Lesson 6

The power of free speech

"I beg your pardon?" said the mouse, frowning, but very politely, "did you speak?"

Bitcoin is an idea. An idea which, in its current form, is the manifestation of a machinery purely powered by text. Every aspect of Bitcoin is text: The whitepaper is text. The software which is run by its nodes is text. The ledger is text. Transactions are text. Public and private keys are text. Every aspect of Bitcoin is text, and thus equivalent to speech.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” First Amendment to the United States Constitution

Although the final battle of the Crypto Wars has not been fought yet, it will be very difficult to criminalize an idea, let alone an idea which is based on the exchange of text messages. Every time a government tries to outlaw text or speech, we slip down a path of absurdity which inevitably leads to abominations like illegal numbers and illegal primes.

As long as there is a part of the world where speech is free as in freedom, Bitcoin is unstoppable.

“There is no point in any Bitcoin transaction that Bitcoin ceases to be text. It is all text, all the time. […]

Bitcoin is text. Bitcoin is speech. It cannot be regulated in a free country like the USA with guaranteed inalienable rights and a First Amendment that explicitly excludes the act of publishing from government oversight.” Beautyon

Bitcoin taught me that in a free society, free speech and free software are unstoppable.


Through the Looking-Glass

Down the Rabbit Hole