I wasn’t clear about what I wanted to write about this time around. Then there was a glimmer, a golden spark. I’d write about Bitcoin!
When I made my Shopify store I learned that I could accept Bitcoin as payment. It was a no brainer. Of course, I’ll accept Bitcoin.
I entered the Bitcoin space in 2018 and must say it has been quite a ride. I saw Bitcoin as an alternative to the weakening dollar. I’m no economist but it doesn’t take a genius to see that the accumulation of debt in the US is not sustainable. But you may know, there is a huge amount of volatility in the cryptocurrency market. So you need your sea legs so to speak, though in my experience it is well worth weathering the storm.
It wasn’t until this week that I finally read the book The Bitcoin Standard, written by Dr. Saifedean Ammous in 2018. It takes a deep dive into the history of money, monetary theory, and the reason for the creation of Bitcoin. It offers a solid understanding of the benefits of Bitcoin and blockchain technology.
But, I found it hilarious how much the author hates modern art!
“A stroll through a modern art gallery shows artistic works whose production requires no more effort or talent than can be mustered by a bored 6-year-old. Modern artists have replaced craft and long hours of practice with pretentiousness, shock value, indignation, and existential angst as ways to cow audiences into appreciating their art, and often added some pretense to political ideals, usually of the puerile Marxist variety, to pretend-play profundity.”
Clearly, Ammous doesn’t get modern art, but I do understand the point he was trying to make. Long gone are the days of support for works that may take decades to complete. Leonardo da Vinci worked on the Mona Lisa for four years. And Michelangelo the same amount of time on the Sistine Chapel. The author explains that in the era of "unsound money", no artist has the low time preference to work as hard as those masters. The glorious depth and beauty of the music of Beethoven and Bach may indeed never come again. In the fiat currency and mainstream market of today we instead get the likes of fast and cool Miley Cyrus and Juice Wrld.
And it turns out the abstract expressionist movement was largely promoted and funded by the CIA. It was chosen because it was the exact opposite of what the Soviet Union deemed accepted art, socialist realism. But the CIA would have to support abstract expressionism covertly as those in congress saw it very differently.
"Modern art is Communistic because it is distorted and ugly, because it does not glorify our beautiful country, our cheerful and smiling people, and our material progress. Art which does not glorify our beautiful country in plain, simple terms that everyone can understand breeds dissatisfaction. It is therefore opposed to our government, and those who create and promote it are our enemies." —Rep. George A. Dondero, 1949.
Ammous in The Bitoin Standard wrote:
“Only with unsound money could we have reached this artistic calamity where the two largest economic, military, and political behemoths in the world were actively promoting and funding tasteless trash picked by people whose artistic tastes qualify them for careers in Washington and Moscow spy agencies and bureaucracies.”
It’s fascinating that abstract expressionism may not have developed if not for the CIA. We may not even have the work of Pollock, Rothko or De Kooning. And even more fascinating how the value put on art can not only create massive wealth but even win a cold war.
Whatever your artistic tastes may be . . . there is no denying we are in a new world and on the brink of much change. Corporations like Micro Strategies and Tesla have recently invested billions in Bitcoin. Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Paul Tudor Jones said, “A bet on Bitcoin is a bet on human ingenuity.”
Regardless of how absurd abstract expressionism seemed at the time, it took on a life of its own. And Bitcoin is now doing the same. And who knows. If we get to live again in a world of “sound money”, what amazing new art forms may evolve out of it?
At any rate, I’m happy to accept Bitcoin and to place my bet on human ingenuity as well.