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Bitcoin Virtuous

An Ode To Bitcoin, Virtuous And Fair

Bitcoin è Galant-Vomo: Bitcoin Is A Man Of Honor 

The first thing to ask about Bitcoin is what it is, rather than what it is worth. Determining its value is as simple as dividing the amount you want by 21 million, with that number being closer to infinity if you value decentralization, transparency, privacy, security, innovation, inclusion, and financial freedom, but closer to zero if you are happy with centralization, poverty, censorship, banking, and indiscriminate printing of paper money.

Bitcoin is essentially a force, as is everything that nature produces. That is, Bitcoin is a new force, a first movement, a wheel that turns by itself and with an eternal cadence.It seeks, above all, three things: immutability as something honest, freedom as something necessary, and transparency as something good. It is a spinning wheel that works without the need of a spinner; a horse that gallops by itself, and whose impetus it is impossible to restrain. It is a hydra whose head has survived a thousand attempts at being removed, yet which, because it has many, or because it has none, continues to terrify those who have not taken the time to study it in order to understand it. Bitcoin is the first historical way to defend oneself from the excessive ambition of the powerful; it is the mathematical protocol which gave origin to the only completely decentralized monetary system, which for that very reason many banks, confessors and governments take it for the devil himself.

Mathematically it is silent poetry, and economically noisy justice. It is the perfect representation, in spite of its simple and concise expression, of an ingenious, deep and serious idea, which has been thought out with a view to the mathematical solution of an infinite number of problems. It is something as fair as sunlight, because it comes out so that everybody can see it, and it is there all the time, with so much strength that it illuminates some and leaves others blind. It is, in truth, the only good that strives to provide what is proper, what is due to it, and what is deserved by everyone, to such an extent that it would be easier for the earth to tolerate two suns than for the world to tolerate more than twenty-one million bitcoin.

“Yes, I will defend this proposition, pugnis et calcibus, unguibus et rostro (by punching and kicking, by scratching and pecking).” Molière ”The Forced Marriage”

Perhaps it will be believed, not without a hint of truth, that I speak of Bitcoin as a sectarian, although I am praising a mathematical protocol, and that talking about a mathematical sect is as reasonable as talking about a sect of Eucledians, Newtonians or Archimedeans. But what does it matter? Anyway, this is not a strong enough objection for me to stop, all the more so since we are talking about something big, and big things demand to be talked about in a big way. We are not, after all, “carving a mercury out of any wood,” as Pythagoras preached among his circle of followers and adepts. What we are highlighting here is that humanity has found in Bitcoin a new “what for,” which in turn solves many of the problems caused by its misguided search for the “why.” We know, of course, that this is a very difficult goal, but we also understand that where there are no difficulties there are usually no merits either.

“The Beautiful is Difficult” Plato, Hippias major, 304e

The “what for” of Bitcoin is to anchor the concept of wealth forever to a chain of open data, so that with that concept we always think of that open data, and with that data we always think of that concept. It turns out that we were born into a world governed by wealth and money, and we live in a world where people work and kill for wealth and money, but we don’t know for sure what wealth and money are. We say that wealth, which is also a force, cannot be thought of as something unlimited; we are forbidden to think of infinite wealth because it is incompatible with the concept of force. The purpose of Bitcoin, in this case, boils down to delving for the first time into the definition of wealth in such a way that its nature consists of adapting as closely as possible to the limits of its own force. It is, rather, to find an invention in which the momentary useful gains value over time, instead of losing it, as has happened throughout history with all monies; to replicate in the economy what constitutes the growth of life, which achieves more and more with less and less, and to make it a true science, which does not live changing its laws and rules all the time.

“When one considers a science to be beautiful, true, useful to the city, and entirely pleasing to the divinity, one cannot be silent about it at any price.” Plato, Laws, 821A.

We have to recognize that even today, when everyone presumes to have intelligence, only one way has been found to coin a sufficiently efficient and good enough currency, and that was only achieved with the creation of Bitcoin: a limited good that represents an incomparably greater complexity, a greater sum of coordinated elements, with which its security and divisibility becomes much more efficient and reliable. And all this in a transparent, immutable, democratic way, if you will, by the mere fact that its code. The back of its fabric is completely open, and therefore always there, ready for whoever wants to find all its virtues and defects, to improve it if they want to, or to discard it if they don’t find a real practical use for it. Hence it is said, quite rightly, that no mistakes are made with impunity among open-source developers, that envy has no place in their divine choir, and that their programs and algorithms are the most honest way they know to talk about themselves. Letters and mathematics constitute their entire campaign team. They like their path: They believe it is worth going down it, even if they might fall, and for their only salary they ask for the glory and honor of having their name or pseudonym written on each new invention. They are the ones who make masterpieces on the internet, despite the fact that even today they try to convince us that something like this can only be done in this or that American or English research institute. Thanks to them, new truths are discovered every day that, surely, would have remained unknown because nobody set themselves to the task of finding a problem and attacking it, as Satoshi Nakamoto did with blockchain… the substance of which Bitcoin is the accident, the matter of which Bitcoin is the form, the heat of which Bitcoin is the light. That is why, or because of them, Bitcoin is so simple, so easily gives rise to the compound and finally returns to the simple again. And that is why it is so similar to the ancient Greek philosophers, of whom we do not know who was the first, but who today go around the whole world without anyone wondering.

“Simplex sigillum veri.” (Simplicity is the sign of truth.) Herman(us) Boerhaave

We must agree, of course, that in all great works the first trials are not entirely perfect. It is well known that the nobler and more perfect something is, the later and slower it reaches maturity. This is exactly what is happening with Bitcoin which, in spite of its remarkable progress, is still an adolescent, maturing slowly, as all excellent things do, and perhaps it will exhaust its 21 million units before we discover even a quarter of its potential applications. A new monetary system, which is also totally decentralized, demands that its mules go slowly. Up to now we are beginning to understand its concept, and to sense that it is as valuable for man’s development as the price he is ready to pay to reach it and keep it. Of course, after we have discovered it, it will not be a big deal to find it, and the difficulty will then be to lose it, and only then will we understand that in our hands we finally have materialized a freedom dreamed of for many millennia.

“Rough is the road to the summit of dignity; but if it pleases you to climb this summit, before which fortune yields, you will, no doubt, behold beneath your feet what is held to be very high, but you will, nevertheless, reach the summit by a level path.”-Seneca, Epistles 84, 13.

The same thing happened to me with Bitcoin that once happened to me with books: a chance contact, a sentence found on a random page, the name of the author completely unknown, and the instinct that says that at last a kindred spirit has been found. For me, before it was cryptography applied to the concept of money, it was rather the discovery of an idea of the world in conformity with my own thought, which made life an entirely open book, in which men would deposit their inventions as a memorial for times to come. A little freedom and a lot more transparency was what the world needed most urgently for me. The very idea that Bitcoin contemplated both, that it stood right in the middle between the big of the universe and the small of the infinitesimal world, and that it sought it by appealing only to the rules of mathematics, was enough to make it begin to dawn what could be obtained from it: a little good sense, whose only instinct of self-regulation and self-establishment would take us out of any philosophy of poverty and despondency. The Bitcoin idea meant, at least to me, the mathematical materialization of common sense, the nature of which we sometimes don’t understand until after we have deprived ourselves of its use almost entirely. Common sense, unfortunately, often speaks to us as if it were a ventriloquist, lulling us into believing that its voice does not come from ourselves. That is why I can only speak well of Bitcoin, that mathematical tool that awakens common sense to reach the goal of freedom and transparency, in spite of so many governments that see only the devil behind it.

“How good works always give mortals cause for good words!” Euripides, Hecuba, 1238

I can’t be surprised that most governments slander Bitcoin, for, alas, Bitcoin embarrasses governments almost to the confines of humiliation itself. What hasn’t it been accused of? Of being used exclusively to launder money, of being a terrible threat to the financial order, of having no true intrinsic value, of being too anonymous and private, of being a modern version of the tulip phenomenon in the Netherlands, and so on and so forth. Bitcoin, oddly enough, is accused of exactly the same crimes that Socrates was accused of in his time, namely of not believing in the gods, of trying to introduce strange thoughts, and of corrupting the young.

Though let us remember that the Greeks were afraid of Socrates as the first men were afraid of fire and of the echo’s repercussions, and that today his name is venerated as those who condemned him to drink a cup of poison are hated. Something similar happens with the Bitcoin, which can be mixed with all the crimes and all the monetary swindles and, even so, its name will always be above, like oil above water. Every day it may be said that he has come to an end, and every day he will show that he has not even begun to live; everyday the people will be warned that because of him they will lose all their money, and every day the people will conclude that it is not that his government has left him much to lose. Everyday it will be reminded that it is too weak to be considered a currency, and every day it will prove that its hardness is not as well known as to those who daily beat it. Everyday it will be said that the Bitcoin is a perverse invention, contrary to the great inventions that humanity owes to its bankers, and that for that reason it will never rule the world, or at least not as well as they do. Every day we will be told again and again that centralization is extremely democratic, and every day Bitcoin will prove that tranquility, democracy and wealth will only prevail among men when there is a true separation between central governments and currencies. Every day, in short, a hundred million comments will be made to defend the goodness of our present monetary system, and thus it will be proved a hundred million times that our present monetary system is old-fashioned and wrong.

“We have a political regime that does not emulate the laws of other peoples, and rather than imitators of others, we are a model to follow. Its name, because the government does not depend on a few but on the majority, is democracy. As far as private affairs are concerned, equality, according to our laws, reaches everyone, while in the election to public office we do not put class reasons before personal merit, according to the prestige which every citizen enjoys in his activity; nor does anyone, by reason of his poverty, encounter obstacles because of the obscurity of his social condition if he is in a position to render service to the city.” Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, II, 37, 1.

Bitcoin is an extremely innovative idea, and an innovative idea that does not produce envy, jealousy or rivalry. The passions most capable of engendering hatred and enmity, have not existed until now and will never exist. Banks and governments, therefore, will never hold it in the highest regard, no matter how much they may have to take refuge in it during bad weather, much like under a tree in a storm from which, when the weather improves, they will want to steal a couple of branches and throw it to the ground. They will surely want to replace it with their central digital currencies, which are nothing but a simple imitation. Their only merit is to copy Bitcoin to turn it into something worse, starting with the fact that Bitcoin, like the universe, circulates at all times, while the other currencies can only do so when and as governments see fit. Thus, wanting to compare it with what governments call money is like comparing a good dog with a bad pig. It is he who is claimed by the money system, not the money system which is claimed by him, because like everything great, without anybody’s help he has succeeded in becoming something superior and incomparable. So that, just as before each country had its own currency, the day will come when a single currency will have its homeland all over the earth. Bitcoin, rather, is the ocean into which sooner or later all the rivers will have to flow, because it will be impossible for it to disappear as long as the idea of decentralization exists, nor for decentralization to exist if, unfortunately, Bitcoin disappears. Decentralization, in fact, is like the original sin: the only condition under which the man can enjoy true freedom.

And yes, all this that I have just said I am sure someone has already said; and it is better this way: it is the proof that I am telling the truth.

This is a guest post by Anderson Benprado. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.

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