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possessing supreme or ultimate freedom, independence or self-authority
Published in 1997, a particular book predicted our present world with astounding accuracy and detail. It foretold the rise of something like Bitcoin, and so much more. Called, The Sovereign Individual, this book has become required reading for anyone trying to understand our world.
The core message was this: Ours is a time of unprecedented revolution. Technology is creating the opportunity to unleash the individual from the state. But while unprecedented liberty is becoming available, it is not guaranteed. It falls to each individual to use technology to empower and liberate themselves. Those who are savvy enough to do so will become Sovereign Individuals.
To be Sovereign is to be the highest source of authority for oneself. It is to be intellectually and economically free. It means to place trust in oneself, rather than in some higher authority.
Bitcoin has been understood to be many things. A payment system, a darknet currency, an immutable database, a digital form of gold. Like blind men grasping at an elephant, each one grasps a particular feature and is fooled into thinking that that is the whole.
Bitcoin is the elephant in the room. It is so monumental that almost no one seems to be able to grasp its essential nature. Bitcoin cannot adequately be described as a tool for payments, a means for privacy, or as a store-of-value. While it may be considered to be all of these things and more, Bitcoin is at its most fundamental level a tool for sovereignty.
Bitcoin puts you in control of
Bitcoin makes no demands. It is totally up to each of us to decide if we will own it or not. If we will control our own keys or trust some institution to store our Bitcoin for us. If we will maintain our right to privacy or doxx ourselves everytime we want to trade.
While Bitcoin makes no demands, sovereignty does. Sovereignty requires self-trust and responsibility. Sovereignty is a discipline. The sovereigns of old, such as kings and governments have always maintained this discipline or they have fallen. Zealously they protect their authority from even the slightest threat of usurpation. In no country may you lay claim to even one inch of their property, print even one unit of currency or disseminate confidential information without the full force of their authority bearing down on this act of treason.
Bitcoin makes no demands, but governments do. Governments consider no crime higher than treason - for treason is to threaten their sovereignty. Yet we individuals daily commit treason against ourselves for the slightest short-term convenience. We give up our privacy to 100 websites, our financial autonomy to banks, credit cards and apps, our freedom of movement to airport and border security screenings, our children’s education to state-mandated curriculum, and on and on. If we truly wish to be free, we must recognize that these are acts of self-treason. Freedom is hard won and it is even harder maintained.
Bitcoin makes no demands. But it offers the opportunity to be a Sovereign Individual. The rest is up to you. You yourself must choose to be Sovryn.
Learn more about staying Sovryn in the age of DeFi in our article, Monetary vs. Financial Sovereignty and Why it Matters for Bitcoin’s Future.
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