Bitcoin made big news over the past year or so, when the price spiked and made some people rich. The possibility of fast money always generates a lot of commotion, and it certainly did this time.
Personally, I didn’t want the price of Bitcoin to spike; it grabbed people’s attention for all the wrong reasons. Cryptocurrencies—of which Bitcoin is the first, the best known, and currently the most important—are a revolution in commerce. But they are also much more than that.
Bitcoin is an intrusion into a stasis-oriented world: the child of radical concepts and cryptography, birthed by confirmed outsiders. This is a new and different thing, not a slightly different financial tool.
But even this is not what matters most about Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin blockchain—a decentralized public ledger for the transfer of assets—is truly a ground-breaking development, but that’s not the key factor here.
The ability to utterly bypass the Fed, SWIFT, and the rest of the money monopoly is the answer to a hard-money advocate’s fondest dreams, yet even this isn’t the thing that really matters.
What matters are the people whom I call, affectionately, “the Bitcoin kids.” This is a very loose grouping of thousands of people, mostly fairly young and widely dispersed, who are thoroughly committed to the cryptocurrency revolution and all that it entails.
What the uninitiated don’t understand is that these people are not just trading bitcoins; they are busy developing a whole new generation of products and services—things like Silent Vault, Monetas, Etherium, and many others. Lots of them are involved in 3D printing, and some, in the maker movement. Others are involved in humanitarian efforts like BitcoinNotBombs.
These young people are not terrified at the prospect of failing at a new venture. Rather, they are picking spots, jumping in, and getting to work. And if a venture of theirs does fail, they pick themselves up and start over.
Please bear in mind that if I wanted to, I could list a number of problems in the world of Bitcoin. I could further explain a number of attacks and potential attacks on Bitcoin. This is not an entirely invulnerable technology, and I am not holding it up as perfection. But those problems don’t belong in the center of this picture either. The Bitcoin kids are adaptable and stand a good chance of side-stepping or overcoming the attacks that will come upon them.
Older folks are sometimes too touchy about the things that young people do. For example, take a look at this photo:
Seeing a kid in a mask and with a scarf around his head, it’s easy to call him silly. (Before throwing any stones, though, we really should remember all the stupid things we did at twenty.) But again, that is beside the point—look at this kid’s sign:
The corrupt fear us.
The honest support us.
The heroic join us.
Think about the thoughts and commitments behind those words. These young people are claiming righteousness and honesty and heroism. What better ideals could we possibly want our children and grandchildren to champion?
And here’s another thought for older folks:
If you think the Bitcoin kids are being impulsive and erratic, get involved and help them. If you think they’re discounting the attacks they’ll face, fill the gap and prepare them for those attacks. Sitting on the sidelines and finding fault is primarily a way of defending your own inaction. If you think these young people lack experience and depth of understanding, roll up your pants, wade into the surf, and start delivering it to them. Show them by doing.
Let me give you an example of the attitude these young people are displaying. One of them, Julia Tourianski, wrote this:
Just like the Internet gave information back to the people, Bitcoin will give financial freedom back to the people. But that’s only the first step… Bitcoin will allow us to shape the world without having to ask for permission. We declare Bitcoin’s independence. Bitcoin is sovereignty. Bitcoin is renaissance. Bitcoin is ours. Bitcoin is.
These young people believe precisely what Thomas Paine told the disobedient and rebellious American colonials of 1776:
We have it in our power to begin the world over again.
The Bitcoin kids believe that they have the power to begin the world over again, and that’s a very powerful thing all by itself. Furthermore—and this is of supreme importance—they are acting on that belief every day… thousands of them. They are not waiting around for public opinion to support them, they are not waiting for “the masses to rise up,” and they are certainly not waiting for permission. They are getting up each day, inserting their will into the world, and building a crypto-currency economy… and building a new world thereby.
Most of us have long known that the current world system was corrupt and devolutionary. We’ve been trying to thrive in spite of it, biding our time, and wondering when things would ever start to change.
I’m here to tell you that things have started to change. Bitcoin is at the center of it, and the Bitcoin kids are the key. We can fight it, join it, dance, mourn, or simply defend our ignorance, but the time we’ve been waiting for stands before us, right now.
A Free-Man’s Take is written by adventure capitalist, author, and freedom advocate Paul Rosenberg. You can get much more from Paul in his unique monthly newsletter, Free-Man’s Perspective.