As Bitcoin heads into 2018, it has achieved things we could only fantasize about previously: trading on Wall Street, serious acknowledgement from major banks, and a price heading towards $20,000 USD. As we reflect on these milestones, it’s important to remember the radical ideas that sparked Bitcoin’s birth.
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Bitcoin: Death to Wall Street
Satoshi Nakamoto announced Bitcoin to the cypherpunk mailing list just as the global economy entered a death spiral in 2008. Wall Street imploded, the world’s banks went bankrupt, and the average Joes of the developed world lost their livelihoods. And Bitcoin offered a solution to all of it.
Remove the need for banks altogether, Satoshi said, and there will be no need for trust, and inflation will no longer wreck economies. Financial middlemen will become obsolete, money will have value again, and previously neglected regions of the world will become economic powerhouses in the Bitcoin economy.
Bitcoin and Banking: Death to Anarchy?
But then, Wall Street and the big bankers caught wind of Bitcoin — or more specifically, the blockchain technology. Come 2016, the entire mainstream financial world wanted to use the technology to make their services more efficient.
However, they encountered one problem: they could not make the blockchain work for them in any meaningful way. Essentially, the blockchain had no useful purpose. Thus, so far, mainstream institutions have yet to successfully integrate this new technology into their business models.
The Demographics Have Changed, But Not the Core Purpose
What these new adopters fail to realize — even now in 2018 — is that Bitcoin and the blockchain was never intended to cooperate with the existing financial system. As Satoshi and the original enthusiasts preached, this tech exists to kill banks, to make centralized financial institutions obsolete.
Therefore, whenever those institutions try to harness the blockchain, it will resist. Bitcoin and the blockchain are decentralized technologies trying to be forced into a centralized world, and it will remind everyone of that fact at every turn — kicking and screaming.
Bitcoin is the ultimate anarchist tool, no matter how many statists try to say otherwise. Centralized banks, stock exchanges and governments — Bitcoin exists to obliterate them all. From the perspective of the original white paper, this technology has no place on Wall Street — it’s supposed to burn the whole place to the ground.
But Should Wall Street Stop Trying?
Considering the anarchistic design of Bitcoin, should mainstream finance even try to use it? Should they give up?
Of course not.
While the technology wasn’t originally meant to play with big bankers, it doesn’t mean the tech can’t be made useful for legacy institutions.
Banks can still use the blockchain to make their services more transparent. Governments can use it to eliminate waste and operate in a more honest fashion. Financial services providers can use the tech to improve efficiency.
It can work, but institutions will have to make some concessions in the way of decentralization. They can harness the blockchain, but they can’t control it in the way they want.
Bitcoin can change the world without completely redesigning it, but the old guard has to allow it to do so.
Do you think Bitcoin can every play nice with Wall Street? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Images via Denver Post, Jewish WealthManagement.com