Citadel of Exile by Sam Keiser

Dear Bitcoiners

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.

“Bullish on bitcoiners.” — Matt Odell

Bitcoin’s implications are so far-reaching, the innovation so profound, it boggles the mind. The inter-disciplinary nature of this beast attracts minds from countless areas of expertise: computer science, cryptography, mathematics, physics, economics, finance, trading, engineering, the list goes on and on. Bright minds, extraordinary characters, strong opinions, contrarians, idealists trying to change the world — all those and more make up the loose collective we might call bitcoiners.

Honey Badger Don’t Care

Don’t get me wrong: Bitcoin doesn’t need you; it doesn’t need any of us. It’s incentive systems have a way to make sure that Bitcoin will be fine, even if the set of people working on it and using it changes completely. It will be fine, just as it is now as the whole world grinds to a halt.

“Ask not what bitcoin can do for you, but what you can do for bitcoin.” — Adam Back

If you can contribute by coding, writing, educating, discussing, recording, creating, or simply hodling — great. But make no mistake: Bitcoin is bigger than all of us. And, dare I say it, the current failure of the legacy system is bigger than Bitcoin.

Shill Lightly

As this global pandemic sweeps through the globe, with hundreds of thousands infected, tens of thousands dead, and millions of people out of a job, priorities shift from trivial to existential. While difficult, it is more important than ever to stay humble and shill lightly. It is all too easy to alienate friends and family by offering an enthusiastic Bitcoin lecture every time you sit at the dinner table. While enthusiasm is laudable, I strongly believe that Bitcoin will be understood by everyone as soon as they are ready — be it out of necessity or out of curiosity. Yes, the timeline just got accelerated. But this is still a marathon, not a sprint. And it might be one of many marathons.

“One of the facts of history is that battles do not stay won. Those that matter have to be waged again and again.” — Stanley Knowles

The powers that be will neither step away willingly nor silently. And since the battle for self-sovereignty and freedom is one that matters, it will have to be waged again and again.

Protecting An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Bad actors will continually try to undermine Bitcoin, as they have tried in the past. Unfortunately, we have good reason to believe that this will continue. And, unfortunately, we see the trend of undermining and maiming technology everywhere we look. If we look at the internet, for example, we see various interest groups waging war against net neutrality, politicians introducing nation-wide firewalls, websites geo-blocking content, people getting arbitrarily deplatformed, demonetized, or banned.

“Ideas change the world, but they do it by assuming shape, they do it by taking concrete form.” — Stanley Knowles

While Bitcoin’s form is quite concrete since its inception, it is an abstract, intangible form, making it exceptionally hard to grasp. It will take some time until Bitcoin is as ubiquitous as the internet is now. This time — this window of confusion — will be used and abused by lawmakers and charlatans alike. However, it is also a window of opportunity. An opportunity to sharpen our tools, to prepare for the flood, to ship the future faster than they can ban it.

They Are Always Wrong

Undoubtedly, there are plenty of people who don’t want Bitcoin to succeed. They will do everything in their power to prolong the inevitable. They are wed to the current system, gaining from its inherent imbalance. Some are close to the monetary spigot, or willfully ignorant, or enemies of freedom in general. Others are outright evil, aiming to become the foot that stomps on your face, forever.

“They told us not to wish in the first place, not to aspire, not to try; to be quiet, to play nice, to shoot low and aspire not at all. They are always wrong. Follow your dreams. Make your wishes. Create the future. And above all, believe in yourself.” — Joseph Michael Straczynski

They will continue to tell us that what we are doing is a pipe dream, that what we are aiming for is impossible, that we can’t operate outside of the current systems. They will restrict our freedoms: our freedom to transact, our freedom to save, our freedom to remain private. They will tell us that certain kinds of mathematics and software are illegal. They will continue to justify mass surveillance by trying to sell us the illusion of safety. And they will continue to be wrong.

“There is nothing better to be on a shared mission with extraordinary people who can be radically truthful, and radically transparent with each other.” — Ray Dalio

Stay vigilant. Stay radical. Stay true to yourself. As the world is grinding to a halt, and the fall of Rome becomes more likely than ever, strong characters, sound principles, and truthful conduct are imperative.

Acknowledgments

Translations

Dear World: Open Letters in Anticipation of the Next Era

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store