This is an opinion editorial by Evan Price, a 15-year software engineer and privacy rights advocate.
Americans love a good revival. A revival is a religious fervor that spreads across the country, often leaving new churches and social movements in its wake. Revivals begin with a deep and widespread feeling of dissatisfaction with the status quo. Then a few luminaries step up and start preaching a new and better way of believing and organizing. These early people preach to the masses and recruit followers. They take their message on the road and evangelize as many people as they can reach.
Following a renaissance, the social and legal landscape changes irrevocably. New churches are born and old ones are forced to break up, shrink and adapt. Laws are passed and social institutions are forced to count on a newly organized and dedicated constituency. Related social movements bifurcate and forge their own paths to social change. Eventually, the religious fervor dies down as everyone adjusts to the new reality of their country.
I believe we are in the early stages of another American renaissance. Unlike previous revivals, this one is not religious; is monetary in nature.
I recently spent some time at Bitcoin Park in Nashville, Tennessee, meeting other Bitcoin meetup organizers from around the US and Canada. They invited us ODELL i bitkite to an event called Grassroots Bitcoin to collaborate and discuss how we can increase bitcoin adoption and support local communities. I met dozens of other meetup organizers. We exchanged stories and learned about each other’s motivations, goals, and hopes.
We saw presentations on different topics:
- Bitcoin as a tool for human rights.
- Bitcoin as a tool for small businesses.
- Strategies to grow your bitcoin encounter, both technical and social.
- Tools for autonomous cold storage.
- Tools and tips to help you buy, sell and manage bitcoins.
- How and why to work with politicians to advance our common goals.
You can listen to some of the discussions here.
There was a wealth of Bitcoin culture on display, from complementary pelican boxes to the ultimate Bitcoin social event: a steak dinner. I do not subscribe to all the beliefs espoused by Bitcoiners. For example, I drove hours to get my first COVID-19 shot, and I usually try to eat more vegetables than meat. But other common Bitcoin beliefs make sense to me: grow your own food and learn to shoot a gun because it could literally save your life one day. I believe that a growing social movement requires a vibrant cultural identity and Bitcoin is no exception.
One thing that struck me about this group was the diversity of personalities and backgrounds on display. There were city people and country people; Christians, Muslims, Jews and Atheists. I saw brogrammers rubbing elbows and sharing meals with the herdsmen. There were HVAC repair men, ex-cops and flight attendants. Bitcoin really appeals to men and women from all walks of life. Towards the end of the event, when a former pastor took the stage and declared that bitcoin is his new church, I realized that we are in the early stages of another American revival. For a revival to have force, it must appeal to a wide and deep cross-section of society. That’s exactly what I saw in Nashville.
The Bitcoin social movement is small and vigorous, rooted in a deep unease and suspicion of the top-down forces at work in our society. I think there has been a radical change in recent years. Most of the gatherings represented in Nashville were founded in the wake of the COVID lockdowns. I think our national response to the pandemic led to a great deal of skepticism that is now taking root in these gatherings.
I’ve been a Bitcoiner for longer than I care to admit. I’ve had many conversations with non-purseers and their reactions ranged from mild interest to visceral rejection. Over the years, I stopped initiating these conversations. In the past week, my eyes have been opened to the fiery and passionate core of the movement. I have never spoken to a group of Bitcoiners with more conviction or sense of purpose. I think we are turning a corner; There’s never been a better time to seek out bitcoin fence sitters and give them the push they need to set up a wallet and start their journey.
Throughout the event, participants shared stories and images of all the ordinary people who picked up an orange. It became a badge of honor to convince your waiter to download a bitcoin wallet and get his first tip in sats. Bitcoiners are hungry for converts and carry a very compelling message in times of high inflation and growing autocracy. I think of 2020 as a drought in American society. People were told where they could go, how they should behave and what they should wear. For a freedom-loving people, in a country founded on the ideals of individual freedom, this kind of environment is bound to provoke a countercultural reaction. Bitcoin organizers are the spearhead of a growing social movement. I see a fire burning in these people and they are bringing those embers to the masses one person at a time.
Forest fires always start small. If the conditions are ripe, they grow at an exponential rate. Slowly at first, but if you stop paying attention, the speed and intensity of the conflagration will catch you off guard. Once the fire has passed, a new season of growth and renewal emerges from the ashes. Don’t be caught off guard. Join your local Bitcoin meetup and let’s fix the root of so many problems in our society. We arrange the money.
One last note. I believe that the strong American culture of individual freedoms uniquely positions us to be the home of Bitcoin. The money house of freedom. But this is far from guaranteed. To get there, we need the support of politicians. A revival can be a powerful tool to accelerate political careers. Invite your political representatives to a Bitcoin meetup. Show them first hand the power of this social movement. Talk to them about the challenges you face in trying to grow bitcoin adoption and how they can earn your vote. they are listening Make sure they hear the right message.
This is a guest post by Evan Price. The opinions expressed are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.