Author’s Note: For maximum benefit, click through and read the linked articles in this post.
When I first heard about bitcoin in January of 2011 is was through an anonymous email. Having been a “gold bug” for many years I quickly discarded the idea when I saw that it “wasn’t backed by anything” (big mistake as bitcoin was trading at about a dollar at that time). I set it aside and didn’t think any more about it.
That was until June 1st – almost six months later – when I read the article from Gawker Magazine titled The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable.
I was blown away.
Here was an online marketplace where the persecuted minority could voluntarily and peacefully trade goods with one another – regardless of whether or not the “mob rule” of the rest of society approved of it. And bitcoin made it possible.
I had to find out more.
This time I dove in and read everything I could find about it. Hours turned into days and days into weeks as I discovered bitcoin’s compelling properties like limited supply, near instant value transfer, psuedo-anonymity and, most importantly, no central organization that could be decapitated.
With just a little thought, I realized my previous error. Bitcoin didn’t have to be “backed” by anything just like gold didn’t have to be backed by anything. Each can be valued for what they are and what they enable you to do. This was basic Austrian Economic Subjective Theory of Value.
As a long-time student of man’s historical struggle for individual liberty I immediately grasped the implications of this new “censorship resistant” money. I knew that money, a form of property, was an extension of man’s life energy. It is a product of his time, energy and talents. I also knew that powerful groups had hijacked our current monetary systems, stealthily siphoning away the literal lifeblood of a man’s production. Yes, I’m talking about the oligarchs behind the Federal Reserve and similar institutions around the world and throughout history who have systematically fed upon the ignorant masses.
I realized that, if there was a tool that individuals could use to protect the product of their life energy, an enormous amount of wealth would flow to it. Since capital always flows to where it is respected and protected, I saw that bitcoin could be the new destination for “flight capital” and, in a sense, become the ultimate offshore bank account. When used properly, bitcoin enables you to prevent others from taking your property without your voluntary consent.
I had to get some.
I found one guy on the internet that accepted bitcoin at his tea company. Maybe he would sell me some? I tracked him down and gave him a call. Bitcoin was now trading at $7. When I finally got him on the phone I discovered that, in his words, he had “sold out at the top” and he no longer had any.
Not to be discouraged I kept trying. I posted on a forum that I would send someone my gold if they would trade me some bitcoin. I found a taker and a deal was struck. I sent a few Gold Eagles to a stranger halfway across the country based on his online reputation and soon received the bitcoins (yes, that’s plural). By this time, the price had risen to $30 a bitcoin and that is what I paid.
Then came the crash.
Just a day or two later Mt.Gox had one of their many catastrophes and the price crashed to the $3 range. It then proceeded to trade between $3 and $8 dollars for the next two and a half years.
Did I sell?
I recognized the fundamental value proposition that bitcoin had to offer for the betterment of mankind. I imagined a world where it was harder to be robbed through taxation and inflation. I imagined a world where wars could no longer be financed through perpetual debt and inflation. I imagined a world where the supply of money couldn’t be influenced by the whims of politicians and central bankers. I imagined a world where people could find refuge from the assaults against their life, liberty and property. I imagined the potential for voluntary society where people could no longer live off of the backs of their neighbor. A world where self-rule and personal responsibility would be valued and expected instead of a world where people believed in the “pagan faith” of external authority. I realized that bitcoin’s creation rivaled that of the printing press and the internet itself. I continue to buy as often as I can, no matter the current price as I feel bitcoin will be the last currency standing as all others self-destruct.
Am I an idealist?
Yes. But I also saw that by simply owning bitcoin, what others thought or did mattered less and less to me as I now had a tool of self-defense.
I found a way to get closer to true freedom and I have never looked back. Thank you Satoshi Nakamoto. Thank you cypherpunks. Thank you for working to make the world a better place. For these reasons I “hodl“.