June 19, 2018

What Satoshi’s first message on the blockchain tells us about money

In times when cryptocurrencies seem to be in a never-ending bear market and when more and more people start to doubt whether cryptocurrencies will ever find mass adoption, it might be a good idea to remind ourselves why we are convinced of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain in the first place. A good way to do so is to look at the circumstances under which Bitcoin evolved and how and by whom Bitcoin was supported at the very beginning. What better way to do so than by looking at the very first message of the creator of Bitcoin.

Satoshi’s message on the blockchain

We can find Satoshi’s first message on the Genesis block of Bitcoin under the Hash 000000000019d6689c085ae165831e934ff763ae46a2a6c172b3f1b60a8ce26f. There the reward transaction of 50 BTC for the Genesis contains a message that reads:

“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”

It’s a powerful message packed as an understatement in form of a newspaper quote. Not only does it serve the function to confirm that Bitcoin was created on the third January 2009, but also it delivers a context on what the benefits of Bitcoin are. Looking back almost ten years later, it also reminds of the turmoil and the political and economic disaster and uncertainty during the financial crisis.

A criticism of our money system

A bailout is when the state has to intervene when a private bank goes bankrupt. Giving money to banks at the expense of all citizens would be considered a crime under normal circumstances, but during the financial crisis, it is considered to be the last resort of governments.

Despite being unjust, it is still a necessary evil because the bankruptcy of a bank as big as the Bank of America or the Royal Bank of Scotland would trigger a chain reaction with unimaginable consequences for businesses and the industry. Bank runs as happened multiple time in 2008/09 would be widespread, and they would expose an ugly truth.

There is more fiat money around than there should be

In the fiat money system whenever you take a credit, money is created out of nowhere by the central bank (e.g the FED or the ECB). This leads of course to an inflation of money but is described as a healthy and wanted inflation by advocates of this money system. It’s there to incentivize investment and to punish savers or “HODLers
as you would call them in the crypto space. After the financial crisis, interest rates were held down artificially to spark investment even further. The problem with this is not only that your money decreases in its value, but also that investment, in general, is not allocated in the best way. Companies with bad business plans will get a bank loan that seems affordable to them, but as soon as interest rises again, they will likely go bankrupt triggering another crisis. This is why the stock markets are fearing another crash that is widely estimated to become worse than the one in 2008. Another issue is the fractional reserve system that aggravates this problem even further, but that is another subject.

Bitcoin’s advantage

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies don’t allow for such manipulation. There is a limited supply of Bitcoin which means that Bitcoin is deflationary as long as its adoption grows. Because of this, you would think twice about what to spend your money on or you would simply hold until you can afford what you really want or need. This way money is spent much more rationally and sustainably. But the best advantage of Bitcoin is and stays that no one can manipulate your money. In a world where our Fiat money system is replaced with crypto money, no one is forced to spend billions of tax money on Banksters for their wrong decisions. Basically, you could be your own bank if you would like to.
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