Glorious summer has descended on the digital currencies space as Ethereum rises to new heights, grabbing the world’s imagination and bitcoiner’s hearts.
The currency has risen from a market cap of $1 billion to an all-time high of $38 billion in an astonishing and sustained bull run the likes of which this space has never seen.
Bitcoin’s price, on the other hand, fell 10% at the time of writing, with the flippening seemingly nigh, as the currency seriously faces irrelevance. So bitcoiners are asking, where art though Nakamoto, why have you forsaken us?
We don’t know the answer, but we’ll try and use our reason, logics, deduction, to analyse what we think has brought bitcoin to the brink of irrelevance.
The biggest generation to have ever lived, the millennials, were fuming over what they saw as a fundamental breach of their understanding that a war of choice, the Iraq war, would never be undertaken, certainly not by the free world.
Muse, a hugely popular rock band, asked them to rise. Indy bands became a thing. The students were to take to the streets at any moment and topple the governments of the free world – or so it felt.
Then, Tony Blair, the most hated man in Britain, resigned. Obama promised hope and change. The mass media told the students officials have been asked to not mention terrorism.
It seemed reason prevailed, but before the millenials could take a breath the banks collapsed. Billions, trillions, were being asked.
The students rose, Occupy Wall Street, Tea Party, the Arab Spring, but no leader had the courage to take the challenge. All movements failed.
Nakamoto, the Genius
While all that was going on, what is most probably a group of scientists, probably formally highly educated, probably in high positions within academia and tech companies, perhaps led by just one man, had reached a scientific breakthrough.
On Halloween 2008, a day that since time immemorial symbolizes re-birth, an historical announcement was made at a corner of the free internet.
What bitcoin is, like what a painting symbolizes, no one can conclusively say, but in our view bitcoin is the implementation of Hayek’s insight who after studying money all his life reached what now appears to be an obvious and self evident insight stated in the Denationalization of Money:
“The past instability of the market economy is the consequence of the exclusion of the most important regulator of the market mechanism, money, from itself being regulated by the market process… only competition in a free market can take account of all the circumstances which ought to be taken account of.”
The revolutionary act here was to make the above not a choice. Reason had spoken and would take a no by no one. It was up to the people alone to decide whether, what is obviously one of the highest intellectual achievement, should be backed or not.
The Bitcoin Honeymoon 2010
The people came. Coders especially, but not exclusively. They saw what is obvious, they saw what is good. But none of them was sure. There was this new thing and its seemed promising, but does it really work they seemed to be wondering.
In that great balance of the crowd’s judgement, the attitude was leaning towards positive. Nakamoto was hard at work, probably the highest achievement of his life. Thinking how he can make it all more convenient, user friendly, answering comments, taking feedback, almost exclusively focusing on the tech itself.
But the crowd he had attracted was not the best. It was the very fringes, at best. The two went head to head around November-December 2010 when the millennial generation was making a different stand as Bradley Manning released war atrocities brought to the world’s attention by Wikileaks.
Some bitcoiners suggested bitcoin could come to their aid and help them bypass the financial blockade that had been imposed by the great empire.
Nakamoto could not be more clear. Quoting someone who said “basically, bring it on. Let’s encourage Wikileaks to use Bitcoins and I’m willing to face any risk or fallout from that act,” our little genius, who could see further ahead than any of them, stated:
“No, don’t “bring it on”. The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way.
I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.”
The fools ignored him. That old dinosaur, the PC Magazine, asked whether bitcoin can help wikileaks. In his last message, Nakamoto stated:
“It would have been nice to get this attention in any other context. WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet’s nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.”
Was he a coward? Or was his last statement a nice way of saying that the bitcoin project has now become less about the tech, and more about ideology? Less about invention and more about confrontation?
The Fools and the Wise
Nakamoto has made no statement since then. There have been many claims he has, but the best of them which purportedly said “I am not Satoshi Dorian Nakamoto,” is most probably by someone else since Nakamoto’s e-mail was hacked.
He probably wanted it to be hacked. The way to reset his e-mail password apparently was by entering his date of birth which is a very symbolical date, the day private gold ownership was declared illegal in the United States.
He, therefore, we can conclusively say, has not officially spoken since then. There probably are many ways he can do so. He has chosen not to. Why?
The Hijacking of Bitcoin
Because, we think, bitcoin has been hijacked. Not by governments or banks like some of them think. No. It has been hijacked by idiots. By fringes which never achieved a thing yet gleefully spoke about bitcoin being a trojan horse, to bring forth their unworkable, rejected, ideology, stealthily.
With hindsight, it was probably best they did. For by doing so, in a way, whether they were aware or otherwise, they followed Nakamoto’s suggestion that “the project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way.”
But something fundamental changed in late 2010, early 2011. The idiots, basically, took charge. That word is not meant as blame, nor does it aim to cause offence, nor to pass judgement, perhaps it was best they did do so.
Yet, objectively, they could not be called anything else for they could not see what we can see with hindsight and what Nakamoto could see in the thick of it.
They turned a technological invention into a political matter, tying it up to the very highest level of politics, Wikileaks, and then went on to dominate public discussion by suggesting all bitcoin is good for is “dark markets.”
To play these idiots was very simple. Make them paranoid and afraid, argue opponents want to centralize all this and take all your bitcoins, shore up yourself as the saviour, then go on to sell them exactly what they hate, a centralized bitcoin, operating through Lightning Network trusted intermediaries.
Coup, they cried, while they removed the commit access of Gavin Andresen. Hijacking, they cried, while they removed the commit access of Jeff Garzik.
Nakamoto, Vitalik Buterin
The genius, if he is still around, would probably very much not like us calling him Vitalik Buterin, but, to our defence, he may like it far more than some others calling him Nick Szabo, who has no achievement, or Dorian.
We mean no offence to Nakamoto and we’ll pay him the honour. We think he is a different level to Buterin. We think he is smarter, biologically so. But we think he would not be more proud of anyone else than Buterin, his own incarnation in many ways.
Buterin has given back to this space that rational focus on technology. His declaration of “political neutrality” could have come from the mouth of Nakamoto himself had he been given the privilege which he has given to ethereum.
There is no way, in our view, Nakamoto does not look at this space and feels his spirit lifted by what ethereum has achieved. Nor do we think he feels any more vindication or re-statement of a trust in human kind, than seeing this astonishing rise of the carriers of his banner.
Nakamoto never forsook us. He slapped us hard for we needed it. And here we are. At the brink of a very new age, a very new dawn, a very new millennium.