The meaning and future of Bitcoin

In 2008 the global financial system was on the brink of collapse. All our past illusions of stability and security were found meaningless. Everything we knew about the way things always had been was about to tumble down into ruins. Chaos, fear, joblessness, 
debts, 
despair, the worst case scenario was upon us. Potentially, a new great depression awaited us all. Time moved on and many people moved into denial that it ever happened, but it almost did, and out of this glimpse into the frightening truth that our entire global financial system is just a high-risk experiment and one with no lasting certainty, Bitcoin was born. 

Written in margins of the blockchain, immortalized in the 
technology of Bitcoin itself in the very first hash was a message from Satoshi Nakamoto, “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on Brink of second bailout for banks” — This simple message that is written into Bitcoin, to me, defines part of the meaning of Bitcoin. There are a few other quotes from Satoshi out there as well, and combined with those we can safely assume the creation of Bitcoin was politically motivated, in part, and that Bitcoin clearly is about giving power and freedom to the people directly, person to person, rather than carrying on the way things had always been. 

All of us were born into this world with leaders and followers, a centralized 
top-down world where you better be at the top or deal with it if you are not. Yet, a radical change to the structure of society is one of the potential outcomes of a decentralized money like Bitcoin. Reason being, Bitcoin doesn’t need any leaders, and everyone can participate in every society and at any income level. The rules for Bitcoin are already set in stone with the core design, as Satoshi stated, “The nature of Bitcoin is such that once version 0.1 was released, the core design was set in stone for the rest of its lifetime.”

If we understand that Bitcoin was born from the time of the global financial crisis
 and that there is no guaranteed stability or lasting certainty with our current global financial system, we can see that Bitcoin potentially was made as a life raft of certainly, of trust in code rather than people. A person to person decentralized programmable money for all the people of the world. Everyone can participate, and by the nature of competing self-interest the design of Bitcoin itself is extremely stable. Far more stable than any top down system that can be changed at a whim. Bitcoin will only change greatly when it must. That is also set in stone for those that can see it. 

This is what many fail to understand about Bitcoin, it is global and safeguarded by the 
self-interests of many around the world. Those wanting Bitcoin to change will have a hard time. Still, this stability in design will create more trust and adoption to all. Bitcoin isn’t just for libertarians or cryptographers, it isn’t just about being pseudo anonymous or having more freedom of choice, it is made for everyone in the world, and the truth is all the different competing interests is what will keep Bitcoin true to the original design. The simple meaning of Bitcoin is that by being made for everyone in the world, everyone in the world will keep Bitcoin what it is and will be.


July 3rd, 2015 - James Clayton