Bitcoin Is Changing the Script

Monday, 21/02/2022 | 09:15 GMT by Sam White
  • It’s the stories that drive curiosity, initiating both greed and fear.
  • If enough people believe them, they can become self-fulfilling and even something substantial
Op-ed
Op-ed
bitcoin

If you’re on crypto Twitter you’ll find no shortage of technical analysis, some deep dives on fundamentals and a sprinkling of astrology. There is evidence, after all, that moon cycles correlate with bitcoin price changes.

What you don’t find so much scrutiny of, because they’re less quantifiable, are stories. But often, it’s the stories that drive curiosity and tweak at people’s emotions, initiating both greed and fear.

Whether the stories are true or not is sometimes a secondary point, it’s whether people believe them that is initially important, and besides, if enough people believe them then they can become self-fulfilling and reify into something substantial.

Bitcoin is the master storyteller, or the most compelling protagonist because it has the ability to shift and reshape even as it stays the same, altering its plotline to fit with the pressing concerns of the moment. Bitcoin fixes this and runs the cliché, but what’s remarkable is that whatever the state of the world and its current malady, Bitcoin is so often held up as the best, or only, salve.

Don’t forget that Bitcoin’s genesis block was created with a digital inscription implying that it was a remedy:

"The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks."

A headline imbued with urgency and desperation from the chaotic interior of a financial crisis engulfing the planet. A headline recording an event that one day, it’s contended, will no longer be able to occur because Bitcoin fixes this.

Did many people believe in Bitcoin in the years following its creation? No, very few. But, at the same time, progressively fewer people believed in the banks either. They would say that out loud about what were seen as crooked financial institutions, but underlying (consciously or not) a loss of belief in banks is a loss of belief in the money the banks have on offer.

In terms of levels of belief, then, banks and Bitcoin were on opposite trajectories, one leaking faith, and the other accumulating it by the block. The story here is critical to bitcoin’s surge, and bitcoin’s surge is critical to the story.

Was the story true? It’s looking that way, but then again, we’re still in truth discovery mode.

Bitcoin has been called, variously, a peer-to-peer payment system, a store of value and an asset class (not to mention a ponzi scheme , a fringe triviality and an enabler of criminality), depending on when and where you ask.

But, right now, the emphasis has shifted with global events, taking the increasingly epic story arc with it.

In Ottawa, Canada, at the snowy opening of 2022, there is an air of lawlessness around the government as, without bothering to check in at a court along the way, it responds to the truckers’ protest by freezing some citizens’ bank accounts.

Effectively and in practical terms, the Canadian government has declared that the funds within those accounts, and by extension within all accounts, belong not to the account holders, but to the state.

But, as you know, our story has a refrain, piercing through cracks when the lights go out.

Bitcoin fixes this.

Another repair job is required, to another shoddy irresponsible institution. The issue at hand might be different to previous travails, but it’s equally addressable.

And, so when the problem is that your assets are precariously vulnerable to state appropriation, and the government is leveraging your money as a tool by which to censor and exert control, Bitcoin becomes a means by which to protect your capital.

Utilized properly, Bitcoin ensures that your assets cannot be seized and that money becomes censorship-resistant. This is a curious chapter in the story, not least because it’s set in easy-going, liberal Canada, but here we are, careering through twists as the plot drives forward and presents a new motif: buy bitcoin to protect your capital, but please do make sure that you self-custody.

There are further branches to the narrative, and we’re far from out of the woods yet. As many observers have pointed out, those in power who are striving to cut off access to money can make it difficult to convert bitcoin to fiat.

That too, though, just advances the plot, refocusing our attention. When there is great pressure, diversity occurs, new directions are taken, and progress can speed up. In other words, what might cause a Bitcoin circular economy to emerge more rapidly, is the real-time, high-stakes necessity for a Bitcoin circular economy to emerge.

We’re at an unexpected point in the script. It’s jolting when things seemed previously to have had some semblance of consistency, but critically, the audience is increasing in number. In fact, the audience is invading the stage and word is out that a solution, to some long-running problems, going back not just to bank bailouts, but much further, might be at hand.

Does Bitcoin really fix currently unfolding events, on top of everything else? That depends on how many people believe they’re hearing not just a story, but a true story in which they can participate.

If you’re on crypto Twitter you’ll find no shortage of technical analysis, some deep dives on fundamentals and a sprinkling of astrology. There is evidence, after all, that moon cycles correlate with bitcoin price changes.

What you don’t find so much scrutiny of, because they’re less quantifiable, are stories. But often, it’s the stories that drive curiosity and tweak at people’s emotions, initiating both greed and fear.

Whether the stories are true or not is sometimes a secondary point, it’s whether people believe them that is initially important, and besides, if enough people believe them then they can become self-fulfilling and reify into something substantial.

Bitcoin is the master storyteller, or the most compelling protagonist because it has the ability to shift and reshape even as it stays the same, altering its plotline to fit with the pressing concerns of the moment. Bitcoin fixes this and runs the cliché, but what’s remarkable is that whatever the state of the world and its current malady, Bitcoin is so often held up as the best, or only, salve.

Don’t forget that Bitcoin’s genesis block was created with a digital inscription implying that it was a remedy:

"The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks."

A headline imbued with urgency and desperation from the chaotic interior of a financial crisis engulfing the planet. A headline recording an event that one day, it’s contended, will no longer be able to occur because Bitcoin fixes this.

Did many people believe in Bitcoin in the years following its creation? No, very few. But, at the same time, progressively fewer people believed in the banks either. They would say that out loud about what were seen as crooked financial institutions, but underlying (consciously or not) a loss of belief in banks is a loss of belief in the money the banks have on offer.

In terms of levels of belief, then, banks and Bitcoin were on opposite trajectories, one leaking faith, and the other accumulating it by the block. The story here is critical to bitcoin’s surge, and bitcoin’s surge is critical to the story.

Was the story true? It’s looking that way, but then again, we’re still in truth discovery mode.

Bitcoin has been called, variously, a peer-to-peer payment system, a store of value and an asset class (not to mention a ponzi scheme , a fringe triviality and an enabler of criminality), depending on when and where you ask.

But, right now, the emphasis has shifted with global events, taking the increasingly epic story arc with it.

In Ottawa, Canada, at the snowy opening of 2022, there is an air of lawlessness around the government as, without bothering to check in at a court along the way, it responds to the truckers’ protest by freezing some citizens’ bank accounts.

Effectively and in practical terms, the Canadian government has declared that the funds within those accounts, and by extension within all accounts, belong not to the account holders, but to the state.

But, as you know, our story has a refrain, piercing through cracks when the lights go out.

Bitcoin fixes this.

Another repair job is required, to another shoddy irresponsible institution. The issue at hand might be different to previous travails, but it’s equally addressable.

And, so when the problem is that your assets are precariously vulnerable to state appropriation, and the government is leveraging your money as a tool by which to censor and exert control, Bitcoin becomes a means by which to protect your capital.

Utilized properly, Bitcoin ensures that your assets cannot be seized and that money becomes censorship-resistant. This is a curious chapter in the story, not least because it’s set in easy-going, liberal Canada, but here we are, careering through twists as the plot drives forward and presents a new motif: buy bitcoin to protect your capital, but please do make sure that you self-custody.

There are further branches to the narrative, and we’re far from out of the woods yet. As many observers have pointed out, those in power who are striving to cut off access to money can make it difficult to convert bitcoin to fiat.

That too, though, just advances the plot, refocusing our attention. When there is great pressure, diversity occurs, new directions are taken, and progress can speed up. In other words, what might cause a Bitcoin circular economy to emerge more rapidly, is the real-time, high-stakes necessity for a Bitcoin circular economy to emerge.

We’re at an unexpected point in the script. It’s jolting when things seemed previously to have had some semblance of consistency, but critically, the audience is increasing in number. In fact, the audience is invading the stage and word is out that a solution, to some long-running problems, going back not just to bank bailouts, but much further, might be at hand.

Does Bitcoin really fix currently unfolding events, on top of everything else? That depends on how many people believe they’re hearing not just a story, but a true story in which they can participate.

About the Author: Sam White
Sam White
  • 178 Articles
  • 17 Followers
About the Author: Sam White
Sam White is a writer and journalist from the UK who covers cryptocurrencies and web3, with a particular interest in NFTs and the crossover between art and finance. His work, on a wide variety of topics, has appeared on platforms including The Spectator, Vice and Hacker Noon.
  • 178 Articles
  • 17 Followers

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