What I have learned from watching Bitcoin-documentaries
Since two years back I have been using and learning about cryptocurrency. At the moment I am a member of the following communities and for the following reasons:
- Skycoin (my first one, due to the ideas of decentralized internet and blockchain 3.0)
- Cardano (ADA) (still at the beginners level and due to idea of going “post-bitcoin”)
- Seeds (storytelling about a cryptocurrency for climate transformation and co-creative economic models)
Besides being a member of the mentioned projects and communities I am also having Bitcoin in order to be able to use if necessary. Since I am a historian in my educational and aspirational background I was interested to learn more about how Bitcoin was created and how it has been presented and used since the end of the 2000s. Here are some thoughts and comments after watching the following movies here, here, here, here , here, here, and here.
1. It is still unclear who was “Satoshi Nakamoto”
One “ironic” thing with Bitcoin is that it is still unclear who was “the real” person or were real persons, behind Bitcoin. Yes, one could belive individuals as John Mc Afee when they argue about knowing who Nakamoto was but it is important to be analytical when it comes to source criticism. After all, despite his skills and knowledge McAfee is an excentric person and is not always telling the truth.
So the ironic thing is that “nobody” knows who Nakamoto was despite that Bitcoin is using its name for its unit, or precisely said one-millionth of BTC (0.00000001). However, one could see that as a plus for BTC:s storytelling because humans love mythology and fantasies. And by watching different BTC documentaries one can get some clue and information that BTC probably was created by a network or a team of people, partly because cryptocurrencies are co-created projects.
2. BTC is not mainly about improving but about revolutionizing
Comments about BTC and other cryptocurrencies are often based on words such as “improving” and “reforming” current private and public institutions such as banks and governments agencies. However, that is not the core part of the BTC storytelling. The core part is that BTC is going to revolutionize and change the world completely because certain institutions as private and central banks will stop existing during the following 30–40 years. After all, decentralization via aspects as blockchain and crypto is about “removing the middle hand” function such as banking services.
3. BTC is used for criminal behaviours
Yes, this is the case. BTC is used for actions and behaviours that are regarded as criminal and illegal. Such us for buying narcotics and weapons. But the message one will see in documentaries is that the argument that BTC is bad because it is used by criminals is a bad argument. Simply because more crimes are made with Benjamin (100 US dollar bill) than with Bitcoin. Also, such a way of strong emotional and irrational reasoning is nothing new in history. Documentaries also show how people were initially thinking about personal computers, cars and electricity.
4. BTC is not BCH (blockchain)
Now, this may sound very absurd but because both cryptocurrencies and blockchain are still “more sub” than more mainstream when it comes to understanding and knowledge people still make mistakes that blockchain and bitcoin are exactly the same things.
5. Regulations are coming but BTC cannot be criminalised or banned
A common feature in BTC-documentaries is the story of how the most devoted BTC supporters and enthusiasts who often are libertarians and anarchists are hoping for a world without government regulations regarding crypto. However, the case is that during the 2010s the first regulation was passed as in the USA. This is partly since even a “freer market” (rather than completely free market) is also a regulated market. Even the early BTC usage had some “informal” rules such as about usage for both local and global transactions. Also, regulations do not have to be “bad” for crypto if they can be designed in a “smart” way, such as by involving crypto-enthusiasts and entrepreneurs in democratic conversation and decision-making processes. But one thing that is sure is that even when governments try to ban crypto as in Ecuador it will be more of a symbolic thing than “real” law that can be implemented and processed by a government. In most cases, people will use crypto with or without a ban.
6. BTC is global but it will take time to increase its popularity and practical usage
Yes, every cryptocurrency in principle is global. However, the challenge for BTC is that despite being the most used crypto it is still little known or very unknown for the majority of the global population. Basically, most of daily economic interactions and transactions are done in FIAT currencies like Dollar and Euro. Even documentaries themselves are showing that there is no many ATM:s nor restaurants where one can use BTC. So it will still take a long time, maybe 10–20 years, for crypto to become mainstream and widely used around the world.
7. BTC is more than about economic development since it is a part of the “creative class” development
Discussions about blockchain, crypto and decentralization are also connected to discussions about post-industrial and post-material development. A part of this development is summarized in “rise of the creative class” such as when it comes to individuals who see themselves as hackers, hipsters and hippies. This development means aspects such as practising of post-material values as self-development, sustainability and human security. Same or similar trends and behaviours can be seen among BTC users, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. BTC is one of the signs of post-industrial global development.
Last but not the least, if you want to learn more about crypto in a funny way then check out this video.