What a decade it has been, freaks.
Yeah, that's me up there looking like a goofball. So young. So naive. This is where I was the day Satoshi introduced Bitcoin to the world. A hungover senior in high school coming off a 36-hour celebration of the Phillies 2008 World Series victory dressed as Lieutenant Dangle. It's crazy to think that ten years have passed since this picture was taken, but as I sit here and chuckle + cringe at how much of an idiot I was back then I can't help but notice how drastically the world around me has changed and how utterly unaware I, or most anyone else, was of Bitcoin.
Seventeen-year-old Marty hadn't a clue about the path he was about to embark on that would inevitably intersect with this Magic Internet Money that has caught the eyes of an untold number of freaks around the world. As everyone and their mother publishes homage pieces that describe how Bitcoin has changed over the last decade, I'm going to briefly reflect on what I've seen happen over the past decade and how Bitcoin has tied into everything in my view.
A little less than a year after the above picture was taken, I was thrust out of the comfort of my parents' home and into a new city. The world was in a daze after taking a devastating blow in the form of a global financial crisis. Barack Obama had just entered office, Dwayne Wade was the leading scorer in the NBA, and Twitter was a niche app for tech nerds in San Fran. Much of the human race was in a deep state of reactionary thinking, looking for heroes to save them from the harm caused by the crisis. People were angry and awakening to the fact that they may be getting the raw end of a long con that made our economy and financial system inherently fragile. I, too, was angry. Angry and curious. How the hell did things get this bad?
I went into college with a "know your enemy" mentality, dead set on learning as much as I could about our economy and the financial system focused on exploiting every nook and cranny of the economy. This eventually led me to study Economics while interning at an investment firm to learn more about markets and the global economy. As I was doing this, the world was becoming more chaotic by the hour as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to drag on, fears of terrorism began to become more and more prevalent, and waves of populism and nationalistic fervor began to slowly simmer with the emergence of things like the Tea Party and anarchist/separatists groups throughout parts of Southern Europe.
As we pushed further into the middle of the 2010s, people's sense of hope and change had been drastically diminished as the changes they wanted to see being made were nowhere in sight. We had been duped. We were getting more of the same gridlock, slimy backdoor deals, and failure to hold those responsible for destabilizing our world accountable. This has culminated in a hyper-polarized environment which has allowed Donald Trump to become our President. Mr. Trump is a symptom of this feeling of disdain from the little guy. The blue collar worker who suffered the most after the financial crisis.
All the while, the technology that surrounds us has advanced at a breakneck pace, giving us the tools to communicate in ways that were only imaginable in science fiction just a couple of decades ago. These technologies have given the average human an immeasurable amount of leverage in a world that was previously controlled by a few gatekeepers. This has enabled the rapid dissemination of new ideas and ways of organizing which is compounding the effects of the economic crisis. People are more incentivized than ever to disrupt a failing system that no longer serves them, and have never had a better set of tools to do so. Bitcoin being one of them.
Our world continues on a path of financial complexity and social disorder, Bitcoin continues to fortify and establish itself as a tool for people to store their wealth without fear of easy confiscation or censorship. This tool has gone from a fringe pet project to a $110 Billion force to be reckoned with. The project is maturing at a time when the US Dollars status as reserve currency of the world is in the very early stages of being tested by other world superpowers like China and Russia. As they attempt to overthrow the dollar, it will be interesting to see how many people reject the notion of falling under a new monetary regime run by greedy humans who think they can micromanage life and turn to the apolitical, sovereign currency that is Bitcoin. How many people will vote with their hard earned money to exit this oppressive system by buying or working for BTC?
As the idea of Bitcoin in the public psyche turns ten today, it is crazy to think of how far it has come, what has happened in parallel to its relative maturation, and how far it still has to go on its way to providing a rock-solid tool for the individual to protect their own interests in a world that seems to get more and more divisive and authoritarian by the day.
Onward into decade number two.
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears should be more popular than they are.