This is an opinion editorial by Andrew Keir, an author of a daily newsletter, where he dives deeply into the transformational nature of Bitcoin.
“Every time we witness an act that we feel to be unjust and do not act we become a party to injustice. Those who are repeatedly passive in the face of injustice soon find their character corroded into servility.“ — Jullian Assange, “Conspiracy as Governance,” 2006
A deep irony exists when we live in a world that has become so deeply polarized and politicized. So much so that an immutable, apolitical system of scarce information — of value — has manifested into existence.
As a protocol, Bitcoin is absolutely apolitical. It is indifferent to any political beliefs or ideology. It is decisively neutral, which is a stark contrast to almost everything else in this clown world. Bitcoin is neutral to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, height, hair color, skin color, eye color, body type, body shape, name, language, location, wealth or any other myriad identifying and distinguishing factors.
Bitcoin will process any transaction from any person and to any other person, regardless of everything else. The only exception is if you do not adhere to the rules of the network or if you don’t pay the appropriate fees to process your transaction — which is essentially a free-market bid to pay for the block space scarcity. Assuming these two items are met, your transaction will be processed.
Where the political paradox lies is in Bitcoin’s very existence. The fact that it has come to be. Its existence implies that some cohort of individuals sought to create a technology with the very properties Bitcoin has. While the protocol itself is apolitical, this act of creation is a deeply political one.
When someone really sees Bitcoin for the first time, many things about our current system are illuminated that were previously invisible. All of a sudden, you can no longer see the world in the same way as before. Prior to the inception of Bitcoin, we had no superior system or point of comparison, nothing that would highlight the broken characteristics of our system by providing an alternative perspective.
We now have something to compare the current system to. It would seem the case that the creation of Bitcoin is the recognition that having a monetary system — a network of value — that is centralized and enables the weaponization of this network by those with administrative privileges against those without (the users), is a deeply flawed and immoral one. This system of incentives that rewards people for playing political games, specifically those who get closer toward the center of this system by playing these games, benefit disproportionately to those furthest away. The zero-sum nature of the current design would seem another fundamental flaw in the code of the central banking system, but perhaps to those who designed the system it is a feature? This dynamic of inequality only accelerates over time as those at the center of the system continue to increase the supply of monetary units at the expense of a large swath of users on the network and eventually to the demise of the network itself.
The very creation of this technology we call “Bitcoin” is perhaps the most significant political act of all time. It is a technology that is diametrically opposed to the current system and everything this current system stands for. The notion that someone should be able to get between two individual humans and their right to transact with one another or that any entity or group should have that power over another? Bitcoin rejects this. That you should be required to identify yourself in order to access the network of value transfer and be subject to surveillance and a loss of privacy for that privilege? Bitcoin rejects this. That the imaginary borders formed by tribes of humans should have any impact over our ability to transact with one another? Bitcoin rejects this. The current system asserts that the right to transact freely is not a fundamental human right. Bitcoin rejects this.
Bitcoin is a vote in opposition to the current system and the values this current system has attempted to install within the minds of many. It is, in its very essence, political.
The beauty of Bitcoin is that it will never coerce you to use it, like the current system does. It will never impose its power upon you or any other. It will simply offer superior incentives. And no one can ever control the network, therefore no one can capture this power. Bitcoin is an immaculate system of incentive design that allows the flow of pure informational clarity from any node in the network to any other. A system that is owned by no one. Where no hierarchical structure exists and no imbalance in the distribution of this information affords any node power over another as a result.
It’s impossible not to be completely in awe of its existence and to marvel at its very nature.
An apolitical monetary protocol for humanity birthed in a world so deeply entangled and confused by a captured system of political power, influence and violence. As Jullian Assange hinted in the quote at the beginning, once an injustice is brought to the fore of our attention, we are offered a choice: Will we be passive and become party to the injustice — and in the process find our character corroded into servility — or will we take the necessary steps to act and oppose such an injustice by opting in to the freedom network that is Bitcoin?
I know which one gets my vote.
This is a guest post by Andrew Keir. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.