“You never change things by fighting the existing reality,” Bucky Fuller once said. “To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
We must’ve heard this quote, in various forms, at least twenty times over the course of the day yesterday.
If you’re just joining us, we’re currently in Acapulco hanging out with hundreds of anarchists for the annual “Anarchapulco” conference.
“The world is operating under a paradigm,” one wildly optimistic attendee, Mark, told us, “that no longer makes sense. We have the means to decentralize power on a global scale basically overnight. Except the gatekeepers have too much to lose. But that’s changing… and the best part is, they don’t have a choice in the matter.”
“The future,” another attendee said, along the same lines, “is decentralized.”
And some of the best technologies for disruption of the status quo and decentralization of power, they both agreed, are Bitcoin and the blockchain.
Bitcoin, if you’re not familiar, is a digital currency that doesn’t require any centralized financial intermediaries. And the blockchain is a way to store information — in Bitcoin’s case, transactions — in a private, decentralized, encrypted database.
If you’re interested in Bitcoin, and want to find ways to invest, consider this: “Buying bitcoin,” one attendee, Pontus Lindblom of the Start Using Bitcoin blog told us, “is like buying a share of the entire ecosystem. Basically you can look at it like an index stock of a decentralized company. The best action you can take today is to collect Bitcoins and/or learn how they work instead of trying to speculate on specific businesses or worrying about day to day movements. In my opinion, the ideal foundational investment strategy right now is to put 10% of your net worth into bitcoin, 10% of gold and 10% into silver. And then the rest for other ventures. First, though, educate yourself in bitcoin. See how it really works. And learn how to store your bitcoins yourself. I explain, from start to finish, how to do this on my website.”
Yesterday, we heard from several entrepreneurs who are, as we speak, pointing these technologies at traditional gatekeepers, with the full intention of blowing them out of the water.
The boldest statement of the day, without doubt: “The best way to fight the Fed,” one speaker said, “is to learn how bitcoin works.”
In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll take a look at a few of the revolutionary companies we’ve discovered that are set to trash the Old Guards at the gates.
The best part about these companies is that you could use any of them — as soon as you want — to start making money online. And possibly by doing what you’re already doing.
Stay tuned for that.
Today, courtesy of one of your fellow LFT readers, Georgi Georgiev, we’ll look at why, despite what the mainstream media might tell you, Bitcoin is strong as ever.
Moreover, you’ll see 33 reasons why bitcoin growth isn’t slowing down in 2016.
Bitcoin’s Resurgence Shows No Sign of Slowing Down
By Georgi Georgiev
After scandals, negative headlines and an overall volatile experience, 2015 marked the year Bitcoin rebounded in the eyes of the general public.
The European Court of Justice ruled in October that the value added tax which is applied to goods would not be applied to the cryptocurrency, a big win for those that want government and regulation out of the picture.
Then on November 4th its market cap reached $6 billion and the dollar price hit $400, the high point of the year after a steady increase since January. The good news is only going to continue into 2016 according to a new infographic from Bargain Fox, as we celebrate 7 years since the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto launched the revolutionary technology as a middle finger to the global financial crisis.
For those still left bewildered by the concept of digital money, bitcoin completely removes banking institutions from the picture by operating through a self-secured peer to peer network on the Internet.
Every transaction is publicly logged but identities are completely anonymous. Unless somebody leaves their digital wallet open on a public computer screen or puts their faith in a third party service, there is literally zero way for theft to take place.
The key point though, is that the currency operates outside the scope of monetary policy and central banking, and in theory could completely replace the financial system tomorrow if everyone decided to adopt it.
That's easier now than ever thanks to a record year of venture capital investment, to the tune of $469 million. A huge increase from back in 2012 when it was only at $2 million. This means what used to be a bizarre platform that only programmers and computer geeks understood, is now easily accessible through user-friendly apps and websites.
Indeed, public use of bitcoin continues to grow despite what the naysayers would have you believe. 2015 saw exchanges like BitStamp (where the currency is bought and sold) grow by 160%.
2015 also saw the number of merchants who accept it as payment form jump to over 100,000, a growth of over 35,000 from last year. Global corporations like Microsoft and travel booking service Expedia accept it, as do eCommerce sites like TigerDirect, Overstock and NewEgg.
Whether you use a touchpad or your mobile device at a cafe or bar, or a familiar checkout process at an online store, it's starting to pop up everywhere thanks to intuitive payment processors like BitPay.
August saw the highest number of transactions in a month that BitPay has ever recorded (70,000).
But what benefit does accepting bitcoin bring merchants? The obvious point is that customers want it, so meeting demand means they won't lose out on sales.
But under the hood one of the key benefits is that it's actually cheaper to implement than credit cards like Visa and Mastercard. Once the free period is over merchants are only charged 1% of the transaction to use BitPay and the BTC is then automatically converted to their chosen currency if they don't wish to maintain a BTC wallet.
Furthermore, because there is no central authority dictating the rules of bitcoin retailers do not have to worry about fraudulent charge backs, which occur when unscrupulous customers call their credit card company to have a transaction reversed even when the product arrived as it should.
Noticing the benefits of bitcoin and the possibility that they could be replaced by the technology, banks and investment firms are now desperately trying to implement a similar technology while still maintaining control. This hasn't put a damper on bitcoin’s growth, however, and as revealed by this infographic, there are 33 indicators that such growth will continue through 2016.
[Ed. note: “I only own 2 suitcases,” Georgi Georgiev says, “a fully stamped passport, a small part of a start-up business and a college degree. I am passionate about building companies, marketing and learning foreign languages. I also code a little. Previously, I worked for Techstars in London, UK. Currently, I invest and build start-ups with Potential.vc in Asia. Went to Lund University in Sweden and Rollins in Florida, USA. My current location: Bali, Indonesia.”]
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today
P.S. Have something to say? Say it! Chris@lfb.org.