I suspect that this question will be directed repeatedly, and with increasing desperation, and most likely real physical violence, by the powers that be, in the direction of Bitcoin. It’s going to be a dogfight, but things are different now.
Like a new universe, suddenly and without warning, exploding into being. The Bitcoin Genie is out of the bottle. We have, in our lifetime, witnessed the birth of ‘something’ where there was ‘nothing’. Before the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin protocol into the digital universe, there was nothing, or at least nothing that we, the general population, were aware of. I think that, in time, the birth of Bitcoin will be seen as a big bang of similar magnitude to the cosmic one that we all learned about in school; the same schools that failed to explain many other fundamental things to us, not least of which was the concept of what money is, but that’s for another day.
So what is Bitcoin? I think much smarter people than me still struggle to give an elegant and complete answer to that question, in much the same way that any attempt to explain what the mobile phone or the Internet was back in 1980 was utterly inept. Not through lack of efforts in the description or even imagination, but in a lack of experiences and mental vocabulary. How could we have known how the web and the Smartphone would change our experience of the world? If someone had told me back then, that I would one day have a little slice of electronics in my pocket that could get me the answer to pretty much any question, anywhere on earth, at any time, constantly updated; that could create and stream media, measure acceleration, temperature, light, look better than the cinema, sound better than the cinema, find things, places, people etc., etc. I would have said ‘That episode of Star Trek was so stupid…’
The change that mattered to the human race was that the web and the smart phone democratized information. It took a while for the technology to grow and morph and expand and penetrate the world, until suddenly our collective experience was different. We were connected; we could share thoughts and knowledge, news and information, with everyone, at any time, instantly. No permission needed, no fees payable. Everything changed - the way it always does; very slowly, and then all of a sudden.
Information can no longer be controlled. It is increasingly difficult for people to lie these days. Politicians, Pop Stars, Popes and everyone in between are now forced to tell the truth, because the way the human race can access information and the speed with which it propagates has now utterly bypassed the established mega money media propaganda portals.
We have exponentially accelerating access to information – peer to peer – faster and faster, and no one can control what we see, or hear, or read, although they still try. Hello NSA…
Just think how empowering it has been to you. You can find exactly what you want, when you want, where you want and form your own opinions from it. The Internet went from being a clunky two dimensional quandary for geeks to an integral part of almost everyone’s experience of life.
The three dimensional internet information experience.
Free information for all. However, there was a problem. A problem that the information Internet created. A problem that no one could solve. A problem that most people never even noticed. We couldn’t really use the Internet to exchange value. We couldn’t transact value in the same way we shared information.
Not so long ago, ‘we’ believed the world was flat, and then suddenly we realised that it was three-dimensional. The Internet was similarly flat, and then suddenly it was three dimensional. In 1BB, (1 year before Bitcoin) the big banks, and big governments still held the keys to the money supply, and what they couldn’t print, they manipulated, Gold, Silver, LIBOR, etc. So if you wanted to buy, sell, pay for, or otherwise transact, you had to go through a few massive organisations, and boy did they fleece us for the privilege, but since there was no alternative we convinced ourselves that credit cards, Paypal and Western Union were good enough and gave it no more thought.
And then there was a burst of energy as a bright as a billion Suns, and as loud a Thunder clap, and as delicate as the wings of a Butterfly, and as quiet as thought; and the Bitcoin Protocol was born. And now, just like that, the Internet is Four Dimensional. If you blinked you missed it. We now have a way to exchange value, peer to peer, anywhere with anyone at any time without having to seek permission from or pay fees to the elite few who have grown incomprehensibly rich by holding the keys.
This is the Internet 4D, and it’s just the start, the first baby steps. Trying to understand what Bitcoin is, or will become, is futile and even counterproductive at this point, so don’t even try. Just get on board and enjoy the journey, because I suspect that in the years or maybe the decades to come, trying to get through daily life without Cryptocurrency, and maybe still Bitcoin, will be like trying to get through life today without the Internet and the smartphone. You could do it, but why would you want to?
What is Bitcoin?’ And who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
I don’t know, and I don’t really care. Do we want to put a human face to the protocol? Should we try to put a boundary around the furtive beginning of the next evolution of the human collective experience? I don’t think so. In fact, I think that the facade on anonymity that is Satoshi Nakamoto and the open source nature of the protocol is the true mark of (his) genius. The Guy Falks of our time.
So when I hear the question asked ever more aggressively, by the old guard, as their fingers slip from the reigns of power and onto the triggers of their guns;
‘…Why won’t you die..?’
I’ll just smile as I hear the words of ‘V’ form ‘Vendetta’ and Satoshi Nakamoto.
‘Beneath this mask there is more than flesh, beneath this mask there is an idea (Mister Creedy), and ideas, are bulletproof…’