A key aspect of modern society is its trust in reliable government and monetary systems. Government and central banks have been the guardians of the financial system. Ever since humans evolved from nomads, government and financial institutions have sought restrictions — to varying degrees — on choices available to individuals with their assets and currency.
But what if government and banks can’t be trusted?
While Bitcoin does not guarantee freedom and trust, it is an important step toward enabling freedom of choice beyond just freedom from a third party to make a payment. It enables peer-to-peer transactions where the responsibility for validation of transactions via technology is transferred to a community of users.
The white paper on Bitcoin, which I keep a copy of on my desk at all times, was published in October 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for a person or group of people — no one knows. The timing is significant; it was written at the height of the global great recession and financial crisis — a crisis caused primarily by the realization that assets masked as highly valuable were nearly worthless.
Millions of people lost their jobs. Huge companies imploded. And this masquerade of assets was orchestrated by the financial institutions we trusted. There was vast manipulation and the governments and banks spent trillions to fix it — but not to change it. Trust between citizens and governments was shattered around the world.
Bitcoin and its rapid growth is a result of individuals realizing that financial institutions are not fully trustworthy and that the government does not always act to protect individuals; rather, it often protects these institutions. This harsh reality was made clear by the government bailout of the perpetrators of the crisis.
Bitcoin is anti-establishment at its core. It is a snub to financial institutions charging high fees and selling worthless, mortgage-backed securities. Bitcoin, at its heart, is the taking-back of the monetary system by people who no longer trust government and financial players.
Rather than being