The next wave of the digital revolution is washing over us, as more aspects of daily life become entangled in the web of online living. But this is not a story about what that future will look like. We already know that. Driverless cars, relationships formed over video, conversations held in threads, contactless payments, and more devices collecting data for the ultimate seamless consumer life.
Instead, we should consider who will be running the digital world and how you can hold on to some form of control. It’s a call to go back to basics when talking about bitcoin and forego the obsession with price rallies and slumps that seem to be fueling renewed interest in cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin is an anomaly
The fact that bitcoin has come this far is somewhat of an accident, a lucky convergence of favorable circumstances. It was created in the fringes of society in response to a broken global financial system and slipped through the cracks when most of the world was focused on the 2008 meltdown.
Governments never liked it, but ultimately only a few have taken steps to ban bitcoin. The 2017 surge led to bans and increased regulation around ICOs, mining is not allowed everywhere, KYC burdens have increased for crypto exchanges, but there is currently no outright global ban on bitcoin.
Now, bitcoin has become too big to ban with public companies like the highly popular Tesla adding BTC to the balance sheet, along with a string of financial institutions and HNWIs. Sure, it’s technically possible to severely curtail Bitcoin. However, a real global ban on bitcoin would set a lot of people off in a way that few governments would be willing to instigate.
We have a real opportunity before us, but you might miss it if you only look at the price of bitcoin.
Bitcoin’s value is not only about dollars
While the exponential price rally has been truly amazing for many people that bought bitcoin early on – or at least at the start of major bull cycles – it’s not the only thing that matters.
The majority of the online chatter seems to center around BTC hitting a certain price point as if that’s the end game. But who has ever laid down in the grass looking up at the stars and thought about a number? It is fundamentally the least interesting way to look at it.
Bitcoin could hit $150,000 or deflate to $1500, what it represents remains the same.
Bitcoin is a radical shift in the way we think about power structures. Everything we know is built on centralization, gatekeepers, and borders. Bitcoin is decentralized, freely accessible, and borderless. No single entity can cut you off (de-risking), freeze your wealth (government sanctions), or fix your issues (don’t forget your password). Besides an anonymous internet moniker, we have no idea who created bitcoin and therefore we all get to own it.
We all have equal access to an asset that rebels against excessive money printing, the global casino of financial markets, prohibitive housing prices, and reduced protection of privacy. For once, you are not the product but the owner.
That position of power is likely to become increasingly rare further into the Nano Age. More information about us will be tracked, stored, diced, and sold to the highest bidder just so they can nudge us into new ways to part with our wealth and sovereignty. Mainstream adoption of bitcoin is about pushing back against that force and retaining our dignity in the digital future.
Today’s bitcoin prices do not matter. We need to focus on spreading bitcoin out to every place on the planet as a true decentralized peer-to-peer digital currency. The more people buy and own bitcoin, the less power central authorities have over us in the digital age. Bitcoin is an idea that challenges ownership. And when ownership changes, everything changes.
To be clear, it is by no means guaranteed that bitcoin is the one and only way to achieve all of this. Some day, the antique BTC ‘09 could look as old fashioned as the first car to roll out the Ford factory in 1903. But the underlying fundamentals that determine how we perceive the world will have changed and it will continue to do so.
Already decentralized finance provides a different way to manage wealth, and Web 3.0 is re-imagining the ownership of information and creation of culture. In the decentralized world, individuals set the rules, and everyone has to play by those same rules. There is no God Mode. No single entity has outsized powers. Everyone has a seat at the table without having to play musical chairs to the downbeat of the experimental jazz we call ‘digitalization’.
This version of our digital future is possible, if you opt-in.