Obi Nwosu is the CEO and co-founder of Coinfloor, the UK's longest-running Bitcoin exchange. He has over 20 years’ experience building online marketplaces and bringing virtual currencies to tens of millions of people. Obi writes The Road to Bitcoin Hegemony, a weekly recap of some of the most impactful developments in Bitcoin.
Of all the shocks in the last few years, from Trump and Biden to Brexit to Covid-19, perhaps nothing has been as bizarre as seeing the Catholic Church apparently agreeing with the Chinese Communist Party.
What could possibly have brought two such different worldviews together into alliance? The answer, of course, is Bitcoin.
If the media is to be believed, last week saw Bitcoin meet its most formidable foes yet in the form of two organizations which influence — spiritually or politically — over a third of the world. It’s hardly surprising that the price took a hit, nor that sage commentators are once more solemnly intoning yet another obituary for Bitcoin.
So, is that it then? Is the dream over? Is it time to cash out, buy Doge or stuff some greenbacks under the mattress?
To those who have fled Bitcoin in the last couple of weeks I’m moved to quote from the Christian scriptures: “Why are you so fearful, oh ye of little faith?” But to HODLers who feel apprehensive about recent events, let me say: it’s natural, and I understand.
Bitcoin is not for the fainthearted. All markets experience bear and bull runs, but no stock, no asset comes close to Bitcoin’s vertiginous peaks and troughs. And a big reason for this is that so many investors are casual and speculative. They don’t take the time to understand Bitcoin either as philosophy or a technology; they rush to buy when Bitcoin’s star is in the ascendant, and scurry away when they’re spooked by what they are told is ‘bad’ news.
But even people like you and me who have taken the time to understand Bitcoin, for whom HODLing isn’t just an investment strategy but a way of life — even we get the wobbles sometimes. Yep, even me.
So what do I do when the Bitcoin market gets bearish? A number of things. First, I remember why Bitcoin is transformative, and how much more utility — and therefore more value — is right around the corner. I note that Bitcoin’s price at the time of writing is a whisker under 20% up since January; not a bad return on the year by any standards. I check to see that major corporations and institutions still hold billions of dollars worth of bitcoin on their balance sheets.
But above all, I look critically at the news that’s moving the market.
Let’s take China first. The CCP was never going to embrace Bitcoin with open arms. Bitcoin’s philosophy of freedom and pseudonymity was never going to sit well with the CCP’s surveillocracy. Besides, China’s latest move against Bitcoin is chiefly motivated by a desire to promote and protect the digital yuan. And as I and many others have pointed out, CBDCs are ultimately good news for our revolution, not least because — being fiat in all but name — they highlight how Bitcoin cannot be printed nor inflated.
And so to the Pope. As it turns out, I agree with him. Because in his typically circumspect way, Pope Francis was actually arguing for something that you, I and presumably every Bitcoiner believes: that the technology industry should help the world move towards renewable energy sources.
Of course, in its pursuit of a predetermined narrative, the legacy media spun this as an attack on Bitcoin. And in doing so, they displayed wilful ignorance about both Bitcoin and energy. As I explained back in March, not only is there more than enough green energy to go around, but Bitcoin could have been designed for renewables.
Bitcoin’s detractors continue looking for new angles from which to attack, but every argument they find has already been roundly defeated. Yet still they come, just as we’ve always known they would. Of course, the increasing levels of rhetoric and attacks against Bitcoin only highlight how impactful and important Bitcoin truly is.
What’s fascinating about this latest rollercoaster is that it illustrates a divide in society that we’ve long known. This isn’t so much the battle between bold Bitcoiners and fiat fanatics — much as the media would like to portray it as such — but between those who look beyond the headlines to find out the truth for themselves, and those that fall for the FUD.
Those qualities have always been the mark of the true bitcoiner. Casual speculators operate on blind faith, but we believers require hard evidence. I’d tell you not to be distracted by the distortions of those who don't investigate for themselves. But then, I feel I’d be preaching to the converted.