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Our Most Brilliant Idea

Posted 11/2/20 by Robert Breedlove

Ideas ambulate humanity across history. A new and useful idea is an innova­tion, which can benefit everyone for the rest of time. There­fore, it is critical we construct socioe­co­nomic struc­tures conducive to the creation of new ideas: civiliza­tion can only advance amid an everlasting flow of fresh knowl­edge. Free trade is the means by which we maximize ideation and its physical manifes­ta­tion: wealth creation. Anything that impedes trade — like central banking — is (by defin­i­tion) a terrible idea. Contrarily, all accel­er­ants to free trade — like money — are among the most brilliant ideas we’ve ever had.

The Thinking Man statue

Ideas Drive Economics

A pile of rocks ceases to be so when somebody contem­plates it with the idea of a cathe­dral in mind.

Antoine De St-Exupery

Ideas are the origins of every­thing we say, do, or make. The purpose of any economy is to generate and share useful ideas through free trade (to achieve what econo­mists call the division of labor or knowl­edge special­iza­tion). Civiliza­tion emerges not by an aimless concourse of varia­tion, but rather it is molded in the image of our ideas, which we express through action to remake the face of the Earth. Better ideas, or sharper knowl­edge, equip mankind to more intel­li­gently harness the gifts of the Earth to satisfy his wants to ever-higher degrees in ever-less time. In ideolog­ical space, compe­ti­tion is free and fierce: only the most useful ideas survive the test of time. Resul­tant knowl­edge encodes the patterns of action we use to etch our imagi­na­tions into the world around us. Winning ideas are chosen by the market, only to be widely distrib­uted as material riches, finer manners and morals, and more profound art. Our lives are lived by enacting our ideas. As HG Wells said:

“Human history is, in essence, a history of ideas.”

Or as William Durant elaborates:

History as a labora­tory rich in a hundred thousand exper­i­ments in economics, religion, liter­a­ture, science, and govern­ment — history as our roots and our illumi­na­tion, as the road by which we came and the only light that can clarify the present and guide us into the future.

Pouring forth from our forebears is this civilizing heritage of ideas sharp­ened through free trade and expressed in the tools, techniques, and cultures we make for ourselves. As we trade, our ideas become better, giving every­thing we say, do, or make more want-satis­fying quali­ties. Consider how our language has evolved from grunts to enunci­a­tions, or how our behav­iors have been shaped by culture, or how our trans­porta­tion technolo­gies have progressed from wagons to airplanes. Substan­tive ingre­di­ents for all modern miracles surrounding us today have always been avail­able, but prior to their inven­tion, we simply lacked the ideas neces­sary to manifest them. As the living gener­a­tion respon­sible for ideation, our aim must be to forge our ideas into finer form for posterity: an aim we accom­plish through innovation.

Ideas world cloud
Ideally, our civiliza­tion is the manifes­ta­tion of our most useful ideas.

Innova­tion is simply a recon­fig­u­ra­tion of the raw materials of nature by indexing them to our most useful idea struc­tures. Said differ­ently: creativity is taking known elements and reassem­bling them in accor­dance with new knowl­edge. Sharp­ening knowl­edge to better satisfy ourselves requires fires from the ideolog­ical colli­sions and frictions innate to trade. Trade, then, is mankind’s “meta-idea” — the gener­a­tive idea of all our best ideas. Meta (from the Greek μετά, meaning “after” or “beyond”) is a prefix meaning more compre­hen­sive or transcending: trade is an idea about improving ideas. It presup­poses that anyone may know something everyone else does not, incen­tivizes them to teach the rest of us, and lets us all capitalize on any such learning oppor­tu­ni­ties. Trade indicates to us whether we are ill-informed in the pursuit of a goal, which can save us from harm, or help us achieve it more easily. Wealth gener­a­tion is insep­a­rable from ideation: the more we know, the more effort­lessly we satisfy our (present and poten­tial future) wants through innova­tion, and the more wealth we gain. Author Matt Ridley captures the spirit of this relation­ship between free trade and innova­tion in these words:

Innova­tion is the child of freedom and the parent of prosperity.

Free market capitalism is an idea unequaled in its gener­a­tion of innova­tion. It proved itself as the most successful economic model for expanding trade, ideation, and wealth creation in the 20th-century ideolog­ical contention between American capitalism and Soviet commu­nism. Misguided by utopian promises, Soviet Russia attempted to replace the profit motive intrinsic to American capitalism with appeals to nation­al­istic faith and devotion, thereby poisoning the wellspring of learning engen­dered by trade. Under the moral­istic camou­flage of commu­nism (“from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs” was the Marxist slogan) some of the most gruesome atroc­i­ties in history were perpe­trated. Soon into the Soviet exper­i­ment, produc­tivity collapsed, and millions starved or were slaugh­tered by the state. When govern­ments play God, civiliza­tions burn in hell. Soviet Russia redis­cov­ered what wise Aristotle had warned centuries earlier:

When every­body owns every­thing nobody takes care of anything.

American capitalism outcom­peted Soviet commu­nism. Capitalism is a socioe­co­nomic system premised on the three pillars of private property rights, rule of law, and honest money. Private property rights repre­sent an exclu­sive relation­ship between individ­uals and any portion of nature they invest their time in reshaping; rights they can then exchange with similarly self-sover­eign people. Rule of law is a mecha­nism for nonvi­o­lently resolving private property disputes. Honest money is the private property unimpeded market processes naturally select as most tradable. Since capitalism optimizes for trade, it supports this gener­a­tive source of new ideas by incen­tivizing economic cooper­a­tion and (peaceful) compe­ti­tion. Indeed, the stability of rules is the bedrock of peace: with fixed and simple laws, market partic­i­pants are forced to play the game well to make an honest living. As Bastiat said:

When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.

In an elemental sense, trade is the water that sustains innova­tion, and its stead­fast flow a source of peace. Capitalism is the socioe­co­nomic “water well” built to protect this everlasting ideolog­ical wellspring of civiliza­tion — trade.

painting of a water well
Capitalism is a socioe­co­nomic “water well” which protects our wellspring of ideas: trade.

The Idea Supercomputer

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.

Eleanor Roosevelt

As the ultimate token of trade, money is an indis­pens­able tool for ideation. In trade, every­thing is valued at some ratio of every­thing else. For instance, a car might be worth 132 chairs, or a house worth 11 cars. Money is the medium through which we more easily calcu­late these exchange ratios: a tool that simpli­fies trade by standard­izing its inter­me­di­a­tion. Like all tools, money lets us achieve greater results with less effort, and the time-savings tools impart is wealth. Specif­i­cally, money lets us calcu­late, negotiate, and execute trades more quickly. Without money, a constant recal­cu­la­tion of count­less exchange ratios among different economic goods would be neces­sary. With money, all exchange ratios are compressed into a single number — the money-expressed market price. In this way, money is an accel­erant to trade and (its invis­ible twin) ideation. Standard­iza­tion to one money creates economies of scale in trade. Such econo­miza­tion is what drives the market to coalesce around a single money — as we saw with gold and (its former currency abstrac­tion, and now appari­tion) the US dollar:

Paper is poverty Jefferson quote
America’s founding fathers knew the dangers of falsi­fying money.

Money is the medium through which market partic­i­pants express their ideas, prefer­ences, and values. Pricing systems are economic telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion networks endlessly echoing and coordi­nating market action by dynam­i­cally informing everyone of everyone else’s trades. For instance, when you buy a car and sell a house, the economy responds adaptively by producing more cars and fewer houses. Even when you buy a public equity, you are expressing the idea its expected future cash flows are worth more than its current price, and the market­place absorbs this thesis when you execute the trade. Price signals perpet­u­ally prime incen­tives to ensure resources are allocated in accor­dance with the current aggre­gate compo­si­tion of market partic­i­pant prefer­ences. Entre­pre­neurs engaging in trade give rise to truthful pricing as they strive to buy low, sell high, and profitably serve one another. A true free market is a forum of unham­pered and volun­tary exchange where ideas compete, combine, and trans­form. Seen this way, the free market may be consid­ered the ultimate distrib­uted computing system — a nexus of conscious­nesses driven by human action and inter­con­nected by prices.

Money improves the exten­si­bility of our minds. Thinking is an expres­sion of ratio­nality: the act of comparing all relevant factors to any course of action. By cogni­tively gener­ating different aspects and avatars relevant to any given situa­tion, humans create mental staging areas for future action. As with the root word of ratio­nality — ratio — thinking involves contrasting one thing against another. When we extend our thinking into money, we gain insight into the collec­tive mind of other market partic­i­pants through price signals, which themselves are expres­sions of ratio­nality: ratios of exchange denom­i­nated in monetary terms. By consol­i­dating the ratio­nality of all market actors into the market price, ideation explodes. In this way, free markets are idea-gener­ating super­com­puters. This is why American innova­tion is unrivaled. Mankind makes the world his own by channeling energy across the ideolog­ical field lines fashioned in his extended mind — the free market.

Free Markets are Free Thinking

Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Contrary to popular miscon­cep­tion, money is not a govern­ment creation. Money is emergent — it is simply the most tradable good in any given market. As people seek to satisfy their wants through trade, they steadily seek to trade their goods for more tradable goods to get closer to obtaining the object(s) they desire. As this process unfolds, a certain asset gains the highest liquidity — whether it is salt, cattle, or gold — this most exchange­able good is (by defin­i­tion) money. Money, then, is an inexorable outcome of free trade.

As global markets converged, they coalesced around precious metals as money due to their superior monetary proper­ties of durability, divis­i­bility, porta­bility, recog­niz­ability, and scarcity. Gold — which excelled all other metals in scarcity — became the dominant money of the world precisely because its supply was the least change­able. Central banks eventu­ally coopted gold and built a pyramid scheme on it called fiat currency. When central banks monop­o­lized the market for money, it became unfree. Violating free market capitalism, as Soviet Russia learned the hard way, is a really bad idea — it runs counter­vailing to the natural human proclivity for trade, ideation, and wealth gener­a­tion. As Marcus Aurelius poeti­cizes our capacity for collaboration:

We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural.

Clearly, obstructing the ability of market partic­i­pants to express their ideas through trade is a break­down in the “rules” of capitalism. All frictions on free trade are dissi­pa­tive to both innova­tion and wealth creation. A true capitalist society neces­si­tates unbreak­able rules of trade such as equitable rule of law, invio­lable private property rights, and unstop­pable honest money. In such a purely capital­istic system, individ­uals would have no way to create value for themselves other than giving society what it wants (even if its wants are as yet unartic­u­lated). But our over-regulated world today is a far cry from this ideal.

All regula­tions are limita­tions on free market forces that constrict ideation and its physical manifes­ta­tion: wealth creation. The ultimate expres­sion of legal regula­tion is monop­o­liza­tion, in which all peaceful compe­ti­tion is suppressed through coercion or violence. In the world today, the market for money is not a free market, as it is forcibly dominated by cartels of central banks — legal monop­o­lies that distort prices, reduce trade, and inter­rupt ideation. Tellingly, central banking was also a key compo­nent of Soviet commu­nism — an exclu­sive state-owned banking monopoly was the 5th measure in Marx’s 1848 Manifesto to the Commu­nist Party. True capitalism has never existed, precisely because the rules of money have always become twisted by inter­ven­tion­ists pursuing their own pecuniary gain in every market known to history. Legal imped­i­ments erected by govern­ments to insulate central bank monop­o­lies on money from free market capitalism are manifold. Such artifice destroys account­ability, ingenuity, and virtue.

The more laws the less justice cicero quote

With unbreak­able capital­istic rules, the “game” of macro­eco­nomics would impose an organizing principle onto humanity, encour­aging us to find better ways of saying, doing, or making things by betting against each other in the market­place as opposed to lying, stealing, or taxing. When rules cannot break, play is fair, and want-satis­fac­tions escalate. As “players” prove one another wrong in the market­place — by discov­ering and selling better means of satis­fying wants — the resul­tant produc­tivity gains diffuse into society through trade. An environ­ment conducive to contin­uous learning at scale is culti­vated through capitalism. Said differ­ently: when ideas compete freely, more wealth is created — most often in the form of better tools, services, or knowl­edge. Mises describes this inextri­cable relation­ship between ideation and market compe­ti­tion in his master­work Human Action:

But compe­ti­tion does not mean that anybody can prosper by simply imitating what other people do. It means the oppor­tu­nity to serve the consumers in a better or cheaper way without being restrained by privi­leges granted to those whose vested inter­ests the innova­tion hurts. What a newcomer who wants to defy the vested interest of the old estab­lished firms needs most is brains and ideas. If his project is fit to fill the most urgent of the unsat­is­fied needs of the consumers or to purvey them at a cheaper price than their olde purveyors, he will succeed in spite of the much talked of bigness and power of old firms.

To use Ray Dalio’s term: free markets are idea meritoc­ra­cies: unham­pered trade networks that incen­tivize the culti­va­tion and infusion of the best ideas into civiliza­tion. Implicit in the meta-idea is the presup­po­si­tion innova­tion can only be nurtured, not legis­lated. Here, the ignorance of MMT advocates clamoring for “the activa­tion of idle capital through infla­tion” rears its head: proceeds from theft via infla­tion can mobilize people and capital, but only in an unintel­li­gent way since bureau­crats lack both the account­ability and distrib­uted computing power endoge­nous to the free market, and only until this parasiti­za­tion of value from the produc­tive economy kills it. In simple economic terms: free markets make mankind more produc­tive; monop­o­lies, or unfree markets, make mankind less produc­tive. Further, the condi­tion of our collec­tive mind closely mirrors the state of our money. We only think in dollars today because they were once redeemable for gold. Central banks have hijacked the monetary exten­si­bility of our minds (the old “bait and switch” tactic), and corrupted our capacity to perceive the world clearly:

Free minds need freely selected money. By embracing a free market paradigm in the totality of our actions we become more free thinking, intel­li­gent, and wealthy. Another way to think about the free market is as a system of error detec­tion and correc­tion: through prices, it incen­tivizes the discovery and resolu­tion of unsat­is­fied wants (socioe­co­nomic errors). Central bank induced infla­tion distorts this error correc­tion system and causes dissat­is­fac­tions to swell. This market manip­u­la­tion is (osten­sibly) justi­fied by the self-decep­tive inten­tion­ality of central bankers to “manage the economy,” as if any human had ever success­fully managed any complex system without triggering a cascade of unintended conse­quences. Convic­tion in the utility of their neces­sarily limited knowl­edge, as opposed to the free market processes which contin­u­ally revivify knowl­edge, is the black core of central bank malev­o­lence. As John Milton, author of Paradise Lost, brilliantly observed:

Evil is the force that believes its knowl­edge is complete.

Central banks could repent merely by admit­ting this gargan­tuan error in ideology and letting the free market clear its 100+ years of errors. This would be painful at first, but undoubt­edly in the long-term best inter­ests of civiliza­tion — like a drug addict finally entering rehabil­i­ta­tion. But hubris and greed will almost certainly prevent such an ideal outcome. To summa­rize the argument: free market pricing is an error-clearing system, and central banking amelio­rates its capacity for error detec­tion and correc­tion; acting as if its knowl­edge of markets is complete, central banking is evil incar­nate — an insti­tu­tion of economic tyranny as misguided as Soviet Russia. In the ideolog­ical sphere, freedom is as creative as tyranny is destructive.

The Greatest Idea of History

An Idea Is Salva­tion By Imagination.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Quintes­sen­tial to the idea of any money is that both present and future market partic­i­pants will freely accept it in trade. The likeli­hood of a money to be accepted by the broadest possible set of trading partners is largely based on how reliably it maintains its scarcity across time. To maximize this store of value function, a money must be resis­tant to misap­pro­pri­a­tion — whether by infla­tion, counter­feit, or confis­ca­tion (all of which are theft). The money most resis­tant to invol­un­tary exchange (aka theft) tends to become the most widely adopted volun­tary medium of exchange. Put another way: in free market compe­ti­tion the most theft-proof money wins. Those who erroneously choose a less theft-proof money are disfa­vored by market processes when their wealth is compro­mised by thieves through infla­tion, counter­feiting, or confis­ca­tion. Another way to say it: market partic­i­pants adopt the money which minimizes the need to trust one another. Central banks continue to hoard gold because it is trust-minimized money. Bitcoin exhibits even greater trust-minimiza­tion quali­ties, and is there­fore disrup­tive to gold.

Money is the best idea we’ve ever had, for without it, all the other marvelous ideas gener­ated by markets would not exist. As the most tradable thing, money is the highest instan­ti­a­tion of our meta-idea, offering us unbri­dled option­ality in market exchange. As a technology, free-market-selected money maximizes both human freedom and cooper­a­tion. Histor­i­cally, gold reduced the incen­tives to violence, because it was a more secur­able form of wealth than food, land, and most other assets. In this way, gold greatly constricted the scope of assets worth fighting over, thereby inducing unpar­al­leled social cooper­a­tion, trade, and wealth gener­a­tion. This has profound moral impli­ca­tions too: when money is hard to steal, society becomes hard-working; when it is easy to steal, society drifts toward kleptoc­racy. Let me state the argument in a single sentence: gold was the greatest tool we ever had to incen­tivize ourselves to civilize ourselves.

If the aim of humanity is to build civiliza­tions, then our most brilliant idea was the use of gold as money.

The global gold standard improved trade (our meta-idea) in a trust-minimized way and standard­ized the world to a single monetary protocol — thereby maximizing time-savings in trade and its associ­ated wealth creation (two sides of the same coin). Again, wealth creation is absolutely depen­dent on ideation: using gold as money led the world into an unequaled efful­gence of novel ideas and innova­tions, ushering in an era known collo­qui­ally as both The Gilded Age and La Belle Époque:

painting od a paris street
paiting ofLa Belle Époque — an era of signif­i­cant innova­tion and wealth creation — was also consid­ered the “beautiful age” of painting. This epoch of civiliza­tion was built on the idea of gold being used as money.

A brilliant idea indeed, but far from perfect: because gold is physical, it is still vulner­able to theft; and because gold is heavy, economies of scale related to its use as money led to the central­iza­tion of its custody in bank vaults (since it is cheaper to transact in paper abstrac­tions of gold than physical gold). An anti-capitalist insti­tu­tion — the central bank — festered around these central­ized gold hoards. These decep­tive and evil insti­tu­tions operate with flagrant disre­gard for the tenets of capitalism: central banks are above the law, practice perpetual private property confis­ca­tion via infla­tion, and peddle the most dishonest money in history. All central bank business models are criti­cally depen­dent on the divis­i­bility, porta­bility, and recog­niz­ability short­com­ings of gold:

  • If gold were perfectly divis­ible, there would be no reason to abstract it into paper currency
  • If gold were perfectly portable, it would be encoded as infor­ma­tion and there would be no need to place trust in banking custo­dians as final settle­ment could be conducted at the speed of light
  • If gold were perfectly recog­niz­able, there would be no economic gain from the “public stamp” of national curren­cies as anyone could verify the veracity of money themselves instantaneously

Indeed, these techno­log­ical failings of gold formed the attack surface repeat­edly exploited by central banks. Fortu­nately for citizens of the 21st century, free trade — which has been exponen­tially enhanced by the internet and digital technolo­gies — has gener­ated an even more brilliant idea that promises a perma­nent ending to the thieving schemes of central banks.

The Greatest Idea of Modernity

There Is One Thing Stronger Than All The Armies In The World, And That Is An Idea Whose Time Has Come.

Victor Hugo

America was founded on the three pillars of free market capitalism: private property rights, rule of law, and honest money. The American Consti­tu­tion autho­rized states to issue gold or silver currency, outlawed income tax, and prohib­ited national central banking. Unfor­tu­nately, upon successful imple­men­ta­tion of the American central bank (after two failed attempts), the private property rights founda­tional to free market capitalism became vulner­able to limit­less viola­tion via infla­tion. An example of this failure came with the “Great Gold Robbery of 1933” (aka Execu­tive Order 6102): an uncon­sti­tu­tional decree and blatant viola­tion of private property rights. All govern­ment decrees by fiat are lies (including fiat currency), for truth need never be forced. Free market forces always zero-in on truth.

Bitcoin is the ideolog­ical synthesis of gold and the internet; it perfectly exempli­fies the three pillars of free market capitalism under­girding the idea of America in a form that cannot be perverted by fiat decree. As its money supply cannot be changed, its holders are immune to confis­ca­tion via infla­tion, thus perfecting their private property rights (Pillar 1). Disputes within the Bitcoin network are settled consen­su­ally, and it is imprac­tical to employ violence in an attempt to sway this process, thus perfecting the process of nonvi­o­lent dispute resolu­tion embodied by the rule of law (Pillar 2). By perfecting these first two pillars of free market capitalism, Bitcoin is a self-fulfilling prophecy predes­tined to perfect its final pillar by becoming the final evolu­tion in free-market-selected honest money (Pillar 3). As the only sacro­sanct money in existence, Bitcoin is purified capitalism: a perma­nent imple­men­ta­tion of the soundest socioe­co­nomic “water well” in history:

Chart an elegant mathematical solution to the past problems of money.
Bitcoin is purified capitalism: an elegant mathe­mat­ical solution to the past problems of money.

Compe­ti­tion and collab­o­ra­tion are the trades of life. The conser­vatism of energy is truth — organi­za­tions, methods, and tools that accom­plish the greatest results with the least effort tend toward dominance as they are willingly embraced by market partic­i­pants whose “skin is in the game.” Strict adher­ence to thermo­dy­namic princi­ples is the way all-natural systems grow (there is no other way). Monies, moral­i­ties, and strate­gies that best amplify produc­tivity outcom­pete on the free market for ideas — submis­sion to this truth is freedom. Bitcoin is a system that minimizes compet­i­tive asymme­tries by maximizing account­ability and thereby incen­tivizes fair play and error-clearing in the market. Modeled on the unbreak­able rules of the universe — thermo­dy­namics — Bitcoin is best known for its meteoric growth pattern:

Chart bitcoin price history
Adher­ence to thermo­dy­namic princi­ples has made Bitcoin the most explo­sive money in history.

We are what we build, and we build what we are. Ideation and wealth creation are mere expres­sions of life’s central impulse: growth. Without adequate levels of exchange, the growth of organ­isms and economies deteri­o­rates. On this point, nature is ruthlessly clear: when you’re finished changing, you’re finished. As we age, we experi­ence a slowing of blood flow, which presages a break­down of body and mind. Physical exercise can provide some protec­tion by increasing our metabolic exchange of oxygen, water, and nutri­ents thereby keeping us smarter, healthier, and more energetic as we grow old. As William Durant eloquently describes this decline into senescence:

It is a physi­o­log­ical and psycho­log­ical involu­tion. It is a hardening of the arteries and categories, an arresting of thought and blood; a man is as old as his arteries, and as young as his ideas.

What is true for the individual market partic­i­pant micro­cosm is true for the global market macro­cosm: impeding free trade constricts ideolog­ical “blood flow” and makes the “socioe­co­nomic super­or­ganism” (aka humanity) more vulner­able to disease and death. Close-minded constituents conjure a build-up of misfit­ness to reality for the collec­tive. Creating block­ages to trade via regula­tion and confis­ca­tion — the implicit purpose of central banking — is cancerous to the free market paradigm that invig­o­rates our economic vitality, social morality, and the advance­ment of civilization.

All individ­uals seek to attain freedom, goods, and power for themselves. Govern­ments are simply a multi­pli­ca­tion of ourselves and our desires, without external gover­nance, and armed with weapons of mass destruc­tion. No amount of tears can wash away the blood war sheds, only practi­cality, properly imple­mented, can prevail. Absent a battle to fight — whether moral or physical — people become weaker. Arraying armies against an enemy gives people cause for unity. Perhaps Bitcoin will serve as a moral alter­na­tive to war — a peaceful yet disci­pli­nary force on humanity. American Pragma­tist William James believed a “moral equiv­a­lent” of war was neces­sary to end its horrors:

So far war has been the only force that can disci­pline a whole commu­nity, and until an equiv­a­lent disci­pline is organized, I believe that war must have its way.

If this proves true, Bitcoin would become a new organizing mode for civiliza­tion: like a religion born from economic and computer science; a wisdom tradi­tion that defunds and destroys central bank war machines and ideolo­gies. Warfare is Darwinism writ geopo­lit­ical, and its atroc­i­ties will be endless until all nations agree, or are forced, to yield their self-arrogated sover­eignty to a higher authority — a “super­state” hodling individual sover­eignty as its axiomatic mantra. Bitcoin — a public utility that facil­i­tates trade flows of private property — is the bridge between commu­nistic utopi­anism and capital­istic pragma­tism, and could grow to become the super­state to which all nations bend the knee. Perhaps this ultimate usurpa­tion of the nation began with the Genesis Block on day one, or perhaps it is still yet to transpire one day. For now, we can only say: Bitcoin is money.

Money is the ultimate token of trade, and trade is mankind’s meta-idea. Whatever wins as money on the free market is a brilliantly formu­lated, civilizing idea. Capitalism is the socioe­co­nomic system which optimizes for the expan­sion of trade’s scope by respecting free market princi­ples, foremost of which is individual sover­eignty. Bitcoin — an honest money offering its holders invio­lable private property rights and perfected rule of law — is the capstone innova­tion of capitalism. It is as if all trade throughout history led us to the emergence of this idea: an unstop­pable, incor­rupt­ible, and highly acces­sible money. Like ideas, Bitcoin exhibits non-corpo­re­ality, virality, and antifragility — it can be moved at the speed of light and stored in the mind. By virtue of its resis­tance to theft and rooted­ness in the thermo­dy­namics of work, Bitcoin portals us into a world of untold liberty, elevated morality, and enhanced produc­tivity. Bitcoin gives us the freedom to trade without central bank inter­fer­ence, store our wealth in a place resis­tant to seizure, and embrace truth in a world drowning in deception.

Consid­ered in combi­na­tion, these ideas make Bitcoin mankind’s most brilliant idea yet — a salvific founda­tion on which we can build a future civiliza­tion charac­ter­ized by more ingenuity, morality, and prosperity.

Salva­tion: to see each thing for what it is — its nature and its purpose. To do only what is right, say only what is true, without holding back. What else could it be but to live life fully — to pay out goodness like the rings of a chain, without the slightest gap.

Marcus Aurelius

Thank you for reading Our Most Brilliant Idea.

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Thank you for feedback during the writing process: Jimmy Song Brandon Quittem @Greg Z Zach_of_Earth

My sincerest grati­tude to these amazing minds:

@real_vijay, Saifedean AmmousBrandon QuittemDan HeldNaval Ravikant, @NickSzabo4, Nic Carter, @MartyBent, Pierre RochardAnthony PomplianoChris Burniske, @MarkYusko, @CaitlinLong_, Nik BhatiaNassim Nicholas TalebStephan LiveraPeter McCor­mackGigiHasu, @MustStopMurad, Misir MahmudovMises Insti­tuteJohn Vallis, @FriarHass, Conner BrownBen PrenticeAleksandar SvetskiCrypto­conomyCitizen BitcoinKeyvan Davani, @RaoulGMI, @DTAPCAP, Parker Lewis, @Rhythmtrader, Russell Okung, @sthenc, Nathaniel Whitte­more, @ck_SNARKs, Trevor NorenCory Klipp­stenKnut Svanholm @relevantpeterschiff, Preston Pysh, @bezantdenier

And anyone else I forgot 🙂


a. https://www.grunge.com/91938/ideas-changed-course-humanity/

b. Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley

c. Medita­tions by Marcus Aurelius

d. Fallen Leaves: Last Words on Life, Love, War, and God by Will Durant

e. Manifesto to the Commu­nist Party by Karl Marx

f. https://oll.libertyfund.org/pages/did-bastiat-say-when-goods-don-t-cross-borders-soldiers-will

This blog offers thoughts and opinions on Bitcoin from the Swan Bitcoin team and friends. Swan Bitcoin is the easiest way to buy Bitcoin using your bank account automatically every week or month, starting with as little as $10. Sign up or learn more here.

Robert Breedlove

Robert Breedlove is founder, CEO, and CIO of Parallax Digital, a global Bitcoin-focused hedge fund and consultancy. He considers himself a freedom maximalist and believes he’s found his life’s work in Bitcoin.

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