In little more than 10 years, Bitcoin (BTC) grew from a small cypherpunk community to a matter of national security with vast implications for geopolitics.
At the Unitize panel titled “From Bitcoin to Fedcoin: The Next Decade of Digital Money,” Meltem Demirors, CSO of CoinShares, and moderated by Andy Bromberg, president of CoinList, actually spent very little time discussing Fedcoin and central bank currencies in general.
Instead, they focused heavily on the implications of a changing geopolitical landscape, where Bitcoin is set to play a role in the upcoming war for tech dominance — while at the same time acting as the key to digitally “exit” from governmental control.
Onshoring of mining
Demirors noted that a profound change in global power dynamics began to occur in recent years. She described it as an emerging narrative that focuses on the importance of “computing and connectivity in the context of cyber security and national defense.”
She cited landmarks of this phenomenon, like Amazon Web Services becoming the largest defense contractor, or how Huawei was charged for allegedly endangering U.S. national security. Meltem believes that this was politically motivated, as the U.S. “has voiced its concerns about letting foreign governments participate in the build out of infrastructure in this country.”
Furthermore, semiconductor companies like Intel and TSMC have begun efforts to “onshore” production back to the United States or their respective countries. The same is likely to happen with Bitcoin mining:
“So I think five years from now, it would be very likely that 40% of Bitcoin mining, if not more, is on onshore in the United States. It’s very likely that governments will view big cryptocurrency networks as part of national security strategy.”
Bitcoin as resistance money
Speaking about stablecoins and especially government-issued digital currencies, Demirors believes that they are in a completely different class from Bitcoin:
“I think right now what you’re seeing is people are co-opting the idea and trying to implement it in different ways. Central bank digital currencies have absolutely nothing to do with Bitcoin. They’re antithetical.”
In her view, saying that these systems are blockchain-based could be part of a deliberate misrepresentation as propaganda “is starting to come into this industry.”
But at the same time, both Demirors and Bromberg noted that central bank currencies could be an improvement over the existing fiat infrastructure. She added:
“I think that different needs require different tools. At the end of the day, Bitcoin and all of these other cryptocurrencies, digital fiat and these other projects, they’re just tools that we’re trying to use to solve our problems.”
In her view, the problem that Bitcoin solves is that of “monetary system choice.” People who may be dissatisfied with the way the system works have few options to fight back, and while dollar-based coins may solve some problems, they don’t solve issues of “financial censorship, financial control and a fundamental lack of privacy.”
Bitcoin is, according to her, “the leading horse” in becoming a form of resistance money.
Thus, paradoxically, Bitcoin can be seen as both a matter of national security and a way of escaping it.