“The electric light did not come from the continuous improvement of candles.”
— Oren Harari
If you only read my stuff sporadically, you might be surprised to hear that I’m actually quite optimistic about the future. The main reason I compose articles highlighting all the frauds, corruption and absence of ethics within our current paradigm isn’t to fill you with fear and dread, but to create awareness. Ignorance is not bliss, and I believe a deep appreciation about how completely broken and opaque the current way of doing things is can provide the spark of inspiration and determination necessary to create a new and much better world
As I’ve stated many times previously, it wasn’t until Bitcoin emerged and I started to understand the implications of it, that I became very encouraged about the future. Prior to that, I saw humanity living under a terminal, predatory system that would eventually consume itself, but I couldn’t see a plausible roadmap toward a better tomorrow. Bitcoin proved to me that not only did such a path exist, but the infrastructure for this better future was being built right in front of our eyes.
I first started writing about the revolutionary implications of Bitcoin in the summer of 2012, and looking back five years later I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of awe and appreciation for all that’s been achieved. While the optimist in me always thought we might get to where we are today, to see it actually happen is nothing short of extraordinary. The incredible energy and global talent that’s entered this space over the past several years brings a gigantic smile to my face. It truly is an idea whose time has come, and the more the concepts of decentralization and trustless systems infect the global consciousness, the more unstoppable they become. I think we’re already there.
Meanwhile, there continues to be tremendous resistance to this innovation from wide swaths of the population, which is to be expected for anything that seemingly came out of nowhere and is so incredibly disruptive. I have various theories for why that’s the case, but today’s post will focus on a specific aspect that I think is relatively unappreciated, particularly by many of us older than 35.
I’m old enough to have lived half of my life during a time when the internet wasn’t totally ubiquitous. As such, being proficient in the use of technology wasn’t something I grew up with. I had to learn what I know on my own later in life, having already become comfortable and reasonably well adjusted to the pre-internet world. Throughout my ten year career on Wall Street, I simply didn’t have the intellectual curiosity to really look behind the curtain, but then the financial crisis came along and shattered my worldview. I haven’t been the same since.
I’m not the only one of course. The financial crisis of 2008/09 similarly shattered the worldview of tens, if not hundreds of millions of people across the globe. I believe that the old manner of doing things as far as organizing an economy and society died for good during that crisis and its aftermath. Sure it’s been shadily and undemocratically propped up ever since, and we haven’t yet transitioned to what’s next, but for all intents and purposes it’s dead. It’s dead because it has no credibility.
Increasing numbers of people accurately see the institutions that currently manage our lives as outdated and corrupt. More importantly, many of us don’t want to simply replace the current crop of unethical people in charge with a new bunch, we want to completely change the way things are done at a systemic level. This is precisely what lies at the heart of Bitcoin, as well as decentralized, trustless systems in general. If there’s any fundamental lesson from history it’s that human beings cannot be trusted to use power and authority altruistically and wisely. As such, it’s imperative that we distribute those things as much as possible.
Sometimes my posts are inspired by the most random of things. In today’s case, it was the following tweet by Reason.
The above caused a flood of thoughts that had been already percolating in my mind to coalesce. It made me realize that if you aren’t observing what’s currently happening with regard to Bitcoin’s ascendance (and crypto assets more broadly) from a generational perspective, you’ll completely miss the big picture. The Baby Boomer generation, which has dominated so many aspects of our country for so many decades — including the overall narrative of everything — is finally heading off into the sunset.
It’s not so much that they’re physically expiring, but their influence is beginning to wane significantly. It’s not completely obvious just yet since our world continues to be defined by the institutions and ideals they championed, but in the hearts and minds of so many, particularly the younger generations, the world they left us is hopelessly corrupt, archaic and can’t be displaced quickly enough.
Bitcoin is as much a generational phenomenon as it is a technological innovation and response to finance industry corruption.— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) November 20, 2017
In the U.S., we are probably hitting right now (or recently passed) peak Baby Boomer influence on society. The implications of this are enormous.— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) November 20, 2017
This is where many older people who understand how fraudulent and terminal the current system is seem to get sidetracked. To them, the next logical step as we enter a new financial system has to be to go through gold. Far more ridiculously, some people even push the spectacularly idiotic idea that an SDR will become the accepted global currency of the future. While I don’t profess to know exactly how things will play out, I try to keep an open mind as others arrogantly dismiss Bitcoin completely.
It’s no coincidence that many of those who are particularly condescending toward Bitcoin are from older generations. They’re doing what humans tend to do, which is take their own understanding of the world and life experiences and extrapolate them into the future. Someone who lived 30 years or more before the internet came to dominate everything will naturally possess a radically different perspective of the world and where it’s headed than someone who never knew life without it. This is precisely why a younger person will inherently understand the value and utility proposition of something like Bitcoin far more easily than someone much older.
If you want to try to figure out where we’re headed, you need to get out of your own head and into the minds of younger generations. While it’s fun to mock millennials and avocado toast, this is one of the most systemically screwed over generations in a long time. Thrown into the job market in the midst of an economic collapse, they watched their parents lose their homes while Wall Street got bailed out. These are lessons and experiences that stick around for life and fundamentally shape how one sees the world. The younger generations aren’t going to be interested in tinkering around the edges of the current paradigm, they’re going to want to replace it entirely. They have no loyalty to a system they’ve witnessed do so much damage.
If you’re a Baby Boomer please don’t take this the wrong way. This piece isn’t meant to disparage older generations while mindlessly elevating the youth. Many of the tools and ideas now being embraced and implemented into our society were developed by brilliant minds many years ago, and we should always pay homage to the gigantic shoulders on which we stand. Pushing 40, it’s not like I’m some spring chicken anyway.
The future isn’t set in stone, it will be what we make of it. As I see things today, we have an old paradigm on life support while novel systems and new perspectives emerge in parallel. Rather than predict the old world will blow up into a cauldron of fire, brimstone and nothingness, I can see a beneficial passing of the torch to better ways of conducting human affairs. I’m not claiming this transition will be easy and painless, but I suspect we’ll find ourselves in a much better position when we emerge on the other side.
So don’t let fear take over, and strive to embrace your higher nature. Understand the reality of the situation as it stands, and then do everything you can to leverage your talents to ensure what comes next is the kind of world you want to live in.
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