Bitcoin and Other Boogeymen

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

I listen every week to a podcast called "Akimbo" by Seth Godin. He's a former dot com business guru and current non-fiction author who offers quirky wisdom on everything from marketing to animal rights. This morning he talked a lot about cryptocurrency and blockchains. If you don't know what any of that is, don't despair; you are in good (or at least a large) company. If I told you that tech-savvy computer programmers have tried to develop a new type of currency (to replace money) using computer data as its building blocks, I wouldn't be accurate, but I'd be in the ballpark.

As I listened, I felt mildly disturbed. The potential that cryptocurrency has to topple global economies is real. And the tech-savvy hold an advantage over the rest of us. While they don't control this new system, they understand it. They are not afraid of it. Anytime a particular group of people grab hold of extraordinary power, the results are often tragic.

Then, I thought more about why I felt this way. There have always been small groups of people in possession of extraordinary power. And while that reality has led to some pretty ugly moments throughout history, we haven't destroyed the planet yet. In many ways, we have made the planet better. We get lots wrong, but we get lots right, too.

Maybe the world's got you scared. I get it; there's a lot of scary things out there. But remember something as you work through your fear: there's a lot of beautiful things out there, too. I think there are more people trying to make the world a better place than there are people trying to tear it all down. After thousands of years of recorded human history, we can say two things with certainty. One, humanity has a great capacity for evil. Two, humanity has grown in spite of it.

So, maybe one day we'll all be buying groceries with Bitcoin. To get to that new way of doing things, that might mean a significant power shift and a season of turmoil. I don't trust the human race with much, but it does seem interested in surviving and thriving.

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