The Paradigm Shift of Leadership
Whenever I think about bitcoin I think about one thing:
Malcolm Gladwell’s speech something I heard on the Occupy movement (that might even have been a dream at this point). He talked about how, unlike other social movements of the past, Occupy Wall Street had no real “leaders.” I remember watching, when the media tried to pick apart exactly why they were there, everyone had different answers; the media made it look like a circus show. There wasn’t one voice or figurehead that unified their message, and, because it wasn’t packaged in a neat soundbite, everyone tore it apart.
And, unlike most critics at the time,
Gladwell someone pointed out that Occupy’s relative aimlessness isn’t a weakness, because, when social movements are led by sole figures, it becomes much easier for them to be dismantled — or at least seriously damaged — by the death of their leader.
Think about the countless examples of revolutions and small-sized rebellions that were stifled when the leader died: John Brown’s rebellion (specifically important to me because I grew up near the John Brown house in Akron, and I volunteered there a few times). John Brown was perhaps more dedicated to his cause than most of the other members of the rebellion; Nat Turner’s rebellion. Virginia passed multiple laws to further control slaves as a result, which means the movement inspired the opposite goals. When MLK Jr. died on that fateful day on April 4, 1968, for instance, the civil rights movement took a major hit. Dyson, author of a book named April 4th, 1968, writes,
“You might hear the words ‘I have a dream,’ but they will doubtlessly only serve to underscore an image of a simple motel balcony, a large man made small, a pool of blood. For as famous as he may have been in life, it is — and was — death that ultimately defined him.”
When Malcolm X died, his views were immediately discounted by the media. Time magazine called him, “a pimp, a cocaine addict, and a thief.”
But I always believed that the various disconnected voices of the Occupy movement marked a paradigm shift in the way that change is made in America: No longer are groups represented by just one person. The world is much too complex for that.
And a decentralized system, while sacrificing traditional strengths, holds one value above all others: Resiliency.
That’s all that matters as time goes on. No one can destroy your movement by killing one person. No one can take away bitcoin by bringing down a company. No one can stop Occupy by silencing one person.
Because the world is too complex for that.
The Practicality of the Argument
I’d like to echo Chamath Palihapitiya’s sentiments last week that, “the short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works.” For clicks, the media focused on one company in particular: Facebook, because Chamath Palihapitiya used to be an executive there, but it was obvious for anyone who watched the video that he wasn’t singling out Facebook in particular. He was talking about social media, and — I’m sure — the internet as a whole. (Ironically, the media’s decision to focus the statement solely on Facebook, which he said, “overwhelmingly does good in the world,” just seconds before, is a prime example of the type of misinformation and mistruth that catches like wildfire).
I’m going to repeat that statement for emphasis: the short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works. Bitcoin is the financial equivalent of social media, and it’s easily accessible to the entire world in a way that other forms of investment aren’t (stocks and index funds, in particular, which usually have a minimum buy-in of $1000).
So I’m going to go back to the title:
Bitcoin Can Live Inside of a Bubble
In much the same way that different subreddits can foster their own individual community, bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) can thrive solely on the die-hard dedication of their biggest enthusiasts.
As long as there are a few thousand people willing to accept bitcoin as payment, it will continue.
As long as there’s distrust in the financial system, it will continue.
As long as bitcoin keeps operating — not even at a high level, not even to scale, even with huge fees that make it cumbersome at best — it will continue.
Again, and I don’t think I can repeat this enough, as long as there’s a demand for bitcoin, it will continue.
It’s that simple. Governments across the world can attempt to tax the living shit out of it, but eventually they’ll give up. Eventually bitcoin will scale. Eventually there will be another bubble. The government, hand-in-hand with traditional financial institutions, cannot keep screwing over the American people and expect them to want to keep opting-in to a broken system. Not when there’s another option.
Critics are trying to make the “HODL” meme sound like a scam: Like people want you to keep holding on to your bitcoin so that there’s doesn’t become devalued and they can sell for more USD. These critics are missing the point entirely: Most major bitcoin enthusiasts don’t give a fuck about USD. They don’t care about getting rich; they care about contributing to a movement that allows the common man unfettered access to capital.
It sounds libertarian to the point of anarchy, but it’s not (at least not for me). Bitcoin will exist alongside government-issued fiat currencies for a long, long time. But the government will have less and less power to manipulate the economy, which is the whole goal.
I recently doubled my investment in cryptocurrency, so I’ve adjusted. I’ve put that money in my 401k, and I’ve spent some of it on a programming course.
No matter where this movement goes, no one can ever take that knowledge from me. No one can ever take away a 110% gain on my investment.
And, in an ideal future, no one will be able to take away your bitcoin.
Hodl, my friends. Hodl.