Back in the mid 2010s, Bitcoin was gaining momentum, not just in terms of price, but in terms of actual adoption. In a few short years BTC went from being known as that thing used to buy drugs on the internet, to being accepted by major companies like Microsoft, Steam, and Expedia.
As a result, the number of Bitcoin transactions was growing rapidly. But rather than focusing on ensuring the network could handle the increased usage, the core developers chose to keep the blocksize limit at 1MB out of fear that increasing it would lead to centralization.
Soon the blocks became full, the fees became exorbitant, and rather than Bitcoin transactions being fast, cheap, and reliable, they were slow, expensive, and unreliable.
One way of putting it would be that the developers chose to maximize decentralization while minimizing technological progress. Not coincidentally, it was around the same time that Bitcoin stopped being marketed as electronic cash and started being referred to as digital gold.
But what if the Bitcoin Core developers had gone a different route? What if they had chosen to do the hard thing and engineered a way to safely scale the network while also maintaining sufficient decentralization?
Well, that’s what the eCash project aims to find out. As a direct descendant of Satoshi’s original Bitcoin project, eCash looks to pick up the mantle of peer-to-peer electronic cash that Bitcoin has seemingly abandoned.
So now the question is, what might the world look like if eCash successfully scales and becomes the world’s first currency to fulfill the three basic properties of money: store of value, medium of exchange, and unit of account?
As Amaury pointed out in his last interview, “If you look at pretty much the history of every single civilization that exists, you can map it to the history of their monetary system.”
He goes on to describe what seems to be familiar pattern. At first, a civilization will use some kind of hard currency like precious metals and their economies will see success and growth. But eventually it will grow to the point where using something that can’t be created out of thin air like gold becomes impractical. This leads to the creation of a fiat currency, which might work better as a medium of exchange but not so much as a store of value. This is because what you inevitably end up with is so much inflation to the point where the currency becomes debased and the empire cannot sustain itself anymore.
But what happens if we introduce a technology that circumvents this fundamental mechanism that has shown to be the core reason for so many civilizations collapsing?
“The consequences of that are wildly unpredictable,” according to Amaury.
Just as the early pioneers of the internet probably couldn’t have predicted how much our lives would change with the onset of the information age, I see no way of accurately predicting what the world will look like if eCash becomes the global reserve currency. All I know is it will likely be very different from the one we live in today.
And what I see today is a world where our leaders have let us down, our governments are failing us, and the incentives of our society seem to have become so perverted that it’s going to take a miracle to get us back on the right track.
I believe that eCash can be that miracle.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t think the political and economic elite are all conspiring to take over the world. But what I do know is that the people in power are just people like you and me. People who are flawed, people who are fearful, and greedy, and likely more worried about their own self-preservation than anything else.
Up until now, we’ve had no choice but to rely on these people to manage our monetary systems, because we’ve never had a technology capable of giving us sound money without the need for a central authority.
eCash aims to change that.
For the first time, we can have a new form of money that relies on math and science rather than the Jerome Powells and Janet Yellens of the world.
What will the world look like if governments can no longer manipulate the economy or unilaterally decide what’s best for everybody? What will happen if we allow the best solutions to emerge through free market competition rather than being forced to rely on central planners? What if despots and dictators can no longer fund unnecessary wars, and the governments around the world no longer have a monopoly on violence because they no longer have a monopoly on money?
The truth is I don’t know, but I support the eCash project because I believe it can give us a chance to finally find out.
If you’re curious and want to learn more, visit e.Cash and join the movement to help to bring more economic freedom to the world.
If you want to learn more about how eCash works and its history, please check out previous chapters in this series here: