I tried to summarize the topic in a book form but since the final result is too technical despite my efforts, and won't have an audience in the public who isn't holding BCH, I decided to post it on Satoshiwall ($2.08, nearly 40k words) instead, with the two first parts readable to all:
If governments can't crack encryption, then people are walking around "with a Swiss bank account in their pocket. - President Barack Obama
In 2009, an anonymous person or group of persons using the handle Satoshi Nakamoto released the first implementation of the software running the Bitcoin network, which was recognized as early as 2011 as a potential unprecedented black swan event for the financial institutions and for the old power structures - from authoritarian regimes to liberal democracies. As such, never before in the history of the modern state, so much was at stake was threatened by so few.
This complex topic which involves computer science, economics, and politics, but to simplify things we’ll try to rely on as little prior knowledge as possible.
The most certain assertion, an inevitability, is that huge efforts would be made to stop Bitcoin from becoming widespread for the purpose it was invented for and great human and monetary resources would be invested in stopping it. Before we delve deeper into the subject matter, it should be noted it isn’t our primary concern to answer the economical question of whether deflationary assets are better money or the philosophical question of who has the right to control money. Our goal is understanding how Bitcoin was effectively seized years ago without the public knowledge, and examining why and how it happened. The perfect crime, the paradox, fits here perfectly.
Until someone from the private corporations which we’ll discuss which are involved with Bitcoin comes forth and confirms the conclusions of this book there’ll be no single evidence, but that’s unnecessary when everything combined is the smoking gun. It’s hard to see the forest among the trees, but connecting the dots and understanding what the “forest” looks like is where the ingenuity lies. Bitcoin wasn’t attacked directly, but hijacked at the helm, with the captain announcing. For some of the passengers, something is out of place, but such a feeling isn’t easy to substantiate with facts since everyone seems complacent. Once we’ll see how small the odds things unfolded as they did by chance were, and considering interests which lay with fiat will do everything in their power to stop Bitcoin, we’ll see in the least to be on the safe side it’s worth sounding the alarm. The choices made by the leading development teams, all are employed by sources with questionable motives, point at them working towards the explanation we present here, all leading to Bitcoin’s demise as a coin and perhaps as an idea, and make the explanation we present here is highly likely based on the probabilities things ended up as they did. It’s much easier to accept a single excuse in a series of excuses as valid but when examining the forest made by the trees the picture gets clearer, and a “systematic error” is revealed, and that’s our main goal to shed light and reveal the plan shrouded in misleading misinformation for years. Nothing presented here is secret, but it seems rarely the “dots are connected”, out of interests, for profit, or out of spite for what some see as a “missed train” which they can’t take part in again anyway.
On the surface Bitcoin is doing great, or half as great as it’s all time high if to judge by the price. Beneath the surface, the underlying asset is quite different than it was in 2013 when it started to attract public attention. As it proved, they can’t kill Bitcoin entirely, but they can greatly reduce its disruptive aspects to minimize its threat in a way that makes it so pointless it’ll certainly be irrelevant within a few years.
To make it short, Bitcoin is dead.
Before we go further, we have to ask why is Bitcoin beneficial for society at all? What’s bad with the central bank issued money we are using current? Bitcoin moves the power away from someone else deciding for the citizen back to him, which is hard for us to grasp as something desirable or as an even a choice at all. There are no free meals, and someone will have to pay for the roads we drive on, but this tech could in theory make a large number of the middlemen who are taking a cut from our money without providing something in return - obsolete. These middlemen aren’t always even liable for what they’re doing despite having huge power in their hands.
A brief history of money: First money was invented, and allowed for a much greater efficiency in trade. Then came financial institutions and added new ways of raising capital and optimizing risk and reward. Then came Bitcoin, which for the first time in history gave individuals an empowering tool allowing them to set their own terms on their finances, and liberating them from a system which let them use money and financial products only on a 3rd party’s terms which had the power to manipulate the supply of money against their will, sets extortion fees, as well as forming cartels with the institutions that are built around money, and cooking the books.
For the first time since Government issued banknotes began to be used in 11th century China, fiat money issued by a centralized authority is subject to competition, and since competition gives the free market an edge, suppressing Bitcoin is equivalent to central planning authoritarianism. Fighting Bitcoin goes against the people’s freedom to engage in financial activity as they choose and some argue the right to use it is protected by the freedom of speech. So it’s not only a question of what’s better money, but whether citizens have the right to choose for themselves what form of money serves their purposes the best.
Bitcoin, or cryptucurrencies in general, can do more than just implement decentralized money. If you can express it algorithmically as a sequence of calculations - it probably could be done in crypto, and traditional fiat will eventually have to adapt to such competition. That’s why crypto isn’t only here to stay, it will change and and coexist with fiat, so it’s not a question of if but which cryptocurrency will be the one with widespread acceptance. Going from fiat to crypto adds unnecessary cumbersome friction, and there’s no infrastructure, no legal nor technical in the form of apps which will make it easy and safe to use for the average user.
Theoretically, the coin which will prove resilient could be any decentralized coin, or perhaps multiple cryptocurrencies without any single one gaining dominance over the other. People may one day choose to use wallets which will be compatible with a basket of coins of the user’s choice, some of which will be tokens representing real assets like gold, and some will be cryptoassets tied to real assets, e.g. DAI which is pegged to the USD, and some cryptocommodities, like Ethereum. These pegged cryptoassets could eventually be sent while being agnostic to the peg on receiver’s end, e.g. paying a value set in USD from a customer keeping a peg to the gold price, while the merchant keeping a peg to the Yen. That way users could protect themselves from wild volatility, inflation, and even hedge with stocks with low fees in the same time, and more, in the meanwhile achieving higher market efficiency than is possible today. Corporations and central banks have already recognized that potential and begun working on their own cryptocurrencies which will enjoy protectionism on behalf of the current financial and the ruling elite (see China’s plan to replace M0, cash in circulation, and Facebook’s real asset-backed crypto, “Libra”), which is in fear of losing their influence on the monetary and financial system, until then everything will be done to stall decentralized crypto. To understand the new unexpected landscape when Bitcoin first appeared it’s important to remember how primitive the financial system was in 2009 when BTC was first released to the public, which suddenly allowed for anyone to send money anywhere in the world for a penny from the mobile phones in their pockets. Defi was almost non-existent 10 years ago. No bank had anything which could compete with that imagine the 2008 bailout in a world of cryptoassets out of the reach of anyone but the owners, the banks would have defaulted and fragility would have decreased naturally by market forces. Therefore it’s important to make the distinction between the future centralized cryptocurrencies, and the ones like Bitcoin which is permissionless, act according to predefined rules, and isn’t controlled by any single actor who could use his power to manipulate and overrule people’s financial decisions nullifying any edge over the current system. In other words, even if the government or corporations’ private cryptocurrencies will replace the current traditional fiat system, it would only be better technologically saving on costs, mainly by cheap fees and immediate settlement, but have few of the truly revolutionary advantages real cryptocurrencies have - the advantage of not being given to the desires and whims of any single actor having power in the system without being elected. In Bitcoin, the protocol was meant to be the law.
There are many advantages to crypto over conventional fiat:
Forced inflation is only one of several fundamental issues with the current monetary system. If central banks would just print money to cover debt, there would be hyperinflation. But what seems to happen instead, the financial system has repeated weird hiccups. In mid 2019, there was a sudden increase in overnight lending needs for banks. The games that banks play have been much more refined since the days of hyperinflation so the system doesn’t fail globally at once and central banks are like masterful string pullers now: They have various measures available to both destroy and create currency in various places of the economy to steer it into a certain direction. And if they play it well, they can steer the market as they like (and indirectly shift value into their own pockets). Within limits, of course. If Bitcoin is successful, it is because it has drastically lowered those limits. At the same time these games clash with the simple expectation of what money is and is supposed to, which is common to most humans and has been simplified / purified / abstracted and of which Bitcoin is the closest realization yet. Central banks and the financial institutions have built themselves an amazingly well-working system to extract value into their own pockets and it has worked for quite a while. But these clashes, which become more and more frequent recently due to the inter-connectivity, are the signs of the expectation of money vs. the central bank (social-)engineering colliding more and more. It almost seems as if the fate of the central banks of this world is not to end up in a hyperinflation, but rather being routed around by all market participants eventually. In the meantime, they are creating a huge amount of collateral damage, such as making owning housing out of reach for many. Banks control the supply and the velocity of money now since it's almost all electronic and the supply is held in financial institutions' computers, so the inflation is kept at bay by them using “wash trading” deflating the supply with out-of-air financial activity to counter it.
The future cashless society:
Many countries are pacing fast towards a cashless society. In a world with no cash, the poor, the homeless people, small retailers, charity workers, casual workers getting paid in cash would suffer the most from it.
Cash theft: in a society in which crypto is properly implemented the problem of physical cash theft would be eliminated.
Tax evasion: the current system is biased in favor of huge corporations. Recent investigations show that in total $2.6 trillion in profits is held offshore by the US Fortune 500 companies! This is achieved by abusing loopholes when using foreign countries. Bermuda Ireland Luxemburg and the Netherlands account for 63% of all profits from American multinational companies. E.g. between 2008 and 2015, Apple earned $605B in revenue and paid only 5.8% in foreign tax and returned nothing in the US taxes.
Banks are the biggest money launderers: A recent study conducted in the UK focusing on money laundering revealing that regulated banks and accounting firms were the two biggest facilitators of illegal transfer of funding. More than cash, a lot more than casinos and cryptocurrencies. Banks are almost twice as likely to be involved in money laundering than all money laundered in cash. If we’re going to cite unlawful transactions as a rationale for banning cash, it only makes sense to ban banks and accounting firms first.
In the cashless society people will have no longer custody of their money. All that will be remained to them would be a mere claim that a number on their account balance belongs to them. In Greece during the debt crisis in 2015, banks imposed a nationwide limit on cash withdrawals to 60 Euro a day essentially preventing people from accessing their savings. In such a system the banks will have full control, there will be no way but to accept their service on their terms. These service providers could ban clients for speech or political position.
The cashless society will also enable charging negative interest rates. People will pay interest for not spending their life savings.
Without cryptocurrency, a cashless society is an Orwellian surveillance society. In this day and age privacy seems to be the right that’s given up on first. Anonymity will be a thing of the past in an unprecedented way since the time smart phones became widespread, since cash is one of the few last niches in life where people still have privacy.
Macro engineer behavior the planning of the behavior of the public by deciding how they can spend money will be a new tool at the hands of authoritarian states.
But the most important aspect of Bitcoin is the separation of money and state.
Slowly the liberty of owning our own money is being taken away from us.
Shapeshift CEO Erik Voorhees explained how we all learned 100 years ago about the separation of church and state. At the time humans realized the practice was immoral and he with the state currently having control over money the system today, it is rotten to the core. The state could tell you what to worship and how, when and why somehow, society realized perhaps that it was unethical that we shouldn’t permit control of something so personal and important to your life to be controlled by the state. Money is absolutely as fundamental to our lives as religion, and so, to have an institution like money so controlled by a central entity by a monopoly is absurd.
The crux of this debate is whether open money is a greater benefit to the world than closed money which enables the nation states to regulate and censor money in order to exert control or to plan the economy. For example, nation states typically impose economic sanctions before going to war. The sanctions themselves are often more harmful than war, because people starve and economies collapse, but they could also have the desirable effect. Economic sanctions are probably more effective when the adversaries are more symmetrical in power, because people typically don't starve as much, and it's a lot more dangerous when two real powers go into a hot war.
In the free world, nation states also use censorable money to prevent money laundering and terrorism, some of it ends up being an arguably effective tool for law enforcement, but at the cost of economic friction and a lot of false positives, which end up hurting innocent people.
The broader debate needs to be centralized money vs. open (decentralized) money and if money itself should be used as a tool for state power and law enforcement. Open money can’t fit into the framework of central bank issued currency, which is why we see people like Nouriel Roubini "debating" from an anti-cryptocurrencies position, and companies like Blockstream sabotaging cryptocurrencies that start to show signs of adoption.
It’s hard to predict where this will pan out. Nation states aren’t expected to let open money coexist alongside fiat, unless open money starts to be used as a significant percentage of trade. In every likelihood on the long road to widespread crypto they will a) fight adoption tooth and nail through every means at their disposal, and eventually b) outlaw it entirely - two countries with the largest population in the world, India and China, one already outlawed owning it, the other outlawed exchanging it.
Short of a global societal breakdown, current powers won’t be letting crypto usurp fiat. The best outcome if probably if crypto can be adopted as money in pockets/certain countries around the world, and then those countries succeed because of lower friction economies, as happens today in Russia where a few merchants use crypto to bypass trade restrictions with China.
We have seen a lot of the playbook already. “The powers that be” have been intervening in Bitcoin since at least 2011-2012, and knew about it in 2010.
Their game plan was to quickly introduce chokepoints at exchanges and use blockchain surveillance companies for non-obfuscated crypto. It's almost certain they back projects like Blockstream and Lightning Labs, to throw "sand in the gears" against cryptocurrency’s use case as money. The disinformation campaign against crypto as money has been intense and extremely well funded as well. It’s impossible to know for certain but when weighing everything we know about the sphere, the prices of the major cryptocurrencies are likely rigged and manipulated to shake out retail buyers, and keep the controlled cryptocurrencies on top. This price manipulation is a powerful deterrent to adoption as money, because what merchant is going to accept the #15 or #5 cryptocurrency when the #1 cryptocurrency (in terms of market cap) doesn't function at scale, and its maintaining developers go out of their way to highlight that fact (although we know they sabotaged it)?
They will continue the narrative manipulation online/psyops, and continue to sabotage cryptocurrencies using "companies" like Blockstream, nChain, and (possibly) the newest one, "Emergent Coding".
The effect of this will be to divide the community. The people who sit on the side of "law and order" and buy into the mainstream media narrative can probably continue to speculate on digital coins with impunity. The people who want to use crypto as money, however? They will be on the wrong side of the line. Eventually the "War on Crypto" has to mean the criminalization of using it for trade without KYC. We can probably guess the timing of the next major currency collapse based on the intensity with which the "War on Crypto" heats up.
Money is only the beginning, the use cases include:
In blockchain the dapps which can be imagined include decentralized markets for matching buyers and sellers could be implemented for general purpose, so AirBnB and Uber could be made decentralized where buyers and sellers meet directly without a middlemen taking a cut, thus increasing as a result efficiency in the market as a whole and fighting inequality - a problem in the current system many economists warn of. Complex functionality could be achieved using smart contracts.
Another use case is solving the problem of royalties payment without trust, implementing general item tracking at almost zero cost, and the holy grail of smart contracts, the digital autonomous organization, DAO, which makes it possible to run a “corporation” directly by the stake holders voting for the details of how it’s running is probably still far away from realization because of the number of challenges that have to be overcome before a truly decentralized corporation could run autonomously. In the meantime, less fancy voluntary organizations could be used.
Smart contracts could be used to “flow” money around in a automated manner, like a personal broker assistant, instead of “parking” money in a checking account, while watching for liquidity necessary for covering bills, increasingly come at various days of the month the money available could be leveraged in low risk/low reward investments and have the checking account “pull” money back only exactly when it’s needed. Basically that will be recreating what banks used to do which is pay interest on savings.
Fighting control of the media by the digital giants is another application with huge social impact. Not only the Chinese government, but western web giants like YouTube employ overreaching censorship. In a future decentralized Web3 where information and money will be transferred freely around the world the restraints over the media will be removed allowing for greater freedom and equality in business and communication. Some projects are already building decentralized VPN’s that could help to solve a small piece of that puzzle.
The next generation of apps could be dapps, which aren’t running on old model of the “bare bone” Internet and a centralized operator providing a server connecting users and providing data etc., but work on an abstract layer of operations independent of the solution provider, and run by paying micro-fees, perhaps paid for by ads so the user won’t have to pay anything, following the current business model. Decentralized open dapps could include instant automatic direct lending, reputation system, distributed hosting, p2p encrypted messaging, hedging of digital assets, future contracts, proof of coin ownership, notarization, all in the user’s pocket anywhere in the world. Proof of ownership could mark a new age in managing by voting with money for shares in corporations, a collateral for a general "proof of seriousness" could kick start a new kind of DeFi economy that alone could change the way society behaves a world in which words will be backed by coins and being wrong will come at a price.
Complex financial products could be formed. For example, cryptocurrencies pegged to the CPI. Also a completely new form of monetary policy could emerge by creating future contracts tokens which will track real indexes of assets and coins, allowing speculating on more general metrics like utility, not just on the "price" which only represents general demand. For the first time programmers will become central banks and be able to shape the market with their code - similarly to how the technical ability to do a futures market influences a commodity price, futures market of metrics could cause a feedback loop between metrics and the contract helping to effect the value of the underlying asset through linking the future price to the actual real world metric.
More use cases:
More use cases: data markets. Individuals could sell information to hedge funds rather than trade individual assets which are only partly affected by the info, so that for example a new breakthrough which affects many unrelated products could be traded separately from the wide range of assets affected by it.
A special form of data market could be created which utilizes a cryptographic technique called zero-knowledge proofs which will allow selling user data without giving away the unique fingerprint of the users. A new application could be created which will use users’ data such as key word searches, location, sites visited, contacts, pay the user micro-fees for each action while not giving away his privacy in exchange for his personal data, thus being able to compete directly with Google which is a data service monopoly middleman, using a true free distributed alternative (it’s hard to think of a more both democratic and free market application of distributed permissionless cryptocurrencies aside from a currency).
Crypto could revolutionize media consumption by using pay-per-minute streaming.
Subscription services could be implemented as smart contracts in which the service providers can't cheat the clients and provide them services they didn't ask for. Linking money with contracts will make the subscription hard coded in the payment as a contract.
It could facilitate a whole new legal branch by making a new breed of negotiations for reaching settlements which isn’t possible so far, one in which no matter what agreement is reached, all of the agreed conditions must be fulfilled by all sides in the final outcome.
All of the above use cases are still possible in permissioned centralized blockchains and aren’t attacked themselves, it’s the public permissionless blockchains themselves which are attacked and will be attacked to prevent them from circumventing a middleman the point which allows for controlling how the application is used.
The most impact on the world has the original use it crypto was created for: money. The 2008 bailout couldn’t have happened in an economy based on decentralized permissionless coins if the banks owe money the money can’t be taken out of taxpayers’ pockets without their permission. The importance of this can’t be overstressed.
Bitcoin isn’t anti-government. Bitcoin sees any attempt to intervene with its ledger, the blockchain, as trying to cheat with its temper proof mechanism (as we shall see BTC failed because the people using the software were successfully convinced to run a different version which fundamentally changes it), similarly to the way the Internet (IP) sees censorship as a malfunction in the network. It was designed to be agnostic of governments.
As a side effect of Bitcoin, governments risk losing their ability to force policy without control over money flow and monetary policy.
The manipulation in the space is harmful because it goes against decentralization. In the future, citizenship itself could be individually based instead of territorially, and it’s not hard to see why the current system would want to try to delay that. The breakthrough which allows true decentralization implies the obsoleteness for the current centralized power structures.
On the other side of this, a valid argument is governments as issuers of money are a sort of a “necessary evil”. By its very nature it’s violent, but by having a monopoly over violence it may overall help the average individual by also concentrating force in a single body instead of several bodies. It’s still early to tell how technology will shift the balance.
The idea of liberty isn’t an abstraction, people think and behave differently when they know their speech and actions can be monitored in today’s digital world. Regardless, the USA started as the freest most liberal country in the world. It won’t be an exaggeration to say the USA was the first country in the world which was created for the sole purpose of promising liberties to its citizens. The idea of Bitcoin is also based on a value, not only economics, and values can’t be argued with, since they’re core beliefs people hold dearly and are willing to pay a price for. Bitcoin is also generally freedom of speech.
Lastly, in many parts of the world, Bitcoin is one of the best tools for fighting oppressive regimes, as well as protecting privacy, which is a basic human right - what people do in their own homes with their own bodies and their own minds is their own prerogative.
The rest is behind a paywall: