Cryptocurrency is commonly thought of as Internet Money or Digital Currency. The most hardcore cryptocurrency enthusiasts think of it as a tool for saving humanity. In a Keynote discussion on stage at Bitcoin 2021, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey referred to Bitcoin as “the only way out” of our current political troubles.
Dorsey also said “I don’t think there’s anything more important in my lifetime to work on and I don’t think there’s anything more enabling for people around the world.”
Dorsey isn’t alone. The Human Rights Foundation is funding Bitcoin development, in the hopes that Bitcoin can provide freedom from untrustworthy and oppressive governments (link). Pundits are going so far as to say we are entering a decentralized world with entire countries embracing this trend.
The language used to describe these technologies and trends is the same: “trustless” “decentralized.”
Why is this happening? Better question - why is this happening NOW?
Cryotocurrency evangelists generally focus on “decentralization” as a core feature. But it’s more than a feature, it’s an ideological value. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts (“hodlers”) don’t trust centralized authorities. They don’t trust governments. They don’t trust banks. Many don’t trust websites either, choosing to store their cryptocurrency on specialized hardware devices. (As an aside, that’s actually pretty smart. Passwords + 2FA can be defeated by a determined hacker.)
And it’s not just cryptocurrency enthusiasts. We are in a moment of worldwide distrust of authorities. The popularity of Cryptocurrency is perhaps the most striking example of this, but there are so many. Just look at the widespread mistrust of the CDC here in America, or the distrust of governments & their leaders worldwide! Does anyone trust corporate leaders, like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk? Who can you trust these days anyway? Hopefully your list isn’t empty, but authority figures aren’t as, well, authoritative as they used to be. (For more on this, see “The Death of Expertise”)
I believe this isn’t by accident. It is said that in the footsteps of Moshiach we will reach a point where there is no one to turn to - no one to trust - but Hashem.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe ZY"A (whose Yahrtzeit is this coming Sunday, 3 Tammuz) said that we are in the footsteps of Moshiach, and this sentiment has been echoed by many Gedolim since the onset of the corona pandemic.
The worldwide fascination with “trustless currency” and “decentralized applications” is one manifestation of this. What other aspects of the “footsteps of Moshiach” do you see in the news? Do you see it in your day to day life?