The following dystopian vision of the future was just shared with my by a friend:
…“What is a Citadel?” you might wonder. Well, by the time Bitcoin became worth 1,000 dollar, services began to emerge for the “Bitcoin rich” to protect themselves as well as their wealth. It started with expensive safes, then began to include bodyguards, and today, “earlies” (our term for early adapters), as well as those rich whose wealth survived the “transition” live in isolated gated cities called Citadels, where most work is automated. Most such Citadels are born out of the fortification used to protect places where Bitcoin mining machines are located. The company known as ASICminer to you is known to me as a city where Mr. Friedman rules as a king.
In my world, soon to be your world, most governments no longer exist, as Bitcoin transactions are done anonymously and thus most governments can enforce no taxation on their citizens. Most of the success of Bitcoin is due to the fact that Bitcoin turned out to be an effective method to hide your wealth from the government. Whereas people entering “rogue states” like Luxemberg, Monaco and Liechtenstein were followed by unmanned drones to ensure that governments know who is hiding wealth, no such option was available to stop people from hiding their money in Bitcoin.
You should read the rest of the story. I think it goes pretty thoroughly into a scenario that isn’t discussed enough.
The “Bitcoin Circle Jerk” on reddit.com/r/bitcoin and bitcointalk.org often goes like this like: “imagine how goddamned rich we’ll all be when 1 bitcoin is worth 100, 000 dollars”!
The ugly flip side however, of us all being fabulously rich because we bought a bitcoin once, is that a lot of our friends and family get hideously poor.
Technological disruption always has winners and losers. Bitcoin is a big disruptoin, it has the potential to do to money what the internet did to music, possibly to a much further extent.
Although it’s a very important conversation to have, extrapolations like the story quoted above almost always fail to understand how other factors will mix in. While many foresaw some of the negative consequences of globalization, few people would have foreseen the emergence of the craft movement; including local food, makerspaces, DIY everything, etc.
In the bitcoin community, I’m heartened by the emergence of a culture of generosity. It shows up in the willingness that bitcoin companies have for helping one another. It also shows up in projects like Sean’s Outpost and in the tipping culture created by the reddit bitcoin tip bot and the bitcoin party bot.
I won’t pretend to think that I know where this is all headed. I’m not a prophet, and I’m always skeptical of the pundits who make bold claims about the future.
All I know is that change is coming.
This is why I’ve chosen to engage deeply with bitcoin, and why I’ve started Coin Forest. I’m an optimist, and I want to contribute to building this generosity I’ve seen.
I’d love to think that the progression will be more like this reversal of Hieronymous Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights”.
Frankly, it’s probably somewhere in the middle. But creating a better world requires the optimism to believe it’s possible.
The decision is whether you want to play a part in shaping the outcome or not.