Knut Svanholm

@knut.svanholm

Brain Wallets

A downloadable patch for the human brain was released about nine years ago and remarkably few of us have upgraded our systems yet. After you’ve downloaded the patch your brain now stores money. The patch requires you to grasp the concept of a Bitcoin but once you do you can start trading with anyone on the planet, including those that haven’t yet downloaded the patch, using only your brain. It is truly a superpower. When everyone starts using it things will change drastically. In a hostage situation for instance, anyone with a sum of money in his brain will be worth more alive than dead. Luckily, most of us won’t ever be in a hostage situation but this has far more implications than that. Imagine a population where every citizen’s brain holds a key to a Bitcoin wallet. Just the prospect of finding something of significant value in one or more of these brains would make that entire nation virtually impervious to war.

It is important to remember that this is not some vision of the future. This is now. Pandora’s box has already been opened and there is nothing you, nor anyone else, can do about it. People often blame their reluctance to get into Bitcoin on the risks involved in doing so. Few realize that they’re exposing themselves to an even greater risk by not owning any Bitcoin. Bitcoin makes taxation a lot harder. With further upgrades to the protocol and more anonymity comes even greater challenges to the taxman. In our current system, taxing money that at one point or another went through a bank is easy. All the numbers are there, ripe for harvest. Now imagine a society where no one knows who owns what in which there’s no way of getting such information, not even by force. When people hear about this for the first time they often respond with an opinion about it. “It will never work because…” or “I don’t think that…” or “They will never allow that because…” are common phrases. They think that Bitcoin can be controlled. That it’s just a matter of time before someone does something about it. They’re wrong.

The question is not what regulators can and should do about Bitcoin but what you can and should do about regulation. What the law in says about a certain behavior in a certain jurisdiction is one thing, what constitutes a moral code of conduct is another. Despite the plethora of opinions about it, we now live in a world where anyone can opt out of any political or regulatory system as long as they have a sufficiently large brain and an internet connection. Perhaps the inherited inertia of human progress is the only thing that’s keeping the current political house of cards from collapsing. Should this be the case, the risks entailed by not owning any Bitcoin would soon dwarf those entailed by holding some.

In some sense, brains have always been wallets since they’ve always had the capacity to store valuable information. What constitutes valuable information though, has always been very subjective. That is until the invention of the consensus rules. Until Bitcoin. Until now.

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