The Story Of The Future
In the first part of this article, we established that money is a bit of a mess. Well, if we’re being honest, Bitcoin is a bit of a mess too. In the words of comedian John Oliver, Bitcoin is Everything you don’t understand about money combined with everything you don’t understand about computers.
I found this from my experiences when talking about Bitcoin: because it’s so different from anything they’re used to, people often can’t believe what they hear.
People tend to have problems with:
- Who controls Bitcoin? (Answer: Nobody, it’s decentralized. There isn’t a single party that governs it.)
- If no one is controlling it, how does it work? (Answer: All computer code runs automatically on the Internet. The code is “open source,” which means anyone can check the code to see that it is legitimate.)
- How can something like money be decentralized? (Answer: It’s possible, we’ve just lived in centralized systems our entire lives – that’s why it sounds so crazy.)
Decentralization is powerful. It is not obvious, but it is madly powerful. This means that no group of politicians can ever suddenly decide to issue more Bitcoin (reducing its value) or stop certain people from using it. This means that even a superpower country could not shut it down.
Bitcoin is the first major asset class in independent history – technology that doesn’t belong to anyone; and therefore, actually belongs to everyone. It is the democratization of money.
Like most people, I first came to Bitcoin because I wanted to make money. But when I delved into these concepts, that’s when it really struck me: Decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin were going to change the world.
The government is always right, right?
“But isn’t it bad that no one controls Bitcoin?” What if someone abuses it? Should we not leave such important things to the GOVERNMENT? “
Well, disruptive technologies tend to behave the same way. First, there is a group of hard-core believers who are ready to break the rules. Next are the speculators who are trying to make a quick buck. Then sex, drugs, and dirty money are involved. Finally, regulation kicks in and cleans things up.
There is no doubt that a small portion of people use Bitcoin for bad things like drug dealing. Much like the way money launderers and terrorists surely use WhatsApp. You can’t throw away good tech just because of a few bad apples. Also, any pro knows that good old US dollar bills are the most common way to launder money.
But there is another weak point with the “government knows best” argument. We are all very familiar with corrupt regimes where the government of the day fucked the people * cough cough 1MDB. It’s a story as old as time: the government is watching people and making sure they play by the rules. But who is watching the government?
What if a party gained so much power that it corrupted the whole system: including the army, the police and the courts? We have seen this happen in many bankrupt countries – what makes us think it will not happen here?
Now you might think I’m a mad anarchist showing “f ** k the government” signs at street protests. But I am not. I pay my taxes, I vote for the politician I find least bad (like you), and I regularly support government-related programs, especially in financial education.
I’m just saying an asset that’s not controlled by all the government is not crazy. It’s disruptive – something so drastic that it makes us uncomfortable. But it makes 100% sense. It’s time.
Bitcoin has momentum
When I started my Bitcoin journey, I saw it as an experience. I was a noob with superficial knowledge. Four years later – with 28 months of full-time work in crypto – I now have experience and personal data.
Will Bitcoin Fail? This is the wrong question. Bitcoin has already succeeded. Progressive governments around the world (including countries like Japan, the United States, France, Singapore, and Malaysia) have accepted this to be here to stay; they pass laws on it. In 2017, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, called Bitcoin a “fraud.” Last week, JPMorgan Chase said it started banking with cryptocurrency exchanges.
The only question now is how big is Bitcoin?
Here’s an interesting statistic: A survey last year found that 27% of Millennials (18-34) prefer to invest in Bitcoin over the stock market. Pretty crazy if you think about it. One is technology for a baby who is only 11 years old; the other has been an integral part of the financial system for centuries.
To be clear, I have nothing against traditional assets. I believe in using a mix of investments to manage risk and have only invested <10% of my net worth in crypto. I think most people should keep more of their money in low risk investments. If you are new to Bitcoin, start with a small amount that you would be willing to lose.
But no one can hide the data: It’s clear which direction young people are heading – just as they enter their prime earning years.
They want Bitcoin.
The story of the future
11 years ago, the Bitcoin source code was released to the internet. Out of all the billions of lines of code posted online, why has this one become a hundred billion (maybe a trillion soon) dollar industry?
No one knows – the odds are probably close to zero that such disruptive technology came from an open source website that only geeks know, thriving despite opposition from big banks and governments (in its early years), and spread to millions of people around the world.
When we consider the success of Bitcoin, remember that there has never been a “charismatic CEO of Bitcoin Corp.” manage the project and promote it at conferences. There has never been any funding from the UN or the IMF to pay software developers. There were no government sponsored text messages to convince you to use it.
Bitcoin just grew organically from believers; people and companies who believed they were building a better future. It’s a story that shows what is possible when groups of people work together for a common goal. It’s a story of collective human ingenuity.
If you ask me, and I know I’m romantic here, that’s a pretty miraculous story. A story that will continue to spread; as it happened to me a few years ago and has totally changed the meaning of my life.
Now I pass it on.
All of the above is based on my personal experience. It is not investment advice. Always be sure to do your own research before investing in Bitcoin or anything else.
Additional Note: In his daily work he is also the Country Manager of Luno Malaysia. Luno is a digital asset exchange licensed in Malaysia.
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