Sometimes free individuals just need a monetary alternative they don’t need to trust
One of the more apt points made by Bitcoiners is that people in stable-monied nations with functioning markets and the rule of law aren’t the target market for a decentralized digital money based on proof of work.
At least until this point, if you live in society with a Euro or USD-denominated or pegged economy, you can usually rely on your wealth holding (relative) value while still having the ability to use digital money through card services like Visa or MasterCard.
That’s why, in liberal democracies (a term preferable to “the West”), publicly making the case for Bitcoin is plagued by concerns that are laughable to the average person in inflation-ravaged Venezuela, Lebanon or certain nation states on the African continent, where monetary stability is a fleeting reality.
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In Europe and North America, Bitcoin’s skeptics focus on the environmental impact, the harsh supply cap, and concerns about tax evasion or criminal activity. It has nothing to do with the true utility of Satoshi’s innovation: sovereign sound money divorced from any state or company control.
Whereas skepticism of government institutions is a given in a country with low social trust and rampant inflation, take Argentina or Lebanon, we find much more faith in state control of money in liberal democracies. And by faith, I mean trust.
In most liberal democracies, central bank chiefs and finance ministers have their words read as gospel to a plethora of financial media, government bureaucracies, and key opinionmakers who place an inordinate amount of trust in our money wizards to keep us rich and prosperous.
But as we’ve seen these institutions break down in the post-COVID inflation binge, perhaps the rudimentary arguments of monetary competition make sense now where they’ve been difficult to take root.
The rampant energy inflation on the European continent, or the rising cost of ordinary food items in the US and Canada, allows people to think twice about the primacy of the bills in their pocket. Could this be an opening for the savings technology and human flourishing features that Bitcoin provides?
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If one listens to the intelligensia and the financial elite, Bitcoin is top of mind. The ECB, the Federal Reserve, and even JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon just can’t help themselves from mentioning Bitcoin – in either dire language or relative curiousity.
As my fellow Fix The Money author Niko Jilch has pointed out on this Substack, much of this fervor seems to be priming the pump for eventual Central Bank Digital Currencies.
The UK is even advertising job postings on LinkedIn to find their next CBDC architect!
In an optimistic light, we can view the mainstreaming of CBDCs as proof that cryptographic digital coins have ultimate utility and desirability. Satoshi was right. But the scarcity and decentralization that make Bitcoin such a unique invention are completely opposed to the CBDC “movement”. This represents a last-ditch attempt by many governments to capture the digital token sphere with what they actually can control.
That, without a doubt, is why Bitcoiners persevere and continue to battle on. It’s about sovereign freedom money versus the centuries-old monopoly on money. It’s ultimate freedom and ownership of wealth versus a system where each of us has to ask permission to guard value.
Whatever concerns some may have about the environmental impact of hashing, or a deflationary monetary policy, these are actually net benefits that make Bitcoin a superior money. We want others to enjoy that benefit as well.
And while it may seem strange to financial and media elites in some countries, those of us in liberal democracies must also continue to make the case for Bitcoin for those who don’t have another option.
This means more Bitcoin conferences in places across Asia, the African continent, and South America. It means more immediate use cases for lightning wallets, on-and-off ramps at merchants, and better training and resources at the ground level.
The reason we haven’t seen as much adoption in countries outside the traditional liberal democratic sphere has less to do with salability of the idea of Bitcoin than with the practical resources to train people on how to use it.
At least until the CBDCs are forced into our hands, it should be our vital mission to equip our global brothers and sisters with the ultimate freedom money.
When all hell is gonna break loose, you’re gonna need a Bitcoin. At least denominations of it. Let’s see what more we can do to make that happen.
Originally published on Fix The Money (archive link)
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