We all know the internet can be terrible for us. All the input, all the stimuli, all the voyeurism. It feeds us the idea that we must live up to this standard that we see in our friend’s pictures and status updates, but they’re doing the same thing. No one really reaches this standard, we’ve just collectively decided to be constantly miserable because our lives aren’t as kickass as they should be.
It’s so easy to get addicted to that though - at least it was for me. I even joked about how people would post every little thing on Twitter to the point where they didn’t have stories to tell in person. I was never quite that bad, but I still got caught up in the whole thing. Retweets were nice but favorites were like a little shot of digital empathy.
The last six months have been weird for me, and Twitter was involved in all of it. I found myself throwing up a net of tweets to catch some kind of interaction - just a little “pity-favorite” - so I could feel like someone cares because they hit a star button under something I wrote. I literally had to yank myself away from my phone at times. tweets would solicit way more emotion than a string of text and an emoji should ever get out of someone.
Enough pretentious self-awareness. There are also great parts of the internet. Think of how it has helped bridge gaps between cultures and the unified feeling this creates. Think of the incomprehensible amount of knowledge that is now available to us at any moment. But then there’s Bitcoin.
Actually, there's Bitcoin plus all of the technology that has sprung up in its wake. It’s the part of the internet where we created the kind of money that is a freedom-minded person’s wet dream. It's a currency that I can personally hold, but it’s much easier to use than silver or gold. It’s a public ledger, but at the same time, if you’re careful and diligent, you can hide behind your Bitcoin address. Oh, and the government doesn’t like it. That immediately makes me biased towards it because I’m a shallow person who is easily manipulated.
All of this technology allows us to connect through social media in ways that show that we really do care. You know all those memes about helping the needy? The ones that get 874k retweets, but then don’t really help anyone? Now there is a currency that allows us to make donations anytime, anywhere. That’s worth much more than just retweeting a picture.
— You, Me, and BTC (@YouMeAndBTC) October 27, 2014
If you want to help homeless people, donate to Sean’s Outpost. The people there make a real difference. If you want to help spread alternative news, donate to your favorite station or website. Yes, this requires the recipient to set up a Bitcoin wallet, but that’s no longer as difficult as it used to be. Payment processors are making it easier than ever for anyone to start receiving Bitcoin.
This currency has the ability to connect people in a much more intricate way, opening up innumerable global trade opportunities. Many individuals make their living by selling products and services on the internet. Bitcoin is just another way for these people to streamline their businesses. It’s money that can move without help from third parties.
“When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.” That’s pretty simple. We don’t want to kill anyone who gives us money. If you take away trade, you take away a valuable connection. Money can heal many prejudices.
So here at the beginning of 2015, drink a toast, make a cheer, or toast a bowl to making our world a better marketplace - a profitable place for trading goods, services, and ideas. Let’s spread some humanity into world that seems all too willing to forget about our humanity and only thinks in terms that divide us. If you want unity in the world, facilitate trade.