Whether You Love It or Hate It, You’re Missing What Really Matters About Bitcoin

MattersAboutBitcoin

Bitcoin made big news over the past year or so, when the price spiked and made some people rich. The possibility of fast money always generates a lot of commotion, and it certainly did this time.

Personally, I didn’t want the price of Bitcoin to spike; it grabbed people’s attention for all the wrong reasons. Cryptocurrencies—of which Bitcoin is the first, the best known, and currently the most important—are a revolution in commerce. But they are also much more than that.

Bitcoin is an intrusion into a stasis-oriented world: the child of radical concepts and cryptography, birthed by confirmed outsiders. This is a new and different thing, not a slightly different financial tool.

But even this is not what matters most about Bitcoin.

Enter the Bitcoin Kids

The Bitcoin blockchain—a decentralized public ledger for the transfer of assets—is truly a ground-breaking development, but that’s not the key factor here.

The ability to utterly bypass the Fed, SWIFT, and the rest of the money monopoly is the answer to a hard-money advocate’s fondest dreams, yet even this isn’t the thing that really matters.

What matters are the people whom I call, affectionately, “the Bitcoin kids.” This is a very loose grouping of thousands of people, mostly fairly young and widely dispersed, who are thoroughly committed to the cryptocurrency revolution and all that it entails.

What the uninitiated don’t understand is that these people are not just trading bitcoins; they are busy developing a whole new generation of products and services—things like Silent Vault, Monetas, Etherium, and many others. Lots of them are involved in 3D printing, and some, in the maker movement. Others are involved in humanitarian efforts like BitcoinNotBombs.

These young people are not terrified at the prospect of failing at a new venture. Rather, they are picking spots, jumping in, and getting to work. And if a venture of theirs does fail, they pick themselves up and start over.

Please bear in mind that if I wanted to, I could list a number of problems in the world of Bitcoin. I could further explain a number of attacks and potential attacks on Bitcoin. This is not an entirely invulnerable technology, and I am not holding it up as perfection. But those problems don’t belong in the center of this picture either. The Bitcoin kids are adaptable and stand a good chance of side-stepping or overcoming the attacks that will come upon them.

The Anti-Geezer Photo

Older folks are sometimes too touchy about the things that young people do. For example, take a look at this photo:

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Seeing a kid in a mask and with a scarf around his head, it’s easy to call him silly. (Before throwing any stones, though, we really should remember all the stupid things we did at twenty.) But again, that is beside the point—look at this kid’s sign:

The corrupt fear us.

The honest support us.

The heroic join us.

Think about the thoughts and commitments behind those words. These young people are claiming righteousness and honesty and heroism. What better ideals could we possibly want our children and grandchildren to champion?

And here’s another thought for older folks:

If you think the Bitcoin kids are being impulsive and erratic, get involved and help them. If you think they’re discounting the attacks they’ll face, fill the gap and prepare them for those attacks. Sitting on the sidelines and finding fault is primarily a way of defending your own inaction. If you think these young people lack experience and depth of understanding, roll up your pants, wade into the surf, and start delivering it to them. Show them by doing.

The New Way

Let me give you an example of the attitude these young people are displaying. One of them, Julia Tourianski, wrote this:

Just like the Internet gave information back to the people, Bitcoin will give financial freedom back to the people. But that’s only the first step… Bitcoin will allow us to shape the world without having to ask for permission. We declare Bitcoin’s independence. Bitcoin is sovereignty. Bitcoin is renaissance. Bitcoin is ours. Bitcoin is.

These young people believe precisely what Thomas Paine told the disobedient and rebellious American colonials of 1776:

We have it in our power to begin the world over again.

The Bitcoin kids believe that they have the power to begin the world over again, and that’s a very powerful thing all by itself. Furthermore—and this is of supreme importance—they are acting on that belief every day… thousands of them. They are not waiting around for public opinion to support them, they are not waiting for “the masses to rise up,” and they are certainly not waiting for permission. They are getting up each day, inserting their will into the world, and building a cryptocurrency economy… and building a new world thereby.

Most of us have long known that the current world system was corrupt and devolutionary. We’ve been trying to thrive in spite of it, biding our time, and wondering when things would ever start to change.

I’m here to tell you that things have started to change. Bitcoin is at the center of it, and the Bitcoin kids are the key. We can fight it, join it, dance, mourn, or simply defend our ignorance, but the time we’ve been waiting for stands before us, right now.

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

This article was originally published by Casey Research.

Coming for Your Accounts: Solutions

planBAfter running last week’s article (They’re Coming for Your Accounts), we received a number of questions about how to actually protect oneself. So, this week I’d like to address that subject.

First Words

I need to make an important point before I proceed, however: I am not involved in the financial industry, and I do not know the many rules that apply to IRAs, 401(k)s, and so on.

So, please understand that I’m speaking in rough terms and that you’ll need to apply all my suggestions to your own situation intelligently. I simply do not have precise advice to give you.

But with that said, here are some suggestions:

Partial, Multiple, and Incremental Solutions

Solutions to financial problems do not have to be all or nothing. If you think that IRAs are ripe for picking (as I do), then you can begin by ceasing to fund them. Take your money as regular income, pay taxes on it if you must, and put it to use as you see fit. That money will no longer be in the “first grab” pile.

If you do something like this, you will be slowly moving your assets out of easy government control. And if you hold your earnings in the form of cash, rather than in a bank account, it becomes very difficult for a government to seize.

Everyone will have their own opinions and risk estimates, but in my opinion, money left in registered accounts is becoming riskier than cash that is thoughtfully stored.

There is also the common issue of spouses disagreeing on what to do: One thinks registered accounts are a risk; the other doesn’t. While these situations are difficult, they don’t have to be as dramatic as we make them. We can simply do several things at once: Leave the 401(k) as it is, but start putting new money into silver and gold. Or create an offshore structure and fund it bit by bit, instead of continually funding the government retirement account.

There’s no reason we have to go 100% in any single direction; We can go several ways at once. Better to do this than to fight and make our lives miserable; money should make our lives better, not worse. It is useful and important, but not that important.

Warning Bells

Whatever your plans may be, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan: “If they do X, we’ll do Z.” What you’d like to do ideally is to not get hurt too badly when the alarm bell is rung.

So, I’d suggest that you keep the least money in the place that’s likely to be hit first. And in my opinion, that will be the place that’s easiest for a desperate government to loot.

I gave several examples last week of what has been happening, so that would be a good place to begin your analysis. And remember that predators always hit the softest target first.

Specific Options

Here are several options for keeping your money under your own, personal control:

Cash: Still easy enough to get, and easy to store. Theft is always a concern, but when governments start stealing directly from bank accounts – as they did last year in Cyrpus – which is the lesser risk?

Gold and silver: Very similar to cash, but with two differences: During normal times, it may need to be exchanged for local currency, which is an added expense. In bad times, however, local currency becomes worthless, and the metals retain their full value. There are many local coin dealers that make purchasing silver and gold easy.

Bitcoin: While new, sometimes volatile (though not recently), and not universally accepted, Bitcoin is easy to get, easy to use, and easy to secure. And it remains solely under your control. In addition, cryptocurrencies can be used internationally without expense or permission.

Invest in local businesses: We covered the specifics of this in FMP #19, but investing locally diversifies your risk, while still giving you the ability to oversee your investment. And it helps your neighbors directly, rather than giving Washington and Wall Street a skim on all your investments.

Offshore structures: Holding your money in another country is a very large speed bump to your local government. Yes, if you’re a real criminal, the other country will give up your money promptly, but such places are dependent upon foreign bank accounts, and they will not want to scare their customers away by giving up their money without a fight.

Furthermore, offshore structures are not terribly expensive to obtain. You’ll want to use a professional to do the work for you (it’s too hard to do yourself), but the expense is not as bad as you may think.

Offshore real estate: Offshore real estate, I am told (please verify for yourself), does not have to be declared to the US government.

Breaking Inertia

The most fundamental need in situations like this is to break the inertia that entangles us. That inertia moves always in the direction of compliance with authority and a mute servility.

What matters most to us is that we leave the camp of the perpetually obedient and start acting in the world according to our own judgment. In the end, that’s the only way to live our own lives (financial and otherwise), rather than “being lived” by outside forces.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

A Report from Middle America

middle americaI was recently involved in a day of meetings with small business owners in the American Midwest. It was both encouraging and sad at the same time.

What I Found First

Overall, I found a large room full of productive human beings. It was uplifting. Most of these people were between thirty and seventy years old, more men than women, and they were all productive people, the kind who get up early every day, make sure that complex systems are producing properly, fix anything that is broken or near breaking, plan for the future, cooperate with large numbers of other people, and then go home at the end of the day and love their families.

If all the world lived like these people, we’d be halfway to a paradise by now. And that was a thought that made me sad.

Why? Because these people – by any standard of decency – should be left alone to create their better world. But instead, they are forcibly tied to wasteful, parasitic, and destructive systems. Half or more of their earnings are taken from them every year. Their actions are restricted by their moral inferiors. They live less than half the rewarding lives they should be enjoying, and for no defensible reason.

The Other Things

Beyond my overall happy/sad impressions, I found quite a few particular things:

  • These people would have preferred to discuss the practical particulars of their businesses – tools, materials, technical obstacles and solutions, and so on. But instead, they were forced to discuss government compliance. Almost every subject discussed from the front of the room dealt with government regulations. Most of the subjects discussed on the sides involved tools, equipment, business strategies and so on.
  • Dealing with employees is a major issue, especially involving the immigration police. These people are justifiably concerned with fines and indictments, just from hiring employees who are clearly long-time Americans. (That is, not Hispanics or other recent immigrants.) A few of the comments I heard:

“Good luck trying to explain that to an ICE agent.”

“Do NOT waive the 72 hour waiting period.”

“Do NOT allow them to enter your facility or inspect anything without authorization from counsel.”

  • Nearly all of these people agreed that government in America is out of control, abusive, and oppositional to their happiness. I think that’s a positive opinion, since it reflects reality, meaning that they have stopped looking at the world through myth-colored glasses. The sad part of that is…
  • These (good) people don’t know what to do about it. The system they grew up believing was their friend has turned against them. They’ve gathered the considerable courage required to face that, but they don’t know what to do next. They are working within the system as they can, trying to avoid its hazards, but don’t see any clear alternative – and no path of escape. They’d like to do other things, but they also need to feed their kids, and don’t know what to do about it all.
  • Bitcoin is spreading everywhere. One of these business owners, in a very rural area, has built a Bitcoin mining operation. And not only Bitcoin, he is also mining for the other cryptocurrencies. And, he’s telling everyone else about it. I was surprised (and pleased) by this, since this meeting had absolutely nothing to do with computers, economics, or anything else that usually connects to cryptocurrencies. This man simply saw a great opportunity and jumped on it.

All In All

All in all, I came away from the day more confident in the future than I had been the day before.

We are exposed to so many horror stories every day. The images thrust upon us show a world filled with danger and discouragement. The reality, however – once you remove yourself from the newsfeed – is that there are a lot of very decent people who are generally doing the right things.

Our job now is to define newer and better ways to live and to spread that information to as many good people as we can. And to remind them they DO have the right to live good, happy, prosperous lives.

Please do everything you can along these lines. Thanks.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com