Bitcoin Commemorates the Sacrifice of Our Ancestors

Hi! Here is a MAGIC TRICK. Knowing absolutely nothing about you other than that you are a human being who is alive today, I know something incredibly important about you:

I know that you are the product of massive sacrifices made on your behalf, by people who loved you, but who never knew your name. Those people are your ancestors.

I also know that we are cousins, since we all share a common ancestors no more than 70,000 years back. If you’re of european descent, it’s much much more recent.

Hello, cousin!

If you are warm, and safe, and healthy today, it is in large part due to the efforts made on your behalf by people who came long before us, who died long before our parents were born, who lived their lives with quiet dignity and grace, and who are forgotten to the pages of history. The only proof of their existence is us, today, alive.

You don’t know most of their names. You probably never will. Yet these people gave a lot for us.

If we had been using bitcoin this whole time (just roll with me here, ok?), you might be able to look at one of their budgets and understand just how massive their sacrifices were.

You think that guy who spend 10,000 bitcoins on a pizza made a sacrifice? The value of those pizzas wasn’t merely in the delicious harmony of cheese, tomatoes, and yeasty baked grains. The value was also in demonstrating, for the first time, the monetary value of the bitcoin network.

But still, did the person who sold them have any expectation that they would be worth so much at the time? Would you think more highly of them if they did?

If we end up on a bitcoin standard, our children, and their children will be better able to understand just how much we are giving up for them, because the monetary expenditures we make will make sense to them, in their own terms.

Cheap money cheapens the past. When you learn that people used to buy a house for $5,000, it cheapens your understanding of how hard these people worked, and how little they had to look forward to in their lives, other than the loving smiles of the chubby little people who were once our great-grandparents.

We’re animals. Our brains suck at calculus. “I made 25 cents an hour and a movie cost a nickel, unless you brought a chunk of scrap icon,” means nothing to us.

“I spent 10 bitcoins a month on your diapers alone. Yeah, I figured bitcoin would blow up over time, but of course you mattered more to me than that. We saved as much as we feasibly could, but you’ve still got to spend some money to live, right? The truth is, I was happy to do it. You can’t buy the kind of joy that you’ve brought to my life, even with a million satoshis, and hopefully one day you’ll understand when you have children of your own.”

A parent talking to their child born in 2012, about the before times.

Sound money, hard money, unforgeable scarcity, honors the past, by quantifying the material sacrifices of our ancestors in a way that makes our eyes pop out of our skulls. Of course, it’s still not nearly enough to honor our ancestors for the largesse they have bestowed upon us. But using an accounting scheme that does them justice is a start.

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