This opinion editorial is by Dustin Lamblin (a portfolio manager and AI quantitative research researcher). When people work, they trade their personal time for money. According to the old saying, “Time is money.” People lose control of their money and their most valuable resource, their time, and their freedom, when they lose control. This nightmare is unfortunately a reality for billions around the globe. Every day, people are robbed of various forms of their hard-earned savings. It can happen in wars or under authoritarian governments, but it can also happen every day with different forms of their hard-earned savings. Nothing in life can be taken for granted, including freedom, sovereignty and money. It is worth highlighting the humanitarian benefits of Bitcoin, and how it is becoming a lifeline to many, with the rising inflation in the world, the war in Ukraine, and increasing measures taken by authoritarian regimes. We still have the ability to choose how we respond in a world where so many things are beyond our control. Bitcoin can provide economic freedom. Skeptics: I want to challenge your beliefs and show you a different side of the story. It is far from the speculation and Ponzi scheme that the mainstream media loves to discuss. Bitcoin is Resistant to Censorship Both you and I probably live in democracy. We have access capital and banking services. We don’t have to worry about what happens to our dollars and euros as we sleep at night. We wouldn’t think that someone could take our life savings or that our money might be worthless overnight. The vast majority of people don’t understand the economic system or how money is made. We just use it. We trust the system. This speaks volumes about our blind faith in institutions. Congratulations if you can identify yourself in the above description. You are naturally curious about the potential benefits of bitcoin. You are fortunate that you are not among the vast majority of people who suffer from this problem. “A housewife who has never experienced the horrors of currency appreciation will not know what a blessing stable money can be and how wonderful it is to be in a position to purchase with the note in your purse the article one intended to buy at the price one intended to pay.” Adam Ferguson, “When Money Dieth,” Germany, 1920. At the moment, 2.6 million people live in countries without the freedoms that most of us take for granted. These countries can take your entire life savings at any moment. All assets that you have could be frozen without any question. To be targeted, you don’t have to be a terrorist or an evil person. Just speaking up and voicing your opinion can land you in jail or worse. This could lead to you having to leave your family without any income support. This problem is solved by bitcoin’s censorship resistance. Bitcoin is a defense mechanism that protects your wealth from external threats. Modern stoics would agree that you cannot control what happens to your wealth, but you can protect yourself from financial threats by using bitcoin. What makes bitcoin censorship resistant?” It all boils down to decentralization. The Byzantine Generals Problem, a game theory problem that describes the difficulties in reaching consensus in a decentralized system when it is not dependent on a trusted central party, can explain why centralized systems are the norm. How can decentralized systems’ members agree on a truth without knowing and trusting each other? Commonly, central figures, such as governments, banks, and other institutions, are established to settle disputes or give orders. This efficiency is often traded for corruption and abuse of power. There is no button you can push or someone you can pressure to change the code to seize money. The system is not under the control of anyone. You are in control of your money. You are your bank and no bank is necessary. Your entire wealth can be stored on a device the size of a USB Key (also known as a “signing device” or a hardware wallet). Your bitcoin is yours, and no supranational entity can control what you do with it. The password is 12 to 24 words long. This may seem absurd to those of you who live in the West, but bitcoin is the only way to safeguard your family’s savings. Globally, 31% of adults don’t have a bank account, but 83% of the population has a smartphone. A smartphone is enough to have bitcoin. You don’t need a bank account to own it. But, 83% of the world’s population has one. I recommend you look at what happened in Cyprus in 2013. The country was close to bankruptcy and they decided to tax 6.75 percent on all savers and 10% on those with more than 100,000 euro in their bank accounts. In a matter of minutes, 10% of your money was gone. This is what happens when political or economic situations quickly deteriorate. To avoid a bank panic, people in Lebanon were restricted from withdrawing more than a certain amount of local currency in 2021. In early 2022, the government announced that although there was more than $104 billion in hard currency in Lebanon’s banking system, they only intended to allow savers $25 billion to redeem their own money. This is a 75% cut on citizens’ hard-earned savings. Another example of financial censorship was recently witnessed in Canada during the Freedom Convoy protest. This protest was supported by people sending bitcoin to truck drivers. The government discovered the truth and forced exchanges using know-your-customer laws to reveal addresses. They also used an emergency law in order to freeze credit cards and bank accounts. These people were expelled from the financial system because they showed financial support for peaceful protests. No matter what your political views may be on the topic, what happened in Canada is morally unacceptable. It happened in Canada, which is one of the most democratic countries in the world. This is alarming. This is alarming. Money is often the last thing people think about when there is a violent conflict. People are trying to save their lives by saving their money. It is difficult to be forced to leave your home and become an immigrant in another nation. But it can get worse if you don’t have any money. It happens quickly, and often access to banking is restricted or shut down. Most people’s traditional assets, such as a business, house, or car, are not liquid. It is difficult to convert them to fiat quickly. You can take your entire wealth with you on a USB drive. With your entire life savings, you can travel across oceans and countries. You can do the same thing with gold, or any other asset. Bitcoin has many advantages that make it a great store of value. It is easily portable, can be exchanged for local currency at low fees, and is widely recognized around the globe. People who emigrate with cash face great dangers, including the possibility of losing their money, being mugged, or being assaulted. People can store their bitcoins on their smartphones, and leave the country without worrying about a physical wallet. Francesco Madonna, a real-life example, explains how his webmaster fled Ukraine just before they implemented martial law. The webmaster was unable to access his money at that time due to restrictions on ATM withdrawals and the blocking of international transfers by his bank. If you don’t have money, how are you supposed feed your family or find shelter in another country? This man had a bitcoin wallet and was able to find an ATM abroad to withdraw money to help him. These remittances are a lifeline to many. They provide money that can be used for basic human needs, such as food and housing, as well as money that can help lift people out of poverty or stimulate local economic activity. However, remittance fees reduce the disposable income of migrants as well as their motivation to send more money overseas to help their loved ones. Remittance fees in sub-Saharan African nations are at 8%. In other parts of the globe, it can be as high as double digits. It is easy to underestimate how bitcoin and the Lightning Network can help to increase economic activity in these areas, despite the fact that it takes time to walk or the risk of being robbed at the nearest Western Union. Bitcoin is safer, cheaper, and faster than traditional currencies. Bitcoin can be sent directly to a person’s wallet, and they can do so while staying safe at home. They can protect themselves from external threats. Bitcoin is a hedge against inflation. “Sound money is the first defense of a society.” Adam Ferguson, “When Money Dieth” Protecting your wealth doesn’t just mean making sure your assets remain safe. Savings are your only protection against the unexpected. People around the globe have witnessed their savings fall apart due to currency depreciation and inflation. Recent data shows that more than 2 billion people are living with double-digit inflation. Even if your money is not subject to seizure, it could be due to a variety of factors, including mismanagement of resources by government, monetary policy by central bank, and supply chain issues around the world. “The wife of a doctor I know recently traded her beautiful piano for a bag of wheat flour. I have also exchanged my husband’s gold watch for four potatoes, which will in all likelihood get us through the winter. Adam Ferguson, “When Money Dieth,” Austria, December 1918Inflation can be very dangerous. It starts slowly and gradually erodes people’s purchasing power. But it can quickly spiral out of control and become exponential. It is difficult to stop once it has gone down this path. It can bring out the worst of people. People may turn against one another to ensure their future if basic needs are not met. Society and norms are no longer relevant. Hyperinflation encourages extreme views, populist claims, extreme regimes, and people looking to find a victim. “The pie was shrinking and more people wanted a piece of it and so, there was nothing left of the ‘good neighbor” atmosphere of earlier days. Everyone saw an enemy within everyone else. — Frau von Pustau (Germany, 1922) The saddest thing about inflation was that it can affect different people in drastically different ways. If you’re wealthy and come from the West, you probably have access to capital. This means that you have many options to protect yourself against inflation: real estate, commodities or gold, as well as bitcoin. The most vulnerable are those who earn less income and are middle class. They have fewer tools to protect themselves against inflation. You are more likely to experience severe inflation if you live in developing countries. Your tools to combat it are also limited. (Source) “When people don’t understand what is happening or why it is happening and don’t know what to do about the problem, panic should follow.” Adam Ferguson “Nothing is permanent, whether it’s for an individual or a society.” Seneca Governments are, at least in the developed world, often seen as infallible entities where we should place all our trust. People view government bonds as safe investments, believing that they are risk-free. This may be true for a limited time. History has shown that empires always crumble in the end. All empires have failed, regardless of their size and power: the Ottomans, Romans, and even the British Empire. Is it possible that the U.S. empire will fail? What do you think is the threshold? Do you believe the U.S. will fail in the next decade? So why do you have 100% of your wealth in USD when the probability of the U.S. failing in the coming decades is zero? We don’t know the future. We need to be ready for a black-swan scenario. It is also known as insurance or a hedge in finance. Bitcoin is the insurance policy for the current economic system. A small amount could provide the asymmetric payout that will allow you to enjoy economic freedom for your children and grandchildren. “Yes, but my securities are government securities: They can’t be safer than that. “My dear lady, where is that State which guaranteed these securities for you? It is dead.” It is dead.” People shouldn’t invest more money than they can afford to lose. As bitcoin becomes more popular and more people recognize it as both a store and a way to exchange money, I believe that volatility will eventually stabilize. People who invest now will be rewarded for riding the steepest portion of the adoption curve. We have seen a steady adoption of the technology over the years. El Salvador made bitcoin legal in 2021. Many S&P 500 companies now have bitcoin on their balance sheets. More companies are accepting bitcoin as a payment method, such as Microsoft and PayPal. Pension funds have begun to offer bitcoin in their retirement plans (e.g. Fidelity). Although you don’t have the right to use bitcoin, it is an option. No matter where you are from, you will have access a fundamental right: an international, censorship-free money. Bitcoin is freedom money, and no one will be able take that option away from you. “Concentration camps are sufficient evidence that everything can be taken away from a man. But one thing is certain: the last of human freedoms — the ability to choose one’s attitude in any given set, to choose one’s own path. Viktor FranklBitcoin is DifferentThe best thing about Bitcoin is that no one owns it. As I said, there is no single person who can make the system’s decisions. We don’t need to worry about who will be next in charge or what politics they will run on. Modern society is characterized by centralization. Governments are centralized, money is centralized, and the education system is centralized. This is how we grew-up, there were no other options and we didn’t need to question it. We now have an alternative. The Enlightenment movement, which pushed for the separation of the state and the church, drove the 18th century. The 21st century will see the end of the state’s control over money. Bitcoin’s open-source protocol is completely decentralized and available to all users. The policy is not controlled by any central entity such as the government. The monetary policy is clear, transparent, and hard-coded. There will be 21,000,000 bitcoin issued. Decentralized systems are more resistant to corruption than a disciplined monetary policy that is independent of political lobbying. This is in contrast to the current monetary system, which is dictated only by a few central banks officials who make politically-influenced decisions behind closed doors. Although central bankers are not responsible for the consequences of their actions, they still have an impact on the lives of hundreds and millions of people all over the globe. Unfortunately, people are corruptible and greedy. Power makes it worse. Satoshi Nakamoto created this decentralized system. We don’t need to trust each other to work together with Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the solution to the Byzantine General’s Problem. Some Closing ThoughtsBitcoin was portrayed by Western media as an evil bubble full of speculation. It is difficult to see that the vast majority of the world does not have access basic human rights and economic freedom. This is despite having a very high view. It is easy to overlook the fact that we have access to stable currencies, equal economic opportunity, banking, and capital in a country free from corruption. We must have the common decency to admit that the system does not work for most people and to respect their decision to follow a more sustainable path. People have the right and obligation to choose what is best for them. Bitcoin is the fastest-adopted technology in human history. It provides economic freedom for billions worldwide who are not banked. It is also the most democratic weapon known to man. Bitcoin is a bridge between cultures and religions around the globe. It doesn’t matter what faith you hold or whereabouts you come from when you use bitcoin. Bitcoin does not have a religion, a political agenda, or a border to protect. Bitcoin doesn’t discriminate between participants. The Bitcoin network is equal for all, rich and poor. No matter how rich or poor you are, the Bitcoin network cannot be corrupted. An idea is impossible to kill. They spread like fire and there is no way to stop them from spreading. Bitcoin is not backed with tangible assets. But guess what? This is how our entire system was built. A bank can lend 10 times what they have on their balance sheets. The central banks can print trillions in dollars out of thin air. It’s known as the “cognitive revolution” because everything is in our heads. The ability to see things that don’t physically exist made us homo sapiens, the most dangerous species on Earth. Trust is the only thing that can support most things in life. Bitcoin is the ultimate form, and this guest post is by Dustin Lamblin. These opinions are not necessarily those of BTC Inc.