1/ In a new @Telegraph column @jamestitcomb claims that it is "hard to argue that Bitcoin has lived up to its mysterious inventor’s early intentions as a world-changing financial protocol" and says the main outcome has been making "a small number wealthy"

🧵 on why he is wrong:
2/ To be fair, it is easy to arrive at this conclusion if you completely ignore (as Mr. Titcomb does) how people are creatively using BTC worldwide.

If you only read buzzy US headlines about Tesla + NFTs, you'll miss the big picture. I hope journalists are willing to dig deeper
3/ A lower-bound estimate of unique Bitcoin users based on exchange data (excluding p2p activity) is ~130M people. Many of these millions are in emerging markets. For example there are 1.3M users of one Bitcoin trading platform alone (@Paxful) in Nigeria:

4/ Nigeria is just one of 30+ countries encompassing 1.2B people who suffer from double/triple digit inflation.

There are millions of Bitcoin savers, traders, and remitters across Turkey, Argentina, Pakistan, Iran, Sudan, Lebanon, Ethiopia and beyond:

5/ Even in economies with low inflation the financial rules are rigged. For ex. you can look at @bitcoinzay's work (Bitcoin and Black America) to see how US black communities suffer systematic financial discrimination. With the help of Isaiah + others, some are turning to Bitcoin
6/ Bitcoin hasn't just been used as a devaluation-proof and confiscation-resistant savings technology.

Though that might be one of its main use cases around the world today, its other characteristics have made it a useful and unique tool for human rights activists and others.
7/ Democracy movements and opposition leaders in Russia, Nigeria, Belarus, and elsewhere have used Bitcoin to receive donations and continue their human rights work while their traditional bank accounts have been frozen or suspended:

8/ Bitcoin is "digital gold" and a borderless, unstoppable payment rail, but it can also fight surveillance.

With the proper tools + knowledge, users can achieve the kind of "forward privacy" obtained when withdrawing funds from KYC'd bank accounts into paper cash via ATMs
9/ One way to do this is through the Lightning Network, which offers instant, cheap, global, final transactions for small payments (>$1k)

These transactions take place on a second layer, not on the main blockchain, so they offer additional privacy guarantees for users.
10/ As Lightning use grows globally (details below), more and more people are able to use Bitcoin as cheap + fast digital cash.

This is key because on-chain BTC transactions will get very expensive in the coming years with more and more network demand:

11/ LN adoption is driven in part by improving UX from tools like @bluewalletio, a nifty open-source, free, Bitcoin/LN iOS/Android wallet that offers robust multisig features.

Downloads are 🚀 in Ghana, Brazil, Ukraine, Argentina, and South Africa:

12/ Through services like @ln_strike, Americans can use their debit card to pay any Lightning invoice globally, with the user receiving Bitcoin.

The utility of instant global payments for remitters or for people who have family abroad is significant:

13/ So whether it's as an accessible savings technology, a non-discriminatory global payment rail, a more convenient remittance tool, or as a way to buy things digitally without revealing such a large amount of personal information, Bitcoin is already making a big global impact.
14/ *Anyone* with an internet connection today can access this network, and with peer-to-peer markets active in virtually every major urban area on earth, anyone can trade their earned or received or donated or purchased BTC for local currency to buy things.
15/ Crucially, the rules of Bitcoin's financial system are in the hands of users. Not dictators, faceless corporations, or unelected bureaucrats. The monetary policy is public + known to all. Miners unlock 6.25 new BTC every 10 min. This # halves every 4 years as we approach 2140
16/ As chronicled in the superb new @BitMEXResearch book The Blocksize War, when special interests have tried to hijack Bitcoin, they failed.

This financial system is arguably more democratic, less rigged, and more transparent than legacy fiat + fintech

17/ As for Wall Street and Silicon Valley, which are entering the Bitcoin space after being front-run for a decade mostly by little-known users around the world, their entrance is GOOD, not bad for the system. It's not a failure that Tesla + Square are stacking and supporting BTC
18/ These companies want to accumulate and integrate Bitcoin, but they can't change the rules of the system.

They *can* however drive interest, adoption, liquidity, improved UX, and network security.

And more and more companies are flocking this way:

19/ Bitcoin doesn't promise equality of outcome (who can?) but it does give equality of opportunity

The rules are the same for billionaires or refugees

Billionaires have always been able to find good SoVs or rig rules to benefit themselves or find ways to spend in any country
20/ But this power -- to opt into a premium SoV or be your own bank anywhere -- is now open to anyone with internet access.

I've interviewed several people who fled conflict in places like Syria and Venezuela, for whom Bitcoin has been a vital tool:

21/ It has helped many escape while preserving some of their earnings, and has helped others send value back to those they left behind.

Bitcoin's power to help people in these scenarios has barely been begun to be understood:

22/ At 130M users we're at 1.7% global adoption. It's very early days.

I hope this thread helps you understand that no, we will not "spare you the lofty talk of democratizing money"

Because it's real and it's happening

We hope you join us for the ride.

23/ As a final note, many examples I've cited in this thread are listed and linked in this video I created for @reason.

I would be happy to chat anytime and share more info with you, @jamestitcomb, or anyone else who is interested.

My DMs are open :)

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More from @gladstein

29 Mar
Important to keep in mind:

Bitcoin's Proof-of-Work was invented to escape Proof-of-Stake financial systems, where the largest asset owners can unduly influence the rules of the game.

Thanks to PoW + full nodes, neither miners nor the biggest BTC hodlers can change the protocol.
In the coming year, we will see many people increasingly try to argue that Bitcoin should shift to Proof-of-Stake for various reasons.

This would defeat the entire purpose of Bitcoin.
Most recently, @Noahpinion argued that Bitcoin should move to Proof-of-Stake in Bloomberg.

By doing so he demonstrates that he does not understand how or why Bitcoin work.

@nic__carter did a great job dismantling his argument here:

Read 5 tweets
22 Mar
1/ Want to know who controls Bitcoin?

Read "The Blocksize War" by Jonathan Bier.

This should be *required reading* for any journalist or scholar writing about Bitcoin.

🧵 on some of my favorite insights:

2/ The book covers the "blocksize wars" of 2015-2017 and the two major visions for scaling Bitcoin to the world.

Which philosophy would win out, the one that prioritizes transaction volume + corporate control?

Or the one that prioritizes decentralization + individual control?
3/ This tour of the battle for the soul of Bitcoin starts with the scaling debates that began with Satoshi and revisits Gavin and Mike, Bitcoin XT/Classic/Unlimited, the DAO, SegWit, the NYA, Segwit2X, Bcash, NO2X, and the eventual triumph of a Bitcoin controlled by its users.
Read 21 tweets
18 Mar
New @DeutscheBank future of payments report on Bitcoin is out.

Their top conclusion? Bitcoin is “too important to ignore”

It’s long but interesting with some neat charts so here’s a 🧵:

2/ The title of the report is worth pondering:

“Bitcoins: Can the Tinkerbell Effect Become a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?”

There are pictures of little girls wearing fairy costumes on the cover and Peter Pan quotes inside.
3/ DB: “Bitcoin’s value will continue to rise/fall depending on what people believe it is worth. This is the Tinkerbell Effect: the more believe in something the likelier it is to happen based on Peter Pan’s assertion that Tinkerbell exists because children believe she exists”
Read 21 tweets
16 Mar
1/ Honored to be cited by SEC Commissioner @HesterPeirce in her latest remarks on Bitcoin, human rights, and regulation.

This 🧵summarizes her thesis, inspired by the work of abolitionists, about why the US should be open, not closed, to liberation tech:

2/ “Harriet Tubman will soon grace our $20 bill… She brought herself and many other enslaved Americans to freedom through a remarkable combination of intelligence, courage, faith, boldness, diverse expertise, fearlessness, experience, strength, resilience, and cooperation”
3/ “These traits and experiences equipped her to serve in the Civil War as a scout, nurse, cook, and military expedition leader. Tubman’s commitment to liberty was not abstract, but personal and life-changing to each of the individuals whom she led on a grueling march to freedom”
Read 16 tweets
8 Mar
1/ The Aker shareholder letter from Kjell Inge Røkke is remarkable.

Having worked in Norway since 2008, IMO this is a major step towards more Scandinavian Bitcoin discussion + adoption.

Here's a 🧵 on the letter's unexpected highlights especially regarding Lightning + privacy:
2/ Aker is a 180-year-old Norwegian corporation now launching Seetee, a Bitcoin company:

"We will use bitcoin as our treasury asset and join the community. We will be hodlers. Perhaps not as rebellious as the cypherpunks... But more progressive than most established corporates"
3/ A recurring theme in Røkke's letter is an interest in privacy.

Early on:

"I am particularly interested in micropayments and how these may enable us to avoid usernames, passwords, and our personal data being monetised with, and often without, our knowledge or consent”
Read 14 tweets
8 Mar
1/ Many might think that extreme inflation is a rare occurrence in today's modern world.

That's simply not the case.

There are 1.2 billion people currently living in countries experiencing double or triple digit inflation.

2/ Countries with inflation ranging from 10% - 20%:

-Haiti (11M)
-Nigeria (205M)
-Turkey (84M)
-Sierra Leone (8M)
-Uzbekistan (33M)
-Guinea (13M)
-Liberia (5M)
-Pakistan (223M)
-Kyrgyzstan (7M)
-Ghana (31M)
-Tajikistan (10M)
3/ Countries with inflation north of 20%:

-Ethiopia (116M)
-Zambia (18M)
-Libya (7M)
-Congo (90M)
-Angola (32M)
-Yemen (30M)
-South Sudan (12M)
-Argentina (45M)
-North Korea (25M)
-Cuba (11M)
Read 6 tweets

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