Bitcoin and the Colonial Trade Embargo
I’ve been seeing a lot of people debate on the internet lately that miners in Bitcoin are only self interested individuals that ONLY seek to earn a profit and nothing else. That this one goal is the SOLE motivation for their pursuit of hashing. That failing to do so creates this malincentive that would utterly destroy them, and to not ultimately seek this, is the above and beyond goal of mining that Bitcoin itself would cease to exist.
Well, I’m sorry to burst a lot of your guy’s thinking about Bitcoin, but this is just a false narrative that I believe gets pushed around, like so many others that we know of, which is fine in most cases but I think if we continue to push these extrapolations of complex ideas into these simple, dumbed-down versions for the sake of economizing our time, we lose the ability for the nuances that come with the territory. Ultimately, this is the sacrifice we make when we spread these narratives/metaphors /analogies/simplifications. Losing our ability to understand nuances in conversations and over-simplifying the arguments into these pre-determined narratives, hampers our ability to have greater civil discourse within the community.
That being said, with our current high fee environment on the Bitcoin main chain, there is a lot of talk about “filtering”/ “censoring,” and what should/shouldn’t be done in regards to it. Some take the side that if we DO do anything, these other individuals will inevitably route around the mitigation in place and continue on as if it never occurred. Then there is the “let’s not do anything camp” that think we should let it run its course and it will just go away over time. I’ve also been seeing some rumblings about the bitcoin core developers possibly being compromised in some fashion (this is just speculation on my end not having the complete picture as to what’s been going on over there and just what I’ve picked up through posts) and/or just altogether disinterested in the fiasco, or not giving it any credence. Whether we should or shouldn’t do anything, I believe it’s better to understand the false pretense that by banding together as a community we don’t have a say in what miners/devs do or don’t do. I believe we CAN totally have an influence on what can be or can’t be done with Bitcoin. In the end, the Bitcoin rules are what we run on our nodes. We decide for ourselves what characteristics we wish our money to have and project that outward in hopes that our vision of what Bitcoin is to us, aligns with the greater portion of hashrate and nodes.
In 1768 the British empire had made the decree of the Townsend Acts, which taxed all imports of commodities from Great Britain into the Americas. This in turn sparked the American colonists to outrage over the tax and they took to boycotting ALL British imports to the Americas. Most of all the colonies were on board, aside from a few outliers like Salem and Philadelphia, who did not wish to participate in the embargo of British goods. Any merchants that also did not wish to participate were in fact alienated by the common folks for not adhering to the boycott. These are factual, historic events in which individuals refrained from seeking ONLY profit for the sake of the long term continuity of the colony’s sovereignty and identity. This had also been tried before by Britain with “The Stamp Act,” in which Britain decreed that all commerce involving paper MUST use pre-ordained official papers set by the crown to be used in all transactions and record-keeping activities. This TOO was an event in which the crown tried to usurp its subjects by forcing them to use what they deemed the necessary and legal means to do business. This was met with harsh uprisings, outright refusals, smuggling, adjournment of the assemblies that would need to adhere to the act, to down right mob action of lynching and/or attacking the Stamp masters themselves. Each Act required different tactics in order to bring about the people’s desired outcome of settlement for these economic injustices.
What we can draw upon here is that:
A) Not every economic actor seeks only monetary profit in order to operate
B) Different methods need to be pursued in order to bring about that change that is needed or wanted by the populace. To this end, we can also infer that every mining company/pool CAN choose whichever methods they feel are necessary, even if these actions mean deferral of monetary profit. The fact that a mining pool can choose what is best for them is PROOF that not everyone seeks only PURE profit motives. The pools that wish to align with the long term viability of Bitcoin should choose wisely the transactions they mine, for the short term gains of pure profit can invariably harm them in the long run. Think about a weightlifter that chooses to goose his muscle building with Human Growth Hormone. He may defiantly see the gains, his progress move swiftly, and he may shoot ahead of his competitive adversaries, but in the end this is a detriment to his long term health. A comparison could also be made to that of fractional reserve banking. You CAN perform fractional reserve banking if you wish, but in doing so you’ll shoot out ahead of your fellow competitors at the cost of creating a bubble of some sort in the financial markets.
So if you gain a ridiculous amount of economic stimulation for a short period and a bust happens, all that economic growth goes down the tube. Was is it really growth? Is it worth giving whoever will take your toxic loans, for whatever interest rate you offer, at the expense of society? So let’s begin with what it is that we CAN do individually here. As a miner with hashrate, you can choose to point your hash wherever you deem worthy but please be mindful of the pools you use. Your participation in these pools is what creates the incentives that ALLOW these pools to do the things they do. There are a good portion of “mine-at-home” cohorts that don’t seek great profits as reasons for hashing, and instead they just want to heat their homes. There are even those that run hash just for the sake of doing it just because these individuals, I believe, are best suited for choosing ideologically-aligned incentives over profits. A pool using OFAC compliant filters? Don’t use them. Mining pools taking out of band payments to put wizard JPEGS allow speculative gambling of token junk that bloats the UTXO set? Don’t use them. It’s that simple. Just as the colonies chose to be principled in their choice of what goods they imported/used, YOU should also take agency over your hash and use pools that align with your views.
As a user, we have the ability to NOT participate in these shenanigans as well. Use whatever filters you deem necessary on your own node. Ridicule those that do participate. During the Townsend Acts not everyone wanted to boycott the crown but those that didn’t, suffered the societal blow back from the communities in which they resided in. Get on the GitHub repos and start voicing your opinions about them, but please be mindful that repos are not places to shitpost and trash talk, save that for Twitter. Jump into the discussions happening on Twitter to learn more about the things you haven’t got a good grasp of or formed an opinion about quite yet. The colonies used massive amounts of pamphlet distribution in order to inform the public and sway the opinion of their fellow man, to bring them on board with the ideological movements.
I’m of the belief that there WILL be another power grab for the “Orange Fire,” that is Bitcoin, in order to try and capture it for nefarious means. We can’t simply sit idly, stack sats, and think everything will just work itself out. You ARE the movement, YOUR ideas matter, YOUR input matters. We must not rest on our laurels and let evil be done. It’s up to each of us individually to take up our nodes and hash and make sure that any affront to the long term security of Bitcoin’s future will not be tolerated, and we most certainly will not go into the night without a fight. This is our one shot to bring back our future from the despotism that are the autocratic pedos that rule our world. So I ask of you all to join me, join us all in our fight for Bitcoin to be what YOU want it to be.
This is a guest post by TK. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Satoshi’s Journal. The credit for the art work associated with the this article goes to hotpot.ai and imgflip.com.