In the face of failed US bond auctions, a looming collapse in commercial real estate, and persistently high interest rates, Bitcoin’s price is up more than 100% in 2023. Some altcoins rose 1,000% or more so far this year.
The entire crypto market cap has doubled.
At this rate, you may only have a little more time to turn $100 into $1 million with cryptocurrency.
In January 2023, Billy the Neighbor ditched his trading career for his old day job but he’ll be back after bitcoin’s price hits a new all-time high.
Last year, Aunt Sally and Uncle Morton pushed off their retirement “until the stock market recovers,” but they’ll be back, too, once their financial advisor suggests a 1% allocation to bitcoin because “it’s safe now.”
It’s dawning on them
You’d think these circumstances would prompt our financial leaders to reevaluate their skepticism of crypto.
No such luck.
In testimony to Congress, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said the government should close it down. Music to the ears of a beaming Senator Elizabeth Warren.
ECB chief Christiane Legarde praised her son for selling his crypto at a 60% loss. She said he “learned his lesson.”
The US government launched more lawsuits against crypto companies and exchanges.
World leaders and conspiracy theorists of all stripes still poo-poo the notion that cryptocurrency can do anything valuable, but they don’t mean it. It’s a coping mechanism. They know this technology is unstoppable.
Even the International Monetary Fund begrudgingly admits this, though not in those words. Did you read its report on cryptocurrency?
In that report, the IMF said the world’s governments need to “effectively mitigate the risks posed by these assets while also harnessing the potential benefits of technological innovation.”
In other words, the IMF — the epitome of the legacy financial system, the nexus for global financial engagement, and the largest forum for nations to coordinate financial interventions — admits what we already know:
The world’s governments can’t keep crypto from growing.
Cryptocurrency is money for the people, not the elites. With cryptocurrency, we choose what money to use, not the government.
As such, you can understand their disdain. Put yourself in their shoes!
You engineered a whole financial system that works better than any other. You already know everything you need to know to manage it properly. You conquered crisis after crisis. You gave people stable, functional monetary systems.
How could anything useful possibly come from any approach other than your own?
Our financial authorities have not yet come to terms with the root of the problem:
Their system can’t give people the lifestyles that they want.
They assume that as long as their system exists, it will take care of you. Just look at the aforementioned IMF report. That report doesn’t say anything about your needs. It’s all about their needs.
They have a job to do and they can’t understand why you don’t appreciate them for it.
They will, in time. They know they’ve lost the battle. They’ve only just started to grieve. The grieving process takes a while. It goes through five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Let them go through all five stages.
Ten years ago, crypto was a funny little concept. Easy to deny its potential.
“It’s useless except for blockchain,” they said.
Then smart contracts came along and they said “it’s useless except for blockchain and swapping assets.”
Then ICOs came along and they said “it’s useless except for blockchain, swapping assets, and raising money.”
Then they said “it’s useless except for blockchain, swapping assets, raising money, and running stablecoins.”
How long until they say cryptocurrencies are useless except for blockchain, asset swaps, fundraising, stablecoins, CBDCs, gaming platforms, tokenized real-world assets, monetized ownership rights, global data storage and distribution platforms, and massive, open pools of capital that anybody can tap into for whatever purposes they want at any time?
Some experts say cryptocurrency is too complicated to succeed.
They might be overlooking how much time and effort goes into the legacy financial system.
Layers of complex and expensive regulations. Bureaucracy and oversight. Treaties and machinations. Legal burdens and administrative costs — all hidden from the customer and packaged into spreads, service fees, commissions, and government budgets (somebody needs to pay for courts, lawyers, regulators, and their staff).
Is it so hard to believe that we can replace that complexity with computer protocols?
Anger and bargaining
Cryptocurrency promises to deliver the same results as the legacy financial system with less complexity and none of the hidden costs.
So, you can understand why the financial elites want to bring the technology to heel. They see the fraud and flagrant rejection of the US order. They see people throwing billions of dollars into magic internet money instead of corporations and government bonds.
Why wouldn’t that piss them off?
One Senator even promised to raise an anti-crypto army.
The crypto community sees them as financial warmongers. Enemies. Persecutors.
Do you know what I see?
Angry people trying to bargain their way through a peaceful crisis.
- “They’re all frauds, they’re destroying people’s lives! If we put them in jail and regulate them away, we’ll be safe.”
- “You guys can gamble on cryptocurrency, but you can’t deduct your losses.”
- “Stake and trade all you want as long as you KYC and pay taxes.”
- “If you change the CEO’s picture on the Binance website, pay us $4 billion, and let us see your books, we’ll make all of these charges go away.”
- “You can have your spot ETF, but only because the courts say so. Just remember, this is a manipulated market and you’ll lose money.”
Depression and acceptance come after El Salvador sells its bitcoin at the top of the next bull market OR when crypto delivers an experience that’s better than the legacy financial system (whichever comes first.)
Empathize, don’t hate
We like to think of our leaders and institutions as stoic, thoughtful, and intentional.
In reality, they’re human. Like all of us, they experience the emotions that come with being human.
Crypto promises to render their system obsolete. The technology isn’t very good yet, but a growing number of people put time and money into systems built on this technology rather than theirs.
In three out of every four years, the value of this technology grows faster than the value of their technology. It’s innovating much faster and attracting more developers and engineers with each passing day.
This is the situation our financial leaders find themselves in. They’re doomed.
Give our leaders the space and time to sort out their emotions and come to terms with the world they’ll have to live in.
Many of them share our concern about the welfare of people who worry they will never reach their financial hopes and dreams. They simply see crypto as an expensive, slow, clunky technology full of criminals, hostile entities, and buggy, complicated protocols. To them, the legacy system is better.
As they work through their feelings, they will say bad things about crypto and maybe about you, too.
Take their words to heart and reflect on the substance of what they’re saying, not the hatred with which they deliver it.
Some of them see some social or political advantage in fighting us. They’re using us for their own selfish aims.
Open the conversation anyway. Many will not like what you say. Some will listen.
In any event, there’s no point in arguing. Mockers don’t listen to rebukes. Leave the fighting for lobbyists, lawyers, and legislators. Keep building, investing, contributing, and learning.
Some think this opens us up to regulatory capture or more chokepoints. The financial elites want us to fail, and they’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.
Fear not. If cryptocurrency does what we think it should do, we will never have to worry about the actions of our financial elites.
They will have to worry about ours.
This post is available as a collectible NFT at https://mirror.xyz.
Mark Helfman publishes the Crypto is Easy newsletter. He is also the author of three books and a top Bitcoin writer on Medium and Hacker Noon. Learn more about him in his bio and connect with him on Superpeer or Tealfeed.