Written August 12, 2021.
With the debate over the infrastructure bill, policymakers were caught off guard. Few in Washington anticipated Bitcoiners’ ability to respectfully and relentlessly express our disdain toward unnecessary regulation that is likely to have unintended consequences.
The last few weeks were truly an incredible moment in time. Never before has such a multidisciplinary, multigenerational and multiparty group come together to show Congress the power of a decentralized community. Policymakers are now on notice that the Bitcoin community is a force to be reckoned with in public debate. Bitcoin was created to separate money from the state. But few foresaw the potential for bitcoin to motivate folks to lobby their government for positive change, let alone an almost successful, unanimous consent agreement.
Critics may claim it was a waste of time to engage in political activism on behalf of bitcoin. But this is the beauty of open-source technology. Each individual has a right to choose how engaged he or she wants to be. Many will be passive. But many more are paying attention and acting. Bitcoin is as profound as the Declaration of Independence was to our nation’s Founding Fathers. There should be little doubt that Bitcoiners will fight to protect it from government intrusion.
While we lost the amendment battle in the Senate, the community won the hearts and minds of many legislators who recognized how important this technology is to our future. For example, the House of Representatives is already preparing for our swarm to advance. The House Blockchain Caucus is wisely seeking shelter before the cyber hornets arrive by preemptively advocating for an amendment among colleagues.
In the future, policymakers may think twice before introducing legislation that adversely impacts bitcoin. Many members of the Bitcoin community have started the process of organization and preparing for future policy debates. There is no reason that Bitcoin cannot win the battle of ideas if the community stays engaged. Because of these reasons, there is an argument that is echoing throughout the Bitcoin community: It is time for Bitcoiners to organize.
Bitcoiners are the biggest single-issue voters at 46 million. In comparison, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is a 38 million member strong 501(c)(4) that lobbies on behalf of older Americans. The special interest group is a force to be reckoned with on the Hill as older folks vote, and the impact of the 50-plus cohort on GDP is over $8 trillion, the equivalent of the third-largest economy in the world, behind the U.S. and China.
More Americans own bitcoin than are AARP members, and that gap is rapidly growing as bitcoin gains traction. Currently, 17% of adult Americans own bitcoin. Along the Roger’s Innovation Adoption Curve, we have surpassed innovators (2.5%) and early adopters (13.5%). Bitcoin is in the early majority (34%) adoption territory.
Some community members believe that the organic response we saw with the infrastructure bill can greatly be magnified if current organizations, including the Digital Chamber of Commerce, the Blockchain Association and Coin Center are supported. Some also believe that there should be more Bitcoin-specific representation on the Hill and within states. Should there be multiple (c)(4)s or multiple PACs? That question is yet to be answered. There is no answer here that will please everyone, but there is likely a way forward to organize where a majority is satisfied. That’s a win-win for an open-source community.
Legislation in Washington and across the country directly impacts the livelihoods of Bitcoiners and innovators trying to build companies in this space. The Bitcoin industry employs tens of thousands of individuals. It would be unrealistic to expect the community not to put up a fight. Currently, Bitcoiners are organizing state by state to teach representatives about Bitcoin fundamentals and why it is important for states and countries to embrace this technology.
If you work in the House of Representatives, the U.S. Treasury, the White House, the CFTC, the SEC, etc., and want to learn about bitcoin, reach out and we’ll share what we see in this incredible commodity. We’ll also do our best to share how bitcoin will be the biggest win for Americans once politicians embrace its potential. Bitcoin is apolitical, so please do not make Satoshi’s innovation a partisan issue.
The last couple of weeks have shown that this community is relentless and focused. Continue to reach across the aisle like Senators Lummis, Toomey, and Wyden to bring the best possible outcomes for the future of finance and innovation for our country. You made a difference with zero preparation and zero odds. Stay engaged. We need you.
This is a guest post by Joe Carlasare and Amanda Cavaleri . Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.