AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File
On October 31, 2008 Satoshi Nakamoto changed the world. Someone, or several people, writing under the pseudonym of Satoshi published the Bitcoin Whitepaper. The cryptography was brilliant. It used Markov chains and a distributed ledger to provide what has become the world’s most secure, internet-connected, computing network. But that wasn’t the goal. Bitcoin launched a true rival to gold as a store of value. And Bitcoin launched a true rival to fiat currency whose primary utility has devolved to a means of exchange and unit of account. Finally, Bitcoin did this in a way that was secure, private, and unstoppable.
At this point, many people have heard of both Bitcoin and blockchain. But most of the world doesn’t understand. This reminds me of a quote often misattributed to Ghandi: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” On this 12th anniversary of Bitcoin, we’re somewhere in the “fight you” phase, but perhaps on the cusp of, “then you win”. Legendary financiers like Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett no longer mock Bitcoin. Governments, however, are reluctant to allow a truly rival architecture to develop alongside their current compliance regimes. Instead, they are trying to cram the revolution inside their antiquated regulatory frameworks. For some, this is actually a way to fight Bitcoin (and similar ideas), but for most, it simply reflects how little they understand or trust the new architecture.