The situation in Canada has received international attention across the internet. People are wondering how a liberal, democratic country could descend into authoritarian chaos so quickly. Disagreeing with subsets of your population, or opposite sides of the political debate, are an expected component of democratic societies, but the shocking aspect is how the Canadian government has decided to react.
Rather than meet with the protestors to hear their complaints or encourage their protesting within a designated area of the city, the Canadian leadership has responded to dissent with a ruthlessness that is usually reserved for dictatorships. As David Sacks wrote over the weekend, “A Social Credit System Arrives In Canada.”
In the piece, Sacks argued:
“For years, ideologues have used accusations of bigotry to hound people from their jobs, kick them off social media, and rescind their right to participate in the online economy. However, many observers shrugged off these cases as outliers—fringe examples that could be ignored because they affected unsympathetic individuals. But now we have a wide-ranging group of working-class people and their supporters who are being financially deplatformed for civil disobedience.”
It is pretty incredible to watch this play out in real-time. There are individuals who are being financially sanctioned in a way that was previously reserved for enemies of war. Take the Russia - Ukraine situation as a current example. The United States is threatening financial sanctions, including potential removal from the SWIFT system, if Russia chooses to invade Ukraine.
There is not much difference between the threat of sanctions to Russia and the current financial sanctions that are being levied against Canadian citizens by their own government. That is wild to think about.
If there is one positive outcome of this situation though, it is that millions of people in the western world are being alerted to the perils of financial censorship. Previously, most people thought these authoritarian measures would never happen in their own countries. Canada has made them change their mind and start paying attention.
This morning, co-founder of Basecamp and creator of Ruby on Rails David Heinemeier Hansson (known as DHH), wrote a piece titled “I was wrong, we need crypto.” He started with the following excerpt:
To say I've been skeptical about Bitcoin and the rest of the crypto universe would be an understatement of epic proportions. Since the early 2010s, some of my most ferocious Twitter battles have been against the HODL army with the laser eyes.
There's just so much to oppose: Bitcoin's grotesque energy consumption, the ridiculous transaction fees and low throughput, the incessant pump'n'dump schemes in shitcoins, the wild price swings in the main coins, the obvious fraud that is Tether, the lack of real decentralization in most of the current web3 infrastructure, and on, and on, and on.
Beyond all these very real problems and challenges, my bigger beef was actually fueled by a lack of imagination. I could see the fundamental promise of a digital currency free of banks if you were living in a failing state like Venezuela or an overtly authoritarian one like China or Iran, but how was this relevant to the vast number of Bitcoin boosters living in stable Western democracies governed by the rule of law? Beyond the patina of philosophical respectability it could apply to yet another get-rich-quick scheme?
You have to give DHH credit for the intellectual humility necessary to admit you were wrong in public. But his journey is not that dissimilar from many others. The idea of bitcoin as freedom technology was a distant thought because it has been hard to see dystopian or authoritarian environments in the western world. Sure, maybe those situations play out in the developing world far away, but that couldn’t possibly happen in my country, right? RIGHT???
DHH continues his write-up with the following comments:
“I still can't believe that this is the protest that would prove every Bitcoin crank a prophet. And for me to have to slice a piece of humble pie, and admit that I was wrong on crypto's fundamental necessity in Western democracies.
And that it was the Canadians who brought this on? You might as well have told me that it was really the Care Bears who ran Abu Ghraib.
Especially since I had some sympathy with fears projected by the US progressive left who spent four years fretting Trump might pull stunts like these. Then it turns out that the worries of an authoritarian overreach would be fulfilled by Trudeu to the North instead? Who's writing this script? M. Night Shyamalan?
Meanwhile, plenty of American commentators are cheering this on. Those terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad truckers got what they deserved! To protest for a repeal of pandemic restrictions, so as to live the life enjoyed in Denmark by a population less vaccinated than the Canadians? That's clearly beyond the pale!
But in a weird way, I'm glad we all got this warning from Trudeu in Canada and not Trump in America. It would have been far too easy for Europeans in particular to dismiss authoritarian assertions of martial law from Trump as being irrelevant to the European experience. Just like I had for so long deemed the practical desire of people in Venezuela or Iran or China for crypto irrelevant to the entire Western experience.
Is France really that different from Canada? Is Austria? Is Denmark? This is a real wakeup call.”
Ultimately, bitcoin serves as the chaos hedge. It is insurance for a dark, dystopian world that everyone hopes won’t become reality.
The hard part about technologies that bring freedom, security, privacy, and sovereignty is that the mainstream population doesn’t actually care about these ideas. They want convenience. There is a disconnect between the conversation and the actions when it comes to these topics.
This is an area that bitcoin is drastically undervalued and misunderstood. Bitcoin is a freedom technology disguised as a get-rich-quick scheme. Millions and millions of people join the revolution initially to make money, not to adopt a secure, censorship-resistant currency. Economic incentives run the world. Show someone how they may get rich and you’ll watch adoption follow. That is exactly what bitcoin has done. It is the best performing asset over the last decade, including a 150%+ compound annual growth rate during the decade.
Here is the catch though — millions of people come for the profits, but stay for the revolution. Bitcoin has a unique way of teaching economics, computer science, personal finance, mathematics, philosophy, geopolitics, and much more. In fact, I’d argue that most bitcoiners have learned more from the bitcoin community than they did in school. This is what hardens the bitcoin holders. They don’t care about price fluctuations. Name another asset where it goes down 20% multiple times a year and there is a 50% loss in price every year for the last 4 years, yet majority of the investors continue to hold for the long term?
Bitcoin isn’t about profits. The investors and holders have no plans to sell. Bitcoin is a freedom technology. It is a peaceful protest that arms the average citizen with a censorship-resistant technology that prevents their government from enacting authoritarian measures that encroach on their basic rights. Without the freedom to transact, you have no freedom.
Canada has awaken the western world to the perils of financial censorship. Bitcoin is the solution. It is just a matter of time before millions more realize it.
Hope you have a great day. Talk tomorrow.
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