[heading]Bitcoin: The End Of The Money Taboo?[/heading]
“The most powerful forces, those that interest us the most, are not in a specular and negative relation to modernity, to the contrary they move on transversal trajectories. On this basis we shouldn’t conclude that they oppose everything that is modern and rational, but that are engaged in creating new forms of rationality and new forms of liberation.” – Negri and Hardt, 2010, “Commonwealth”
Bitcoin represents “the end of the taboo on money,” as Denis Roio wrote in an academic paper. Because fiat money is associated with greed, war and estrangement, it has gained a bad reputation. But, with society’s curiousity in bitcoin, they will learn that a thing like money cannot be itself nefarious. It is merely a medium. Bitcoin, the US dollar, all forms of money, are merely mediums. Humans use it towards certain ends. But they cannot use themselves towards certain ends, good or bad.
In his essay, Roio highlights two memorable events in the history bitcoin he sees as important. The first is the January 2011 financial blockade of bitcoin. Later that year, on May 9, Forbes published its first article on bitcoin, marking a certain turning point. In June of that year bitcoin broke all previous records by trading around $30 for a short time before crashing. Interest in the digital currency was at an all-time high, as Google Trends makes clear. But, why are people so interested in bitcoin?
THE LIBERATION OF VALUE EXCHANGE
Bitcoin is the liberation of the medium of value exchange. Bitcoin marks a significant turning point in world history, a sub-chapter of the Great Awakening made possible by information exchange on the internet.
Bitcoin leads individuals to think of new ethical horizons, new possibilities for their own personal happiness, and most everyone basks in the mystery surrounding its origin and the exotic-ness of its implications. You’ll recall that Time Magazine referred to bitcoin as the “Cayman Islands” on a laptop. A new, futuristic offshore safehaven.
Decentralization is coming to mean liberation for the millennial generation, and in fact all individuals sensitive to the true global geopolitical and social climate. In this way, bitcoin poses ethical questions about the individual’s ability to disintermediate themselves from modern ways of doing business and taxes. Disintermediation is a desire that virtually all people on all continents desire, practical means simply have not been made available until recently. It means to exit from the dominant ways of doing things, generally applying mainly to the banking systems and traditional modes of modern finance.
There’s no question that bitcoin poses an opportunity to challenge the banking cartel’s monopoly on virtual all forms of transactions.
Money is power. This is something we hear often. Historically, money has “dealt with the grammar of power.” It is the establishment of a sovereign space. Bitcoin works similarly. It sets precedent for “the way the digital becomes tangible, a role with highly disruptive potential.” The iconography of the movement demonstrates its non-allegiance to politics, which, as George Orwell stated, “is everything.” Whereas on most historical examples of money symbols of power have appeared – be they pictures of presidents or other leaders – perhaps a bitcoin, if there were such a physical thing, would be best represented by an empty throne.
Although it is easy to go on record saying that the story of bitcoin’s disappearing inventor Satoshi Nakamoto is of no importance, there is another way of looking at that. Some argue that the disappearing act of bitcoin’s would-be leader is of “central importance to the bitcoin myth and that of future cyrpto-currencies.”
Bitcoin’s lack of a single monetary authority is paramount to the code. It is what makes bitcoin, bitcoin. Technologies like Circle and Ethereum are not a bitcoin, so to speak, because they are centralized, plain-and-simple. This is a serious divorce away from what bitcoin is.
What is bitcoin’s ultimate authority? Mathematics. This “shared pact and the underlying rationality of a mathematical algorithm – the intagible dream of neutrality,” propels the vector of bitcoin into the furture. Deflationary as it is, bitcoins exist within a finite realm, which becomes more obvious as the quanity of bitcoins becomes more difficult to mine. Bitcoin has no hierarchy.
The bitcoin economy is based on voluntary participation. Bitcoiners have no kings, queens, president, central bank or otherwise. To be sure, those who saw the potential early on have become what some bitcoiners call “the new elite.” The myth surrounding bitcoin is ultimately is a lesson in the reclamation of individual rights, and a story of power re-distribution through voluntary disintermediation and self-determination. Bitcoiners have a feeling that they are a part of a powerful process that will change history, creating a joyous community. Bitcoiners can celebrate their diversity instead outside the traditional economy. And they do.
Bitcoin will help people to understand again that money can be a useful tool, and it does not have to be tied to nefarious actions.