'The commandments had to be delivered by a bearded prophet whose mystic credibility had been conferred by the burning bush and who came down from the mountain accompanied by a terrifying display of thunder and lightning. Somehow human authority is never enough; we must have special effects.' -Barbara Ehrenreich, Living with a Wild God

Bitcoin Isn't Your Soapbox

by Ethan Glover, Fri, Dec 26, 2014 - (Edited) Fri, Dec 26, 2014

Reality check, if the government wants to regulate digital currency, it will. I find it sad that this is the case, but there's no point in crying about it.

There’s a lot of debate going on with the Bitcoin Foundation, who gave their opinion on BitLicenses. Cody Wilson seems determined to have it disbanded with a blog that has been up for months without seeing a proper audit. This is just a side note; I am glad, however, that Cody got a ghostwriter, or editor. His past posts were awful.

The point here is libertarians, as a group, want to push everything good they come across too far. They try to shame and shun any firm or individual they don’t see as ideologically pure.

First, this is impossible considering the differing opinions among libertarians. Second, it gives people the wrong impression of who libertarians are.

People see libertarians as young, arrogant, privileged kids who don't understand the real world. While their philosophy may sound logical at times, it is too purist to be realistic.

There will never be a  day when everyone is a libertarian. Nor will every good libertarian idea convert all those who embrace it.

Libertarians want the mass adoption of bitcoin, but they also want everyone to use it in a libertarian approved way.

Bitcoin is a fantastic tool but it gets used and abused as an evangelist platform. Bitcoin isn't for libertarians; it's for people.

Want your own special political currency? Create it. That’s the whole point of it being open-source.

Bitcoin is on track to be the standardized crypto-currency adopted by the majority.

Yes, the government will regulate all digital currencies at some point. The Bitcoin Foundation isn’t to blame for regulation because they gave New York some heads up on how the community feels.

Libertarians are precise about the difference between capitalism and corporatism. I would hope they understand the difference between government regulation and a report.

The BTCF (Bitcoin Foundation) isn’t the one trying to regulate. If they don’t go around ranting about how government is evil, there’s no reason to stamp your feet and cry about it.

Libertarians Don’t Own Bitcoin

It’s clear why libertarians want to work outside of the law. It means doing things in a manner that works for every individual.

That doesn’t mean using bitcoin should always feel dirty, like an act of rebellion. You can still work around government as people begin to adopt the currency, but you shouldn’t condone those who don’t want to do so.

Some libertarians can't accept the fact that many people are going to want in on this. This means bitcoins adaptation into different ways of doing things.

It takes an immature mind to get frustrated or angry because something isn’t “theirs” anymore. “I liked Bitcoin before it was cool!”

Now that Bitcoin is becoming a big deal, many libertarians see, for the first time, what that means. It doesn't mean the government will collapse before their eyes, and everyone will join in applause.

It means different political opinions are using the tool in different ways. It means the government is reacting to bitcoin, as we all knew it would.

As I said in my last post, the Bitcoin Foundation doesn’t own bitcoin. No government has to get their consent when it comes to regulation. In the same way, libertarians don’t own crypto-currency, and no one has to get their consent on how to use it.

The first thing this community needs to accept is that bitcoin doesn’t belong to anyone. It’s a free to use protocol, and people will use it in different ways.

That’s not to say we can’t use bitcoin in our way because it was “seized” by liberals or any other nonsense. In fact, this is all good news for both libertarians and the world as a whole.

We’ve Already Won

First, I find it absurd that libertarians are fighting over bitcoin. We’re talking about open-source software that is flexible enough to appeal to and work for anyone.

The adoption of bitcoin was never about destroying economies and rebuilding them in a utopian way. Bitcoins purpose isn’t to create a libertarian world.

Bitcoin, I remind you, provides an instant way to make irreversible trades anywhere in the world. It does this in a way that isn’t dependent on third parties who collect personal data.

For the libertarians complaining about the banning of trading in precious metals. You just won. Celebrate for god's sake.

Libertarians are so used to losing, so used to not having their way. They can't see the achievement right in front of their eyes.

Why? It's not perfect enough. The adoption of bitcoin hasn’t led to enough conversions. Because there are people who aren’t “doing it right.”

The government may be trying to regulate bitcoin, but how do you think its integration helps the Federal Reserve?

Crypto-currency is making the Federal Reserve a fucking option. Why is no one talking about this?

People Are Waking Up

I get it, the government is evil; we all understand that. Still, bitcoin isn’t a political platform in of itself.

Granted, bitcoin is more proof of how well libertarian economics work. Wikipedia defines the millennial generation as being socially liberal, and economically conservative. They’re libertarian without realizing it.

Millenial’s current beliefs aren’t due to in your face ranting about how government is evil. They’re due to governments continuing to fail, and libertarian answers continuing to work.

People are seeing the benefits of drug legalization in states like Colorado. They are seeing things like the 2008 collapse and realizing the dangers of corporatism.

Yes, a socialist minority wants to whine and cry about everything involving trade as if it were all the same thing. That doesn’t mean libertarians have to whine about anyone that talks to the government. The BTCF responding to BitLicenses isn’t the same as creating BitLicenses.

Not everything is going to be perfect right now, but this viewpoint is on the right track because it’s working. Where libertarian ideas have fit themselves into the mainstream, they have worked.

People are moving into these ideas on their own. They’ve done it without choosing sides.

Without becoming mindless evangelists who yell out bumper sticker slogans like, “Centralization is bad!” Without understanding what that means on a per case basis.

Bigger Fish to Fry

I would love to see sites like Disband.it disbanded, but that’s not going to happen. My only point in sharing these thoughts is to illustrate the dangers of choosing sides.

Saying you’re against the Bitcoin Foundation because they’re a centralized group is nonsense. Hunting down every sign that they’re evil and conspiratorially connecting dots is just trolling.

Just because someone owns a company and runs it with expert authority, doesn’t make them bad, it makes them the owner. Just because a business takes donations and doesn’t make their finances public, it doesn’t make them evil. Just because a company has internal drama, that doesn’t make it bad. (These are the only claims Cody Wilson has been able to back up.)

To me the BTFC’s only mistake was making their drama public. They attempted to be transparent, and it failed.

They went to low brow places like Reddit to receive input. They entertained directed, loaded, and immature questions from keyboard warriors.

As a result, they’ve developed a following of Internet sleuths. People who think they’re doing good by taking every possible quote out of context. The BTCF's biggest failure is paying attention to these people.

It’s good that people want to keep their eye on organizations like the BTCF. It isn’t good to waste too much time on unfounded efforts to disband it for every little piece of drama one can find on the internet.

A better use of time might be “pivoting” into advertising the benefits of bitcoin. Remember, this is a great technology and there are no “usage rules.” There is no rule that says anyone who uses it has to agree with you.

We have a chance to make bitcoin something even the most skeptical companies are willing to accept. We have a chance to turn it into a currency rather than a luxury token.

Playing politics with apolitical organizations isn’t going to help anyone. It will make the community look like the bunch of brats many people think it is.

Let’s make an effort to start selling the idea of this amazing currency. Good salespersons don’t refuse to sell to those who won’t use the product in the right way.

Good salespersons sell. If you want to do the political thing, great, but remember, there is a time and place for everything.