Knut Svanholm

@knut.svanholm

Happy 10th Anniversary, Bitcoin’s White Paper!

Ten years has passed since the anonymous programmer known to the world as Satoshi Nakamoto first published “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, the white paper that would spark into existence the world’s first truly scarce currency — Bitcoin. A lot has happened to Bitcoin since then, but the essence of Satoshi’s words live on. As the paper’s introduction reads:

“What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party”

There’s a lot more to this sentence than it seems. What the “without the need for a trusted third party” -part implies is simply mind-blowing when you really wrap your head around it. What it means is the end of corruption. The end of inflation. The end of theft. The end of taxes. The end of nation states. The end of the world as we know it. What comes after is for future generations to discover but trust will from now on be weaved into the system and cheating the public will be a lot harder. Satoshi never mentions Austrian economics or libertarianism in the white paper but it’s right in there if you know how to read between the lines. Maybe he excluded these things on purpose or maybe he hadn’t thought about them, we’ll probably never know. Regardless, Bitcoin evolves on its own as it should and no one on earth can do anything about it, which is precisely what it was designed to do.

No trusted third party means no one can issue bans, impose borders, seize or freeze Bitcoin. Literally no one. National laws do not apply because they cannot be applied. Not really. When you really think about it, any right given to you as a citizen requires that someone took that right away from you at some point in the past. Victimless crimes such as owning stuff is only criminal because someone in the past decided to deem them punishable by law. We all buy in to this narrative in one way or another. Bitcoin breaks this spell. No one can take your Bitcoin. No one can even know how much Bitcoin you own. Ever. If you stored them properly and if you covered your tracks at the on- and off ramps properly you’ve basically turned yourself into a micro nation. In the long run, this is a global game changer of unprecedented proportions. All any person has to do to move his or her entire life savings from and to anywhere in the world is to remember the 24 words of a seed to a Bitcoin address’ private key and there’s nothing any government, bank, hacker or any other criminal can do about it. Bitcoins exist everywhere at the same time so borders aren’t really applicable. Neither are any other monetary policies.

Ten years have passed since the idea was first spawned, since the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle first fell into place, since truly sound money was first invented. Who Satoshi is or was is does not matter nor will it, ever. Bitcoin ten years after the white paper is a very different beast then what was described in it, largely due to Satoshi’s disappearance and whether this is what Satoshi wanted or nor is of little or no importance to the network. Bitcoin can be studied and thought about but it cannot be altered or controlled. As soon as people realize the magnitude of what this means, hyperbitcoinization will inevitably follow. You can either watch this from afar or from within. The choice is yours. Ask yourself where Bitcoin will be in another ten years, two halvings of the block reward later. The current price limbo is probably the best shot at true financial independence you’ll ever get. Don’t miss it!

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