Bitcoin On Life
Bitcoin is more than a technology: Bitcoin is a social phenomenon. And it is the first mass social movement in history that does not propose any opinion other than its own value.
People who disagree with each other about everything else, can agree about Bitcoin. That is what gives Bitcoin its value: Everybody wants Bitcoin, no matter what their opinions about anything else! And that is what makes Bitcoin immune to financial censorship. There are people from completely opposite ends of the political spectrum who came to Bitcoin, because big banks disliked them, closed their accounts, and shut them out of the fiat financial system.
It’s scary that banks can impose an unwritten law of their own, with no accountability and no appeal, just by closing people’s accounts. Bitcoin stops that.
I have experience living without a bank account. It’s very difficult: You can’t use money normally, and you are shut out of many opportunities. That can impoverish you, and it can keep you in poverty. Bitcoin takes away the power of unaccountable corporations to shut down people’s lives on a whim, just because they don’t like them.
You may dislike me, you may disagree with me, you may condemn me—you may even decide that you hate me. But we both agree that Bitcoin has value; and Bitcoin itself is absolutely unbiased between us. This is what gives Bitcoin its power—and this is how Bitcoin empowers anybody who wants to use it. If I decide that I hate you, we still agree on Bitcoin—and we can’t tell each other what to do with Bitcoin.
Bitcoin’s freedom attracted many people. This gave Bitcoin some value; and in turn, Bitcoin’s value attracted more people, which gave Bitcoin even more value. Thus, its value comes from its power as a social phenomenon, and not directly from the ingenious technology which enables that social phenomenon.
The Bitcoin technology is easy to duplicate. But the Bitcoin social movement cannot be duplicated. It exists because everybody agrees on Bitcoin. People all over the world, of every race and nationality, of every religion, of every political opinion, all agree on Bitcoin. Their agreements or disagreements about anything else are irrelevant to Bitcoin.
That is why there is only one Bitcoin.
And that is why people who hate Bitcoin itself try to break it apart. If there are many Bitcoins, then people don’t agree on Bitcoin anymore: There is my Bitcoin, and there is your Bitcoin, and there is someone else’s Bitcoin. That agreement I just described is broken up. In the long term, if one Bitcoin splits into many Bitcoins, its value will not be divided up: Its value will be zero, worthless. Bitcoin has value because everybody agrees on Bitcoin. If there are many Bitcoins, then none of them has value, because none of them has everybody’s agreement.
Fortunately, Bitcoin is resilient against this type of attack. I can easily make my own fork of Bitcoin, and declare to the world that this is the new Bitcoin. You will just laugh at me, and keep using Bitcoin. It turns out that trying to break up everybody’s agreement is like trying to stop a moving train by stepping in front of it. People who do that are deliberately excluding themselves from “everybody”. Their pretend-“Bitcoins” just get crushed and left behind, as everybody keeps using Bitcoin.
That is why most pretend-“Bitcoin” forks quickly slide away into total irrelevance. The only ones which hang on with a relatively minuscule market share are the ones backed by rich people who have lots of money to risk attempting to manipulate the market, and organized propaganda to scam people into believing that their pretend-“Bitcoin” is Bitcoin.
It would be difficult to attack Bitcoin with wealth alone. Bitcoin and its value are supported by too many people, rich and poor. A rich market manipulator who backs a forked fake-“Bitcoin” may see some short-term gains, especially from pump-and-dump market manipulation. But in the long term, he will probably lose lots of money: His scam-coin is competing with Bitcoin, which is collectively backed by the economic resources of too many people all over the world, rich and poor alike.
But the scam becomes dangerous when the fake-“Bitcoin” is promoted with cunning propaganda to fool people into believing that it’s the real Bitcoin.
Newbies and people who never used Bitcoin may wonder why Bitcoiners get angry about fake-“Bitcoin” forks.
Some of that anger is principled outrage. There are people who deeply believe in Bitcoin’s principles of financial freedom. Some of them have devoted to those principles their careers, their passions—they have devoted their lives to Bitcoin! Of course, they will be angry when they see Bitcoin attacked by liars and scammers promoting fake-“Bitcoin”.
More broadly, many people are morally outraged when they see lies, scams, and identity theft. Of course, people get angry at criminals.
But there is also another reason: If you have any Bitcoin, whether you have 1000 BTC or only a few precious satoshis, then an attack on Bitcoin is an attack on your wallet. You may or may not care about Bitcoin’s noble principles. You will defend those principles, to defend the value of your money.
Part of the genius of Bitcoin is that it turns greed and selfishness toward the common good: If you have Bitcoin, you want to protect your savings, so you must stand against people who try to devalue it. Otherwise, you risk losing your savings.
Everybody who has Bitcoin, has an incentive to protect Bitcoin. If you have Bitcoin, then you are making the world a better place when you defend the value of your own money. You can’t avoid protecting Bitcoin, if you want to protect your own money. And if you have Bitcoin, then an attack against Bitcoin is not only an attack against some idealistic theory: It’s a financial attack on you, personally! Of course, you should be angry about that.
Whether you are selfish or altruistic—whether or not you give a hoot about making the world a better place—I urge you to rally behind Bitcoin, and stand up against scammers who make fake-“Bitcoins”. Do it for noble principles. Or just do it to protect your own money. If nothing else, it would be stupid of you to ignore scammers who are trying to trash the value of your money. By standing together, we can stop them: Expose their lies, shred their scam propaganda, and make sure that new market entrants and the general public know: There is only one Bitcoin, your Bitcoin, which has value because it is everybody’s Bitcoin.
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Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user-to-user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.