Prologue: Bitcoin Is Spiritual Awakening:
Money has not generally been regarded as having anything to do with journeys into the non-material realm of the spirit. It is generally believed to belong to the material world — it can buy certain things. But it cannot buy friendship, love, intelligence, or the answers to deep and eternal questions about the mysteries of the universe. In fact, money is accused of leading people away from these.
This, however, takes us to the curious matter of Bitcoin.
In 2009, a brand new form of money was created and released to the world. It was called Bitcoin. It went on to become the fastest asset in the world to reach a one trillion dollar valuation. It garnered the attention of the entire financial world. Impressive, but not spiritual.
Apart from that though, quite unexpectedly, many people who study Bitcoin discover that it arouses within them life-altering spiritual journeys. When so few things in this world inspire such experiences, including many of the things that promise to do so, why does Bitcoin do this, without making any such promises?
Our search for the answer to this question begins at the beginning of Bitcoin’s story. It is a story unlike any other.
Part 1: The Mysterious Appearance (and Disappearance) of Satoshi Nakamoto
Everyone loves a good origin story. Some are true, some made-up, and some a mix of the two.
The true origin story of Bitcoin’s appearance in the world is one of the most fascinating mysteries ever told. Yet these events all took place in the 21st century, a time when everything is recorded, and can be recalled, investigated — and verified.
This story goes like this:
The year is 2008. An epic, worldwide financial crisis threatens to destroy the entire global economy. The world’s governments and banks are unable to prevent it. At best, they manage to postpone the consequences, but worsen them in the process. Mass destruction looms in the air.
Against this backdrop, seemingly out of nowhere, a mysterious figure appears.
He calls himself Satoshi Nakamoto.
But we never see his face.
And we never hear his voice.
Because there is no actual individual named Satoshi Nakamoto.
Satoshi Nakamoto is a disguise — an online persona.
The real person behind this identity is able to keep his actual identity secret — just like superheroes in the comics.
Nobody asked for him to appear, or to provide any help. Nobody knew he existed. Nobody knows his true identity.
Yet, out of nowhere, he shows up. And, he brings with him an invention, which he calls Bitcoin.
He explains this invention’s workings in a short, flawlessly written document. In this paper, he also presents a solution to a problem that mathematicians and computer scientists claimed could not be solved. They had proven that it could not be solved.
Yet despite the theoretical impossibility of solving this problem, Nakamoto provides a solution that does work in practice. And it is an essential part of how his invention functions.
The invention itself works as a new form of money, unlike any that came before it. It is an intangible, yet incorruptible money, ruled by no person, no institution, no company and no government. It is rules without any rulers.
For a couple of years, the mysterious Satoshi maintains the system, evangelizes the idea, and finds volunteers to run and tweak it alongside him. And then — poof — quietly, he simply disappears. It’s an exit with no fanfare, not even an announcement. He merely leaves, eventually sending a final email to one developer saying he has moved on to other things, and that Bitcoin is in good hands. He is never heard from again.
What becomes of this invention? Abandoned by its creator, is it now doomed?
Hardly! Despite having no leader, no employees, no funding and no marketing, Bitcoin roars to life and spreads throughout the world.
It is not a democracy. It is not a corporation. It is not a charity. Its fundamental rules cannot be altered. It is an invention unlike any that ever came before it. As such, it is indescribable with existing words. New ones need to be created to attempt to explain it.
And its creation is itself hard to describe. Nobody can quite explain how in one single act Satoshi was able to simultaneously address the unsolvable mathematical problem and build a system that could run itself without requiring regular maintenance. Bitcoin can and in fact does run itself. Moreover, the system is accessible to every single human being on earth — nobody needs to go through a sign-up process to use it, and nobody can prevent anyone else from using it. And the system itself cannot be stopped — even the most powerful governments in the world are powerless to stop it. It is a system engineered to essentially last forever. Its design can accommodate running for billions of years without ever running out of storage space or exhausting user IDs, or even requiring any significant upgrade. Its continued operation relies only on the eternal and unchanging laws of math and physics.
Bitcoin does so many things that no invention before it could. “How did Satoshi do it?” people wonder. But, because he’s vanished, no one can ask him how he did it.
In vanishing, Satoshi takes with him these secrets. But he leaves behind, abandoned, approximately one million bitcoins that he himself earned in its earliest days, long before the coins were worth anything to others.
We cannot ask him why he invented Bitcoin, how he remained hidden, why he disappeared, how he came up with these ideas, or where he found the strength to remain hidden after his disappearance — either at times when Bitcoin was being attacked and looked like it needed his help, or when his million coins reached a value of a billion dollars, and then ten billion dollars.
We can only ask ourselves questions about Satoshi: What kind of person was this mysterious creator of Bitcoin who solved a problem thought to be impossible to solve, who kept his identity hidden from every single person and agency in the world, who built an unstoppable and indestructible system, and who mysteriously vanished and turned his back on extreme fame, power, and fortune — the rewards so often sought by so many.
There are more questions about Bitcoin’s story than merely those about Satoshi. In our modern world we have been raised to believe that nations and large corporations are the world’s most powerful entities. Yet while many of these have opposed Bitcoin, seeking to ban, destroy, seize control of, or compete with it, none have managed to do so. How does Bitcoin survive despite having so many powerful enemies? Why are they its enemies? Why have some changed their views to become its allies? Why have so many people become believers in Bitcoin as a solution to many of the world’s problems?
When we hear this story, we must remind ourselves that it is not a story distorted by thousands of years of history, by changes in languages, by a lack of physical evidence to support it, or by any of the other obstacles ancient myths suffer from.
It did happen. And it is in fact continuing to happen before our very eyes!
There are already many exciting chapters in Bitcoin’s short story. Consider the episodes where nations like China, Turkey, and India outlaw it. Or when in America, powerful politicians seek to ban it. There’s the attempts by leaders of financial institutions to use their authority and influence to harm and discredit Bitcoin. Yet Bitcoin survives all these attacks. It is made stronger by them.
The battles do not end there. The heads of the world’s largest banks take note of Bitcoin. They laugh at it at first. Then they vilify it. Then they welcome what they think is its underlying technology. Slowly, they begin to accept it, but they remain cautious.
Huge corporations like Facebook attempt to create substitutes, mustering their huge audiences, capital reserves, and reputation. They fail.
Entrepreneurs and plenty of charlatans pretending to be entrepeneurs try building copycat systems. They obtain the backing of large venture capital firms. They spend hundreds of millions to market their alternatives. But these come and go like the seasons. Bitcoin is often imitated and often attacked, but never duplicated or destroyed.
Were it not for the fact that Bitcoin´s origin story is fully documented and so thoroughly and provably verifiable, critics could easily dismiss this story as an unsubstantiated myth given how many attacks Bitcoin has reportedly survived.
The Story Awakens the Human Spirit
What makes this so extraordinary is that this is a story that flies in the face of many widely held beliefs:
This story dispels the belief that we cannot solve problems that experts, scientists, and mathematicians claim to be unsolvable.
It erases the belief that a person cannot maintain their privacy or keep secrets.
It eliminates the belief that it is only fame, fortune, or power which motivates people.
And it invalidates beliefs that nations and corporations are all-powerful.
All these beliefs are, by this one story alone, completely shattered! We are left with the realization that it was these old beliefs we held that turned out to be the myths!
This story of Bitcoin’s origin destroys beliefs so widely held in our present culture that not believing any of them could be considered by many a sign of insanity, or at the very least, a sign of being hopelessly unrealistic.
After all, if you disagree that people are driven by greed, whether for power, money, or fame, you are deemed so foolishly naive that you must be stupid.
If you believe you can create something worth hundreds of billions of dollars that the world’s most powerful governments and armies couldn’t stop, you’d be labelled delusional.
If you claimed you could do this while being left completely in peace, out of the prying eyes of the media, investigative agencies and countless others, most would say you were completely ignorant of the facts of reality.
And yet, Satoshi showed all of these things were actually possible. The truth of this story forces us to accept that it was our beliefs that were false, and that such ideas as these are not in fact false and insane, but true and attainable!
What are we to do then?
It is said that nature abhors a vacuum. When something vanishes, it must be replaced with something else.
This shattering of old beliefs then is the entry point to a new world view. Seeing that our previous beliefs were false means we must erase them from our belief system. But we cannot leave blankness and emptiness where they once stood in our minds. We need to replace them. The telling of the story of Bitcoin, in shattering old beliefs, thus reveals the entry to a new world of beliefs which replace the old and cynical ones it erased. Even more importantly, it causes us to ask what the implications of those new beliefs are.
New questions arise such as:
Since expert proclamations may be false, which ones in fact are?
Should I strive to maintain my own privacy?
Can I too avoid being controlled by corporations and governments?
What are the things that I value over money, power, and fame?
As may be obvious now in retrospect, the best way to initiate a new spiritual journey is to erase old beliefs that no longer stir one’s spirit — which maybe never did. And since this is what the true story of Bitcoin actually does, it is not surprising that many who hear it embark on a spiritual journey — one which involves asking questions like: “Where does power really rest today?”; “What else might I believe that is false?”; “What might I be able to accomplish that I thought was impossible?”; “What might others be able to accomplish that we have been told was impossible?”’; “What might actually BE possible?!?!?!”; “How might the world be different if we do these things?!?!”
Entering this “rabbit hole” as it is known, now freed of those previous constraining beliefs and assumptions is the moment of spiritual awakening for many. Satoshi’s story, being a true story of hope rather than a mere fictional one, rids many people of the idea that hope is just wishful thinking limited to the realm of fiction. It shows unequivocally and provably that extraordinary feats can be achieved, even by a single individual!
Armed with this belief — that many more things are possible than previously thought — the incentive to dream and to hope — and to work to make those hopes and dreams come true in reality is ignited!
Part 2: The Spiritual Journey Begins with a Purification.
Exploring Bitcoin requires asking a simple-sounding question that turns out to be a very complicated one to answer. That simple question is “What exactly is money?”
Why must we ask this question?
It turns out that another thing many of us took for granted as a belief was that money is something our nations’ governments say is money.
But Bitcoin shows up and says “No, this isn’t true. Something else is money. I, Bitcoin, claim to be money. I claim the thing you believe is money is, in fact, not money. I claim it is merely pretending to be money. I claim that its pretense is the cause of many of society’s troubles. I claim I can fix those troubles.”
Had we not already had our other beliefs shattered by the story of Bitcoin’s creation, we would simply tell Bitcoin “Go away and take with you your crazy claims!” But instead we are now curious to understand what is at the heart of this claim. And as we pull on the thread of that question a little bit, a lot comes unravelling very quickly.
One thing that is clear about Bitcoin is that it is a claim to being money which is NOT issued and NOT controlled by our governments.
Previously, we mostly believed that money had to be issued and controlled by governments. It has been this way for all of us, for our whole life, after all. But Bitcoin doesn’t stop at declaring that it is only governments that are not an essential part of money. It also claims to be money NOT issued or controlled by anyone at all. No banks issue it or control it — no regulators, no corporations, no charismatic leaders — nobody.
Bitcoin asks us to separate the idea of money from the institutions and people that have come to control money. In today’s world these happen to be governments, central banks, financial insiders, powerful multinational corporations, militaries, and other hugely powerful institutions.
Bitcoin, if it is money, is money separated from all human control.
Bitcoin allows us, for the first time ever in our lives, to look at the idea of money purely as money, separated from any contaminating influences and control. It cuts away the external and distorting influences upon money from the thing that money itself is. It allows us to look at money alone, in isolation, in its purest form — purified money. This is true whether or not we come to believe or accept that Bitcoin is purified money, because in just making this claim, Bitcoin causes us to ask “what is purified money when it is separated from the controlling influence of others?”
Some of us discover that money itself, which we previously thought of as an integral part of a system corrupted by many forms of wickedness, greed, injustice and unfairness, turns out to have nothing to do with those things. We find that money is good, and that it is as much a victim of that corrupted system as we are.
We learn that purified money is simply a way for us to deal peacefully with each other through mutual agreement. It simply lets us trade something we have, like our possessions, our skills, or our time, with other people, in exchange for something they have — money. And that we can then use our money to trade for something someone else has — their possessions, their skills, their time — without force, without violence, without lies, without someone else taking a cut, without someone else telling us whether we’re permitted to.
Pure money is the enabler of peaceful dealings between free people.
This is a powerful insight in and of itself. But it also opens us up to a further step in our spiritual journey — Exploring other things in their purest form.
Seeing that one thing — money — which we thought was necessarily part of an evil, guilty or imperfect institution turned out to in fact be innocent and good when stripped of contaminants makes many of us wonder if the same could be true of other things — especially other things that are wrapped up tightly in complicated institutions with questionable motives.
We are freed to ask “What if I separate some other idea from the institutions now in control of it?”; “What is education apart from the schooling system and degree granting institutions?”; “What is health care apart the medical establishment and pharmaceutical industry?”; “What is morality when stripped of authorities claiming a monopoly on it?” and for some, or perhaps many even, “What is spirituality, religion, or God, apart from the institutions claiming to speak on their behalf?”
And as we begin to explore those questions, it turns out that for many of us the source of much of our concerns, our anger, our hatred, or our frustrations with these and other topics is not actually related to the core or pure idea. Instead, it is the institutions that have wrapped themselves around the idea that have tainted it. So for those of us who rejected the moral, spiritual and religious realm because of our dislike or mistrust of its Earthly institutions, Bitcoin now provides us with a template for asking and learning about that thing purified, extricated from these contaminants.
And if we do, then so begins another journey, or several, framed similarly to our first question that Bitcoin made us ask of “What actually is money” — We now ask “what actually is learning? What actually is being healthy? What actually are purpose, morality, and spirit?”
Isn’t it remarkable, that asking the simple question “What actually is money?” begins, for many, a journey whose path might lead to asking a question like “What actually is God?” — and then going down that path?
Part 3: Bitcoin Is Spiritual Money — Awakening the Spirit of Freedom
Bitcoin is purely digital. It is intangible. It is non-material. The non-material is the spiritual. It thus follows that Bitcoin is a spiritual form of money.
Bitcoin does require things that come from the material, non-spiritual world — all that math and physics and computer programming that go into it. However, it also requires reaching a conclusion that states “This is what I personally believe that good, pure money really is, and which I will therefore use as money.”
There are many implications of reaching that conclusion — spiritual implications.
First, one must accept that an intangible thing is nevertheless real. Much of the dismissal from many people of the idea that the ‘spiritual’ realm is real comes down to its immateriality. They hold the following to be true: “If I can’t touch it then it isn’t real, or at least it isn’t as real as some alternative that I can touch.” Many people even believe that the intangible is just an illusion. Some go so far as to assert that their consciousness and their free will are just illusions. You cannot touch consciousness or free will, the argument goes, and so these must just be illusions created by those things you can touch.
However, if you find yourself believing in Bitcoin, you have reached the belief that money that can’t be touched is more real money than any that can be touched! And once again, you have a model for re-examining your previously held beliefs about the reality and purity of things that can’t be touched.
But it is more than merely its intangibility that makes choosing Bitcoin a choice that necessitates accepting immaterial ideas as both real and important.
This belief that Bitcoin is pure has another very important implication: Making the choice to use that which you believe to be pure. This too is a spiritual decision. Why choose to use pure money? What is special about purity? Why not mix something else in? After all, we have a system of money that already has government, central banks and all those other characteristics mixed in. Why choose purity? The answer to this is not obvious. To arrive at choosing a pure money over one that comes pre-mixed with other things, one must hold that purity is goodness. Or, at least, one must hold that purity lets the goodness of a thing come to the fore.
We can make a quick exploration of this idea through an analogy to food. Consider a pure, ripe banana. A pure banana can be used in many different ways. It can be eaten on its own, blended into a smoothie, baked into banana bread, added to a banana split, or taped to a wall and sold as art. But once made into something else, the banana is committed to a state other than pure banananess, thus limiting its potential uses. Thus, a pure banana can be used by more people for more things than can a banana-strawberry smoothie.
And it is specifically the fact that it does NOT limit how you can use money that bitcoiners believe is what makes bitcoin — pure money — better than adulterated money. This means that bitcoiners hold that the freedom to choose what to do with money is good. Bitcoiners have made a moral judgment on what freedom is, and they have a sense of what that means — that it means being able to make personal choices. Freedom is, of course, another spiritual idea. You cannot touch freedom. Yet, if you value pure money, you value money whose very use is the exercise of freedom.
Part 4: The Values and Morals of a Bitcoiner
A spiritual journey almost always entails asking the question “What are the most important matters?” That often turns our attention to morals and values.
A moral action is something that someone considers acceptable behavior. An immoral action is an unacceptable one. A value, on the other hand, is something that someone values or appreciates. If you don’t like bananas, you don’t value them, but you probably wouldn’t describe them as immoral. You might however view as immoral someone who goes into the grocery store and begins smashing all the bananas, even if you don’t value bananas yourself.
The journey into exploring Bitcoin causes one to ask many times along the path “Is Bitcoin offering something here that I value or find moral?” It makes one look into one’s own spirit to verify what it is that one finds moral and valuable.
It is worth emphasizing here that Bitcoin does not say “Choose me, for I am good”. It merely says “Here I am, as I am. Judge me for yourself. Choose for yourself. If you judge me good, use me. If you do not, don’t.” You do not use Bitcoin because someone made you do it, or because Bitcoin forced you to use it. You use it because you, based on your values and your morals, choose to use it.
Let’s take a closer look at what this means. One early lesson along the Bitcoin learning journey is the realization that nobody can ever change certain things about Bitcoin and that this means that never in the future will certain actions be taken, including actions that are taken all the time in our current money system. One example of such an action would be some authority creating more money in an emergency in an attempt to fix an economic crisis.
When they arrive at this reality about Bitcoin — that it cannot be changed — a student of Bitcoin must then ask themselves “Well, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Or perhaps it is not good or bad, but just a value choice, like liking bananas or not liking them?” Thus, we see that it is impossible to evaluate Bitcoin and reach a judgment about it without putting it through a lens of values and morals. There is no evading this question and choosing Bitcoin without considering this fact.
Many people, when they come to this exact question, begin asking it of many other people, to see what they may think, and why. It begins a new dialogue about what is valuable and moral. These discussions represent re-examinations (or in some cases, examining for the very first time) what we each consider moral and valuable. So studying Bitcoin turns out not to be a mere study of the nature of money, of economics, of math, or computers. It turns out to be a study of one’s own values and morals — and what are your values and your morals if not deep parts of your very soul. Woah!
Yes, studying Bitcoin not only initiates a spiritual journey involving the study of purity and goodness in money, or the purity and goodness of education, healthcare or other commonplace services. It also sends one on a journey of exploring what lies in their own evaluations of what is good and what is valuable — according to one’s own soul.
Some people may, after studying it, reject Bitcoin. If they do reject it, it will not be because the math or programming doesn’t check out. If they reject it, it will be because they have looked inside their own spirit and deemed Bitcoin’s offerings immoral or without value. And indeed that is the claim that some people make.
However, if you accept Bitcoin, you will also not likely do so just because the math and the programming check out. I don’t know a single bitcoiner who draws the line here. If you choose Bitcoin, you will have chosen it because you judged that what Bitcoin offered was something moral and valuable that nothing else offered. Why might you judge it good? Is it because, for example, it can’t be stolen? “Good,” in this case, is a moral judgment. It is because you accept spiritually that stealing is bad.
Bitcoin asks you to discover your morality for yourself rather than telling you what is and isn’t moral.
Part 5: The Legendary Treasure of Satoshi Nakamoto
There are many other aspects of the study of Bitcoin that direct its students to spiritual considerations, questions, discussions, and, oftentimes, even answers, but they will not all be explored, for our time here is nearly finished.
I will however leave you with a new interpretation of part of the amazing myth of Satoshi Nakamoto that you may now appreciate.
Satoshi gave the Earth Bitcoin. He watched over it until it needed no father or leader, and then he set it free by disappearing forever. When he did so, he left behind a treasure of approximately one million bitcoins. He left them out in plain sight. Everyone can see them. Every bitcoin is visible to every person in the world who looks at its public record, commonly known as the blockchain. The value of these coins grows colossally as the value of Bitcoin does. It is the biggest pile of bitcoins in the world that belongs to any one entity and it will almost certainly remain the biggest forever. If Bitcoin becomes all the money in the world, it will be the largest pile of money in the world. Yet nobody can take any of it. It is in plain sight yet it is untouchable!
You can imagine then the lust and the greed that this pile of money, sitting in plain sight, will incite in those who long for wealth, or fame, or power. It will drive them mad with lust and greed. They will spend many hours, days, or even years trying to figure out how to get their hands on some or all of it.
It is a loud siren declaring to those who hunger for power “Here lies Satoshi’s legendary treasure — take it, if you can.”
Yet, as this fortune grows, it will serve as an example to all of humankind that pure money belongs only to the one who earned it. And pure money gives its owner the freedom to do with it as they choose.
And this pile is Satoshi’s money. And what Satoshi chose to do with it was not to buy anything material with it. His choice was not to use it to become famous and have people tell him how great he is. His choice was not to use it to become a powerful man on the world stage influencing policies that affect the lives of others.
Instead, He chose to use this money for another purpose. He chose to make it into an eternal monument dedicated to the human spirit. To stand there, forever, to show that one person can accomplish many things that others have proclaimed to be impossible. It stands there, forever, to show that one person can stand up to widely held beliefs and prove them false. It shows that one person can ignite a movement to question the necessity, validity, and authority of the most powerful entities in the world. It stands there — forever — to show that a person can in fact sacrifice wealth, power, and fame to create and do what is morally good. It stands there, forever, to say “Humanity can make good things that last forever”.
As Bitcoin grows, this will be a treasure that everyone in the world will look at someday in their life. This treasure will guide them into studying Bitcoin, perhaps only because they are driven by a greedy desire for easy wealth which makes them curious about how they might be able to snatch a portion of this treasure. And when this treasure turns their attention to studying Bitcoin, it will ignite in many of them their own spiritual journey.
They too will ask “What exactly is money” ; “What exactly is pure money” ; “What exactly is pure education, health care, morality, and more?”
They too will ask “Who am I? What exactly am I? What is the pure me? What do I do with my time and my energy?”
This treasure will send them on a journey that leads them to knowing truly, for themselves, what it is they personally judge to be valuable, what they judge to be good, and what they choose to do with their life, because it will take them closer to knowing who they, purely, are.
And so, the lesson to be learned by anyone who looks upon Satoshi’s coins, whether it is with mere curiosity, or with greed, or with awe, is actually this:
“Do not waste your time reaching for this pile of money, for if you do you will waste your precious time on Earth. This money is not yours and does not belong to the pure you. This money is NOT in fact the real treasure of Satoshi Nakamoto. This is merely an incorruptible monument paying tribute to the real treasure. The true legendary treasure of Satoshi Nakamoto however, is actually available to you. And it is available to everyone. It is available at no monetary cost. The true Legendary Treasure of Satoshi Nakamoto is the discoveries you will arrive at on your personal spiritual journey of finding out what is true, what is pure, who you are, and what you will do with your precious time because you judge it valuable and good. It is discovering the incalculable treasure that is the pure, authentic, uncontaminated, you — a treasure more rare and precious than any other that will ever exist.”