Alex Gladstein 🌋 Profile picture
Chief Strategy Officer: @HRF + @OsloFF. Friend of democracy, civil liberties, Bitcoin. Foe of tyranny and the surveillance state.
Rick Norrris Profile picture Hakan Yazgan Profile picture Wendy Sanarwanto 🇮🇩 🇦🇺 ₿ Profile picture bitcoin - MAGA - Trump - guns Profile picture Brant Hammer ∞/21M Profile picture 5 added to My Authors
22 Jul
1/ My essay "Can Bitcoin be Palestine's Currency of Freedom?" is now live.

I spoke to Palestinians to learn how they are using Bitcoin as a peaceful protest to overcome staggering financial barriers 🇵🇸 ⚡

My chat with a user in Gaza blew my mind 🧵:

bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/can-bi…
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"
Read 29 tweets
13 Jul
1/ This chart from a 2014 @BichlerNitzan paper is mind-blowing.

Grey bars show when the "Petro-Core" (BP/Chevron/Exxon/Mobile/Shell) beat the Fortune 500, black bars show poor performance.

The explosion symbols are outbreaks of war in the Middle East.

bnarchives.yorku.ca/420/3/20141100…
2/ As the authors note, periods of poor "Petro-Core" performance are *predictive* of Middle East conflict.

"Every energy conflict save one was preceded by the Petro-Core trailing the average" - in other words: oil giants have to "differentially decumulate" for conflict to erupt.
3/ Every energy conflict was followed by the oil companies beating the Fortune 500 average.

War and conflict in the region, usually blamed for undermining the regional economy, "have served the interest of the large oil companies at the expense of leading non-oil firms"
Read 11 tweets
4 Jul
1/ My essay "Bitcoin and the American Idea" is now live.

🇺🇸 was born 245 years ago but strayed from its founding ideals.

Can Bitcoin help it get back on track?

An African American activist (@bitcoinzay) and an Iraqi refugee (@faisalalmutar) say yes 🧵

bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/bitcoi…
2/ On July 4, 1776, the Founding Fathers declared independence from the British Empire.

It was a bold and risky action.

Never before had a colonial state defeated its overload, especially one at the apex of its global power.

But America won.
3/ Today is still a cause for celebration across the US and beyond.

The values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence continue to animate resistance struggles worldwide.

But for many, July 4th seems like a hollow festival.

American history has betrayed the American idea.
Read 25 tweets
1 Jul
1/ It's worth repeating that 1.3 billion suffer under double or triple digit inflation.

This is a humanitarian crisis greater than (but not unrelated to) the lack of access to clean drinking water (785M) or extreme poverty (689M).

But it is ignored by global policymakers 🧵
2/ The following terms are not mentioned in the 10,000+ word manifesto of the 17 @UN Sustainable Development goals:

-Democracy
-Journalism
-Privacy
-Elections
-Free Expression

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.
Read 8 tweets
23 Jun
1/ My essay "Fighting Monetary Colonialism with Open Source Code" is live.

France controls 15 African nations and 180M+ people through the CFA franc currency. The details are shocking.

Can Bitcoin be a way out?

@Farida_N 🇹🇬 + @diopfode 🇸🇳 think so 🧵

bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/bitcoi…
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%
Read 25 tweets
11 Jun
1/ Bitcoin is a powerful tool for human rights.

What is happening in El Salvador will have a huge impact on the lives of people there and across the world.

A nation adopting Bitcoin is a big step forward for global human freedom.

But that's not the full story 🧵
2/ It is important to separate appreciation for this historic milestone, and celebration for the march of open source technology, with any such appreciation or worship of the president of El Salvador.

In Bitcoin we don't trust, we verify. That approach is needed more than ever.
3/ Today I spoke to a Salvadoran lawyer and law school teacher. She is representative of many Salvadorans, living in the capital with family in the country.

Many of her students do not have internet access. The last year has been very hard on them.
Read 27 tweets
26 May
1/ My latest essay is live:

"The Humanitarian and Environmental Case for Bitcoin"

Could Bitcoin reduce "middleman" corruption in aid, bootstrap electrification via untapped renewables, and help developing nations end dependency on foreign powers?

🧵

bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/bitcoi…
2/ Helping those less fortunate is noble.

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
Read 22 tweets
17 May
1/ **A World Without Bitcoin**

What would the future look like if Satoshi had never invented decentralized digital scarcity?

If we didn't have open-source, non-discriminatory money beyond the control of corps and govts?

Here's a sci-fi look into that parallel universe 🧵:
2/ The year is 2040, and cash is gone. The money you use on a daily basis has fully transitioned into a tool of surveillance and control.

In midtown Manhattan, you tip sidewalk performers with a scan of your wearable, your face, or your fingerprint.
3/ Coins and dollar bills are now curiosities—fossils from a forgotten age.

In Beijing, the government-issued Yuan has long since been digitized into the ubiquitous DCEP.
Read 44 tweets
5 May
1/ It is *really important* to understand that Bitcoin is very different from Dogecoin.

Some are making jokes comparing the two, especially as Doge has outperformed BTC + ETH this year.

Many of you already know, but for everyone else, here are some of the key differences 🧵
2/ Bitcoin is absolutely scarce. There will never be more than 21 million Bitcoin.

Dogecoin is infinite. The system is on track to mint 14.4 million new Doge each day and 5.2 billion more Doge each year, forever.
3/ Bitcoin’s issuance is predictable. The users, who are self-interested to preserve the system, control the rules.

Dogecoin’s issuance is unpredictable. It can and has been altered. For example, in 2014 the creators simply changed the monetary policy from finite to infinite.
Read 19 tweets
30 Apr
1/ While doing research for my essay on the negative externalities of the petrodollar, I learned a huge amount. Much of it was shocking or surprising.

Here's a thread with a few of my favorite bits of insight, with links for further reading 🧵

bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/the-hi…
2/ The Vietnam war was the first American war fought almost entirely on credit.

Previous wars were financed significantly by higher taxes:

jstor.org/stable/2950852…
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.

A few days later, Nixon closed the gold window:

scholarship.law.columbia.edu/cgi/viewconten…
Read 19 tweets
30 Mar
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:

Read 23 tweets
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:

medium.com/@nic__carter/n…
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:

amazon.com/dp/B08YQMC2WM
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 🧵:

dbresearch.com/PROD/RPS_EN-PR…
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:

sec.gov/news/speech/pe…
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
27 Feb
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.
Read 12 tweets
21 Dec 20
@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
Read 18 tweets
15 Apr 20
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.
Read 12 tweets
27 Nov 19
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.
Read 9 tweets