What if you could own a piece of the innovation that would one day make your job obsolete? Would you take advantage of that opportunity? Or would a collective pride in our long term utility cause us to miss out? These are the questions I ponder now, as a retired labor leader. As someone who worked to protect and forward the workers I represented through over 10 years of union work, I think about the longevity of a career which has provided me with so much. At this point in time, Bitcoin provides an unrivaled opportunity for continued longevity to the workers of the world.
A retired fire chief I know used to say, “the best part about being a firefighter, is we get the opportunity to change the way the story ends.” People call 9–1–1 when something really bad has happened. From a car that’s dangling over the edge of a cliff, to someone stuck in an elevator, to house fires and emergency medical calls, we have the incredible task, as firefighters, to change the way the story ends. And, through constant training, dedication, and courage, we often do so for the better.
Bitcoin sits in a position to help workers all over the world by changing the way our financial story ends.
A brief tactical pause. Please read Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper: “Bitcoin: a peer to peer electronic cash system.” By this point, you have almost certainly heard of Bitcoin. Do yourself a huge favor, and go to the source. Take the time to understand the original vision.
The most important aspects of Bitcoin you should consider: it is the world’s first digital cash system that was privately created and is publicly owned; it’s a booming network of financial technology owned by the world at large. The network is decentralized, with no CEO or owner, but rather a community of builders committed to its success. Lose a community member and another takes their place. Lose a piece of infrastructure and another rises. Bitcoin as an entity and brand is thriving, currently standing as a nearly half trillion dollar innovation that operates and functions seamlessly everyday. Each day hundreds of thousands of Bitcoin transactions execute with 100 percent accuracy. No boss, no employees, no Bitcoin headquarters. Just a network of believers and supporters. And, as Artificial Intelligence and automation progress, Bitcoin sits poised to form the financial foundation of such future systems.
While Bitcoin is still not the dominant reserve currency held around the world, its brand is stronger than ever, and its original vision is being placed into reality every day. This health is important as future challenges will always pop up from time to time. From El Salvador to nature reserves in the Congo, communities everywhere are leveraging Bitcoin’s unique properties to improve their present and future circumstances; to take custody of their financial futures. Ultimately, whether we understand or believe in Bitcoin or not, it will continue to advance and reshape the world.
Before we get into how Bitcoin provides an opportunity to labor today, let us journey back to a time of one of the most elite labor groups in history; the Japanese Samurai.
In feudal Japan, war was currency. A community’s prosperity was only as good as its ability to defend itself from constant attack. Because of this, the Japanese Samurai were indispensable. Quickly rising to the most elite levels of society, how is it possible that the Samurai eventually fell from a place of incredible value, both functionally and for what they represented in their code of ethics? The answer: the Gatling Gun, a technological advancement for which the sword could not keep pace.
Industrialization arrived prior to the Samurai having a chance to rebrand. It happened quickly, and was especially pronounced for the Japanese due to a long standing isolationist policy. The old wartime currency of disciplined warriors transformed to a new currency: productivity and innovation, for which the hero was the machine.
The balance between utility and admiration had tilted to the point of no return. While the Samurai were still highly respected by those in power, it was not enough to justify these warriors’ lack of utility.
Why are we talking about the Samurai? Because the workforce of today has information at its disposal past generations only dreamt about. Because of this, today’s laborers have an opportunity to elevate their standing past the point of reliance on the ruling class. “Once the samurai lost their state-granted privileges, they were largely forced to rely on government programs designed to rehabilitate them economically.” For some this worked, but for many it did not. Economic Rehabilitation of the Samourai.”.
So, the million Bitcoin question … how does the workforce adopt Bitcoin responsibly?
There are two primary ways in which labor can adopt Bitcoin.
1. Labor unions can hold Bitcoin as a part of their reserves. If done using self-custody this would further insulate the workforce from financial reliance on those with opposing interests. In many cases, big business and the government.
2. Workers can begin to independently adopt Bitcoin and utilize peer-to-peer transactions, with educational support from their unions. They can run nodes and become beacons of the decentralized financial network that is Bitcoin and the Lightning Network.
Both avenues take time, patience and a commitment to learn. This doesn’t even include the opportunities in mining Bitcoin, providing a hedge to a possible pension collapse, or the infinite applications involving Bitcoin that are being developed as you read this (NOSTR etc).
There are also many ways in which labor can help Bitcoin. Labor has achieved tremendous standing over the years. They have fine-tuned the art of organized solidarity. Solidarity will be crucial as governments begin to deploy Central Bank Digital Currencies. You didn’t think under the mattress paper cash was going to last forever did you? Many Americans and people around the world will be faced with a choice. On one hand there will be the incentives and convenience of a closely monitored Central Bank Digital Currency. On the other, a Bitcoin Standard, one based on freedom and sound money. Solidarity will indeed be tested at this time across many fronts.
Ultimately, union leaders have an obligation to lead the workers they represent. Isolating oneself from Bitcoin represents a failure to learn about one of the most pivotal innovations of our lifetime. Don’t be blindsided like the Samurai. As a firefighter and believer in Bitcoin, I’d love to see the working class/Bitcoin love story play out. Many, like myself, are available to chaperone, drive, recommend date spots — whatever brings longevity and prosperity to these two communities, for which I greatly admire. This is the unlikely marriage that is Proof of Workforce