Please click the link to listen to the 82nd episode of my weekly crypto podcast ‘Five Minute Crypto.’ These are intended to be short, single-topic ramblings on some aspect of the cryptosphere. Comments and critiques welcome.
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Five Minute Crypto – The Bitcoin Hodler Rabbit Hole : A Bitcoin Philosopher Be
To make the best of what is in our power and take the rest as it occurs.
Welcome to Five Minute Crypto, this week examines the innate philosophical component to long term engagement with and reflection upon – Bitcoin.
Somewhere along the line – it all went terribly wrong. Sociability is generally characterized by its focus on the inconsequential. Nice day we’re having, go XYZ team, how are the kids, oh that’s a nice ‘whatever’. Polite conversation has devolved to the level of platitudes. Parties require alcohol because stimulation is unlikely to be found elsewhere. Of course, like minds seek like company. Certainly, it is possible to engage in challenging discussions, but those debates are generally considered inappropriate at broader social gatherings. Paradoxically, the average person has never been more empowered to be informed. We have all the world’s ideas at our fingertips, a mere search away.
As to why this is the case is beyond the scope of today’s episode. Happily, hodling Bitcoin breaks this cycle of much ado about nothing.
Hodling Bitcoin virtually necessitates the cultivation of a philosophical perspective on life. As previously argued in earlier episodes – BTC changes the holder in ways many and profound. One aspect of this transformational experience is the philosophical journey hodling BTC entails. Perhaps first and foremost – hodling BTC leads to a reflection on economic models – Keynesian versus Libertarian and so on. However, the introspection certainly doesn’t stop there.
Foundationally, hodling BTC leads to a re-awakened curiosity re time/money/consumption and death. Our doom escapes none of us but daily life is usually sufficient to put our shared fate aside. We ‘get on with it’. Wonderfully BTC questions the whole concept of a blinkered life – the series of limited low time preference choices we make throughout our lives.
Bitcoin teaches you that time is money and therefore money should be hard – adamantine even. Each day you offer on the altar of work should result in a return that exceeds the cost. Under the current monetary system -your money becomes increasingly worthless over time, as inbuilt inflation and reckless printing relentlessly devalue the fruits of your efforts.
The confluence of an awareness of time the ultimate commodity and hodling BTC leads to a predisposition to reflect on the limited supply of both at hand. Its very model of scarcity mirrors our own finite issuance. Once you really start to reflect on the time component of your life other existential questions are sure to follow. Do I really need this – morphs into why is this even a thing I should desire? Bitcoin prompts a re-examination of the current modes of production, and consumption. Few indeed are the Bitcoiners who conclude that the purpose of hard money is to accumulate even more ‘stuff’.
Hodling BTC isn’t a call to unity -anything but – it is, however, a call to re-evaluate the assumptions that underpin much of modern life. Bitcoin is a quiet rebellion and, in and of itself, it is a driver towards an ongoing process of philosophical introspection and discussion. If BTC is going to change the world – what exactly will or should that change look like? Are we simply observing a change of gatekeepers or are more profound revisions of society a possibility? If so, how do we envision such a transition occurring? Obviously, here’s no one ‘correct’ perspective or path but some philosophical schools seem to align naturally with Bitcoin among them being positivism, existentialism, and in a broad socio-political-economic sense – Libertarianism.
However, Libertarianism alone isn’t sufficient to reflect the complex relationship of Bitcoin to hodler. For that, we need to turn to Stoicism. Three of the 4 stoic virtues align with Bitcoin design and ethos – these being – Wisdom, Justice, and Temperance. Even the fourth – Courage could be argued as a necessary quality of the long-term Bitcoin hodler.
Stoicism with its focus on the individual, personal sovereignty, and controlling that which can be controlled seems an admirable fit with Bitcoin. BTC empowers the individual but also removes the individual’s ability to selfishly interfere with it. Its decentralized structure permits prediction, planning, and certainty re supply and issuance while structurally refusing to bend to the will of the few. You can count on it not to count on you as it were.
A stoic pursues not objects but ideas – BTC’s savage scarcity reinforces a stoic path. The titans of Stoicism offer clear exemplifications of this complementary relationship. Marcus Aurelius an absolute monarch who denied himself the fruits of his power because he grasped the corrupting nature of that power. What is BTC but paradoxically empowering and limiting? Epictetus – a freed slave who observed the slavery of so-called free men. What is modern capitalism but debt-laden drudgery? And Socrates a man who defied identification as an Athenian or a Greek and who viewed himself as simply a man amongst other men – a global citizen. Finally, what is Bitcoin but a global money for all humanity.
Thanks for listening.