The Declaration of Monetary Independence
The Bitcoin Whitepaper
Many of you may already know this story, but for those who don’t, let me enlighten you. On October 31st, 2008, a white paper detailing a “peer to peer electronic cash system” was anonymously sent to a math and cryptography mailing list. At the time, the document was no more than idea. To some, Bitcoin and its accompanying whitepaper is still no more than just an idea.
But for many other people, the document has become of one of the most important things ever written, on the same level of the Magna Carta (No taxation without representation), the Declaration of Independence (Founding of America & its ideals), and the Bible (formal establishment and distribution of some of the globes most influential ethics and moralities).
If you haven’t read the Bitcoin Whitepaper, it is 9 pages of text and diagrams that is more or less consumable by the average individual. I highly recommend giving at least the first page or two a read.
In order to be held in the level of esteem of these other great pieces of text, there needs to be an underlying ideal or ethic captured within. That idea is that Money and State ought to be separated.
Disclaimer: The Bitcoin Whitepaper never explicitly states anything like money and state should be separated. This letter is an opinion and a synthesis of many ideas I’ve aggregated from consuming content from other creators.
The Separation of Money and State
Bitcoin represents the separation of money and state. In order to really understand how and why this is the case, we need to dig into historical analogs.
The Separation of Church and State
Church and state became separated after the founding of the printing press circa 1450. It took another 50-100 years before the world would see the full effects of church being separate from state. The revolution that ensued was aptly named after the founding of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg; The Gutenberg Revolution. The printing press is arguably one of the catalysts to the very idea of Free Speech. Make no mistake, free speech was, and in many ways still is, a controversial idea. It is the idea that as an autonomous individual, you have the right to say, and not say, what you want. This never meant that your speech is free from consequences.
Money and State are the Same
Fast forward to today, where money and state are inextricably linked with one another. Money and state are very much one and the same thing. When you go to another country, the money that you use in the previous nation now has a value of zero amongst common merchants and retailers. You must indoctrinate yourself into the culture of where you now are in order to conduct commerce. You must in part, become a temporary citizen of the nation you’re visiting in order to participate in the local economy.
Nations create their own currency through a central bank, then simultaneously dictate that all who labour be paid in that currency, and demand that a portion of the proceeds be paid in the form of tax back to the issuer of the currency (the state). The state creates both the supply and demand for money, then force (yes, force) the citizens of the country to participate.
It is surprising to learn that one of the 10 doctrines/mandates of communism as written by Karl Marx is the following.
#5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. — Karl Marx [ source ]
The next item on the list I also though was peculiar
#6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
However, I think the ship has more than sailed on the controlling of communication. After all, the internet does exist. It requires quite a lot of hubress to think that all communication can be controlled.
General Literacy and Thought/Speech Freedom
Whether the church liked it or not, the ability to mass edit and print bibles fragmented the hyper-centralized institution of Christianity and Catholicism until it was was no longer “one thing”. The thing that was once one-and-the-same with the ruling “state” became no more. People’s ability to read and thus think freely about the religious texts they were consuming increased along with their general literacy.
Financial Literacy and Financial Freedom
Bitcoin is an accelerant to financial literacy. Just as the mass printing of books lead to an irreversible increase in global literacy, the access to bitcoin (a free and decentralized bank) will lead to an irreversible increase in global financial literacy. Along the same vein, access to the internet and mobile phones is leading to irreversible increase in digital literacy. With more financial literacy, comes more financial freedom.
It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.
— Henry Ford
One of the reasons why our financial system, as corrupt as it is, has not yet collapsed, is because we do not yet have a critical mass of citizens that understand it. As if we did, there would be a revolution overnight. Make no mistake, it’s corrupt to the core.
Several decades later, and well into the Friedrich Hayek would make an astute observation that eerily predicts the emergence of Bitcoin.
“I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government, that is, we can’t take them violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something they can’t stop.” — Friedrich Hayek (1984)
Hayek puts his finger on the pulse of economic problems with the next quote.
"I do not think it is an exaggeration to say history is largely a history of inflation, usually inflations engineered by governments for the gain of governments." — Friedrich Hayek
Incompetence or Malice
I tend to not assume malice, where incompetence is a perfectly reasonable explanation for a particular circumstance. To say that inflation is “engineered” breathes a bit too much malicious intent into those who have their hands on the economic levers of our financial system. I believe a simpler explanation will suffice. Those who think they are controlling and guiding the economy are simply fooling themselves. They’re delusional.
Nonetheless, the end result is the same. When money and state are one-and-the-same, the economy is mismanaged and we end up with massive, nation crippling inflation.
Bitcoin, the Antidote to Monetary Tyranny
The reason why the Bitcoin Whitepaper is held to great esteem, is because it details a sly roundabout way to introduce something that cannot be stopped. It is the means through which “the people” take financial power and monetary sovereignty away from those that have it within their grip. Every country lives within a similar paradigm, a monopolistic (and Marxist) central bank that controls the minting, printing, and distribution of new monetary units.
Bitcoin is the peaceful antidote to monetary tyranny. It is an opt-in-only protest that forces no one to join, but liberates everyone in the process.
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