Ross Ulbricht of darknet website Silk Road calls bitcoin freedom from prison

Ross Ulbricht of darknet website Silk Road calls bitcoin freedom from prison

Ross Ulbricht has been in prison for over 200 days. In total, he has to sit twice for life because of his involvement with Silk Road. In 2013 the screen fell for online marketplace Silk Road. Until that time, many drugs and other prohibited products and services were traded here for bitcoin. Ulbricht writes a flaming argument from the prison that bitcoin is freedom

By Ross Ulbricht

Something special happened in the first year that Satoshi gave us bitcoin, something that nobody expected and many thought this would be impossible. Try to imagine your bitcoin at that time, before you could buy things with it, before there was an exchange rate, before someone really knew what would happen to it. Bitcoin did not start as money. It became money, but in a completely different way than how how all the money that preceded it did. Bitcoin has made a lot possible and has changed the world in many ways. We still don’t fully understand and appreciate what happened in those early days of bitcoin, when bitcoin was a toy for nerds.

Any other money that dates back to bitcoin, in the long history of human civilization, gained value for reasons other than that it could be used as money. Livestock in Africa, stamps in prison, sea shells and precious metals are all used as money and fit into this pattern. The only exception is fiat money (something that an authority regards as money), but even national fiat currencies were once supported by something of earlier value, such as gold.

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Bitcoin has changed all that. Bitcoin had no previous value and nobody was forced to use it, but it somehow became a means of exchange. People who don’t understand bitcoin and don’t care much about it can still accept it as payment, because they know it can be used to pay for something else. Or simply to exchange for conventional money.

People often mention pizzas that were bought for ten thousand bitcoins and in retrospect, they laugh at the guy who ate a lunch of several million dollars. I’m more interested in the person who gave up two perfectly good pizzas for bitcoins only. What did he see in those bits and bytes, that digital signature on something that people called a blockchain? Whatever motivated the seller may also be the reason why early miners stepped in, even when you could not yet sell bitcoin, but could only hoard it. This may have been the inspiration why some have given away thousands of bitcoins. Whatever it is, it’s something new.

Classical economy says that an exchange of goods or services only takes place if both parties value what they warrior higher than what they give up. So where did the value come from? According to this theory, bitcoin should never have been a success, but it nevertheless succeeded. Even a new product has a certain value, and early adopters take the risk that they will not get immediate value for money. They ultimately expect to benefit from the exchange.

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On the other hand, those early adapters of bitcoin could never have predicted what bitcoin is capable of. They only had a dream, a conviction and enough infectious enthusiasm to turn a digital niche into a billions of dollars phenomenon. And we are only now beginning to see the consequences of this.

I’ll tell you what I think happened, but the truth is nobody knows. It is almost magic that bitcoin somehow came out of nowhere and became money without prior value or authority. But the emergence of bitcoin did not happen in a vacuum. It was a solution to a problem cryptographers had been struggling with for years: how to make digital money that cannot be counterfeited, without a central authority you have to rely on

This problem persisted for so long that some left the solution to others. Instead, they dreamed about what our future would look like with decentralized digital money. They dreamed of a future in which the world’s economic power is accessible to everyone, where value can be transferred everywhere with a keystroke. They dreamed of prosperity and freedom, only dependent on the mathematics of strong encryption.

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Bitcoin was therefore born on fertile ground and received with open arms by those who had been waiting for it. This was a historic moment for them, much more important than pizzas or electricity bills by minen. The promise of freedom and the attraction of destiny gave energy to the early community.

Bitcoin became conscious but spontaneous from nothing. Our world will never be the same again.

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