¡Viva la revolución!

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  • Mon, Jul 12, 2021 - 09:10am

    #1
    VTGothic

    VTGothic

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    ¡Viva la revolución!

More or less during the Covid lockdown period I posted a lot here about Bitcoin. It was the period during which BTC moved from about $3000 to $60,000, and there was a lot of interest in it. Enough people in the PP tribe were either intrigued by it or put off by it to make conversation and keep it interesting. Then two things happened: the price reversed and now sits at about half its high; and we had those long weeks of Chris’ absence during which the future of PP was uncertain and many on-site channels of conversation were disrupted. I’m thinking, particularly, of Dave’s daily financial columns, around which a core of PP subscribers clustered and conversed. Many of them were also interested in cryptocurrencies as possible alternative investment vehicles.

The loss of Dave’s column was, I think, the loss of a valuable PP touchstone for a significant swath of our tribe. The only thing I see with the same strength of engagement now is the Covid conversation. That’s an important conversation. Although it’s not my primary cup of concern, I’m glad the inquiry continues here because it allows me to dip in now and again to maintain some kind of current understanding of developments without getting involved in the day-by-day content fluctuations that just don’t interest me. But there is a need for holding feet to the fire, and for lifting up neglected or threatened voices; and someone needs to distinguish the reliably accurate alternative voices from the junk-speak. I trust this tribe to do so. (In the areas of our tribal interest, we are what Wikipedia was meant to become.)

My posts on bitcoin were focused on bringing clarity to the protocol rather than debate its merits. Of course my personal conviction of the protocol’s merits was evident, but it wasn’t my focus. I just thought that the conversation would be well-served by accuracy in claims made for and against it.

On the other hand, over time I began to feel that I was becoming a one-topic contributor, and on a topic that wasn’t my only – nor even my primary – interest in life. I’m more interested in anti-fragile resilience as a security and survival strategy for coming dark days. I’m busy putting down infrastructure on a bit of land.

But surviving the dark night of this Fourth Turning is only a short-term goal. It’s an interim measure that, done rightly, can also serve as part of the foundation of a better dawn. As I look toward the coming regeneration of culture and society, I think about how we claw back a sensible and decent future – one based on the soundness of truths rather than the corruption wrought by lies. I want a sound society tomorrow, in place of the fiat society of today. And that’s where my interest in Bitcoin as money really fits. For me it’s a tool that helps end fiat society and helps anchor sound society.

I don’t primarily think of Bitcoin in terms of its “number go up” technology (NGU, in Twitter parlance); I think of it as a part of the restructuring that comes with the First Turning. Indeed, I don’t think it is possible to have a sound societal structure, nor a sound economy, secured by fiat money – and I’m pretty sure I’m preaching to the choir saying that. The conversation we have had when we’ve touched on this subject has been around the relative merits of Bitcoin and gold as the basis of that sound economy.

There is a level at which I don’t think that conversation is necessary – at least, not in terms of mutual exclusion. Practically speaking, we’ve been watching various countries repatriate and stockpile gold as a hedge against the debasing dollar standard for the last decade. It’s not debatable that many sovereigns see gold as the foundation of their national economic stability.

At the same time, however, if we turn our eyes out and look beyond the borders of the US and developed world, we can see the increasing adoption of Bitcoin as the people’s money. While it is generally engaged as a more-or-less speculative asset in the US, it is increasingly used as a coin of trade and settlement by the developing world’s largely unbanked populations. The unbanked are people who “have no checking, savings or mobile money provider accounts, no access to financial products like insurance, loans or mortgages, no protection for their money from theft or loss. They are also more likely to be poor—and to stay poor too,” according to Global Finance (February, 2021 article). Just as bad, the countries in which large numbers of people are unbanked find their economic development is impeded, perpetuating poverty, insecurity, corruption, and dependency.

What really frosts me is the fact that most of the unbanked cannot qualify for bank accounts because the AML/KYC requirements for joining the banked are impossible for them to meet, and those standards are set by the U.S. and forced on other countries by our threat to exclude non-compliant nations from the international financial infrastructure we control. Then, because many countries cannot meet those U.S. standards, and therefore cannot advance their economies by providing access to banking and trade services for their populations, the international banking organizations step in to prop up failing governments through loans that are denominated in dollars; dollars that are scarce and difficult to come by for low-income countries. That leads to economic exploitation as defaulting countries are forced to sell their assets to international, first-world corporations as debt settlement.

You and I have lived well on that economic colonialism. No matter how poor we think we are in relation to one another, very few among us live the precarious lives that have been standard and inescapable for majorities in the developing and undeveloped nations for the last century.

Adopting Bitcoin accomplishes several crucial things for the 1.6 billion unbanked. First, it is accessible for the price of a $50 cell phone. It is not uncommon for entrepreneurs or local officials or community organizers to secure a phone that is then used by neighbors who cannot afford their own. Each person can have their own Bitcoin wallet on either their own phone, or on a communal phone, giving them access to a form of money that has proven repeatedly to be more stable (that is, harder) than their local fiat currency. It is also much more secure than keeping currency in a jar or buried in the earth. And as Bitcoin’s network effect has grown, it has become more usable for p2p and b2b trade across borders. It also incentivizes savings because the value of any strong money grows over time, and Bitcoin is the only strong money left in the world. (I don’t forget gold, but gold is not a means of exchange at the peasant level, nor is it possible to secure gold against either local thugs or government confiscation. With Bitcoin, only the holder of the private key can access and spend the asset.) Savings, we all know, is the key to financial security and upward mobility for both individuals and the countries in which they live.

Nigeria, Ethiopia, Venezuela, and El Salvador are leading, but not the only, examples of these uses. The recent deployment of the Strike app into El Salvador with the support of the Salvadoran government and new regulations codifying Bitcoin as legal tender on par with the dollar has taken the movement to the next level. Paraguay and Ecuador are following, introducing congressional bills this week to also legalize Bitcoin as official tender. Popular parallel movements are building from the grassroots in a number of countries in the exploited two-thirds world.

Bitcoin breaks the hold of the First World over the global population. It is revolutionary. It undermines the international banking cartel’s business model. And that’s something that doesn’t only matter to the developing world’s unbanked; it matters to the developed world’s banked, too. Because we are also experiencing the financially devastating effects of “printer go brrr”. Here, again, if I were to detail it I would just be preaching to the choir: you know the developing disaster as well as I. At this late stage in the Fourth Turning epoch, the financial and political elite is turning its insatiable appetite against us, too, looking to extract everything possible before the inevitable reset that leads into the First Turning’s potential (I think inevitable) renaissance of human and humane values and structures.

On the one hand, today, we have Klaus Schwab and his merry band of Davos power elites, who hope to turn the whole earth into their private banquet table by commandeering the global money supply, converting it into digital form, and forcing us to consume according to their profit goals. On the other hand we have Bitcoin – the only cryptocurrency that has (a) no pinch point where it can be shut down or taken over; (b) sufficient network effect to now have a self-sustaining and uncatchable life of its own, and (c) an inbuilt incentive for ever-greater adoption – i.e., its hardness.

Bitcoin’s hardness as money is located in the fact that there will only ever be 21 million Bitcoin. However, each is divisible into 100 million Satoshis that can be combined into larger units of measure. For example a μBTC (pronounced “you-bit”), for example, is 100 Satoshis; an mBTC (“em-bit”) is 100,000 Satoshis, and a cBTC (“bitcent”) is 1,000,000 Satoshis. If the value of a single Satoshi grows large enough to warrant it, further subdivisions are also possible.

As the network effect matures through growing adoption, the value of each Satoshi grows; therefore, the earlier an individual, business, or nation adopts Bitcoin, the greater will be the long-term benefit they will receive. The incentive is to be an early adopter, and the more valuable a Bitcoin becomes, the greater the incentive to adopt sooner rather than later. This is the game theory that encourages continual adoption and expands the network effect at an exponential rate.

The potential to magnify value over time is also why national governments in the developing world are more likely to be the earlier adopters, while the developed world and international banking class will resist and oppose Bitcoin’s existence and use as long as possible. Bitcoin threatens to up-end the existing economic arrangements – the fiat currency debacle whose sell-by date has arrived, and whose continued use is already causing deep decay and a stench few of us can still ignore.

We won’t arrive at the dawn of the First Turning still using a currency that is not only debased in itself but that, because it is debased, also debases everyone who uses it. Debased units of exchange have the inevitable morally-reprehensible effect of forcing those who use it to become debased. It coerces us to lie and cheat for transactional advantage, to steal what we can either directly or indirectly, and to practice spendthrift ways in order to maximize our purchasing power, which is our ability to survive and thrive.

It is our money that is destroying our values, our principles, our minds, and our souls. Heck, many people no longer even recognize either morality or the human soul, suggesting that those are only convenient self-delusions to hide the naked fact that everything and everyone is only about power: who has it, who doesn’t, and what it allows one person to coerce another to do. And money is power.

I refuse to accept that disgusting dystopia as our future as a species. It’s not what most people think, and it’s not what most people want. Most of us want to be people of integrity and to live lives of compassion and consideration. The money we have official, legal access to incentivizes the worst behavior, and empowers the sociopaths who are willing to embrace it.

It takes a well-educated person to forget their humanity and embrace such anti-human garbage. Thank God I am not so well-educated. I embrace Bitcoin not because I think it’s going to make me rich (although it has significantly improved my financial position over the years), but because it is integral to a new and better tomorrow. It is only a tool, but it is a needed tool that makes possible a ground-up people’s rebellion.

I both think and believe that Bitcoin is a foundation stone of the already-emerging First Turning. It is one ray of light from that better day that is shining back from the future, giving us a glimmer of hopeful light to help sustain us through the growing gloom and soon-arriving night that will end this Fourth Turning nightmare. It can’t come too soon. I want to help bring the end of this and the arrival of that.

Adopting Bitcoin as my personal unit of economic accounting and measure, and supporting its adoption as a transactional money wherever national governments authorize its use, is one way I help this peculiar, gentle revolution; this is a revolution of attraction that grows not by force or diktat, but through the exercise of free choice – which is already a virtue signaling more virtue to come – and advances only on its inherent merits.

If Bitcoin wins, as I believe it will, it wins on its merits, proved in the wilds of the free marketplace. Governments will follow, not lead this movement. Bitcoin puts people back in power, and ensures our sovereignty over the governments we establish to serve our needs, not rule over us.

¡Viva la revolución! ¡Viva Bitcoin!

  • Mon, Jul 12, 2021 - 10:14am

    #2

    Tycer

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 26 2009

    Posts: 279

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    ¡Viva la revolución!

I hope you’re correct. Bravo.

  • Mon, Jul 12, 2021 - 12:50pm

    #3
    TWalker5

    TWalker5

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 13 2020

    Posts: 212

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    ¡Viva la revolución!

Very thoughtful post, as usual for you, VT.  I’ve recently dipped my toes into the Bitcoin pool, primarily just to support it as an alternative to our corrupt fiat currency. I really hope you are correct about it’s place in an upcoming First Turning. However, I must say that I am not optimistic about living to see that day. I can’t quantify this but it appears to me that we have a couple of decades filled with a great deal of suffering before the sun rises on a First Turning.

I am with you in your opinion that the cessation of DaveF’s daily financial posting has been a huge loss for the utility of this site. There is still great information here, and I am indeed quite interested in the latest Scamdemic news, but I greatly miss the coverage of the 3 Es.

  • Mon, Jul 12, 2021 - 01:12pm

    #4

    Quercus bicolor

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 19 2008

    Posts: 1015

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    ¡Viva la revolución!

We won’t arrive at the dawn of the First Turning still using a currency that is not only debased in itself but that, because it is debased, also debases everyone who uses it. Debased units of exchange have the inevitable morally-reprehensible effect of forcing those who use it to become debased. It coerces us to lie and cheat for transactional advantage, to steal what we can either directly or indirectly, and to practice spendthrift ways in order to maximize our purchasing power, which is our ability to survive and thrive.

It is our money that is destroying our values, our principles, our minds, and our souls. Heck, many people no longer even recognize either morality or the human soul, suggesting that those are only convenient self-delusions to hide the naked fact that everything and everyone is only about power: who has it, who doesn’t, and what it allows one person to coerce another to do. And money is power.

I refuse to accept that disgusting dystopia as our future as a species. It’s not what most people think, and it’s not what most people want. Most of us want to be people of integrity and to live lives of compassion and consideration. The money we have official, legal access to incentivizes the worst behavior, and empowers the sociopaths who are willing to embrace it.

It takes a well-educated person to forget their humanity and embrace such anti-human garbage.

I never thought of it that way, VTGothic.  Thank you for that.  Money corrupts everyone by the very nature of how it is designed.

I also miss some of our other discussions. I’d be happy to participate in any discussion that focuses on resilience and building the infrastructure that will help start the first turning when it arrives.

Finally, back in the spring, a number of us were talking about getting together in person.  I know a number of you did that in small groups and at Polyface.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to any event.  That video of Chris and Joel is such a gem.  I wish I was able to make it.  I’m still hoping for a face-to-face meeting at any scale somewhere not too far from my home near Albany, NY.

  • Mon, Jul 12, 2021 - 02:08pm

    #5
    davefairtex

    davefairtex

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    I’ve been working on charts

I do actually have a work-in-progress set of charts my code produces every day.  Quite a few more than I used to provide.  Daily/weekly/monthly, updated every day.  Open interest, COT reports, charts on the various economic indicators I used to track.  All sorts of stuff.

But no framework for a conversation.  Just the charts.  I kinda did it for myself, because I missed my own reports.  But I’m a chart guy.  I’m waiting for Chris to give me a space again – and a mechanism to allow me to upload them automatically.  It is – more than a little tedious – to upload them by hand.  You have no idea.

Anyhow.  Just FYI.

I can’t find the thread, but people have been posting about how the spam filter here is just a little bit “too helpful”.  Maybe Dave could write or modify one that would be more appropriate for our needs.

  • Mon, Jul 12, 2021 - 03:06pm

    #7
    davefairtex

    davefairtex

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    eh

I don’t have any access to the backend of the site.  So I can’t fix this one.  I just have my little server with my database and an end-of-day feed.

 

  • Mon, Jul 12, 2021 - 06:53pm

    #8
    Chuck in Belize

    Chuck in Belize

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    ¡Viva la revolución!

VT, thank you for that. It was thoughtful and very well-written.

I, like most of us here, see the transition going on from Fourth Turning to First Turning.  There’s really little to argue about on that account.  Anyone with a set of eyes can see it. Anyone with a brain can know it.

What I don’t know, and I suspect what most people don’t know, is ‘How long is this tunnel, and when do we get to the Other Side of it.’  I honestly have no idea.

What I can say for sure is that the present era of Money by Fiat will be coming to a close.  Whether money is ultimately Bitcoin, gold, silver, cowrie shells, or glass beads, or parcels of real estate, none of us really knows.  All we can do is follow our best instincts, have some glass beads and cowrie shells, and a bit of gold, a bit of Bitcoin, and some parcels of real estate — and just hope for the best.

I would submit, though, that the common thread through all “turnings” has been a continuity of Human Knowledge, but at the same time a dramatic  re-interpretation of Meaning.  What I am saying is, the distinction between what matters, and what doesn’t matter.

Of all the values we as humans have, I suggest that our Money is not even a close second to our Wisdom — and you can squander either one of these precious things.

We do, certainly, have centuries of Wisdom to draw on.
We have libraries of knowledge, and hope they won’t be burned, as happened in Alexandria (Egypt) some time back.
We have tons of communal experience of what works, and what doesn’t work.

The key reason, in my opinion, that Money even exists at all, is that it is a store of value; a distillation of what a person has produced and not yet consumed; a symbol of things a person has done that others in society have been willing to pay for.
Something that can be used later, when a new Purpose for it arises.

I feel a great kinship with Alice Rosenbaum (Ayn Rand) on the topic of Money.
It is not inherently evil — instead it is an absolute necessity — if we intend to move forward with the surplus we have generated in our lives, and take what we have saved and spend it wisely later.

During this dark and difficult phase of human society, I personally plan to grow, save, and invest as best I can in all forms of Capital.  And I don’t mean just ‘money.’

There are still things that money can’t buy.
There always will be.

Those are things I am crucially interested in.
I think they matter.

— Chuck

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