This is an opinion editorial Eric Dale, host of the Bitcoin For Breakfast podcast.
While we are far from harmless, bitcoiners are some of the most peaceful people on earth. Initiating violence is antithetical to Bitcoin as both a store of value and a store of value. The network does a great job of protecting itself through decentralization. There is no need for an army.
I certainly don’t want an “XRP Army” or any such confusion.
However, with fiat nukes aimed at London, Moscow and Berlin, our fiat overlords enriching themselves faster than the last medieval Pope, and our fiat future promising a level of censorship and control never dreamed of by the Gestapo, stacked sats may be our only resistance. .
Of course, the fastest way to build a modern military is to be invaded by Russia, but I want to share some lessons from one of the most successful examples of decentralized resistance the world has ever seen.
A movement that arose in the wake of disruptive communications technology that allowed information to be copied and disseminated at incredible speeds.
An innovation created to eliminate corruption and inefficiency in institutions that have outlived their usefulness.
An idea that has survived all assaults, from brutal domestic persecution to decades of continental warfare.
I’m not talking about Bitcoin.
I want to share seven lessons we can learn from medieval bitcoiners who went through a similar Reformation:
- End of the world.
- Copy everything.
- For the plebs, make it local.
- OPSEC issues.
- Create your own ecosystem.
- Open source.
- Die on this hill.
End of the world
The late 15th century in Europe was a strange, Matrix-like experience.
Imagine Neo walking the streets of Amsterdam in 1492 (to meet our friends from across the Atlantic). What do you see?
It is a world in which almost every aspect of life is governed by a series of institutions that participate in all major life transitions, provide virtually all welfare and education, and even decide what is misinformation and who has access to the truth.
For most of the people around us, the world we end up in is the only world they know. Perhaps even more so in an old world like Europe. Many of them will fight with us to keep it going. It’s safe to say that you can’t make a living by simply separating people from the Matrix.
Start talking to the people who listen the most now and are least likely to hurt you in the future: your family and friends.
Copy anything, anywhere
Being a censor in 1492 must have been a crazy experience.
Things really got out of hand when Johannes Gutenberg was the first to figure out how to connect his printer to Wi-Fi. By 1492, most major European countries were full of hipster print shops, with at least 25 in the Netherlands alone.
Although the consequences of this were not immediately obvious – like the internet in the 90s – it enabled the prototype of an immutable public ledger, mainly by radically increasing the costs of information manipulation or repression.
What used to be done by papal letter now required a damnable inquisition.
Obviously, the late medieval bitcoiners will all agree: run your own node!
Go local for the plebs
The greatest weakness of the powerful is always their hatred and mistrust of ordinary people.
Imagine living in a world where only officially accredited people can legitimately interpret the truth written in a language incomprehensible to anyone who has not been brainwashed by the same institutions. This is a great stretch of the imagination.
In such circumstances, the truth is crowned in the hole. When Martin Luther translated the Bible into vernacular German and at the same time denied that it was necessary for the Church to read it, he simply took it and localized it.
Believe that anyone can relate to the truth if you present it to them. Make some memes, write an op, start a podcast, translate a book!
Luther probably didn’t intend to hide in the Wartburg Castle attic for 300 days, but he completely doxxxed himself.
Although the Inquisition existed in various forms for hundreds of years, it radicalized in response to the printing press and only became truly brutal sometime after the Reformation.
Operational security (OPSEC) issues and institutions that seem benign today may fall upon you tomorrow.
The lesson is pretty simple: Make sure your bitcoin is not linked to your identity through exchanges that know your customer (non-QYC), don’t tell anyone how much bitcoin you own, and take steps to protect your anonymity when you can.
Create Your Own Ecosystem
Let’s have a show of hands. Who has used Bitcoin before? Who used lightning before? Who manages their own node? Who has been to El Salvador?
The first princes to stand up for reform were Catholics. They had their own selfish reasons for breaking with the Church. Inviting an idea whose time had come, they fundamentally changed their realm in ways that are still very visible today.
It is no coincidence that the richest and most successful countries in Europe today, as they have been for centuries, are in Northern Europe.
So, if you, like me, believe that Bitcoin is a fork in the road to freedom and prosperity, we have a moral obligation to spread local adoption like a Christian would to save your soul.
Host or attend meetups, teach your hairdresser about bitcoin, offer people to pay with Lightning.
If that doesn’t work, run to where it does.
Make it open source
The translation and distribution of the Bible, while rejecting the Church as being up to individuals to interpret, largely open-sourced the Reformation.
Although some ran away with open source Bibles and made themselves the “Supreme Head of the Church of England”, to this day the forks of the reformation are as numerous as the congregations.
This means that there is no point of failure, and the great diversity of faith and action made the Reformation more antifragile than a monolithic superstructure would like to protest.
It became a game of mole that could not be crushed.
Create communities with Bitcoiners, build your dream castle and bring your bitcoin knowledge and perspective to the table.
Convert bitcoin to hydra.
Die on This Hill
The interesting thing about Jesus is that he could have cut things short at any moment, but he didn’t.
He met a horrible end without knowing that his sacrifice would make a difference. He did not blame God, the government, or his colleague for what happened. He bore his own cross and his own suffering.
He did this because of something we now know to be mathematically true at both the individual and societal levels: The more people are willing to suffer for the sins of others, the less sin everyone will suffer.
Jesus literally invented the meme: I’m going to die on this hill.
There are a number of ideas, tools and communities that make up Bitcoin’s intellectual, technological and social arsenal. Whether you prefer to think of Bitcoin as a way to save our freedoms, our economy, or our climate, I hope I’ve helped you walk away and inspire you to think about how you can arm yourself and those around you for decades to come.
This is a guest post by Eric Dale. The views expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.