Bitcoin is Not a Honey Badger
I've been sitting on a version of this for 8 months. I don't name enough names…but let's play fill in the blanks.
You first discover bitcoin!
You saw that Wikileaks accepts it. Nice, we can circumvent censorship!
You discovered it through the Silk Road! Utility, pseodo-anonimity! Freedom of commerce!
You saw that the Winklevoss twins like it! You’re a douchebag!
Stage 1: Can't See the Trees for the Forest
So now you’re standing there, looking at this forest, overwhelmed. Is this forest’s main use lumber? Or is it a valuable ecosystem? Is it just a better currency or is it the new internet? It’s so vast you cannot comprehend it. You’re on the outskirts, so you can’t see any individual detail. All you see is a beautiful unified foreign entity. Now you have a choice; you go back to playing DOTA, or drinking a bottle of vermouth, or re-carpeting your apartment…or you don’t sleep because bitcoin research.
Stage 2: Can't See The Forest for the Trees
You decide to venture into the forest. Now you have a different problem…you’re too close to it. You begin to see it as individual trees. You’re overwhelmed in a new way. If you’re technical you become naïve. If you’re political, you become radical. If you’re both, you become everyone’s enemy. Then you make a decision; to exit, to stay where you are, or to venture deeper. Let’s say you venture deeper because this video needs to be longer.
Stage 3: The Climb
You find a low branch and start climbing. You want to be on the fringes of innovation so you begin a startup. You want to be shut down, so you start an exchange. You want 100 people to hear you, so you blog. You want your bitcoin opinions screened and you want to be paid in fiat, so you write for Coindesk. You want to go to fancy parties, fuck other bitcoiners, catch a glimpse of Gavin Andresen as he struggles to mop up bitcoin with his limp wrists, and above all, you want to hear the sound of dicks being sucked as men trying to be boys ego pitch their useless ideas to useless investors, so you go to every bitcoin conference.
After a while, if you’re attentive, you start to notice the imperfections. You see the ants, the parasites, the weasels. You notice the lies, the scams, the hero worship, the egotism. You see the rot coming up from the inside. You realize that bitcoin has severe social, political and technical issues. You see that bitcoin is not a honey badger. Suddenly btc isn’t just fun and exciting; it’s complex and uncertain. At this point you probably decide to practice cognitive dissonance and stay in your comfort zone. You probably decide that it will be fine because any concerns raised can be sterilized with a reddit post. But a few of us quit.
Stage 4: The Ascent
The rest become disenfranchised but keep climbing because we refuse to let go. So we look down and we see the wolves circling beneath us and the hawks circling above us. Both outside entities like Governments, and inside entities like those that mine, innovate and pay the core devs, can mould btc to their own agendas. We see that btc is at risk of falling prey to the influence from corporate and gov powers, sure because of money, but mostly, because of unwarranted trust. Mostly because we are scared shitless of anything new and different.
We notice something odd. For something so new and different, there sure are a lot of Foundations, Associations…Alliances. We think, why are we having centralized powers discuss bitcoin decentralization? Why do we crave these titles? Why are we appropriating bitcoin into the same functionalities that have historically corrupted everything? You wonder, how helpful can these entities of self granted authority be if they spend more time meeting about missed meetings than adding value to this tech…Why do we trust them when they can’t even give us the courtesy of being transparent after claiming that they are? It’s like Peter Thiel pretending to be a libertarian while investing in Palantir…If you’re going to slither, don’t pretend to be a rattle snake, it’s unbecoming.
*No one should be excited about 21 Inc.
Stage 5: The Top
Let me know how it looks from up there, contact info below. I’m still on stage 4. I feel that the best things are never achieved easily, so I’ll stick around. I think BTC will succeed, I just don’t know for who and in what form. I adore this tech. I adore many of the people and companies involved. And most of all, I adore the naive newcomers because that was me, and their fresh enthusiasm is just as important as jaded concern.
None of the things mentioned have yet had a clear negative effect on bitcoin. And it’s possible that many of these entities are severely incompetent, masters of writing proposals and statements, yet unprepared to execute anything.
Comparatively, bitcoin is still the most innovative, most morally pure, and possibly the most freeing tech since the internet, so I’d really hate to see it absorbed and refurbished by the factory of the same.