Bitcoin is Cash, Not a Club

He has brought you the truth and you condemn him? The arrogance!

There are two types of people involved with Bitcoin today.

There are those who want Bitcoin to be digital cash for themselves and whole world and those who want it to be a club for agoraphobic “cypherpunks” and an excuse to sneer at and mock the unenlightened.

To the former, Bitcoin is a tool to enable more wealth and freedom for themselves and to individuals everywhere. There are no requirements and no demands made. They welcome anyone and everyone who wants to try out Bitcoin, on whatever terms they wish, from whatever mindset they have, from any level of knowledge and expertise, it doesn’t matter.

To the latter, Bitcoin is a symbol of their self-granted superiority, a cudgel to be used against outsiders, a holier-than-thou badge that tells newcomers “go away unless you bend the knee to our way of thinking.” It’s a blank check on rudeness. It’s a way to signal knowledge to a small closed group of peers and acolytes. A circle jerk.

The former does things like help businesses set up BitPay for their websites. They send small amounts of Bitcoin to friends. They show grandma how to set up a wallet on holidays. They don’t care whether someone goes through the same initiation ritual they did or whether they deeply understand every part of the technology, only that they are excited and can grasp how to use it for their own lives.

The latter tells people, like I heard on the CoinsBank Cruise, to go away if they haven’t read the sacred texts (Szabo, et all). They say things like “Bitcoin isn’t for people who earn less than $2 a day” or laugh at people for wanting to buy a cup of coffee with their Bitcoin. When they see a store use BitPay, they boycott and slander because BitPay doesn’t meet their standards for “commitment to Bitcoin.” They might want adoption in theory, but only in a way that preserves the hierarchies and rules of their club. They’re used to feeling special and desperatley don’t want to lose that feeling as more people get excited about Bitcoin. How dare you use Bitcoin in a way I don’t approve of!? How dare you think it’s for daily use?! Read Szabo or shut up, they say. They are like the priests who tried to prevent the Bible’s translation because they knew they would lose their authority if it ever spread to everyday people.

And this latter group of Bitcoiners know their time has come. They are scared that the world is moving on without them. The truth is, they are not particularly important to Bitcoin and never have been. They’ve been able to maintain a delusion for a long time because Bitcoin was so small. They imagined themselves, as Daniel Krawisz says, to be kings of narnia, but now they’re learning a hard lesson:

Bitcoin is not a friend group. It’s not a club. It’s not a community. It’s not a way to signal knowledge superiority. It’s not a right of passage or a hobby or a science project. It doesn’t care who you are or how much you know or don’t know.

It is peer to peer digital cash and the people who know that are going to push it forward whether they like it or not.