Most modern religions were cults, at some point in their journey.
Each of these modern religions were subject to persecution, shame and resistance from establishments. Whether it’s religious beliefs or modern technology ideas like internet, they are met with resistance by the establishments whose roots are being shaken.
Many cults never go through the process of transformation into a religion, they either continue to exist in their small gatherings or die down with time and forgotten forever.
10 years ago, Bitcoin was a cult that existed exclusively in the realms of the nerd-verse. Today, the President of the United States is making (uninformed) statements about it.
Every cult goes through phases in the metamorphosing process of becoming a religion of the masses. These are the signs that must be present for any cult to be recognized as a religion.
While many religions are controlled by few interest groups, Bitcoin is different because it is not governed by people, it is governed by Math.
1. Strength in Numbers
What started with 2 wallets on November 29, 2011 has now crossed over 40 Million wallets.
Companies like Fidelity, Bakkt, JP Morgan, etc. are gearing up to make ‘entry’ into Bitcoin seamless. When these projects become fully operational, we will see these numbers multiply in no time.
When everyone is invested in Bitcoin, whether directly or indirectly, the rhetoric will change from negative to positive to ‘new normal’.
2. Attention from the media
‘There is no bad publicity’.
Media reads that as “there is no bad SENSATIONAL news”. Most media outlets have stopped caring about ‘journalism’ or ‘passion for truth’; they are now after only one thing: what’s sensational?
Bitcoin was sensational many times, such as:
- Silk road fiasco
- Declaring bitcoin dead 350+ times (that’s 350 sensational pieces)
- Ban of bitcoin
- Acceptance of Bitcoin in Japan
- Bitcoin as the new gold
- Trump’s uninformed comments
- Bitcoin projected as ‘national security’ issue
- Facebook’s Libra and its impact on Bitcoin
The list goes on.
Bitcoin has been providing constant staple of ‘sensationalism’ for 10+ years but more consistently for the past 2 years, ever since Bitcoin reached its all time high and then crashed.
What this conversation has done is it brought Bitcoin to more and more people’s consciousness and that is helping Bitcoin and Blockchain space as a whole. People who are going into blockchain with a mindset of refuting its validity are becoming its ardent fans.
These people would not have looked into the technology if not for the media’s hunger for ‘sensationalism’.
3. Learned join in
Many people who looked at Bitcoin and blockchain technology were skeptics at the beginning. They approached blockchain technology to prove its ‘validity’. When they realized the true potential of this technology – they dove in head first.
We alluded to the exodus of talent from conventional spaces into blockchain space in our Bull Stampede article.
From executives of Goldman Sachs to BlackRock, Facebook to World Bank, people from financial services firms to executives from technology companies, all these individuals have left their secure and high-paying jobs to explore new avenues in the blockchain space.
4. Rich join in
Wherever the talent goes, finance flows.
Some of the richest people in the world have directly or indirectly looked into blockchain technology, primarily because of bitcoin.
We have heard numerous stories of people who were skeptics at first and who turned into advocates of bitcoin and blockchain because of its potential for disruption and greater good.
These rich men with their access to capital have largely contributed to the momentum in the space. Without the involvement of the forces of the rich – bitcoin would not have gained the momentum it has in under a decade.
Everyday there is a new name that gets associated with bitcoin in some shape or form.
5. Outcry from the established religions
When a cult starts amassing followers and momentum is at its peak, the established religions that have a lot to lose spread false propaganda to curb the momentum at its roots.
This is usually done by either sanctions, restrictions or outright punishments.
With bitcoin, the establishments that stand to lose a lot are the financial institutions. So they started putting restrictions on what you can and cannot do with your money’.
For instance, even to this day, most credit companies do not let you buy bitcoin and most banks do not allow you to transfer money to a crypto exchange. It seems ludicrous that banks who are nothing more than custodians of OUR money are dictating what we can or cannot do with our money.
Financial institutions know that if they let blockchain technology and bitcoin to proliferate without any hindrances, it will annihilate the very existence of these financial institutions.
For instance, there are examples of transferring 193 millions of dollars in value with 10 cents in fees; compare that to $10,000+ in fees needed to transfer using traditional financial routes with banks.
What do you expect these financial institutions to do when they know that these kind of efficiencies could be the end of their useful life?
6. Copycats sprout
We have around 2000+ crypto projects that are listed on Coinmarketcap. Of these, there may be 2% projects that will eventually survive and thrive in the blockchain space. That means, 98% of these projects are bitcoin wannabees.
Whenever a cult gains momentum, there will be 1000s of wannabees and lookalikes that try to emulate the success.
These emulators are an indication of the validity of the original cult that is slowly but surely spreading its roots. Many of these emulators will eventually decouple from their off-sprout ventures and join the main cult that started it all.
7. Resistance from the Government
Governments are in place to establish order. Order is established through power.
The source of this power can be through financial incentive system or through religion. When a cult tries to demystify religion or dependence on financial system – it rattles the governments.
Bitcoin is unsettling the very core of financial system.
If Bitcoin and Blockchain technology were to be adopted, you can no longer print ‘unaccounted’ money to your whims. You cannot have a system that facilitates 21 TRILLION dollars of unadjusted funds in Defense spending.
Bitcoin brings accountability to wealth generation and spending, and can help trace how each cent was spent.
8. Turning hardcore non-believers into converts
The last leg of a cult’s transformation into a religion of the masses is the conversion of hardcore non-believers into believing in the new religion.
They don’t immediately start following the new norm but at least they start acknowledging its existence and validity.
That is where we are with Bitcoin. Peter Schiff, who is famously known as ‘Gold Bug’ who talked against bitcoin for so long has recently admitted that he holds bitcoin and that ‘it has value’.
9. Penetrating into lives of the masses
At the beginning of this article, we talked about how within 10 years, 2 wallets turned into 40 million. This is before bitcoin is the integral part of the lives of the masses.
When a company like Fidelity makes bitcoin available to its 30 million investor base – that marks the real penetration into the lives of the masses.
These companies will carry bitcoin into the homes.
Everything in this article is an opinion, not an advice of any kind. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, investment, legal or other professional advice. Please consult with a professional for specific advice.
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About the author
RK Reddy holds two Masters degrees, one in Accounting and another in Business Administration with over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry.
RK Reddy is an ardent fan of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies. You can see the excitement about this new blockchain technology in every article on Cryptotapas.com. Sometimes this excitement leads to an overly optimistic view. Guilty as charged. RK Reddy says “what may seem like an ‘overly optimistic expectation’ today may become an everyday norm in 5-10 years; look at the history of cars or airplanes, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies belong to a similar frame of reference.” Of course, that is just his opinion.