2/ Uqab spoke to me from Rafah, the scene of yet another wave of IDF bombings in May. Gaza faces civilizational collapse. 1 out of 2 live in poverty. Half are unemployed. 80% depend on handouts. Investment is gone. Capital stock is destroyed. There is very little hope left.
3/ Gazans may be physically trapped + economically cut off from the world, but Uqab said Bitcoin gave him freedom, calling it “a checkpoint that’s always open.”
“With Bitcoin, we’re getting on with our lives,” he said. “Inshallah, more Palestinians will discover this technology"
Neither is inflation, which didn't deserve mention by the governments who wrote this document.
3/ The massive social damage that high or extreme inflation inflicts on citizens everywhere from Argentina to Turkey to Iran to Ethiopia to Nigeria wasn't on the "Davos Agenda" this year, last year, or the year before.
It's almost as if they don't want to talk about it.
2/ It begins after WWII, when the French empire started loosing chunks of colonial territory. Indochina, the Levant, North Africa... but they refused to let go of West + Central Africa. After 1960, political colonialism was unacceptable, so they settled for monetary colonialism.
3/ The primary tool of monetary colonialism was the CFA franc, first introduced in 1945. By 1948, each CFA franc was worth 2 French francs. But by the time the CFA franc was pegged to the euro in the late 1990s, it was worth .01 French francs: a total devaluation of 19,900%
Since the 1960s, more than $4 trillion has been sent from rich countries to poor countries in what is now a $200 billion foreign aid industry.
But does humanitarianism sometimes help create the hardship it is supposed to solve?
3/ Three of aid's major flaws:
-Much of it is skimmed off along the way, or ends up propping up dictators
-Aid creates dependency + discourages economic independence
-Donors rarely help nations become *energy* independent, as renewable farms aren't quickly sustainable/profitable
3/ In 1971 the French were so worried that the dollar would devalue as a result of exorbitant American spending on war and social programs that they sent a battleship to New York City to collect their gold.
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:
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.
“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”
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”
1/ There are a couple things that make Bitcoin different from any previous top dog in the money hierarchy, which will create a different financial system than the one we've seen before, which Brendan describes here.
2/ Anyone can verify their Bitcoin holdings or the global monetary supply from cheap equipment at home. So, unlike gold, citizens and institutions can easily custody their BTC w/o relying on third parties. This creates a stronger demand for actual BTC versus promises to pay.
3/ Also unlike gold, there is a liquid 24/7 global market for Bitcoin accessible to anyone with an internet connection where you can sell BTC or buy BTC + withdraw quickly into self-custody. With vibrant global p2p markets, you don't have to deal with slow, regulated gatekeepers.
@felixsalmon 1/ I do. I’ll give you a few now. For starters BYSOL, a grassroots Belarusian human rights org, has moved more than $500k of value peer-to-peer to striking workers inside Belarus, in a way the regime can’t stop. Activists or protestors normally get their bank accounts frozen.
@felixsalmon 2/ A Nigerian feminist coalition raised tens of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin via @BtcpayServer to support pro-democracy anti-SARS protests in October while their bank accounts were being turned on and off. @jack even shared helping the movement go even more viral
@felixsalmon@BtcpayServer@jack 3/ Many organizations in Hong Kong have had their bank accounts investigated or funds for supporting human rights work. The indispensable @hkfp team ran into this issue and the local Bitcoin community helped them set up @BtcpayServer so now they can raise funds without that worry
Thread on the folly of fighting COVID-19 w/ surveillance:
1/ Is there an independent study showing that digital contact tracing has, all things equal, been a big help? As opposed to masks, hand washing, testing, social distancing, public education, healthcare per capita, etc?
2/ Is it demonstrably clear that cell phone tracking can be reliable + effective in urban areas where the virus hits the hardest? Singapore's spy tactics seem to be failing. How to prevent false positives w/o the panopticon of cross-referencing location data/CCTV data/comms data?
3/ We must also grapple with the fact that the government that has the most intense citizen surveillance system in history (the Chinese Communist Party) couldn't, despite all the Orwellian tech in the world, prevent an outbreak, mass loss of life, and economic devastation.
1/ I just finished reading The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver. It is probably the single greatest work of recent fiction that helps you understand why we need Bitcoin and decentralized, private money. What’s more it’s hilarious, readable, and makes for an excellent holiday gift.
2/ The book’s plot centers around the collapse of the US dollar in 2029 America. The story is told through the eyes of different members of the Mandible family. Like young Willing here who, after watching police conduct a gold raid on his home, explains hyperinflation to his Mom.
3/ Later in the book, we learn that the US government has completely eliminated cash by 2042. The same character Willing here wonders why it took so long for the government to ban it in the first place.