Please shut up about Bitcoin


6 min read

Please shut up about Bitcoin

The first time I learned of Bitcoin was when I was in my freshman year of high school, three years ago. This is all the way back when crypto was short for cryptography and not cryptocurrency. My friends told me of a digital currency that was used worldwide and all digital. Best of all - you could mine it and make money. My friends saw it as an application they left in the background of their computer that made them money. As someone who was currently learning about cryptography, I saw it differently. It fascinated me - I learned more about the math and algorithms behind digital signatures and how everything perfectly aligned to keep it secure. I even asked my father if I could have some Bitcoin, back when it was just above $200. "No Danny, that's a scam," he said. Cool, Dad. But those few years ago, though, I thought "wow, this is cool and all, but unless I'm buying contraband on the dark web, this is pretty useless."

That's still true today. The one purpose you'd ever need Bitcoin for is to buy contraband on the dark web. That's how Bitcoin was used initially - people still haven't found another purpose for it. And please don't give me that bullshit of "I bought Bitcoin to make money." Cool, you made some money. If you want to do that, by all means go for it. Just please don't be mad when your life savings drop 90% after Elon Musk has a mood swing and tweets that Bitcoin isn't the greatest cryptocurrency. Or maybe Switzerland bans the mining of Bitcoin. There's a lot of paths to the steep price drop of Bitcoin. The point is, if you're not using Bitcoin for the reason it was meant to be used, don't be mad when it backfires. It's like using a sticky note to write out your resume. Sure it may work, but don't be surprised when someone else gets the job. When you take out all of the buzzwords Bitcoin is just an anonymous currency that uses a, pardon my French, shitload of power.

A little side note - people like to neglect how much power Bitcoin uses. It's fascinating to see how so many people turn a blind eye to climate change when they think they can make money off a currency that uses as much power as Argentina. Is it really worth it to keep this currency legal when it could be a factor in the downfall of humanity?

Anyways, I have some new friends who talk of buying and selling Bitcoin to make money. They predict its price and why it will change. They don't really share my point of view. What I especially don't like about this new, widespread perspective on Bitcoin is the irony of how it goes against Bitcoin's core principles. Bitcoin is, as you've probably heard, decentralized. This means no single party has power over it, but that's not been true since people have been investing in Bitcoin to become rich. When big influencers, like Elon Musk, say something or do something that relates to Bitcoin, they can change the price. When Elon Musk announced Tesla would start accepting Bitcoin as payment, the price shot up. When he announced he bought more than a Billion U.S. dollars worth of Bitcoin, the price shot up. That begs the question - is Bitcoin and everyone who uses it to make money actually taking part in a decentralized network, meaning that it's not controlled by any single party (one of Bitcoin's core values), or is Bitcoin and everyone who uses it to make money actually just Elon's bitch? Of course, there's a few more other than Elon, but it's not like tyranny is that much better than a wealthy oligarchy.

Lastly, stop talking of Bitcoin's success as a function of its price. Success is defined as "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose." When Satoshi Nakamoto, the psuedonym of the anonymous person who created Bitcoin, published his paper defining how Bitcoin would work, I'm pretty sure that when they published it back in 2009, they say something along the lines of "Bitcoin is a secure, digital currency not controlled by any party that allows for anonymous transactions" and not "shit fam, I hope this coin becomes worth $40,000 so I can buy a Tesla with it." The purpose of Bitcoin is to provide a digital currency that is secure, anonymous, and decentralized, not a fiat currency meant to be worth a lot.