There is a saying among bitcoiners, and it becomes more truthful and apparent as time goes on: You don’t change Bitcoin. Bitcoin changes you.

Why is that? At first, I wasn’t sure how to answer this question; I just knew it was true. The reasons behind it remained somewhat of a mystery to me. Yes, Bitcoin is incredibly resistant to change. And yes, sound money lowers your time preference. That is definitely a large part of it. There is also the historical tendency to get rich, so wealth and the economic freedom that comes with it might be another part.

True Names cover illustration by Bob Walters; Mask and background image by Lucho Poletti

On Identity and Pseudonymity in Cyberspace

First published in Citadel 21, Volume 4.

In 1981, at a time where the internet was in its infancy (and I was just a gleam in my father’s eye), the legendary mathematician, computer scientist, and science-fiction author Vernor Vinge published his prophetic novella True Names. The story unfolds in two realms: the real world (meat space) and the Other Plane (cyberspace). Reading it today, many concepts dreamed up in the book seem neither strange nor far-fetched. For example, spending the better part of your waking hours in cyberspace, a place where most people know you by your pseudonym (and not…

A couple of weeks ago I had the immense pleasure of giving the opening talk at the Value of Bitcoin conference. I would like to revisit some ideas of this talk and maybe dig deeper into some parts. After all, my keynote The Bitcoin Journey was restrained by time: 21 minutes.

Again, I will look at the Bitcoin journey in two parts:

  1. The journey of a bitcoiner
  2. The journey of Bitcoin

A letter to all of you who still have no bitcoin.

I am writing this letter because I am convinced of two things: (1) our current money is fundamentally broken (2) using superior money will benefit you in particular — and society in general — in the long run.

Money is a touchy subject — most people don’t like to talk about it, either because they have little and are ashamed, or because they have lots and are afraid. Even fewer people know anything about the nature of our money, which is quite shocking — after all, money is an essential tool of our civilization.

The world has changed drastically…

Citadel of Exile by Sam Keiser

An optimistic letter to friends and foes around the globe.

The madness of this world became obvious in an instant. Everything is changing way faster than most of us ever imagined — but I’m not worried. To the contrary, I’m weirdly optimistic — because of Bitcoin, and because of you.

You probably don’t know me; I probably don’t know you. And that’s perfectly fine. However, I know some of you — and I believe that I know some of you quite well, even if we have never met or met only briefly. I have read your writings, watched you debate each other, saw the things you’ve built, and listened to…

The world you know and love is no more, even if it isn’t obvious to every one of you just yet. We will look back at this moment in time, the months we are currently living through, the weeks that will mark the line between the pre-virus and the post-virus world. One thing is clear: we are past the inflection point.

“There are decades when nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen.” — Vladimir Lenin*

As the events around the COVID-19 pandemic unfold, the fragility of our global systems becomes painfully obvious. …

How Bitcoin is surviving and thriving between worlds

As I have argued previously, Bitcoin is a living organism. But where does this organism live, exactly? As with many questions in the world of Bitcoin, exact answers are hard to come by. Living things have fuzzy edges: beginnings and endings are hard to pin-point, differentiation is more-or-less arbitrary, and what was classified as a wolf today might evolve to be a dog tomorrow.

Bitcoin has no rigid specification, no absolute finality, no fixed development team, no final security guarantees, no scheduled updates, no central brain, no central vision, no kings, and no rulers. It is a decentralized organism…

How Bitcoin Thrives on the Edge between Order and Chaos

Bitcoin works. No matter what other opinions you hold about this strange phenomenon, it undoubtedly works, marches on, or, as I (and others) have previously argued, is alive. Even if most of the world would grind to a halt, the Bitcoin network would continue to produce valid blocks every 10 minutes or so.

Bitcoin works because of many things: game theory, economic incentives, cryptography, ingenious engineering, resilience on a network level, and so on and so forth. Killing Bitcoin is hard. Really hard. Killing Bitcoin is like killing an idea. …

José is a bitcoiner. Like many others, he discovered bitcoin a couple of years ago and is fascinated by the technology. Unlike many others, however, José lives in a country where the traditional financial system ceased to work: Venezuela.

“It’s almost as if Venezuela was what Satoshi had in mind when he invented bitcoin over a decade ago,” José mused when I talked to him. “A laboratory to test his ideas, if you will.”

A lot of people in Venezuela, as elsewhere, dismiss bitcoin as just another speculative asset. “They don’t understand the nature of this very different beast.”



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