbyists seeking to get legislative favors in the form of financial incentives. Those favors, in the final analysis, are really just money given to those who can afford lobbyists. It is money that is either taken directly from taxpayers or borrowed and then left to be paid by today’s and tomorrow’s taxpayers.
Why will Bitcoin bring about politicians unswayed by lobbyists? Because it will be pointless to hire lobbyists in a world where Bitcoin is the money. Bitcoin can’t be changed by politicians. So, Bitcoin will end that whole unfair game of seeking political pull — a game that is bad for freedom, bad for the environment, bad for the earth and bad for most of humanity.
Bitcoin will end the era of politicians who promise prosperity but serve at pleasure of powerful companies. It will end the view that human beings are consumers whose purpose is to consume whatever companies produce. It will end the view that consumption and economic growth are more important than human quality of life.
The economy, of course, is important. It is vitally important. This is why bitcoiners study economics intensely and have reached a different theory of economics. However, they don’t want an economy that sacrifices humanity and the environment for growth. They want an economy that serves humankind and the planet it resides on. That’s exactly what Bitcoin is built to do.