For some reason I tend to be a libertarian magnet. Every time I speak at a Bitcoin event I’m always approached by all the crazy libertarians in the room. In the main, they ask polite questions about where the world of Bitcoin is headed and what the legal landscape might look like in the coming years for Bitcoin. However, there always comes an uncomfortable moment where the question of the Bitcoin ‘movement’ is raised. You know the “Bitcoin is going to bring down governments” and “I use Bitcoin because the government can’t take it from me” comments – if you haven’t heard either of these you haven’t been to enough Bitcoin related events.
I can see why people think I might buy into this view of the world. I’m incredibly bullish on b/Bitcoin. On both fronts, I believe it’ll have a profound impact on the way a number of industries are organised – everything from the law to the way machines interact with each other. However, emphatically, I don’t believe in the ‘movement’.
I don’t think governments will topple (I think they’ll embrace it), I don’t think banks are at risk of being displaced (I think they’ll be the biggest adopters of Bitcoin/blockchain), I don’t think you’ll see it become the world’s reserve currency ( I think it’ll do for internet commerce what Paypal initially did – but at even larger scale).
Put simply, Bitcoin is not a movement. It’s an application stack. To use an oft quoted line (or in internet speak, a meme), it’s the “TCP/IP of value”.
Take solace my libertarian friends, Bitcoin is going to be massive – but just not in a ‘the global financial apocalypse is coming and I’m insulated by owning bitcoin’ kind of way. It’ll be a movement like the internet was a ‘movement’. It’ll functionally change the way we move value in the online age. However, no government will be brought down by the tidal wave of Bitcoin. It’ll simply ride the wave.
So if you see me at a conference or a meetup come over and chat. I love hearing views on where the hell Bitcoin is headed and how it’ll change the world. But just so you know, I don’t think bitcoin is going to bring down ‘our corrupt capitalist governments’ – I just think it’ll redefine how the world transfers value. Hopefully that’s enough of a ‘movement’.