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The Patriotic Case For Bitcoin

Bitcoin represents the various aspects of freedom present in the American tradition of self sovereignty.

An anarchistic digital currency pioneered by cypherpunks and first used on shady internet sites is not something one would typically associate with patriotism. Nevertheless, as our country strays further from its founding ideals of liberty, decentralization, and personal responsibility, perhaps Bitcoin is precisely what is needed to return us to those roots.

While Bitcoin is a ground-breaking technology, what it accomplishes is neither a radical nor a new idea. The fiat experiment beginning in 1971 is not the norm in the history of money, and bitcoin simply restores the principle of sound money that has been present throughout history. Where Bitcoin differs from the monetary standards of the past is in its technological superiority, which allows it to avoid some of the failures of those past standards.

Bitcoin’s ledger is auditable and can be verified by individuals running nodes on their own personal computers. This prevents the creation of inflationary “paper” bitcoin similar to the creation of paper gold and silver that has hurt those markets, since Bitcoin makes physical delivery of the asset much easier. With gold it is necessary to entrust institutions to hold the physical asset since they are the only ones with the resources to store and guard it. There is no such problem with Bitcoin since users are able to self-custody practically limitless amounts of value using a single digital wallet.

Bitcoin has the potential to disrupt the current paradigm of nation-states, yet owning bitcoin should be seen as patriotic since it embodies the values this country was founded on. For better or worse, Americans have always prided themselves on their individualism. The desire to hold as much control over one’s own life as possible is an innately American desire, and one that is only fully enabled financially through holding bitcoin.

Bitcoin not only gives its holder control over their wealth and finances, but also the ability to transact freely with the rest of the world. Freedom of speech and property rights are deeply American values which are only strengthened by Bitcoin: a currency that is both censorship and seizure resistant. No one must ask permission to access the network for it is completely neutral. This financial liberty and sovereignty is the foundation upon which all other political, economic, or individual liberties can be built.

Americans have always sought truth and liberty, however many popular attacks on Bitcoin violate those two principles. Bitcoiners, on the other hand, are drawn to bitcoin precisely because they value truth. They seek to replace the lies and promises that make up the fiat system with Bitcoin’s mathematical truth and immutable monetary policy. The most common criticisms of Bitcoin, namely the environmental FUD, come from a lack of knowledge about Bitcoin and little desire to learn the truth.

For example, motorized vehicles have a far larger carbon footprint than horse-and-carriages. Similarly, the internet uses far more energy than physical information systems. So why now are people turning away a revolutionary technology simply because it may require more energy than its predecessors? Just as energy is required to start a car or surf the internet, energy is what is necessary for Bitcoin’s security and decentralization.

Critics of Bitcoin from within the “crypto” community often point to Bitcoin’s high energy use and “inefficient” transactions as reasons to move away from proof-of-work consensus to proof-of-stake, or to embrace entirely new crypto projects. What this loses sight of, however, is the remarkable conditions that created bitcoin which cannot be replicated. Bitcoin is the first example of absolute, verifiable scarcity in history, and this true scarcity can only really occur once.

We already have fast monetary transactions through centralized financial services. The goal of Bitcoin is to create hard money that cannot be corrupted or tampered with by any individual, company, or government. Satoshi’s primary critique was with the amount of trust required to support the legacy fiat/financial system and the history of that trust being abused by governments, and thus Satoshi set out to devise a system that was trustless. Bitcoin serves as the base settlement layer while secondary layers/services will provide the fast and cheap transactions consumers are used to. Any crypto that advertises fast transactions with its base layer and uses PoS is simply an extension of systems that already exist. When a new crypto tries to speed up transactions or reduce energy footprint, it makes a trade-off by losing decentralization and immutability: the two reasons for Bitcoin’s very existence.

If America had let “x uses too much energy” determine its course of action in the past, it would not have been at the forefront of these aforementioned innovations which have historically improved people’s lives. Just because the majority of people do not yet see the need or have a use for Bitcoin does not justify trying to destroy it. Americans have the luxury of storing their wealth in a relatively stable national currency that serves as the global reserve currency. The same cannot be said for citizens experiencing hyperinflation, or corrupt/tyrannical governments that use money as a surveillance tool. For them, Bitcoin is not a luxury; it is a lifeline.

Americans have always been wary of large centralized power and despised inorganic monopolies, yet we are beneficiaries of the most powerful monopoly ever created: the U.S. dollar. It is naive to think that the dollar will remain the global reserve currency forever, especially given recent expansionary monetary policy. When the dollar starts to show weakness, central banks and other institutions around the world will begin allocating to other currencies. China, arguably the United States’ strongest enemy at the moment, will capitalize on this opportunity by pushing the Yuan. If the dollar loses some of its global reserve status, which would you rather see gain power: a sovereign currency from a competing nation or a decentralized one that upholds freedom?

Bitcoin embodies the very ideals that our country has fought to protect in the past. Freedom was the reason for the founding of this country and it is what many Americans have lost their lives protecting. Therefore, attempting to outlaw a mechanism that protects an individual’s freedom makes little sense when freedom is supposed to be what our country stands for.

Given bitcoin’s tenet of decentralization and use as a tool for liberty, it is not outlandish to speculate that many of our founding fathers would have likely been bitcoiners. When the founding fathers created the U.S. Constitution and our government, they did so with decentralization in mind. That is why we have a system of checks and balances with power separated among the federal, state, and local levels. Of all the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson is the one who would most likely be a Bitcoin maximalist if he were around today. Jefferson despised the notion of a national bank, stating that it was unconstitutional and feared that it gave unfair power to the few who controlled it.

Now let’s assume the bitcoin standard that many bitcoiners expect does not become a reality. At worst, bitcoin’s mere existence serves as a check to the extent that the Federal Reserve can implement inflationary monetary policies. With citizens having a formidable alternative in the form of bitcoin, the Fed is forced to keep a tighter hold over the monetary supply or run the risk of citizens fleeing dollars in favor of bitcoin. It is imperative that the American people are given the option of “opting out” of the fiat system by holding bitcoin, and that bitcoin does not suffer the same regulatory fate as gold did when it was outlawed in the U.S. from 1933-1974. Bitcoin’s seizureship-resistant properties make such attempts to outlaw/regulate rather futile, so the only outcome from restricting it will be the U.S. government forever marking itself an adversary to Bitcoin and its ideals.

America is not defined by some lines drawn on a map, the federal government, or even the Constitution, but instead by the people that carry on the American tradition. To ensure that the American tradition can be carried on, Bitcoin must be met with open minds and arms so that statists are unable to make decisions out of line with the best interests of the American people. By separating money and state, Bitcoin is an insurance policy against any future U.S. government that may lose sight of America’s founding ideals by ensuring that power remains in the hands of the people.

The fact that China — a country notoriously anti-liberty with severe human rights violations — has issued Bitcoin bans no less than three times should tell the United States all it needs to know about the right course of action. If America is truly freedom’s frontier then it should not succumb to the same playbook used by authoritarian regimes. The decision for America to embrace Bitcoin should be a rather easy one; you must look no further than which specific countries have deemed Bitcoin’s freedom-enabling technology a dangerous and potentially existential threat.

This is a guest post by Jack Kriesel. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine

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Bitcoin Unleashes The Sovereign Individual

“Bitcoin unlocks financial sovereignty, but its ideals and technology pave the road for the possibility of a fully-sovereign individual.”

Are people actually able to govern themselves? Well, the likely answer to that question from most people you ask would be a resounding no. After all, most would agree that humans are too blinded by their own self interests to be able to create a peaceful and just society without some form of regulation. As a result of this being the widely-held belief, throughout human history we have organized into institutions that transfer power away from individuals to a central institution in the hopes that it can regulate the problems that arise from self-interested human nature.

These institutions have taken the forms of tribes, monarchies, empires and now nation states, and have been the exclusive holders of sovereignty, or in other words, “supreme or ultimate power.” Often, in order to gain their sovereignty, the use of force or threat of force is necessary. This is not to say that individuals cannot enjoy individual rights and freedoms under institutions, rather, individual sovereignty transcends such rights as personal property. When an individual has property rights, they have the right to own their property, but when an individual has sovereignty, they have the power and responsibility to fully control their property.

Adopting the Bitcoin standard represents an individual’s first step toward achieving personal sovereignty. By making the difficult decision to take their finances into their own hands, they are making the choice of freedom over safety. This is no easy decision to make, since the favorite phrase among Bitcoiners that it allows you to “be your own bank” turns out to be pretty literal. You are the only one responsible for keeping your bitcoin safe. You are the one for whom, if you are off by a single letter/number when sending bitcoin to an address, those coins are lost forever. You are the one who, if you lose your seed phrase, know that there is no bitcoin customer service agent to help you retrieve it.

Celearly, this is not the easy choice. It is, however, the price associated with freedom. The bitcoin holder now has full control over his or her monetary energy (all money is simply the energy of a unit of value) and the ability to transact with whoever they wish, without permission from any bank or government. Imagine then, that an individual can more than just transact value without permission from outside forces, but also conduct all parts of their daily lives without such pressure. When a person is able to do that, they will become a sovereign individual, and Bitcoin is the first step in making this possible.

Going back to the initial question I asked about whether individuals are capable of governing themselves, Bitcoin may provide a roadmap for changing the answer from a no to a yes. The Bitcoin network is made up of individuals incentivized to be self-interested, and yet even without a central entity in place, the network does not break down. It is a blueprint for how decentralized protocols of the future can build an infrastructure where self-interested individuals can interact with one another, without requiring an outside centralized party to ensure that everything moves smoothly.

Sovereignty, similar to freedom, is not meant to be easy. For that reason, it may be challenging to get the general population on board, since most people still choose the simple over the hard. That being said, with changes in the geopolitical landscape like a shift against civil liberties and the creation of central bank digital currencies that will only serve to cede more control from the individual to the state, the layman’s hands may be forced.

Fintech firms like Square and PayPal can provide the bridge between using accounts with legacy financial institutions and becoming a hardcore Bitcoiner running your own node, by introducing hundreds of millions of users to the world of Bitcoin. Sending bitcoin to your friend by simply typing their name into a user-friendly interface rather than a clunky address on a Bitcoin wallet (a feature that Cash App recently introduced) is an easier proposal for newcomers to accept. Needless to say, once these new users go even somewhat down the Bitcoin rabbit hole, they will become just as demanding of liberty as the rest of us Bitcoiners.

Bitcoin unlocks financial sovereignty, but its ideals and technology pave the road for the possibility of a fully-sovereign individual. When the idea of the sovereign individual is realized, gone will be the constraints placed upon citizens by modern nations. Instead, individuals are liberated from the mandate to organize based on arbitrary lines drawn onto a piece of paper and will be free to form communities out of their own volition. This is similar to how people already interact in the digital world. The communities people form on sites like Twitter and Reddit disregard traditional borders and form organically from people searching for like-minded others. Interaction over the internet seeks to be borderless and soon, so too will our interaction in the physical world.

The idea of the sovereign individual is certainly utopian, but so was the Bitcoin future and that now feels all but inevitable. Many Bitcoiners are preparing for a Bitcoin future in which there is little need for nation states, and in this future, they must also be prepared to become sovereign individuals capable of governing themselves.

This is a guest post by Jack Kriesel. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: Bitcoin magazine