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Talk of Bitcoin is full of lies. The Wall Street Journal tells lies. Its staunchest advocates tell lies. Few seem to grasp the potential of Bitcoin, which is fine; it simply indicates shortsightedness. Even more are too lazy, intellectually, to seek the truth. That’s a less comfortable position to observe. Such people speak and repeat platitudes for and against Bitcoin, and we are left with fast talkers generating heat in futile discussions, rather than shedding light. At their very core they demonstrate one reason why Bitcoin is so important – it removes a need for trust. It removes the need to trust a third party. Many who speak the word “Bitcoin” are not trustworthy, whether for or against.
In 2008, many voters felt trust for Barack Obama. None of them knew Obama personally, so to trust him was naive. Few men deserve trust. Whorishly, we give that sacred asset cheaply. As if we could not live another minute without giving a person our trust, we do away with the very natural emotions of skepticism, suspicion, and self-protection. Few deserve that trust and certainly no man deserves unearned trust.
And if no man deserves unearned trust, dare I suggest that a company, organization, or financial institution deserves unearned trust? Most certainly not. After all, they are only a collection of men and women who have not earned trust. Yet that is exactly what takes place virtually each time we engage in interaction as simple as online commerce or deal with nearly any entity in the financial services industry.
Bring back the run on the bank – they deserve no trust. FDIC insurance is a scam, since it can’t really deliver on what it promises. It is unable to handle systemic shock, only individual banks falling apart. Public trust is placed in a dollar undeserving of trust. What backs it? Gold in Fort Knox we’ve never seen? A military might we cannot trust run by a large, unfamiliar Department of Defense? Central bankers having closed-door meetings, secretively lending $16 trillion in newly created money to foreign banks? Decisions in each of these areas are made by political leaders who we’ve never met for more than a minute – and that’s if you’re lucky. The dollar is a method of wealth transmission undeserving of trust.
Yet we do trust it and those several institutions mentioned. We almost have no choice but to deal with them. We could operate in a barter economy for our existence. We could stay up at night worrying whether this will be one of those moments where a financial institution is about to be proven untrustworthy. We could simply forget about the shortcomings of the system since there’s no credible alternative. None of these options are attractive.
That’s where Bitcoin comes in. Sort of a money 2.0, the way the Internet is a library 2.0. Both statements are a gross under-exaggeration of the true potential of the technology underpinning those systems. The Internet is much more than a library and Bitcoin is much more than money. The people quickest to realize this will also be the ones to understand the inevitability that a better financial system will spring from the Bitcoin protocol. Those who act on that realization will have a very bright future ahead for themselves.