How Do We Decide Who Represents Bitcoin to Governments?

in #bitcoin2 years ago (edited)

I arrived home from El Salvador just after 5am today (didn't sleep much on the plane, but caught a nap a bit ago) to see this very odd story developing on Twitter regarding two different front page stories in the Noticia paper. I have a physical copy of the newspaper which you can see in my previous post Bringing Tools for Freedom to El Salvador.

Some of the claims online (including it was "photoshopped") compelled me to quickly put a post together and set the record strait. Here's a picture of my copy along with the latest bitcoin blocks this morning:

Edit: according to this tweet, the paper doesn’t circulate in El Salvador. Seems I have more digging to do to figure out what’s going on here.

The digital version makes no mention of bitcoin or a meeting with the delegation or with Brock. I started wondering, why did the online version change? We can't know for sure without talking to the editors, but I started speculating. Were they influenced by comments made by Peter McCormick (who showed up just before we did) in this CoindeskTV short:

"I spoke to the president about this. I said to the president specifically...I told them about Brock Pierce. I said, you know, be wary of this guy."

I understand Peter to be a bitcoin maximalist who believes everything else is a shitcoin and will cause more harm than good. He went on to say:

"They don't need explaining Ethereum and Bitcoin Cash, Cumrocket and all kinds of crapcoins we have everywhere."

I was there, meeting with the representatives of the government. There was no mention of Ethereum or Bitcoin Cash or other tokens.

Day one at the white house:

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Keep in mind, there were only a handful of government representatives. All those other seats were filled with members of the bitcoin community.

It was an honor to be there.

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I appreciate the maximalist position that bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency worth valuing, but I don't share it completely. I think every voice needs to be heard and no one person should have too much influence over who represents bitcoin. This is another reason I'm so proud to have been part of this large, diverse group.

I got to give a five minute presentation to the secretaries of the government and the amazing peer group of blockchain industry leaders about the FIO Protocol and our idea to give everyone in El Salvador their own FIO Wallet Handle.

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I've given a number of talks in my career, but this one felt like the most important one so far.

The goal is to help human beings. If technology doesn't do that, it's useless. Bitcoin maximalists can obtain and use a FIO Address without ever owning FIO tokens using our open source registration website, and it provides a joyful user experience people need instead of the confusion of native blockchain public addresses. We have to make using bitcoin easier, both online and offline.

"Official" Delegation?

There's been some questions about the word "official" in this tweet:

We were told we were the first "official delegation" the government of El Salvador has hosted since the Covid-19 pandemic started. Many of us who own bitcoin see ourselves as members of a borderless nation open to all, and I think this detail is really important: We, the distributed bitcoin community from around the world (not just those in attendance), were being recognized by a nation state government as "official."

We are bitcoin ambassadors.

So are you.

We were part of an official delegation.

We were not trying to claim exclusivity or special privilege over anyone else in terms of representing bitcoin. A call was made to invite people to join Brock who spent his own time and money to make this happen and in less than 7 business days, we were all on the ground, some making the decision to attend literally the night before. If we had more time to organize and craft our messages beforehand, we probably wouldn't have used the word "official" in a way that could be so easily misunderstood.

If you have the political capital to meet with a government and help them, by all means do so. If you want to pay for a flight and hotel and time away from your businesses and family, go for it.

I understand bitcoin maximalists believe they are protecting Salvadorians by focusing on bitcoin only. There are thousands of scams and many people are hurt by making poor financial decisions speculating in short-term ponzis instead of doing their own research and investing in long-term value. I understand how many who have been working tirelessly on the ground in El Salvador for years might be upset to think Brock and those who joined him are swooping in to try and take credit for all their work. They didn't get to hear how Brock honored that work during the delegation with the government. They probably didn't know how the Bitcoin Beach founders were honored directly and celebrated in front of the US Ambassador to El Salvador:

We may not all agree on whether bitcoin will be the only mass-adopted cryptocurrency, but I hope we can agree that spreading hate and division is not the answer. We're going to win via love.

The thoughts expressed here on this blog (as always) are mine and mine alone. Just as I wouldn't claim to represent the views of all bitcoincoiners, I don't claim to represent the views of the amazing men and women who I had the pleasure of working with in El Salvador these past few days. I have a deep respect for you all, and it was an honor to show up and serve beside you.

To close out this post, I'll leave a Facebook memory from 2018 that popped up on my feed while I was in El Salvador:

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This is why I work in this industry. It's all about financial inclusion, freedom, and voluntary, non-violent interactions. If you feel the same way, we are partners together on the same journey.

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Nobody claiming you don't represent bitcoin represents me.

This is worded a little strangely. Can you clarify? Do you mean nobody represents bitcoin? Do you mean anyone who says "I don't represent bitcoin" represents you? Are you saying governments shouldn't talk to anyone about bitcoin because no true bitcoiner would claim to be someone they could talk to to represent what bitcoin is to them and the benefits it can have for their people or how they can help with education and implementation of bitcoin?

I mean, it's easy to point at somebody and say, 'He doesn't represent the community'.
As a member of that community, I'm saying that not only do I believe you represent the community, but that anyone claiming you don't, doesn't.

Thanks Luke! It's always a pleasure to read your posts on what you've been up to.

It's almost ironic that politics may shape the implementation of tools designed to remove politics from progress. I can only hope that the builders in the space eventually get the opportunities to share their technology with the world and are able to set themselves apart from those merely commentating on it.

It's almost ironic that politics may shape the implementation of tools designed to remove politics from progress.

That's a great line, and so true. It definitely won't be the US or China doing this, but the likes of El Salvador and other disenfranchised countries, who, like people who turned to BTC and other cryptos to get out of the fiat game, these smaller countries will do the same to get out of their own 1st world fiat controlled game.

They are starting the snowball, it's comical that it's coming from a place that gets no snow.

Hahaha, exactly!

I see it all as building blocks. You can't replace the biggest thing first usually. You have to build a new small thing, work out the issues, show that it works... build a slightly bigger thing, prove that it works too, until eventually the biggest thing either has to change to retain it's competitive edge, or it's been replaced.

While regulations can be really great at protecting people, they're also obviously used to limit competition, etc... but I'm not too worried about regulations of these global technologies, because, yeah, as you said, it only takes an El Salvador or similar to provide the proof that the system works well. We've got a lot of work to do, but I think we're on a really positive trajectory.

Those small building blocks have been in the works now for 12 years or so. Gradually getting bigger and bigger each year. I see it as inevitable, to your point, governments implementing tools to make themselves obsolete.

I fucking love it!

This "official" thing is exactly my thoughts. Depending on which country you ask determines if Taiwan is a country. El Salvador officially recognized those in attendance, not those in attendance recognize themselves as the officials of bitcoin. It's a huge step in the right direction, and many banks and regulators have their tails between their legs. We're going to win, and by win I mean give people a better life by ending the soft slavery of central banking.

El Salvador has taken a big step forward, I hope they know how to manage these operations correctly, but it is certainly a great advance and gain for the whole crypto world.

I hope many countries will follow the example, very exciting and fingers crossed it works out in El Salvador with the help of the Bitcoin and crypto community at large. For the people of El Salvador and around the globe.

Maxi-pads are going to be maxi-pads. And I have heard enough of Peter’s podcasts to know he is probably one of the most unintelligent people in the Maxi space. On that note, I commend you guys and gals that went down there to represent! The one line from the conference that I loved was, Bitcoin for Billions, not Billionaires! You guys are doing the good work! Keep it up!