2020 was unforgettable, especially for Bitcoin. To help memorialize this year for our readers, we asked our network of contributors to reflect on Bitcoin’s price action, technological development, community growth and more in 2020, and to reflect on what all of this might mean for 2021. These writers responded with a collection of thoughtful and thought-provoking articles. Click here to read all of the stories from our End Of Year 2020 Series.
It was not the year we wanted, looking back at the past 365 days. It started off well, but as the hard reality started kicking in, the worse it got.
I was just a few weeks back from Germany after a trip to visit a few fellow Bitcoiners when the new year brought news of an unknown infectious pneumonia virus spreading in the Chinese Mainland city of Wuhan. I was still able to attend a Guns n' Bitcoin Meetup in Switzerland before the world started changing, perhaps permanently.
As they say, “gradually, then suddenly” all of these fancy trips came to a stop. I thought nobody could stop Bitcoiners from meeting up, discussing their views with each other and organizing in meatspace, until the World Economic Forum's "New Normal" arrived. (Remember that phrase: You will own nothing, and you will be happy. Right.)
The “New Normal”
The world economy went off the rails and started crashing amid a financial panic. A few months later, the bitcoin price witnessed a yearly low at around $4,600 and then a new all-time high in the same year, showing that bitcoin itself is resilient to natural disasters, even if higher volatility occurs during such a crisis.
2020 unveiled the evil side of monetary nationalism and centrally-managed monetary policy. The United States Federal Reserve Bank inflated the U.S. dollar, with the New York Fed distributing more than $9 trillion in bailouts and printing tremendous amounts of money. It created wealth out of thin air for banks and for itself to purchase bonds and other financial junk products to inflate its own balance sheets, moves that were reminiscent of similar actions taken during the 2008 financial crisis, when the U.S. Government placed Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae under a conservatorship. (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored real estate financiers and investment entities which control over $3 trillion worth of assets, and this federal conservatorship remains in place today.)
You might have noticed that there are more people now out of work in the U.S. than at the start of the year, but they are virtually invisible and the stock market keeps reaching new all-time highs. The latter fact is largely due to the money printing and the U.S. government practice of acquiring stocks and bonds on the market, pumping up the price of these assets, stocks and bonds. The Fed is pumping everything.
For Bitcoiners, this year was a challenge as well. Our organizational structure changed and those who were more likely to go to conferences had to adjust to the year of restrictions. Anyone wanting to collaborate moved to the uncomfortable realm of Zoom and Jitsi — the luckier ones who have a VR Headset can enjoy AltspaceVR or VRChat. (Seriously guys, have you never heard of Second Life?)
And now, the biggest shocker of the year, the win of the 2020 Presidential Election by Joe Biden. Our American comrades can now expect the further acceleration of the breakdown of societal norms. More lockdowns will be coming and more people will be losing their jobs soon.
We were already living in a world that was seeking to control us, but now the virus gave it an excuse to overstep its legal boundaries and attempt to "protect us" by introducing these restrictions, and the forced acquiring of ownership in companies and other institutions with the printing of money that the Federal Reserve is doing today. It was just a matter of time for the evil to show its true face, and it is happening today exactly as many predicted it would.
It is important to understand that we were already living in an unstable world that was ridden with social injustice established by the U.S. Federal Reserve. But now, these factors have forced many millions of Americans to steer off the path of being "American" and instead turn into leftist Marxists who are currently trying to gain control over the United States. This is one of the problems that we are unable to fix as long as central banking monetary policy remains in place, further driving away those who are betrayed by the system toward socialism and communism.
Bitcoin As The Balance
If we want to survive the years coming ahead, we must start educating people about the importance of personal finance and the importance of the avoidance of inflation at all costs. Without this, we will have a bleak future where another Civil War might be on the horizon which will pit the totalitarian communists against the capitalist libertarians.
But for now, things are looking stable. After the virus is long gone, we will have more challenges facing us, more and more complex matters that will have to be solved, like Bitcoin privacy, KYC, mining pools and the Travel Rule. The privacy war is right in front of us, and it is going to be the most devastating chapter of civil wars in the history of Bitcoin.
As we are slowly approaching the activation of Taproot, privacy will considerably improve and will allow the Lightning Network to keep developing further.
But there are those who are against the Lightning Network because their interest lay in on-chain infrastructure development that is slowly threatened by the increasing fee market. Many would love to see Bitcoin fail and we must draw the red line there and stick to our principles and continue to defend Bitcoin, even if it doesn't need our help or anything from us at all.
Today, we can see that there is a renewed interest in acquiring bitcoin in the retail space, precoiners are arriving and their curiosity-driven interest is seeking out connections. It is just a matter of time before more people arrive into our line of sight and begin consuming our communications on Twitter, Reddit and Telegram. These people will be less understanding of Bitcoin, they will likely be seeking out the thrills of profit, but since this is the survival of the fittest, only those who have the capability to seek out why things are like this in the world today will stay and learn. These newcomers will learn about Bitcoin, perhaps they will be ill-equipped and have coins stored on custodial exchanges, but we must be tolerant toward those who are just "exposed" to BTC in this way and attempt to steer them to become real users.
The world around us is slowly turning dystopian, the more we allow national central banks to continue to inflate their currencies, the more unstable the world will start to become. I don't wish to go into speculation about the future, since the outcome of it can be totally unexpected. But I know for sure that the fight is not finished yet.
We must maintain our vigilance and personal integrity if we wish to function as full members of the new world order's society that Bitcoiners are building right now. We must band together with others, strengthen those bonds and continue to organize. Trust right now might be shambolic but, believe it or not, good will and determination will get us far into our destiny.
This is a guest post by Karo Zagorus. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.