Remittances are a hot topic for redditards, forumites, and yes, even some -assettes. The egregious fees levied on the planet’s poorest send pangs of privileged guilt through their weak hearts. “Whoa the injustice!” they bemoan. And bemoan some more.
Of course, they’re as welcome as anyone to undercut Western Union and PayPal in facilitating transfers to the perfectly-well-developed-thank-you-very-much world.i Companies like BitPesa and ZipZap have been waving their magic wands in this direction but seem to have made little progress relative to their media buzz.ii Bitcoin remittances seem to take advantage of Bitcoin’s low fee network, but the physical remittance infrastructure still has to be built, and therefore built overtop of whatever WU and PP have. Unfortunately, this business model is therefore stuck in the days of voting rightsiii and touches fiat, both of which miss the point. To boot, it wouldn’t surprise me if BitPesa and ZipZap don’t undercut the old boys by as much as we’d imagine. The reason being that transfer fees pale in comparison to infrastructure costs.
So if our imaginary remittances corporation isn’t quite as practical or useful as we might’ve hoped, what else can we imagine a globally distributed yet tight-knit group of Bitcoin players accomplishing?
Well, how about what Mayer Amschel Rothschild’s kids did c. 1800?
It was mainly in connection with this movement in bullion that the remarkable plan was adopted of having one of the Rothschild brothers in each of the chief capitals…
James, the youngest of the brothers, was not established in Paris till 1812, the year of Mayer Amschel’s death, and then secretly for the purpose of collecting French coin to forward to Wellington for his advance through southern France; the firm of Rothschild Frères was not founded in Paris till 1817; Karl did not go to Naples till 1821; and Salomon went to Berlin in 1815 to arrange for payments through London to Berlin to the Englishman Herries. It was evidently Nathan who made these arrangements…
The elector’s money had been sent to Nathan in London, who in 1808 utilized it to purchase £800,000 worth of gold from the East India Company, knowing that it would be needed for Wellington’s Peninsular campaign. He made no less than four profits on this: (1) on the sale of Wellington’s paper, (2) on the sale of the gold to Wellington, (3) on its repurchase, and (4) on forwarding it to Portugal. This was the beginning of the great fortunes of the house, and its early transactions may be divided into three stages, in each of which Nathan was the guiding spirit: namely, (1) from 1808 to 1815, mainly the transmission of bullion from England to the Continent for the use of the British armies and for subventions to the allies; (2) from 1816 to 1818, “bearing” operations on the stock exchange on the loans needed for the reconstruction of Europe after Napoleon’s downfall; and (3) from 1818 to 1848, the undertaking of loans and of refunding operations, which were henceforth to be the chief enterprises of the house.
It is reckoned that from 1814 to 1822 no less than £18,000,000 sterling was transferred by them to the Continent, and it was for this reason that the brothers were raised to the Austrian nobility.iv
It’s not that hard to imagine a syndicate of well connected Bitcoin players stretching out to the four corners of the globe, creating a blood-bound financial network. What’s harder to imagine is that anyone with Rothschildsesque connections and means would focus their attention on remittances rather than financing the wars and industrial growth of the future. Bitcoin is a better gold, after all, and it’ll be in high demand as a reserve currency with which to fund global expansion. Bitcoin has already solved the centralization of global currency control, but it will never resolve humanity’s struggles over scarce resources, nor the need to pay for said struggles. In a few decades’ time, it will make far more sense to make such BTC-denominated loans, even if it doesn’t right now.
To create a global lending operation such as this would be a huge strain on anyone’s WoT, and I’m skeptical if even a decade in #bitcoin-assets would suffice. We may therefore be waiting until suitable kin take the charge. After all, while bitcoin can be transferred to anyone, anywhere, anytime, there’s no replacement for local relationships and local enforcement of contracts, which means a brother in every capital.
After the Rothschilds of Bitcoin find their way to the top, we can only hope that their children become such noble patrons of the arts.
Then, we will have our rennaissance!
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- The “Developing World” needn’t be further fucked by USMegaCorps, their non-neutral net, and their “progressive ideas.” It’s colonialism or nothing at all. [↩]
- Media Buzz >>> Product Development is largely par for the Bitcoin course. For now. [↩]
- mircea_popescu: Voting rights are nonsense in bitcoin anyway. what the fuck are they going to do, get a confederatied majority and… what, oust you ? Take over ? Voting rights made sense in the old days of geographically fixed agents and material means of production. that situation changed.
mircea_popescu: Immaterial means of production and geographically dispersed agents reduces the corporate voting to meaninglessness. Not that it worked too well pre bitcoin, either.
chetty: buying stock should indicate confidence in management, sell is lack of such – what better votes are there?
mircea_popescu: chetty exactly. but in the old days of imperfect economy, people actually had to have a backchannel, and take over the tractor or whatever it was. Because you couldn’t afford to let a physical tractor go to waste, as a society. These days, a website going to waste ? heh.
via ye olde #bitcoin-assets. [↩]
- via not Retardopedia. [↩]