Bitcoin unleashes passions. There are the pros, the “antis”, the maximalists… But beyond these postures, we must live up to the social and philosophical implications of Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention. This is what Jacques Favier recalled during Surfin Bitcoin 2023 in Biarritz, in a journey between certainties and concerns, all with a touch of humor and self-deprecation that is (sometimes) lacking in the Bitcoin community.
Surfin Bitcoin 2023: a conference marked by uncertainty
Historian and founder of Corner Circle, Jacques Favier, has been documenting bitcoin for many years. Author of several books on the subject, he cultivates a multidisciplinary approach at the crossroads of social sciences. A notoriety which led him to open the 2023 edition of Surfin Bitcoin. However, his intervention does not necessarily paint a glowing picture of the BTC ecosystem.
Because far from considerations linked to price or speculation, Jacques Favier suggests that we question our beliefs in the face of this revolution that is Bitcoin. It must be said that then the market is in decline, some are tempted to adopt extreme postures: trolling, fanaticism, animosity. Virulent behavior which seems to exist as if to counterbalance the painful reality of a bitcoin whose price is no longer
Rethinking Bitcoin: between myths and beliefs
What if the biggest threat to Bitcoin was the bitcoiners themselves? For example, some are tempted to adopt a foolproof technological solutionism. This is the famous “ Bitcoin fixes this“, drawn at every opportunity in the face of a detractor. However, Jacques Favier very rightly recalls that“a world rebuilt on Bitcoin would not be radically changed in all its negative externalities”. No, BTC is not the miracle solution to all the problems of our time.
Others see Bitcoin as pure and perfect “money”. This is the case for followers of Austrian economics, a strongly ideologized school of thought, with an ultraliberal political message. But why would Bitcoin belong to them?
Generally speaking, the political culture of the ecosystem would benefit from expanding, or at least diversifying.
Cultivating Other Perspectives on Bitcoin
For Jacques Favier, we must integrate sociology, linguistics, theology and even anthropology into the analysis of bitcoin. These disciplines must enlighten us. However, they seem largely neglected by the community. The BTC certainly attracts technical profiles from so-called “hard” sciences: engineers, analysts, computer scientists. But still too few people outside these fields of study.
However, the importance of the arts in the “adoption” of technology remains crucial. Indeed, the arts, culture or religious faith were often at the origin of technological dynamics. This is the case of Gutenberg’s printing press which made the Bible accessible to as many people as possible. Nobody then cared to know what mixture of lead the characters of this revolutionary invention were made of. In 2021, the film The Satoshi Mystery by Rémi Forte co-produced by Arte enjoyed great success with the general public. It has surely contributed more to the image of BTC than any technical speech.
Spreading knowledge: The call of Jacques Favier
By evoking the great religious myths of humanity, Jaques Favier invites us to reflect on our own position in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Are we Saint-Michels slaying the beast? Or just fairground wrestlers? Are we really safe from the faults we point out in others? For him, it is certain, a reconsideration is necessary.
While calling for thwarting the “ideological monoculture”, he underlines the great strength of Bitcoin, which can bring together people from very varied backgrounds. For Jacques Favier, we must therefore admit that we can change our minds, in both directions. We can turn away from bitcoin after having sincerely defended it. On the contrary, we can recognize its ingenuity after having fought it. In other words, it is still and always a story of conversion. And the fact that Bitcoin is so polarizing is just one more sign that it matters.
But beyond the teasing, Jacques Favier especially insists on the need to spread reason. “Against ignorance, it is up to us to spread knowledge”. In other words, we must avoid falling into trolling, contempt, or even insult, under the pretext of supposed “superiority”. On the contrary, it is up to the community gathered around bitcoin to share, exchange and question its certainties if we want to approach a true monetary, technological and digital Renaissance thanks to bitcoin.
To (re)discover the opening conference of Surfin Bitcoin 2023:
The Bitcoin community between passion and reason
Thanks to Jacques Favier, bitcoiners can count on a formidable observer of this monetary and technological upheaval. It reminds us that bitcoin is much more than just a decentralized peer-to-peer digital currency. It is also a reflection of our beliefs, our ideals and our uncertainties. And if we really want to understand this revolution, perhaps we should start by asking ourselves. Without giving up on the exciting adventure that is Bitcoin, let’s show nuance, as well as a bit of well-placed skepticism.
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Fascinated by the history of Bitcoin and the cypherpunk movement, I think that citizens must reinvest in the field of money. My goal ? Democratize and make visible the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
The comments and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and should not be considered investment advice. Do your own research before making any investment decisions.