The iconography of oppression is rarely so meaningful as when it is toppled. Pieces of the Berlin Wall are kept by those who began life behind the Iron Curtain not because they have intrinsic monetary value, but because they represent the escape from an authoritarian regime.
There is a reason why the United States kindly (and quietly) supplied the sledgehammer and Iraqi flag to those who toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein in 2003 – a study led by Sean Aday at George Washington University notes that:
“Without the erroneous finality of the statue falling, this argument goes, the notion of “Mission Accomplished” would have been more difficult to assert.”
The symbols of the opposition are the targets of warriors of all castes, all religions, all cultures. ISIS has executed archaeologists and demolished ruins of global significance as a way of illustrating the depths of their jihadist fervor.
And even today, here in the United States, we see symbols of a shameful past removed from public view, as though hiding them somehow absolves our country of its sins.
Of course, you might also argue that Confederate statues honor the dead of the Civil War, and that their true meaning has been hijacked by a politically-motivated minority who live on far-flung coasts, and whose ancestors may never have fought in that war.
But if Churchill’s quote is correct, and “History is written by the victors,” then it should be no surprise that of the 5,500 statues of Lenin that stood in the Ukraine prior to the Euromaidan Revolution, precisely none still stand.
And this is why Bitcoin must fall.
Listen to Jamie Dimon of JPMorganChase calling Bitcoin a “fraud” and you might think he’s a reactionary fool for not seeing the opportunities inherent in blockchain technology. That would be incorrect – his company has created a Blockchain Center of Excellence and is actively working with certain carefully-selected partners. Nothing pertaining to Bitcoin is listed as one of them.
When Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave testimony to Congress on October 18th, he reserved his criticism – “It’s a big problem,” not for cryptocurrency, but for Bitcoin.
Long-time critic Peter Schiff will say “The only thing I can do with my bitcoin is give it to somebody else,” and then he’ll tout the benefits of hoarding gold.
Why is it that bankers, gold bugs, governments and critics of all stripes focus their attention on Bitcoin?
Because it’s a symbol. The world has become aware of Bitcoin, much more so than of any other coin or any term in the industry:
The evidence is right there – Bitcoin MUST fall, but WE must be the agents of its demise.
Bitcoin’s promise to the world is a decentralized and immutable ledger that wrests control and authority from governments and banks, and (ostensibly) places it with the people.
It’s hard to see that promise as anything but a major threat to the status quo, and to those who have power, money, and status that is derived from their obfuscatory legacy systems. If Satoshi Nakamoto truly designed the original Bitcoin code to punish the banking industry and its government backers for the worldwide economic collapse of 2008, he/she/they have played the long game well.
A common argument among Bitcoin enthusiasts is that “the cat is out of the bag”, and that it can’t be stuffed back in again. This may be true – but again, it’s why Bitcoin must fall, and why nothing must replace it.
If Bitcoin falls as a result of external intervention, consumer confidence in cryptocurrency is erased overnight. It’s gone, thank you for playing, goodnight. The business publications, banks, and sovereign nations that have predicted its collapse will solemnly shake their heads to express their condolences – and disapprobation – and that will be that for crypto.
Except for that pesky cat…
Once Bitcoin is out of the way, it would seem inevitable that the market for altcoins would also collapse. But even if the “fraud” that Mr. Dimon kindly exposed is laid bare, the technology will still exist. And who better than to pick it up and create their own virtuous and trustworthy digital currency than your friendly multinational banking conglomerate?
The banking industry is working on blockchain technology. It is the future of their business. But without taking control of the consumer market – a market which, right now, sees Bitcoin as a shining symbol of possibility – their efforts will be faint and ghostly copies of the existing decentralized cryptocurrencies, destined to failure as the manifest crimes of the banking industry stop being something with which we have to live.
They cannot win in the court of public opinion on Bitcoin. They cannot shut it down with regulation from friendly governments. They can, however, and surely will, use their massive monetary influence to try and bring about its demise – with all the fanfare and pomp of a Royal Wedding.
So what does Bitcoin do? It’s decentralized precisely to protect it from the machination of Wall Street-types, or other nefarious characters. None of us can shut it down voluntarily, explaining that as a symbol of financial freedom it has become too powerful for those whom it threatens. We cannot, Mr Gorbachev, tear down this sell-wall.
And that means that we, as Bitcoin citizens, need to start moving our money away from the symbol that defined the rise of cryptocurrency. We need to let it fail, slowly, gently, carefully. We need to place our bets in much MORE decentralized ways, so that there is NO Bitcoin to rule them all – and therefore no symbol for its adversaries to attack.
The symbolism of Bitcoin’s failure, whether it be at the hands of a development team or a mining group, a collusion of banks (a collective noun for which, incidentally, I would like to be credited) or a concerted effort between governments, would be catastrophic: not just for those of us who may have bought into its promise with our own cash, as a way to escape the whims of the Central Reserve or some other regulatory authority – but also for all global citizens who have been failed by the banking industry.
If we deflate the cryptocurrency slowly, that symbolism is lost to the opposition.
Without it, they may never catch up. They may not even exist, as we know them, in twenty years.
And anything we can do to make Jamie Dimon’s life just a little harder, is okay with me.