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Jan. 29, 2023

The Politicization of Bitcoin will not age well. | Hot Wallet

Politicians like Justin Trudeau and Pierre Poilievre are using Bitcoin as a Political Volleyball. Blockchain Technology should be used to empower humans, not as talking points or headline grabbers. Here's my take!



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The Politicization of Bitcoin will not age well. 

I'm Scott McGregor, @Scottrades on Twitter. This week another clip of Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the rounds where he criticized his current opponent, the leader of Canada's conservative party Pierre Polieve for his stance on Bitcoin.

*audio clip*

Now don't get me wrong, pretty funny. But the truth is...Bitcoin itself is an easy target because it checks so many boxes. 

It's new. It isn't apparent to some people what it does exactly. There's an environmental and energy element. It deals with money. It's a technology, but it's also an investment opportunity. It has a checkered past. And and and China controls it! But not really.

There's no CEO of Bitcoin to question. Anyone can say anything about it, and unless The Bitcoin maxis try and debunk it, it's assumed as fact and gets into the public conscience. I vividly Remember the headline Bitcoin will Boil The Oceans! Well, we're in Year 14 of Bitcoin, and so far, no boiling. I saw on Twitter, Bitcoin uses as much energy as my house for 3 days for one transaction...but those same people don't seem to question how much their Christmas lights use... Anyways, I'm getting off track. 

I'm not here to separate Bitcoin fact from fiction; I want to separate Software from Politics. At the core of it, that's what Bitcoin is. Bitcoin is permissionless software that is community-run. It was created from the ashes of the 2008 Financial Crisis when Mainstreet lost their jobs and homes, and the taxpayer bailed out Wallstreet. Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever he or they were, envisioned a different system and way to bring money out of the banking system that had failed so badly and put it online into the hands of the people. 

In the last few years and as mainstream adoption started to Grow, Bitcoin went from what you saw on the news or heard about from one of your buddies to a form of global payments and legal tender in South America; politicians started planting their flags. Maybe it was anger about the pandemic or frustration with once again seeing Central Banks fire up the money printer to throw cash out of a helicopter. We started seeing Bitcoin emerge as a political volleyball for people on both sides to take a stance. Suddenly, corporations started allocating capital to Bitcoin to grow or hold value on their balance sheet. Square and Paypal started adding Bitcoin to their Platforms. Tesla announced car buyers could use it for payments. All were occurring while the price of Bitcoin made a monumental advance from the depths of the pandemic lows of just over 3000 US Dollars to all-time highs; everyone needed an opinion about Bitcoin. Bitcoin wasn't on the fringes of the internet anymore; it was Kitchen table talk and not just because someone knows someone who knows someone who made money on it. It was becoming part of the modern-day conversation. 

Bitcoin has both Left-Leaning, Right-Leaning, and Centrist values. 

It's fair, open, and permissionless. It works without the capitalist banks that some claim causes such a wide gap between the rich and the poor. It also has Libertarian values about self-custody, ownership, and control over every aspect of your life. It has fiscal responsibility programmed into its code because you can't simply produce more Bitcoin by pressing a button. Some people see Bitcoin's energy usage as necessary to maintain the chain's integrity and to keep everyone honest. Some think it's a waste of computing power. Others see it as an opportunity to promote renewable energy by building geothermal power plants and hydroelectric dams in less populated regions of the world, giving people who live in all corners of the globe a financial incentive to go green.  

More people in the world have a cell phone than a bank account. One of the big ideas around Bitcoin is giving people who live in conflict zones or away from city centers a bank in cyberspace. They want to bank the unbanked. Where they don't need to apply, maintain and pay the fees that banks require. They can send money without using a 3rd party scraping off some for themselves. Does that idea have a political party? No. Is it good for humanity? It could be; let's try it and see. It has to be better than what we're doing now. 

We live in a world where every aspect of our lives leans somewhere politically. If we keep dismissing ideas because someone we don't like likes it, we will not get far as a society. 

The Other Day I made a joke on Twitter about Bitcoin and Politics. I tried poorly to bridge the divide between people who hate a particular political figure and people who like Bitcoin. Within a few minutes, someone told me to perform a sexually explicit action on them when I suggested they might not know what Bitcoin is. Have we been so hurt by the world that we don't want to hear someone else opinion because it might make us think we don't know everything? 

Donald Trump has said Bitcoin is a scam, and he's considered a Conservative. 

Pierre Polieve said he likes Bitcoin, and he's considered a Conservative. 

But how can that be? The Random Guy, who blocked me on Twitter, says Bitcoin has a political party: the Conservatives. 

All it takes is one Google Search to find out Liberals own Bitcoin, too, but that doesn't generate clicks. 

Division drives emotional impact and engagement. They are trying to get you fired up, so you react, and hopefully, that reaction is a vote for them because they are here to solve that problem. It's all a distraction and a deflection feeding off the day's hot topic.  

The politicization of Bitcoin tells me that we're still very early in the development and adoption curve of Digital Assets and Blockchain technology. Most people can't even tell you what it is, but they know they hate it and it isn't good. 

The truth is, we still need to find out where this technological advance will lead us. If Anywhere. As much as I think I know where this journey will go, the playground is global, and everyone wants a say when there's money involved. 

Politicians shouldn't use Bitcoin to rally donors to their side. It should be an open conversation about how all of us can leverage this technology for society. Some people see it as a speculative investment. Others see it as a way to send value over the internet. Some people convince themselves it's a big scam and a pyramid scheme made by the dark web, and they would like you to touch them in private places if you disagree.

The future is for us to decide. The market will test and retest any thesis, and the winner will reveal itself as it has been since the dawn of time. Money was once Livestock, and then it was sea shells, then we decided Gold was money, then paper, and now its numbers on a screen. 

You can't lock into how things are now because change is the only constant we have in life. 

Bitcoin has the potential to bring everyone together. But we must be open-minded and willing to listen to understand other perspectives. The internet has shortened our reaction time, and most people surf with their knives out for self-preservation. I'm asking keyboard warriors to put the weapon down, grow your understanding, and not let your politics be your personality.  Make informed decisions by purposefully listening to people you disagree with to find common ground. 

It's inappropriate for politicians to give financial advice for soundbites, Twitter follows, or talking points regardless of the party they represent.  Bitcoin was not an inflation hedge, and there's a real risk that that language hurt some people. Scare tactics about Bitcoin could hurt people. Headline-catching words drive speculation for short-term gains and devalue the ideals of an open public ledger.

Bitcoin is a network. Like the protocol created for sending an email or the "http" before that website you just clicked. Nobody saw the exponential growth in computing power and human connection that we have today coming, from Email to Websites to Social Networks. All now in the palm of our hand, more advanced than the ship that took humans to the moon. I still remember people on TV joking that The Internet is a fad. Now it's a fundamental part of our everyday lives. I wouldn't listen to anyone who tells you they know where we are going next—especially someone who has something to gain if you follow them. I also wouldn't ever put all my hopes into a politician or political party as the solution to all world problems. 

Bitcoin is part of our online evolution and will bring forward transformation. Regardless of the political stance around the world, governments everywhere are now developing and planning for Digital Currencies. Our lives are increasingly digitized, and we'll transition together in ways we haven't imagined yet. Throughout it all, politicians will continue using us as pawns in their control game. 

Think for yourself, engage in cheerful and constructive conversations, and don't let someone on a soapbox decide your future.