I wasn’t around for Satoshi. I wasn’t around when Laszlo bought two Papa John’s pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoin, or even when BTC hit quadruple digits for the first time. I’m not a computer scientist, or a cryptographer, or an economist. I was just a guy living his life in the burbs.
Then on July 16, 2017, I bought my first coins. A total leap of faith, one that probably wouldn’t have happened if not for a series of random events that eventually led me to buy this thing I didn’t even really understand.
They say timing is everything, so I can’t help but wonder how things might have turned out if I hadn’t bought my first coins when I did. What if instead I bought my coins a couple weeks after the Bitcoin Cash fork instead of a couple of weeks before? What if I hadn’t been forced to learn what a hardfork was, or how to split my coins, and hold my private keys? There’s a good chance I might never have experienced my first 0-conf transaction and finally understood what this Bitcoin thing was all about.
Needless to say I was hooked. I found my passion again, and I began writing again.
But I wasn’t hooked on the technology so much as what I believed the technology could achieve. I went from binging Netflix shows to wanting to take down the Fed. For once, I believed that real change might actually be possible. I wanted to see the banks and the credit card companies have to go up against the power of open source. I wanted Bitcoin to compete against legacy financial institutions, not be coopted by them.
That’s why I chose to support Bitcoin Cash after the fork. To me it was the chain that made the most sense. BCH supporters believed in the original vision of creating peer-to-peer electronic cash. It wasn’t about censorship resistant digital gold (which makes zero sense if you think about it). What I wanted was censorship resistant digital money. Money that wasn’t controlled by any government and had the magical ability to be sent instantly to anyone in the world, basically for free.
But things didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped. The so called thought leaders of Bitcoin Cash weren’t on the same page. Personalities clashed, mistakes were made. Of course the long bear market didn’t help, and Bitcoin Cash would end up splitting two more times over the next three years. BCH went from briefly overtaking Ethereum at the end of 2017, to falling out of the top ten a few years later. The BCH “community” kicked out the lead developer who not only founded the project but had put everything on the line trying to keep it alive. He was replaced by a new management team whose first decision was to postpone any major upgrades until May 2022. Because according to them it wasn’t about making the protocol better, it was about needing better marketing.
To me, the reason Bitcoin Cash failed to change the world is the same reason Bitcoin failed to change the world. Both chains failed to evolve. I believe in order to succeed you need to grow, and you don’t grow by sitting still or being afraid to take chances. You grow by trying and failing and trying again until you finally build something of value, something that is useful and lasting.
When the Bitcoin Cash community rejected the Infrastructure Funding Plan by calling it a tax, it was a mistake. Not only because the IFP was the obvious solution (almost as obvious as moderately raising the block size), but because they were looking at the situation through the wrong lens. This wasn’t a tax because no one was being forced to do anything, they were simply being given a choice.
The IFP wasn’t necessarily the right answer because throwing money at a problem is always the right answer. To me it was the right answer because of who the money would be going to. Bitcoin ABC would finally be able to hire more people, and build a strong organization, ensuring the future success of the project.
But instead of being rewarded for their hard work and dedication, and instead of being thanked for their efforts, it was Bitcoin ABC who was expected to do all the thanking. And when the community chose to show them the door and said their services were no longer needed, they could have given up like so many others. They could have folded and pocketed what funds they had remaining. But they didn’t. The team regrouped and came up with a plan. They streamlined their operation with some even staying on to work as volunteers in order to continue the mission that Satoshi started. The mission of creating a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, or simply, eCash.
There are only 21 days left until what I hope is the start of a new beginning. As luck would have it, this July happens to also mark the four year anniversary of me buying my first coins. They say timing is everything, and I’m ready to see Bitcoin finally graduate and become eCash for the world.
(P.S. For those of you still trying to solve the puzzle, here’s your first bonus clue: 12. If you add one letter to this word, you can make a new word that means “a set of instructions for preparing a particular dish”.)