From the Front Page
Published on February 18th, 2014 by hayden
The Greatest Case for Bitcoin, in Less Than Two Minutes: "ONE MILLION DOLLARS!" By Hayden Gill The greatest (indirect) case for Bitcoin is not a matter of writing an elegant equation, or the pithy reduction of complex econometric modeling into a 5-character equivalent of E=MC2, in which the mysteries of finance – opaque in their existence and abstract in their translation – suddenly become as intelligible as the laws of the universe. We have no Einstein for such matters, though we have Doctors of Economics aplenty: Their handiwork no more permanent than the ephemera of their cumulative chalkboard etchings of derivatives, curves, limits, conjugates, vectors and convolutions. Thankfully, there is one individual, himself a doctor, whose words reveal the folly of fiat money and the thievery of inflation. The doctor is none other than Dr. Evil, the main antagonist in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery": A cryogenically frozen (and later defrosted, in 1997) villain, a parody of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, James Bond's nemesis in "You Only Live Twice"; a combination of Lex Luthor and Al Capone, with a signature keloid scar on the right-side of his face, outfitted in a grey Nehru jacket and matching pants, his pinky finger (and silver ring, engraved with an oversized "E" for Evil) placed near the corner of his mouth in a sinister fashion. Yes, that Dr. Evil – in this scene, where he threatens to annihilate the planet with his satellite laser, unless the United Nations gives him one million dollars – that outburst of laughter among the U.N. delegates is the best, and funniest, encapsulation of the real evil – of inflation! The point: For all the talk about quantitative easing and the risk – real to some, illusory to others – of inflation, between the arguments in favor of austerity versus those in defense of greater federal spending, Hollywood nails it. Or: One million dollars is not worth, well, one million dollars. A cursory review of the housing section of a major metropolitan newspaper, the kind still produced with paper and ink, proves the same thing, that one million dollars – a fabled sum of American culture, a signpost of wealth – is neither impressive nor the price of admission to the so-called leisure class; a bygone era of estates and exclusive zip codes, where homes had names (and servants), filled with the salt air of the Atlantic – the natural aroma of wealth, and of sailboats, schooners and yachts – as the many sounds of golf practice and clicking irons, and tennis rackets and the breaking of ocean waves constitute the ambient music of MONEY. In reality, one million dollars – in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco – is the cost of a glorified hovel with worn carpeting and a potted plant. So, while fiat money may be here to stay, and I have no plans to wage war against it, Bitcoin shows us there is a superior alternative currency. Simplicity in Description and Passion in Delivery: Expanding Acceptance of Bitcoin Just as the clip of Dr. Evil exposes the truth about inflation, the perfect primer for any first-year economics student, Bitcoin should act as a symbol of the exact opposite: A credible, peer-to-peer digital currency – an international phenomenon – which continues to gain acceptance by merchants, countries, consumers and lenders throughout the Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. To increase that approval, we need to make simplicity our ally and passion – or rather, the passion of our convictions – our most potent asset. We must have a brief message, which we repeat without hesitation, and is the quintessence of everything Bitcoin represents and everything Bitcoin can do. That undiluted statement of purpose, for which I invite feedback and suggestions about the message itself, is an invitation for every economist, copywriter and creative director to "crowd-source" the single most important description of how Bitcoins operate and why their adoption is a matter of common sense. Indeed, this spirit of community – picture a virtual country of every nationality and every language, linked by the universal language of nature – is a chance to translate the poetry of mathematics into the prose of a transcendent aphorism, something like: "Serious Money: Made by Mathematics and Accepted by Millions Worldwide." The Serious Money moniker is a play on the words "Funny Money," a longstanding description of counterfeit or worthless currency. This unofficial slogan reduces everything Bitcoin represents – and everything the public cares about – to three key points: Money (and its corresponding value to other currencies, like dollars instead of yen or euros in lieu of pesos, or Bitcoin over all forms of fiat payments), Mathematics (and its purity and truth) and Acceptance (which is the ultimate and final testament of credibility). If we make Bitcoin as intelligible as my earlier reference to inflation, if comedy can pierce and summarize the complexity of one economic subject, then we can do the same (albeit with solemnity, rather than satire) for this alternative currency – we can emulate the brevity of Einstein without the genius of his incredible IQ. Or, as Dr. Evil would say: "Why make a trillion when we could make ... billions?" Only with fiat money, Dr. Evil.
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