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.
Boy, what a year it’s been.
It’s hard to find the words to address 2020. I have wrestled with mixed emotions throughout this year, and I suspect many of you have as well. Anger and frustration, yes, but also validation and excitement. So many of the things we’ve been talking about for so long, all of the trends we’ve been tracking and predictions we’ve been making, appear to be more and more accurate.
I’ve found the apparent acceleration of events this year to be quite sobering, and it has definitely motivated more serious preparation for whatever may lie ahead.
I can’t imagine having to confront the challenges of the world today without Bitcoin. The fact that it exists gives me a profound sense of peace. I sometimes refer to it as a heartbeat of existential comfort (beating roughly once every 10 minutes). As long as it keeps beating, I have hope for the future.
Coinciding with this hope is an immense gratitude, an inexhaustible enthusiasm and a palpable energy that seems directly generated by Bitcoin. I know many of you feel it too. It’s amazing isn’t it? No matter how crazy the world gets, the hope that Bitcoin inspires is so amazingly powerful that it casts away despair and focuses your will toward building a better future. It’s like a drug that awakens the best aspects of yourself, and compels you to refine and express them.
Yet still, with such hyperbolic enthusiasm, one can’t help but wonder: Am I really seeing this clearly? Do I want this to be something so badly that I’m deluding myself?
These are very important questions to ask, especially when dealing with something as potentially disorienting as an unprecedented paradigm shift in the very foundation of society: money. Such a change could turn the world on its head, so it’s only natural — in fact, necessary — to question yourself about it, and maintain a critical perspective.
Of course, it does help to assuage those fears when some of the brightest and most successful people on the planet begin to come to the same conclusion that you did, which has been an exciting development this year. As it turns out, when they put bitcoin through their own critical lens, some of these people are coming to similar conclusions as many of us have. What’s more, these people from the traditional corporate and financial world not only agree with us, but they’re actually looking to us for insight and guidance.
As legendary investor Paul Tudor Jones recently said, explaining why he is even more bullish on bitcoin, “[There is] an enormous contingent of really really smart people, who believe in it.”
So, not only does it seem less and less likely that we're crazy, but as fate would have it, we may very well be the group of disagreeable visionaries carrying the torch at the vanguard of possibly the biggest technological revolution in human history. That’s pretty fucking rad.
And this actually brings me to the thing that I’ve been most inspired by this year, most excited about, most eager to amplify and most grateful to engage with — BITCOINERS!!
Between the chaotic world around us, the memes, “number go up,” citadel dreams and grapes n'shit, it’s easy to lose sight of the real story here: you.
In my opinion, we aren’t looking out at the world waiting for this to happen, we ARE WHAT'S HAPPENING. We're what happens when human beings interact with something with Bitcoin’s unique characteristics, and we are the ones through which the new world is beginning to emerge.
After all, Bitcoin is just a tool, and it's only revolutionary in so far as its unique attributes generate novel possibilities for action — that is to say, new behaviors.
And what are those possibilities? We’re only at the very beginning of figuring that out, and as great as many in this space are at exploring and articulating some of them, their most truthful reflection is in the changes inspired in each of us.
I do often wonder though, why these particular people? Why such similar and consistent changes amongst such a disparate group of people?
Sure, the narrative surrounding Bitcoin at any one time can have a self-selecting effect for certain types of people, but there is clearly more to it than that. As strange as it may sound to some, it seems almost irrefutable at this point that those novel possibilities that Bitcoin introduces, and perhaps even something more fundamental about its very nature, is actually having a transformative effect on many who engage with it.
But how? Why? Are we just “conforming” to the parameters of the network, to be more “fit” to capitalize on the opportunities it offers? Are we being somehow imprinted and transformed by it’s unchanging, incorruptible nature? Is it simply a matter of the power of aligned incentives that apply equally to everyone? Just a “time preference” thing? Twitter influence? Some kind of alchemical transformation? It’s likely all of this and more.
Regardless of how, this is what I’ve noticed across nearly all of the Bitcoiners I’ve had the good fortune of connecting with — bitcoin changes you, and that’s what this is all about.
In fact, that’s what every revolution is always about, changing our behavior, changing how we act and interact.
It’s such a peculiar thing. Is this network that lives on the internet fundamentally reorienting people’s perspectives? How they see the world? How they see themselves?
That seems to be the case.
I know many of you feel this. You just can’t help but see things differently, as though a veil was lifted, and it’s now increasingly difficult to relate to the person you were before Bitcoin.
Whatever process is at play, perhaps nothing is more powerful than this: Bitcoin instills hope and, in my opinion, many of these changes are a reflection of just how powerful that can be.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about “everyone that owns bitcoin” here. I’m talking about capital “B” Bitcoiners. If you know, you know. If not, keep digging down the rabbit hole.
But is all this change good? I believe the vast majority of it is.
At the risk of generalizing, I’ve found Bitcoiners to be humble, intelligent, kind, rebellious, principled, direct, ambitious, hopeful and dedicated to the pursuit of truth. They’re the unlikely heroes of this story, and if you show up with a genuine desire to learn, your ego in check, with good intentions and open to wherever that road may take you, you’ll find a “community” bursting with support, respect, camaraderie and, well, love.
I often chuckle at the absurdity of the fact that what seems like a bunch of hooligans lurking on the internet, shaming people into buying bitcoin, are actually the force behind the most positive change happening in the world today.
Bitcoiners are the curious and courageous ones, opening their hearts and minds to the truth of this thing, and allowing themselves to be transformed in the process.
As time pushes forward, bitcoin will inevitably be judged based on the people, communities and societies which it fosters. To me, Bitcoiners offer a window into the future and, even now, even while we are all so early in this process, I can see a glimmer of it, and it’s fucking astonishing.
My biggest highlight of 2020?
BULLISH ON BITCOINERS!
It’s an honor to be among you freaks.
This is a guest post by John Vallis. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.