Bitcoin Is The Language Of The Internet
You might call it the cable which changed history.
In the mid-19th century, there were various attempts to lay cables across the Atlantic Ocean between Ireland and the U.S.
It took several failures, numerous bankruptcies and over 10 years before they got it right, but eventually they succeeded. On July 27, 1866, Queen Victoria broadcast a message to the U.S. President Johnson. Here’s what it said:
Osborne, July 27, 1866
To the President of the United States, Washington
The Queen congratulates the President on the successful completion of an undertaking which she hopes may serve as an additional bond of Union between the United States and England.
Washington, July 30, 1866
To Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The President of the United States acknowledges with profound gratification the receipt of Her Majesty’s despatch and cordially reciprocates the hope that the cable which now unites the Eastern and Western hemispheres may serve to strengthen and perpetuate peace and amity between the governments of England and the Republic of the United States.
(Signed) Andrew Johnson
Money Is A Form Of Communication Technology
At that time, sending a message by ship could take ten days or more. Transatlantic cable made it possible to transmit messages in a matter of minutes. Morse code was soon translated into words. It was soon possible send multiple messages simultaneously. By the end of the 19th century, Britain, France, Germany and the U.S. were all linked by cable.
All personal, commercial, and political relations were changed for ever.
Back then, gold was money as well as paper notes that represented gold. However, you couldn’t send paper or gold down the cable.
But, you could send a promise. Two parties who had trust in each other were able to do that within a fortnight after Queen Victoria’s message. An exchange rate between the dollar and the pound was agreed to and then published in The Times on August 10, 1866.
That is why, to this day, the pound-dollar exchange rate, GBPUSD, is known as “cable.”
Promises, Promises, Promises
According to myth, Adam Smith said, “All money is a matter of belief.” He had a point. Look at a PS20 note (if you still use them) and you will see the words “I promise to pay the bearer.” Money is promissory.
Of course, promises disappear. But gold doesn’t. Both are different types of money. One is belief and the other is actual.
Nevertheless, since the dawn of civilization, we have been using promissory money. To log debts owed, ancient Mesopotamians used clay balls and mud tokens. They found it more efficient to inscribe pictures of the tokens into the mud, instead of baking them in balls. This is how the first system for writing was created. People used leather to record their debts in ancient China. They began using paper after the invention of printing. Today, promises are recorded and sent electronically between trusted third parties.
Millions, or perhaps billions, of promises are sent every second across the internet. It is not only that (promissory money) evolves with communication technology, but it is often the impetus to communication technology to evolve.
Now Bitcoin eliminates the need for trusted third parties. This is just one of the many reasons why Bitcoin is so unique. This money communication network is supported instead by mathematical proof and the most resilient and powerful computer network ever created. The trusted third party is the Blockchain.
Why would you not want to have a stake in such a revolutionary technology? That is basically what bitcoin ownership is — owning shares of a new monetary technology. It’s not like anyone is making any rollbacks.
Money Has Evolved Like Language
My purpose with this is to illustrate a point: If you’re sending important promises, you need good communication tools. What is money if not a means of communication?
Let us explore more.
It is often said that politicians should be viewed by what they do and not what they say. What we do speaks more about us than what you say. Even more is what we do with our money.
What we do with money communicates value not only between buyers and sellers, but also across the economy. What is the value of something? What is the value of something? It is constantly being received, interpreted and acted upon. Each new signal, the how, why, and when of what is needed producing and where, constantly evolves and develops the economy.
Money is then like a language, constantly evolving and changing. Nobody is in control, not even central bankers. Our fiat system was not planned. It is constantly evolving, with billions of people contributing in different ways just by using it. The fiat money architects did not design what we have today. They just used it to escape from a tight financial spot and other extenuating circumstances.
In the same way, no one planned the language we use today. It is difficult to plan and regulate language, as many people have tried over the years and still do. It evolves and develops constantly, depending on the needs and uses of billions.
The English we speak today differs from the English of Chaucer and Shakespeare. There are likely to be fewer words and certainly fewer tenses. Grammar is simpler. It is still much more common than it appears. The network has expanded.
Mandarin might have three to four times as many native speakers, but English is much more widely spoken. It is possible that English will one day be the universal language. It is the dominant linguistic network. While , other languages disappear. Cornish is gone. Few people speak Welsh or Gaelic. It is disappearing languages from France and Italy. If they haven’t already, there is no doubt that a lot of African, Asian, and Native American languages are on the verge of disappearing.
The question is: How scalable the language is? English could become the default language in the world. It’s almost inevitable. Mandarin is unlikely to become the default language despite having more native speakers. It won’t happen to Swahili, Neapolitan, or Gaelic.
How many different currencies have there been throughout history? Shells, whale teeth and metals. Paper, cigarettes, cognac, Zimbabwe dollars. Reichsmarks. Denarii. Farthings. shillings. shitcoins. Many have died. Most of those who haven’t died yet will die. Only gold can go on, immutable. As with transatlantic cables you can’t send any gold over the internet. Only trustable parties can make golden promises.
Bitcoin Is Money For The Internet
The U.S. dollar is the global reserve currency. It’s possible to send it over the internet. However, it is difficult for non-Americans to obtain U.S. dollars-denominated bank account. Foreign exchange fees can be very expensive. Sometimes money transfers can take several hours. Billions of people are still unbanked, and are thus excluded from the financial market. The dollar is a currency that can be used internationally. Although a country could use it as its national currency (and many do), they would also be importing U.S. money policy and thus being subject to U.S. political whims. This is why many countries that have their own political agendas create their own currencies.
The U.S. Dollar is “international” but it is a national currency. Its national borders and politics are what limit it. The same applies to any national currency.
Language does not have a national border. At least English isn’t.
If there were an apolitical, non-borderless currency for the internet’s borderless medium, it would be much more scalable than any national currency. A network that is organically growing and evolving.
To use bitcoin, you don’t have to have a bank account. A phone with an internet connection is all you need to use bitcoin. We are close to the point where everyone who needs a phone can have one. This means that even those who aren’t banked can use Bitcoin.
My argument is that bitcoin is English if money is language. It is scalable in a way that no other currency can. And even with the drops in price we have seen, the network hash rate has doubled since a year ago. That’s growth.
An interesting anecdote about a time when the pound was more widely known than the dollar is here.
In emulation of Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg who went “Around The World in 80 Days,” American journalist Nellie Bly went on a trip around the world in 72 days in 1889 to 1890.
She took British pounds, but she also brought some dollars as a test to see if American money was known outside of the U.S. She went east from New York and did not see American money until Colombo, Sri Lanka, where $20 gold pieces were used as jewlery. They accepted her dollars — but only at a 60% discount. It’s not easy to convince people to accept bitcoin in physical world. However, it is possible. It is money for the Internet and it is very scalable.
This article first appeared at MoneyWeek.
This is a guest post by Dominic Frisby. These opinions are not necessarily those of BTC Inc. or .Bitcoin Magazine HTML1.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.