Bitcoin: The Genesis of a New Way of Understanding the World

Opinion | January 19, 2019 By:

Rodolfo Andragnes of the non-governmental organizationi Bitcoin Argentina asked why, after bitcoin lost 80 percent of its value, there were still enthusiasts and followers of this technology.

10 years after its creation – and despite being accused of dying in countless opportunities by media and pundits around the world – this resilient technology is more solid, active and alive than ever.

During 2018, bitcoin lost 80% of its value compared to December 2017. Today, it is worth a not- inconsiderable $4,000 dollars per unit, and  there are so many fans of this technology that continue to be so enthusiastic. What movie are they watching and what movie do others see?

The look of the short term

The first thing to understand is that in this ecosystem, there are all kinds of participants. But the most abundant and the noisiest are always the speculators.

When we refer to speculators, we do not only refer to traders or those who ultimately invest, but to all those who feed and feed on price information, including traditional news media and ordinary people.

It is easier for the general public to say that the price went up or down by 50% than to talk about the future impact of the evolution of the Lightning Network or SegWit .

The price, although it represents what a market believes of the future potential of an asset, is vitiated by so many other variables, such as FOMO – fear of missing out, and not being left out in an up or down run.

Other members of this group of short-term are the dinosaurs, recognized references of the recipes of yesterday that this technology disrupts or ignores, and that use of their prestige and voice to “kick” against what they are not able to understand.

Among them are several of the entrenched in centralized structures and/or government. It is common for them to take shelter in the regulations and the indestructible status quo. Changes of paradigms are not easy to see or understand, and less to accept.

On the other hand, there are the maximalists of immediacy, those who hope that the promises of bitcoin will be fulfilled “yesterday.” Here, too, are authors who speak of unfulfilled promises, but do not understand that this disruption is a voluntary and collective construction, which requires reflection and input from thousands of qualified people who, instead of focusing on “feeding a price,” focus on building solid foundations. These maximalists do not understand that this change will require fighting, mistakes, collective learning and setbacks, or that the results will appear when time imposes the example and persistence over pre-existing solutions.

Another group, although less orthodox, are the scammers. In this group, there is a whole series of individuals that develop multilevel marketing schemes marketed as linked to bitcoin or its mining. Those who hack bitcoin service providers and those who have developed a plethora of ICOs or dubious alt-coins, all of them seeking their own benefit and abuse of the trust of individuals. But, although their actions collaterally messed up in the minds of the citizens of bitcoin, none of these abuses has really occurred on the bitcoin network. They exist in all industries and do not affect the reality of the project.

Finally, there are some of the service vendors based on “blockchain solutions,” which, in their need to generate income, see in blockchain a new gold gallinita to sell to companies solutions that the technology is not ready to provide, or will probably never provide. Supported by the success of bitcoin when it is on the rise and separating from it when it goes down, they are ready to develop a new model of hybrid or federated blockchain capable of responding to each type of need to the detriment of the values ​​of decentralized trust, resistance to censorship, and open source, all of which make this disruption so valuable.

The evolutionary look

A more correct view is the evolutionary view, this look offers an analysis of several factors associated with the progress and evolution of bitcoin and its environment. A good reference in this regard is Jameson Lopp (@lopp), who recently published a synthesis of interesting statistics .

Among them, we can highlight the impressive growth of solutions that allow a better scalability and promote greater efficiency in the use of the network, such as SegWit, MAST, Schnorr firms, Lightning Network or sidechains; the incessant increase of institutions, formations and academic papers; the increase in investment in crypto and related projects; the growth of tools to provide greater fungibility to currencies; the increase of technical repositories in GitHub; the increase in hashrate (network security); and the increase in trading in countries with weak coins.

Even a curious fact shows the increase in the use of the bitcoin blockchain as a 100% reliable database for the anchoring of data directly or indirectly as the balances traded in other blockchains.

Within this look, serious developers who dedicate their time to improving the infrastructure or developing alternatives in open source, and who throw new ideas toward where this technology could evolve, stand out. Their motivation is not usually economic, but of personal challenge and belonging to something bigger.

On the other hand, for several service providers of the local and international industry, the “lean times” out of the vortex of the moments lived at the end of 2017 allows time and resources to be dedicated to improving and improving their platforms.

The look of the future

Finally there is the look of the true believers (or hodlers). They usually see beyond the price (obviously, that makes them happy and sad like the rest). But although they follow more or less closely the evolutionary advances, they consider that this technology is stone angular of a different and better future. They basically believe that the genie came out of the bottle and that there is no turning back.

In this future, old structures of centralized trust are redefined, privacy is an absolute right, and our information an individual economic asset, wherein consensus is the true source of power, where transparency and open source are the foundations of trust, where the free market promotes efficiency, where distances and geopolitical limits lose relevance and where new tools exist to individually enforce our freedom.

This view believes that bitcoin will not be a replacement for the peso or the digital dollar, but a new type of alternative money that time will prove to be more useful, reliable, efficient, inclusive and fair.

Each unsuccessful attempt to replace, distort, discredit or destroy the project only demonstrates the strength of its community and project, making it more real and resilient.

About the NGO Bitcoin Argentina

This non-profit civil association has since 2013 helped to understand and take advantage of the disruptive potential of this technology, with a focus on the general society, business, and government through training, debates, meetings, conferences and consultancies. It is also part of a brand new international collective called the Ibero-American Blockchain Alliance.

Founder of the NGO Bitcoin Argentina, the Coworking Espacio Bitcoin, the LABITCONF Conferences and the Blockchain Iberoamerica Alliance. 

This story was originally published in Spanish at Cripto247