Those who are new to Bitcoin may not be aware that one of the core value propositions put forth by Satoshi Nakamoto in the creation of Bitcoin is the increased financial autonomy granted by Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
It is just this that led to the rise of the phrase “Be your own Bank” among the early Bitcoin adopters, however it seems many have lost sight of this core value proposition as Bitcoin grows and extends to the mainstream.
I suspect that this is because financial autonomy is one of those things that goes unconsidered by most, until it disappears.
Should You be your own Bank?
Those just coming into cryptocurrencies, and skeptics of Bitcoin are often baffled by the “Be your own Bank” slogan, and I can see why.
Managing private keys, setting up wallets for storage, and even the process of purchasing your first Bitcoin can be nerve-racking to those who already aren’t comfortable with technology. And to make things worse, it’s all too easy to screw something up and lose your private keys – and Bitcoins – forever.
Who wants to deal with all the troubles involved in cryptocurrencies when we already have a business that’s been specializing in the safekeeping and storage of currency for hundreds of years – your local bank. In the U.S. you’re money is even insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in the event the bank isn’t able to return your deposits.
Plus, you’ll get some interest payments on your deposits, and you’ll improve your credit rating so you can borrow money from said bank. And don’t worry about fraud from your bank or the possibility of banks failing – that couldn’t possibly happen.
Even though I disagree that storing a random string or words or numbers/letters is beyond the capability of the average person, I can see where a fear of the unknown, aversion to change, and simply not wishing to take real responsibility for your money could lead someone to think that being your own bank is far too much trouble.
But let’s take a wider view.
Look at the way property rights and due process laws in the U.S. are being slowly eroded through policies such as civil asset forfeiture – which allows police to seize — and then keep or sell — any property they allege is involved in a crime. Owners need not ever be arrested or convicted of a crime for their cash, cars, or even real estate to be taken away permanently by the government. So much for innocent until proven guilty, right?
And that’s happening it the U.S, considered the Land of the Free, and a bastion of democracy and freedom. Many other countries in the world have far less protections, and in some cases a complete lack of protections from government intrusions into private citizens lives.
On top of this loss of liberty and freedom, consider too that physical cash is already being phased out across the world. How many of you ever pay with cash anymore? I think I am a bit different in that I do, and I can tell you that many cashiers are surprised when they see me holding out cash rather than swiping or inserting a card into the terminal.
Considering the way the world is moving, and the potential for further restrictions on your freedom, and intrusion into your privacy, doesn’t it make sense to take back control of your financial well being. Don’t you think it makes sense to become your own bank, at least for a portion of your wealth? In years to come you could find it’s the only part of your personal information that does remain private, and that should hold some appeal for anyone.
Bitcoin is Untouchable Currency
As you’ve seen above, law enforcement or government agents can seize your assets – cash, bank accounts, personal property, land, houses, cars – anything at all held in your name can be seized if you are accused of a crime. Every asset except Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies – some of which provide even better anonymity protection) that is.
There is simply no way to seize your cryptocurrencies, short of torturing you to get you to give up the private keys. Yes, you could be thrown in jail for failing to comply, but the Bitcoins or other digital assets would remain in your control.
The fact that Bitcoin brings back this degree of control to our lives is, I think, a wonderful thing. We are losing control in nearly every other aspect of our lives, in some cases having it taken away without even knowing it, or having a voice to stop it. Bitcoin changes that to some small degree, and we can hope that it’s the beginning of even bigger changes that will reverse the slide into a “Big Brother” type world.
I don’t know about you, but I am damn glad that Bitcoin was created. And to those who say it’s a bubble or that it will fail I can only say that I know this is a possibility, but the genie is out of the bottle now. There’s no going back and even if Bitcoin disappears, something, perhaps something far greater, will take its place.