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What if the real gains are the friends we make along the way?
They are. Bitcoin is a social network - and ownership comes with responsibility. This is only the beginning of a long, long journey. And recent events show this.
Sure, I know. Publishing an article with this title under the current circumstances is opening me up to ridicule. But whatever, I’ve been working on this one since long before FTX collapsed.
It's been a wild ride since I started doing Bitcoin full time almost a year ago.
I run a YouTube-Channel, a German podcast, this newsletter. I act as an expert for Austrian television and other media outlets. Soon I'll be adding audio-only podcasts here on Substack as well. Why? Because I can.
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Thank you, now back to the story…
I had the chance to sit down with the likes of Jeff Booth, Greg Foss and Izabella Kaminska over the last few months. I've been to six different conferences to talk Bitcoin only: Alpbach (Tyrol), Switzerland, Riga, Innsbruck (Tyrol again?!), Amsterdam and Bulgaria.
And I will share an insight today, that might be obvious - but its implications are magnificent nonetheless.
Bitcoin is a social network!
This is what I talked about in my talk in Bulgaria, where I had the honour to warm up the crowd for the one and only Knut Svanholm :)
I had a blast talking to Bitcoiners who came from all over to Sofia. Also, being from Vienna, I have a soft spot for Eastern Europe in general. The people of the former Sovjet republics have seen where communism and collectivism leads us. They know.
Now, if you read my newsletter, you know that I can geek out on monetary history and geopolitics for hours. But since I get to spend so much time around Bitcoiners, I've become fascinated by the human side of this story.
fter all, what if the real gains where the friends we made along the way?
Money, even if it is the most perfect money in the history of mankind, is still just a thing. By its very nature it's useless as long as you don't use it.
Sure, it gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. Knowing you have some savings for a rainy day is better than knowing you couldn't afford a new washing machine if the current one broke.
But we have a saying in German: "Eigentum verpflichtet." This literally translates to: "ownership obliges". Or: “Ownership comes with responsibility.” (One of those rare instances where German is more concise than English.)
And anyone who owns a bit more stuff/money/etc. than the rest of us will know what that means. There is a certain obligation to yourself and the world to use your capital and property wisely. To help those in need. To participate and contribute.
And we need the social network of Bitcoin to rediscover these ideals. Because owning Bitcoin comes with responsibility as well. Lots of it.
The Germans even have a law for this (of course they do)
The idea goes back to the stoics (who are a big hit with Bitcoiners, wonder why?). But it has played a role in European religion ever since and has even made it into the constitution of Germany, the "Grundgesetz".
Article 14, paragraph 2: "Ownership obliges. At the same time, its use should serve the public good."
Stoic philosophers came up with two important principles centuries ago.
1.) Every individual is the natural and rightful owner of at least one thing - himself or herself.
2.) Human nature drives individuals to acquire private property and interact with each other as owners.
Obviously, the Austrian Economists where big on human nature much later.
But even Cicero wrote owners should "focus on the common benefit and create the bond of togetherness among people through mutual services, give and take, furthermore through expertise, assistance and material means."
The three steps of becoming a Bitcoiner
Now, some will cry SOCIALISM.
But if you look closely, we're talking about the exact opposite. Socialism in its various forms has eroded the respect of private ownership - but also the idea to use what you own for the benefit of all.
Who is going to think about others after the state already took 50 percent or more of what you earned. Aren't "others" taken care of by this state, that is so rich?
Well, yes and no. Even here in Austria, where taxes are sky high and the state does take care of almost everything and everyone, we still have poverty. And the problem is actually growing as the fiat based social system crumbles.
This is why the social network of Bitcoin is so important.
First, you're glad to find other people that think and act like you do.
Second, you realise that these are longterm people that you can make longterm plans with.
Third, you see that you and your new friends now share a responsibility.
And it doesn't matter if you own 1000 Bitcoin or 0.1 - you will feel the responsibility of ownership.
What happens next? You decide!
Fixing the money is not about getting rich. It's about bringing about a system that is fair to the people not even born yet. The 18 year olds of 2060 who want to start a business and get payed in a money that respects their time.
As Bitcoin grows, the social network will grow. And the "attitude" of Bitcoiners will matter more and more. This has already started.
In this crazy world, the calmness, optimism and confidence that Bitcoiners radiate, will act like a magnet to many people.
But it's up to us what happens next.
This is just the beginning of a long, long journey.
This post is sponsored by…
21bitcoin - The easy way to buy, sell, save and send Bitcoin.
21bitcoin is a Bitcoin-only app, not an exchange. No distraction, individual savings plan, very low fees, first class personal support, and a German bank account. Based in the Austrian Alps, available throughout Europe. Download now.
Use code “FIXTHEMONEY” to get up to 20% off your fees :)
Not your keys, not your coins! You need a hardware wallet. Check out the Bitbox02 - Swiss made, secure, beautiful, open source, Tor support, Bitcoin only and all around awesome!
Use code “FIXTHEMONEY” to get 5% off :)