We enter into the year of 2017 with extreme optimism for the future of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, in only the first few hours of the year, hit over one thousand American dollars in value! The last time we saw a price point like that was during the 2013 bubble, unfortunately, cut short by new regulations by the Chinese government.
Though all bubbles burst and we’ve already seen a dip in the price, It is times like these that we are reminded of the power the Bitcoin technology has. It’s an international and stateless currency that is completely changing our perception on how economies function. Though the importance of a private currency might not be anything new to the liberty community, many things can still be learned from watching its success. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin give us some interesting insights in how to promote freedom. Bitcoin teaches us to use competition, not reformism to create a more free world. It also demonstrates how to build a revolution that will last. A revolution that can survive regardless of human error or state barriers.
Outcompete The Fed
Bitcoin is a means of creating political change outside of the political system. It’s totally nonviolent and doesn’t have all the weaknesses of reformist tactics. Sure we can monolog for hours on the issue with centralized currencies or we can try to elect the next Ron Paul “End The Fed” hero, but why not just create the alternative? Cryptocurrencies are a better way to handle money when compared to standard federal reserve notes. It’s faster, decentralized and easier to use worldwide. Consumers are naturally inclined to support them over the state alternative. The recent turmoil in the economy of Venezuela is a very real empirical evidence for this lesson. The centralized policies of the country have lead to extreme poverty. The currency is losing value and consumers in the country are looking for alternatives. Many Venezuelan businesses are gravitating to bitcoin as a result. Opting to use it over their countries fiat, even when faced with legal barriers. Real economic liberation brought about by invitation not politics!
Bitcoin shows us that any meaningful tactic must appeal to the basis self-interest of the general public. We can always expect people to be attracted to systems that benefit them the most. Education, self-defense, and voting are all meaningful tactics with their own advantages. However, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies can outcompete the Fed without needing to write a book, throw a brick or cast a single vote. Meaningful change through market competition.
Building an Indestructible Revolution
Not only do cryptocurrencies teach us lessons about how to promote social change, but they also teach us about building indestructible systems and making sure that change lasts. Bitcoin works on a distributed network instead of a centralized server. There’s no single bitcoin organization that hosts the blockchain, no building to be destroyed or individual to be locked up. Slight regulations can be put up, such as new york’s “Bitlicense”, sure. Though should some organization of government want to shut down bitcoin as a whole, nothing can be done.
The decentralized nature of the tech also means we can worry less about human error. Many revolutions have failed due to incompetence and corruption from its leaders. Bitcoin lacks leaders. There is no one person responsible for its success. Instead, it’s driven by code and a passionate community. Built in checks and balances secure its long-term impact.
Bitcoin is the perfect example of an unstoppable revolution that is will only fail if something better comes up. When building a functional alternative to mainstream society, it’s important to make sure that alternative is structured in a way that keeps outside forces from tearing it down. An ideal system doesn’t need centralized violence to enforce it. It does not depend on having the right people in charge. When thinking about how to build alternatives to the state we learn to make them indestructible like Bitcoin.
Watch and Learn
How far this technology can go will only be known after the fact, but it’s important that everyone watches and learns. Implementing lessons from cryptocurrencies into our tactics for promoting social change could mean the difference between an effective tactic and a defunct one. We must ask ourselves some simple questions. Does my tactic appeal to the self-interest of the consumer? Does my tactic have built in defense against internal corruption and human error. If no, then we should learn from Bitcoin and reconsider our strategy.