In the present era of fiat economics, delaying gratification just doesn’t work. Branded as unpatriotic, unproductive, and selfish, waiting to save up for something you really want is a one-way ticket to social alienation. If you’re not stimulating the economy, constantly injecting fresh capital into the bloodstream of the junky, it’s going to collapse, go into withdrawal, and die. You have to buy that shit right now. Or else? Well, you won’t be keeping up with the Joneses and inflation will rob your ass.
This lens, that of citizen-as-consumer, is a bizarre worldview indeed. It’s a sort of fascist bread and circus routine. You’ll be happy as long as the multi-nationals have something to sell you. Won’t you?
But you can’t trick the Bitcoiners! Oh no! We’re better, smarter, faster, and (can afford to hire people who’re) stronger! We don’t succumb to materialism, the temptations of The Man, etc. That’s for other people. Lesser people.
But if that’s so, why do the vast, vast majority of Bitcoiners (at least those on bitcointalk, /r/bitcoin, and Facebook) constantly expound the virtues of merchant adoption? Why does the ommmm of mainstream Bitcoiners sound suspiciously like “Amazoooooooon”.
The logic of merchant adoption appears to be loosely based on the idea that the more people see “BITCOIN ACCEPTED HERE” signs, the more people will know about Bitcoin, the more people will want it, the more demand pressure will squeeze the known supply, the more to the moon. This line of logic continues, with a known BTC supply increase of 11.11% in 2014 and a perfectly efficient market (which, if Mt Gox is anything to go by, is a ludicrous notion), we can infer that any USD/BTC price increases represent an increase in demand net of that supply increase. All because of merchants. Because obviously.
Aside from the increasingly obfuscated price signali, there’s a philosophical contradiction here. Bitcoin is powerful because it’s outside of the current paradigm, outside of the existing infrastructureii, and because it presents an opportunity to abjugate ourselves from a fossilized system. Yet our birthplaces and our places of habitation, soaked in deep layers of consumerist muddle, prevents us from seeing what lays beyond yonder mountain of Walmart refuse.
If independence means freedom, in the emerging Era of Bitcoin, independence means freedom from physicality, both geographic and material. If Germany had its wealth stored in BTC instead of gold, it wouldn’t have to beg the USG to please, pretty please, let it audit its own stores under Manhattan. If Germany stockpiled bitcoin instead of gold, it might actually be an independent nation.
Merchants like your local coffee shop have never accepted diamonds for goods or services rendered. And diamonds aren’t available from ATMs in the shopping mall. Incredibly, rappers still think they’re crazy valuable. Funny how that works.
Effective marketing rarely, if ever, increases the value of a product by making it 100% accessible all at once – it tends to be the opposite. De Beers hoards that shit in warehouses so it’s only as available as they want. Why don’t we do that with BTC? Rather than feeding into our consumerist leanings and making bitcoin easier to buy and spend, perhaps we’d be far better off making it more exclusive, like a velvet-roped night club, but for numerically competent folks. A velvet-roped library, then.
As the individual responsible for helping several local businesses accept BTC, this conclusion seems a bit contradictory coming from me. Perhaps the best spin I can put on it is that I’m helping local entrepreneurs promote themselves, strengthening their positions in the community and putting a bit of the world’s most valuable asset in the pockets of some of the city’s most well connected people.
Bitcoin, unlike fiat, demands that we delay gratification. For once. This can be confusing at first, but it’s a lesson we soon learn. I learned it last summer when I spent 3 BTC on a $450 case of wine in Kelowna. Today, I could’ve bought that case for 0.64 BTC, and probably more like 0.1 BTC before long, then 0.001 BTC, etc.
For those of you holding, be patient, watch bitcoin grow, and fight the temptation to spend it. Your future self will thank you for it.
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