In this, the last of his weekly column The Road to Bitcoin Hegemony, Obi reflects on how quickly hegemony has been achieved – and looks forward to many more new mountains to climb.
After ten years fighting at Troy and another decade travelling home, Ulysses could have retired in comfort to rule his kingdom of Ithaca. But Tennyson imagined it another way: instead of putting his feet up, the great Victorian poet has him pushing off on yet more adventures, driven by the desire to face and overcome fresh challenges. The tale resonates because it’s timeless. Even when we accomplish our goals, we become restless because the will to achieve keeps driving us on. And so it is with Bitcoin.
It’s been just over a year since I started writing the Road to Bitcoin Hegemony and, as I wrote in my last column, it has achieved hegemony faster than any of us could have imagined. And in a month where Bitcoin has officially become legal tender in a sovereign nation state, we have reached the mountaintop. And so, it’s only fitting that our journey along Bitcoin’s road to Hegemony should end here.
But what do we do next? Spend the next few decades counting our satoshis – or strike out to conquer new peaks?
At this moment, near the end of the 50-year fiat-dominated era and the dawn of Bitcoin supremacy, I’m reminded of Ray Dalio’s video on The Principles for Success. Towards the end, Ray talks about his realisation that progress is not just climbing to the top of a hill, but the view you obtain once you get there.
Often, it’s only when you reach the summit that you can see the greater mountain ranges beyond, and realise that fresh challenges await those with the appetite to tackle them. This has always been the essence of any adventurer’s journey, from the heroes of classical myth to the digital entrepreneurs of today.
Before we raise our eyes to future challenges, it’s only fair that we look back and reflect on what together we have achieved in such a short space of time.
Remember, 12 months ago the mainstream media was still deriding Bitcoin on a daily basis. Business leaders were still fearful of investing in it. Governments were ignoring it. Even the general public was only showing mild interest, and the price was languishing around $10k.
Since then, this column has charted what can only be described as a rapid, relentless charge towards supremacy. It’s hard to pick out highlights, but they include the roar of Africa’s Bitcoin lions, the first murmurings of the almighty dollar’s replacement by Bitcoin as the world’s reserve currency, and the Bitcoin-powered rise of the Global South.
Which brings us back to today. We are at the top of the “Bitcoin as Hard Money” hill and Bitcoin’s hegemony is assured. The voices claiming Bitcoin is not a sound investment are becoming increasingly marginalised, desperate and ignored. But now that it is clear that almost everyone will eventually consider buying Bitcoin at some point and that the tools to achieve this goal are already well-advanced, we can begin to see new challenges from our vantage point.
For instance, we must make self-custody, self-sovereignty, and Bitcoin usage become commonplace. And, as I argued last month, we must strive towards making Bitcoin the default unit of account for a significant portion of the world’s population. These objectives will require a lot of innovation, perseverance and education to achieve and, with the right mindset, they will be reached.
As I look around I see that there are many more mountains to conquer but I feel ready for the challenge. Hegemony is only the beginning. Like Ulysses, we must not be content to rest on our laurels; our goal for Bitcoin must always be “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”