Below is a direct excerpt from Marty’s Bent Issue #1257: “Success through maximum utility.” Subscribe to the newsletter here.
I am currently flying from Newark to Oslo, Norway on my way to Riga, Latvia for the Baltic Honey Badger conference hosted by HodlHodl. Please excuse the typos as I was stuck in my seat like a sardine with my laptop screen half open as the lady in front of me has her seat stuck all the way back.
I wanted to comment on something that Pete Rizzo said recently on the What Bitcoin Did podcast that really stuck with me. He argued that bitcoiners should look at the utility of bitcoin and that it is a network of money and settlement far superior to the existing monetary system by any objective measure, rather than hoping that the world will burn to the ground and that bitcoin will succeed as a product of fiat failure. Here’s a clip for those interested.
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It is interesting to think about the dichotomy of these two frameworks. For starters, I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. It is clear from Satoshi’s writings that he thought the established system was inherently flawed and doomed to failure due to the history of centrally controlled fiat currencies that had the ability to print at will.
“You have to trust the central bank not to devalue the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of violations of that trust.” – Satoshi Nakamoto, February 11, 2oo9
I don’t think it’s crazy to believe that Satoshi created bitcoin after recognizing that the fiat system was doomed. I’m almost certain it is. The only way he could create a tool that would act as an effective escape hatch from a failing system is if he created something that was 1.) an improvement on the step function on that system and 2.) sufficiently resistant to attacks from the failing system . a system that doesn’t really want anyone to escape. Fortunately for us, that’s exactly what Satoshi and those who followed him to help improve the protocol gave humanity.
Thank God for Satoshi. Standing on the edge of a cliff with unstoppable forces driving us on a deadly escape into chaos and mayhem, we all have a chance to grab a parachute that will allow us to jump off the cliff and glide towards safety. What Pete is suggesting is “should we focus on telling people as much as possible about the irresistible force that is about to push us to certain death, or about the technology we can use to avoid that outcome?”
Personally, I think both tactics should be used. The only way to solve a problem is to admit it exists. It does just that, warning against an irresistible force that drives people to the edge of the cliff. Only when people understand this power can they begin to explore and understand the solutions at hand.
That being said, I think Pete makes a very good point. Bitcoiners may over-index to highlight the impending failure of the fiat monetary system, while under-indexing the incremental improvements that Bitcoin is bringing to the world of monetary goods, final settlement and payments. Bitcoin enables things that simply weren’t possible before its launch. It is something to celebrate and highlight as often as possible. In an ideal scenario, the death of fiat drags on for several decades, during which time the tools and products built around the Bitcoin network will prove to be far superior to the existing system, which people will naturally adopt in droves because they’re simply better. That would be the ideal “soft landing” you hear about from the Federal Reserve fools.
I pray that things will eventually move forward. But it’s hard to believe that the weighted-down mistakes made by unproductive central planners over many decades haven’t gone to their heads. If you really believe that, it’s hard to knock them down for over-indexing on the catastrophic side while trying to warn others and point out the hideous folly of the system.