Let's pretend that you are truly rich and successful, not as compared to your peers or immediate social circle but absolutely. You are a Kissinger of our time, you are one of those few with direct access to the corridors of power. You're Tom Reagan in Miller's Crossing, perhaps minus the fat lip : even if you don't directly make the big decisions, nevertheless you were there when they were made. There, in the room. You know the people making them intimately, you saw their lip quiver as they said it, you know how much whiskey they had that night. You're just one of them, come and go as you please.
How would your life go, then ?
Well, today, it would go like so :
gribble Bitstamp BTCUSD ticker | Best bid: 590.41, Best ask: 590.55, Bid-ask spread: 0.14000, Last trade: 590.55, 24 hour volume: 3551.13147998, 24 hour low: 581.8, 24 hour high: 595.7, 24 hour vwap: 587.842223463
mircea_popescu This is liek teh largest battle of our times.
ThickAsThieves You mean the congested price?
ThickAsThieves We're in between two very old trendlines. It'll have to resolve this month.
mircea_popescu The gambit being that if they manage to get Bitcoin price to behave like gold price, Bitcoin will essentially behave like gold, and fail in its mission, even though it in principle could have succeeded. Much like gold had succeeded for a long long time.
ThickAsThieves But gold is already "adopted". Bitcoin would eat at that and grow.
mircea_popescu The beauty of this being that they aren't going to succeed, but letting them try is so god damned productive and enriching.
mike_c I have a gut feel about why you are right, but I'd love to hear you expound on it a bit. If nefarious forces are shoveling money at BTC to suppress price, why will this fail? Bitcoin is currently small. You think they just won't be able to keep it up and eventually price will explode?
mircea_popescu I'm writing it up.
mike_c Ah, good.
Doesn't make all that much sense, does it. Let's then pretend further. Let us pretend you are not merely rich and successful, but also privileged. Quite, quite privileged. When the other kids had to take the bus to school your very own chauffeur drove your very own Rolls Royce, and during lunch break as all the kids your age shoved themselves in a rough cafeteria you sat down at Chez Victor, across the room from the Minister of Commerce. Suppose everyone called you Master since you were about three, to the point that pretty young things doing it today sort-of teary eyed barely even registers. What would you do then ?
Why, you'd go ask granpa, of course. "Gramps, what does it all mean ?", taking advantage of the convenient happenstance that you're the only tween in the known universe that may directly address the ex prime minister with a curt "Gramps", while the man's wearing just his longjohns. And he'd tell you.
You see son, the way gold works is that all of it is being held by governments. Because gold is physical, and being physical and valuable means it has to be guarded. Only governments have the means to properly store gold, as they've managed to weasel themselves into the position where they only may shoot someone on sight.i Because of this, all the sellers of gold and all the buyers of gold are governments. In this situation, keeping the price of gold at any arbitrary level you wish is a trivial task, merely borrow from one government and sell in the market. It'll end up with another government, from which you can borrow it again, and sell again. You can in fact borrow every ounce of gold not ten times, and not ten thousand times : an infinity of times. Gold held in this manner will never run out, for the purpose of suppressing the market in gold. And so also for this reason, gold price will never tell the shameful story of your profilgacy, of your ineffectual expenditure. Which isn't the important part. The important part is that gold will never allow a third party to leverage these into their own power and unhinge you from your seat.
The gold standard used to be the primary means through which the aristocracy got rid of weak or stupid monarchy, which is how the Magna Charta got to be in the first place, which is how German liberty existed for so long in the first place against the miserable pretensions of European Unionism put forth by the HRE. But no more any of that, without the ability to hold your gold and defend it.
Bitcoin is like gold, except it doesn't need any defending. It defends itself quite naturally. Bitcoin is like gold however in that it will definitely allow a third party - any interested third party in fact, an infinity of them if it comes to it - leverage the inept idiocy of the powers that be against them, and use it as leverage to unseat them. It not only will, it presently does.
Six weeks ago I let the public know what we had been doing for eight or so. This is why the enemy wants people it controls to hold Bitcoinii and this is why the enemy allied units are all net sellers of Bitcoin, not holders. They may be advertised as holders, for the obvious reason (id est, that if a major holder publicly sells perhaps the downdraft may be larger than his actual impact - god knows that when I move the entire world wants to move with me) but that's about all.
So let's examine how this thing works in practice. There's 10k unmet demand on the market. What could happen ?
mircea_popescu ;;market buy 10000
gribble Bitstamp | A market order to buy 10000 bitcoins right now would take 6302846.6123 USD and would take the last price up to 665.0500 USD, resulting in an average price of 630.2847 USD/BTC. | Data vintage: 118.0073 seconds
That's no good. So you borrow 10k Bitcoin and sell it, to meet that demand. All is well. For how long ? Your friends can't be buying it, if they were buying it they'd actually offset your borrow. So they're slowly running out. Half hour, or half day, or half week later, again. And you get to all along live in fear that one day there's going to be a
mircea_popescu ;;market buy 500000
gribble Bitstamp | This order would exceed the size of the order book. You would buy 18670.792 bitcoins, for a total of 18722522.1011 USD and take the price to 99999.9900. | Data vintage: 0.0322 seconds
All it takes is for you to miss your 10k window TWICE and there it goes, all over 99 thousand. Mission Failed.
All it takes is to miss twice. Can you feel the sweat yet ? Do you know yet why all the dumbass "give us your Bitcoin" schemes seem to be able to attract an infinity of good press, endless claims of financial backing and generally speaking all the trappings of power ? It's simple, really : the second time the talk artists "in power" fail to come up with the rent for that apartment in the tower of power they currently occupy, schllllt goes the guillotine blade. The second time. Most urban poor people live in more forgiving conditions than this.
I hope you're appreciating the shit these poor people have to put up with just for a few more minutes of the charade. I know plenty of people that are quite happy with all the piles of worthless paper they're paying for the privilege. How long will it last ?
Bitcoin is not like gold in that one fundamental way that it is secure to hold. Claimed insecurity, a manufactured general impression of insecurity are not the same, nor can they actually substitute for genuine insecurity.iii As a result, the lords will hold it, and as a further result the king has to fellate the lords. Not the other way around, emphatically not the other way around. So, are you getting good enough blowjobs ? Make sure you do, missing out the actual party because you were too busy swimming in words and phrases is the surest way to end up a bitter old man. Have fun now!
There you have it, now you're one in the know. The most closely guarded secrets, the stupid shit dispensed on a "need to know basis", as if it were holy fucking bonbons or something - there you have it, have fun with it. The difference between actual power and the pretense to power is that actual power does not actually need, nor really want, all the infantile feminine covetous secretive whispery bullshit. I don't need to pay and threaten people to keep quiet, I conduct business in a logged public channel. I don't live in fear of one day someone telling someone else what I said about whom and what I did to what. They do. They do, and in spite of any entreaties, in spite of any fences, in spite of any threats and shitfits and anything else, I still know everything that's worth knowing going on over yonder walled fence.
It's not that information wants to be free. It's that people want good masters, and the universe was not made to be ruled over by women, or in womanly ways. It's that while day follows night as soon as night follows day, nevertheless as long as the Sun is in the sky it doesn't matter if the moon also shows up. Not like it's going to go all dark suddenly, because o lo! the moon. That's all, really : daybreak, time to pack it and go home.———
- This is actually quite very important. A hundred years ago, owners of valuable stuff had the right to shoot people messing with it, which led to things such as the (legitimate) shooting of striking workers, if they got sabotage-y. Naive social theorists a la Webber restated the social contract in terms of a "monopoly on violence", either willingly or unknowingly ignoring the point that once one gets a monopoly on violence, immediately that same one becomes the only repositor of gold as the underpinning of currency, because no one else can any longer properly hold it. This implication leads directly to the corrupt, inflationary bureaucratic state of today, but who among you then saw through the smoke ?
This is why you need elites, incidentally, and this is why you need masters. As great democracy may be to choose what women should wear and how often to have porridge, it's god damned awful at any seeing through whatsoever. Smoke or an infinitesimally thin layer of colored plastic or oil spread over water : whatever it is, democracy can't see through. [↩]
- And so this is why its moles in the self-identified "Bitcoin core dev team" have been working overtime to try and make Bitcoin holdings ultimately controllable by their ultimate masters. And so this is why my publicly announcing that the SR stash will go to someone pliable caused such an embarrassment over at Fort Meade to the degree they can't even announce the "auction" winner anymore. Oh, "they never said they will", right ? Herp. If they weren't going to they'd never have made such a big deal of the supposed "auction" in the first place, it was supposed to be a tool in this arsenal and it backfired miserably. It backfired miserably because I said so, think for a minute what that implies about the power differential on the field. The actual field, such as it is. Who throws monkey wrenches in whose hopes and aspirations ? So who's the boss ? [↩]
- It would have almost worked, maybe, had Hearn's melding of heartbleed into Bitcoin actually stuck. Nobody expected then that their refusal to publicly behead him will actually yield a bullet straight into the head of their most beloved puppy. And it was so cute, too! [↩]