33 - 10/June/2021
21 days before the launch
I wasn’t around for Satoshi. I wasn’t around when Laszlo spent 10,000 Bitcoin to buy two Papa John’s pizzas. I wasn't around when BTC hit triple digits for the first time, or when Gavin lost his GitHub commit access, either. I’m also not a computer scientist, or a cryptographer, or an economist. I was just a dude living his life in the suburbs.
Then on July 16, 2017, I bought my first coins. It was a complete leap of faith, one that probably wouldn't have happened if not for a series of random events that almost makes me want to believe it all happened for a reason: to make me press buy, even though I didn’t really understand what I was buying other than maybe a hope and a prayer.
They say timing is everything. Like if I hadn’t bought my first coins right before the Bitcoin Cash fork, I would have never had to learn what a hardfork was, or how to split my coins, or hold my private keys. Then I made my first 0-conf transaction, and suddenly it was like a light turned on inside me, like I’d experienced something new for the first time in many years.
I was hooked, and found my passion again, and I began writing again.
But I wasn't hooked on the technology but what I believed the technology could achieve. I imagined taking down the Fed, of banking the unbanked and making it possible for every human on the entire planet to freely transact with one another no matter where in the world you were. For once, I wanted to see real change, not just more of the same. I wanted to see more competition, to see the banks and the credit card companies have to go up against the power of open source.
That's why I chose Bitcoin Cash after the fork. To me it was the chain that made the most sense. Bitcoin Cash supporters believed in the original vision of creating a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Not digital gold, which makes absolutely no sense. I didn't want censorship resistant digital gold because I wanted censorship resistant digital money. Money that wasn't controlled by any government and had the magical ability to be sent instantly to anyone in the world basically for free.
But of course things didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped. The people leading the project couldn't get on the same page. Personalities clashed and mistakes were made. Of course the long bear market didn’t help, and Bitcoin Cash split would end up splitting two more times in three years. BCH would eventually out of the top ten by market cap after they kick out the lead developer who founded the project and had worked so hard to save it. So far the new management hasn't done anything but made the decision to postpone any major upgrades until May 2022. Because according to them it’s not about making the protocol better, it’s about better marketing. Rather than making technological progress, they'd rather keep things status quo to give them a better chance at onboarding new businesses.
To me, the reason Bitcoin Cash failed to change the world is the same reason Bitcoin failed to change the world. Both chains failed to evolve. I believe in order to succeed, you need to grow, and you don’t grow by sitting still, by being afraid to take chances. You grow by trying and failing until you finally build something of value, something that is useful, and lasting. To me, crypto will only have succeeded when it changes civilization as we know it. I want to see a world that’s 100x better than the one we live in now, and I believe crypto has the potential to unlock all kinds of leverage that is wasted today.
But it’s not just going to happen. It’s going to take a lot of talent and hard work, but that's not all. It's going to take the right incentives.
When the Bitcoin Cash community rejected the Infrastructure Funding Plan by calling it a tax, it was a mistake. Not only because the IFP was the obvious solution (almost as obvious as moderately raising the block size), but because they were seeing the situation through the wrong lens. This wasn’t a tax, no one was being forced, every individual was simply given a choice.
But the IFP wasn't the obvious solution because simply throwing money at a problem is always the right answer. To me it was the right choice because I was confident that the money would be going to a team of developers who would make good use of it. The money would be well spent, and Bitcoin ABC would finally be able to hire more people and build a strong organization to ensure the future success of the project.
But instead of being rewarded for their hard work and dedication, instead of being thanked for their efforts, it was Bitcoin ABC who was expected to do all the thanking. Who wants to work for a project or a community that treats its best employees like mere slaves? Only Bitcoin ABC was never an employee of the Bitcoin Cash project because the project never paid Bitcoin ABC for their work.
When ABC finally said it was time to fund development, the BCH community chose to show them the door and said their services were no longer needed.
At that point Bitcoin ABC could have given up like so many others. They could have pocketed what funds they had remaining and folded. But they didn’t. Even after the split didn’t work out in their favor, the team regrouped and came up with a plan. They streamlined their operation with some even staying on to work as volunteers. Meanwhile the developer's wallet continues to grow from the new coinbase rule, giving the team the right incentive to continue pursuing their mission of creating a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, aka ecash.
There are only 21 days left until what I hope is the start of something exciting. It just so happens that this July will be four years since I bought my first coins. I think it's time for Bitcoin to graduate and become ecash and finally finish what Satoshi started.
Thank you for reading.
And for anyone still trying to solve my puzzle, here's your first bonus clue: 12. If you add one letter to this word, you can make a new world that means cooking instructions.