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Culture is Bitcoin 

They say numbers don’t lie. People do use numbers to tell lies, though. Any obsessive fantasy sports fan can assure you this is true. By cherry picking stats with one biased outcome over another in mind, a deceptive presenter can make an MVP winning quarterback look like that quarterback’s status as a starter ought to be questioned. What about words though? Liars use words to tell lies, sure, but can a word, in and of itself, offer us some quantum of truth?

Etymology is a helpful study for those looking to shed some light on mysteries shrouded in darkness. Etymology is the study of the origins of words and how those words have evolved over time in various languages. What is culture? One way to understand something is contextually. Etymology can be used to understand a word by context via the meanings of etymological relatives of the word of interest. In this case, culture is related to cult, cultivate, and culturalization. Cultivation typically describes the process of growing something.  When producing content for a target audience, localization is tailoring the content to the target audience accounting for dialects, local news, and current events. Culturalization takes localization one step further by creating content that is culturally appropriate and meaningful to the target audience.

In biology labs, a culture is the product of an attempt to grow bacteria or other microorganisms in a suitable environment. There are many different cultures around the planet, including national cultures, religious cultures, internet culture, and Bitcoin culture, to offer a few examples. Some examples of culture include cuisine, architecture, clothing styles, aesthetics/cosmetics, symbolism, holidays, history, and language.  Each culture has it’s own style of these things and that style is unique and recognizeable. Some cultures may share aspects with other cultures, like language, however there is often a dialectical difference.  These dialects are tactical.  When a minority is ruled by people who speak the same language, for the sake of operational security (OpSec), communications are intentionally distorted in ways that are “foreign” or unusual to the ruling majority.  Scottish English can be as difficult to understand as Ebonic English, Appalachia English, Creole English, or, for those who have seen Guy Ritchie’s film “Snatch”, Pikey English.

“It’s not Irish. It’s not English. It’s just…well…Pikey.”

The internet’s version of cryptic lingo is embodied largely by Urban Dictionary and initialisms such as lol, brb, iirc, roflmfao, etc.  As we explored novel forms of telecommunication and everyone had to tackle the skill of typistry or be left behind with the rest of the luddites, we discovered that court stenographers had some wisdom in their approach. They use a sort of shorthand system that captures what is said using fewer characters than proper word spellings. Conversation in a court room can move very quickly, making experimentation with efficiency upgrades like this necessary.

The internet has it’s own culture.  It has it’s own lingo.  TCP/IP, HTTP, www, .com, .net, .io, LAN, ISP, etc. It has it’s own customs like the classic “first” comment that inevitably appears with no other substantial content in the replies section as soon as some content creator has posted.  Some citizens of the internet are on a mission to get every nym to say “gm” (good morning) and “gn” (good night) daily on social media.  Cringe culture is a thing on the internet, e.g. cringe watching, cringe posting, etc.

The internet is enigmatic.  It is both absurd with things like “first” and cringe posting yet extremely high-principled in its culture at the same time.  Barbara Streisand learned that the hard way when she attempted to engage in censorship of the internet. Photos of her Malibu beach home surfaced on the internet.  Streisand directed her lawyers to pursue the matter.  They pursued the matter only to learn that the internet will not be censored, and just like the Cobra Effect, appeals to government to solve perceived problems tend to only exacerbate the problem.  The internet is anarchy.  There are no rulers (but it does have its own set of rules).

Not listed: Godwin’s Law

One thing internet culture lacks is its own set of holidays.  We just had a major Bitcoin event that many of us treat as a holiday.  Champagne, cigars, big spreads of food…the halvings are holidays for Bitcoiners.  Coinkite’s Block Clock offers users a number of different Bitcoin holidays users can add to the cycle of data displayed. Likewise, the website, also a Coinkite offering, provides Bitcoiners with a calendar of Bitcoin holidays for reference.

Many of the holidays listed in the Block Clock or on the Bitcoin Holiday calendar website pass by unmarked by most Bitcoiners.  Not all Bitcoiners are on NOSTR or Bitcoin XTwitter or Bitcoin Reddit or any kind of Bitcoin community whether that be online or a local meetup group.  Those who are not regularly engaging with their felllow Bitcoiners around the world may be less aware of some of the OG holidays. Few celebrate Hal Finney’s Birthday (5/4/1956), First Transaction Day (1/12/2009), Satoshi’s Last Message (12/12/2010), Silk Road Day (launch of the Silk Road, 1/27/2011), Death of MTGOX (2/24/2013), or Hal’s Day (7/28/2014).

Some of these oft unmarked Bitcoin holidays deserve more attention than they get. Satoshi’s birthday, for example, is a day that goes by unmarked by most simply because people might not expect there to be a birthdate associated with a pseudonymous actor. Satoshi left an “Easter Egg” in the Genesis block’s raw hex code, so we know Satoshi felt it appropriate to leave us some clues as to his motivations and intent in creating Bitcoin.  Satoshi pulled a page out of the V for Vendetta playbook, using lies to tell the truth. Satoshi took the problem of providing personal identifying information and turned it into an opportunity to point at Executive Order 6102 which was issued on April 5th, 1933.  So where did the 1975 come from?  The era of the prohibition of gold ownership/possession by U.S. citizens ended on December 31, 1974, so, ignoring New Years Eve of 1974, it was basically 1975 when the gold window reopened.

Executive Order, issued April 5, 1933.

Some other lesser known and celebrated holidays include Bitcoin ATM Day (first ever Bitcoin ATM installed in a Vancouver coffee shop, 5/2/2013), Free Ross Day (the day Ross Ulbricht became a political prisoner for life, 10/1/2013), HODL Day (a typo that inspired a meme that became a way of life, 12/18/2013), This is gentlemen Day (Bitcoin Reddit post gone wrong gets memed, much like HODL and safu, 11/11/2014), Lightning Whitepaper Day (1/14/2016), Bitconneeeeeect (Bitconnect Initial Coin Offering, 11/15/2016), and Gold Parity Day (the first time 1 Bitcoin equalled 1 Troy ounce of gold when their values were measured in US dollars, 3/3/2017).

Free Ross.

In 2017, there were a number of contentious debates within the Bitcoin community regarding Segwit, Segwit2X, block sizes, and scaling in general.  Bitcoin Independence Day is celebrated by some on 8/1/2017 to celebrate the User Activated Soft Fork that took place that day.  A week later is Segwit Lock in Day on 8/8/2017, Segwit being “Segregated Witness”, an upgrade made to Bitcoin’s code that was essentially agreed to by a large majority of the Bitcoin network participants running nodes and mining computers.  Some celebrate NO2X Day on 11/17/2017 when Segwit2X failed to launch.

A few other lesser celebrated and more recent Bitcoin holidays include Lightning Pay Day (first time the Lightning Network was used to buy real goods/services, 1/8/2018), Bitcoin Infinity Day (8/21/2021 because 8 looks like Infinity rotated 90 degrees so 8/21 looks like Infinity divided by 21 million, the idea that Bitcoin will consume all value), and El Salvador Legal Tender Day (the day Bitcoin became legal tender in El Salvador, 9/7/2021).

Most Bitcoiners celebrate a few of the most important Bitcoin holidays.  Genesis Block Day, January 3, 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto mined the Genesis block, i.e. block 0, beginning the 0th epoch of the Bitcoin issuance schedule. Being that, as of the time of writing [block height 842211) and publication, Bitcoin is just past the 4th halving, we are now in the 4th epoch of Bitcoin’s issuance schedule.

The initial Epoch was the 0th epoch. We’re now in the 4th Epoch.  Change my mind.

Whitepaper Day, 10/31/2008, is somewhat overshadowed annually by Halloween/Samhain, however the fact that Whitepaper Day coincides with Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses on the church door in Wittenburg, Germany, on 10/31/1517 may not be a coincidence.  In like fashion, Satoshi’s post, the Bitcoin whitepaper, was a referendum on the the hegemonic powers of that day and age.

The Bitcoin Halvings are by far the biggest Bitcoin holidays.  Few, if any, celebrate the anniversaries of halvings that have already occurred, however, once every 210,000 blocks (~3.99 years at 10 minutes per block average), we have a new halving to celebrate.  Some people take advantage of the halvings to travel all over the world to destination Halving Parties in beautiful places like El Salvador and Santorini.  Many others attend Halving Parties that are more local with their local Bitcoiner meet up groups, friends, and family.

A favorite holiday within the Bitcoin community is Bitcoin Pizza Day, which is based upon the events of 5/22/2010 when Lazlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas from Jeremy Sturdivant for 10,000 bitcoin. Jeremy phoned in an order to Lazlo’s local Papa John’s for two large pizzas and Lazlo sent Jeremy 10,000 Bitcoin.  At that time, the 10,000 bitcoin were worth $41. Bitcoiners celebrate Bitcoin Pizza Day by ordering pizza, and, in this author’s opinion, the pizza industry owes Lazlo free pizza for all the supplemental business they get annually on that day.

Lazlo’s pizza purchase is celebrated in Bitcoin culture.

This event was significant for Bitcoin.  Up until that point in Bitcoin’s relatively short history, it had only been used much as it is used now on NOSTR.  On NOSTR, people zap one another various amounts of sats a form of value for value exchange when they see a post that they appreciate.  Likewise, Bitcoin was used similarly back in May 2010, as tips to show appreciation for valuable posts.  This pizza exchange represented the first time that real world goods had been exchanged for Bitcoin, thus establishing the first exchange rate between the U.S. Dollar and Bitcoin.

I began writing this article 18 days before Bitcoin Pizza Day, on Hal’s 68th birthday, also known as Cinco de Cuatro to fans of Arrested Development, Star Wars Day, Force Day, or May the Fourth (be with you).  My choice of apparel that day was my “Bitcoin is Rogue Money” t-shirt.  That shirt was inspired by a label placed upon Bitcoin by Samantha LaDuc, a contributor to Yahoo Finance, CNBC, and Bloomberg.  She called Bitcoin “Rogue Money”.

Bitcoiners responded just as we did with the Skull of Satoshi. We owned it, just like we owned Samantha LaDuc when she falsely equated high degrees of divisibility with infinite supply.  Soon after her post, Bitcoiners, perhaps in a hat tip to Lazlo Hanyecz, began sharing the wondrous news with the world that they had solved world hunger by merely dicing up 1 pizza into very small chunks.  Now that the pizza has been diced up to such a high degree, there was now an infinite amount of pizza and we could feed everyone.  Infinite Pizza Lady is now part of Bitcoin culture, as the label she cast upon Bitcoin, Rogue Money, became a meme, including a Star Wars themed Bitcoin meme, playing off of the Rogue One movie.

More Bitcoin culture inspired by Infinite Pizza Lady.

Many memes and holidays are cultural.  If you’re not part of that culture, there’s a reasonable chance that you may not understand the meme or the holiday.  The same is true for art, music, and writing which are fonts of culture themselves.  If you’re not a part of that culture, there’s a reasonable chance that you may not understand the art, music, or written work springing forth from that culture.

Some of the biggest fonts from which Bitcoin culture springs are the magazines. Bitcoin magazine is associated with the annual Bitcoin Conference which was, until recently, held in Miami for the past several years.  Their coverage of Bitcoin news and conferences and their podcast content has been significant to Bitcoin culture.’s e-magazine has articles of all kinds, short to long, covering Bitcoin from a wide variety of angles.  @LoveisBitcoin21 is an engine of Bitcoin culture on social media.  Also a constant source of Bitcoin culture on social media, relative newcomer to the Bitcoin magazine space, StackChain, now pending “Log 4”, is another physically printed magazine. StackChainers are veteran memers and recently got their accounts temporarily locked on XTwitter for all changing their names and avatars to match Yellow for a day.

Stackchainers explaining the Yellow flash mob to XTwitter admins.

There are all sorts of Bitcoin writers.  As such, there is content for everyone.  There is content for those fascinated by cypher punk pre-Bitcoin and early Bitcoin history.  There’s content for ecophiles interested in the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining.  Geopolitics pundits interested in the implications of Bitcoin on war and peace will find content to suit their interest.  Of course, there is plenty of written content out there geared towards the nocoiner interested in beginning their journey of discovery of Bitcoin.  One of Bitcoin’s best assets is the density of intellectual capital within the Bitcoin community.  The collective writings of the Bitcoin author base are a literal testament to that fact.

There’s some overlap between the Bitcoin writers and the Bitcoin visual artists. We have Lena with Lil’ Hodler and MaxisClub constantly churning out Bitcoin cartoons. These cartoons are often hard hitting and serve an almost court jester-like or comedian-like purpose. The powers that be can be undermined by popular opinion.  Jesters, comedians, and political cartoonists accomplish this by illustrating the absurdity of select scenarios resulting in ridicule and laughter from the masses.

Sophomore, when broken down etymologically, means wise fool. The implication is that this is a fool who believes him or herself to be wise when in fact they are merely one year more experienced than the freshmen. Oftentimes, this role is the powers that be, i.e. the media, the politicians, the “experts”.  Would it then be ‘morosophic’ to be the sage who merely plays the fool in order to highlight foolishness for the benefit of others?  This archetypical ‘morosophic’ role was and remains an important check on the overzealous application of power within society. Visual art of all forms can serve that purpose, but political cartoons in particular have been a major force in swaying public opinion in the past.

The visual art space in the Bitcoin community is, likewise, stacked with talent.  Bitcoin is math based money. Understandably, that attracts mathematically minded people for whom sacred geometries are often fascinating. @asanoha_gold is a Bitcoin artist who has sacred geometry art for your citadel walls.  @FractalEncrypt’s work likewise fascinates all who see how it is packed with intricate detail and geometric beauty.  If Fractal Encrypt had a sketch artist twin with a secret identity, it would be @Bitcoin__Apex whose work is likewise packed with intricate detail resulting in masterful finished works.

Brekkie’s work with stone takes Bitcoin__Apex’s sketch of an old school Renaissance cathedral and brings it to the third dimension.  The Bitcoin art scene has plenty of demand for art representing the idea that Bitcoiners are living the 2nd Renaissance.  The Gutenberg printing press catalyzed the first Renaissance. Bitcoin, standing on the shoulders of the internet, is catalyzing a Renaissance 2.0.  Brekkie (@BVBTC) and Simon Nash’s book “Rhyming Bitcoin”, was beautifully illustrated by @flomontoya_.  Flo also paints, engraves, and screen prints artwork with important messaging (when she’s not entertaining us all with her playful wit @LoveisBitcoin21).

Art changes people. Bitcoin changes people. People change the world.

The Bitcoin space is bridging visual art with music in novel ways, as Ice Cube’s collaboration with Trevor Jones showed at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami.  After that same conference was the Sound Money music festival which featured the likes of Logic, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5, and Murda Beatz, among others.  We have folks like @magnoBTCmaxi, @manlikekweks, and his frequent collaborator, @reelrichard creating Bitcoin music on a regular basis.  The Epic Rap Battles from History between Alexander Hamilton and Satoshi Nakamoto was awesome, but that was a one and done kind of thing.  If you like Bitcoin rap but want more than a one and done, a duo to keep an eye on is @AnikTheFirst and his wife, @unastigs.  They have genius level talent, based principles, a gorgeous Bitcoin citadel homestead, and a home studio to unleash their inspired creations upon our ears.

We have some incredibly talented people in the Bitcoin space producing value.  It’s reasonable to assume that most, if not all, people reading this already think that Bitcoin is going to change the world.  Art changes people.  People change the world.  Now combine them all.  How impactful can Bitcoin art be on the world?  Look at how popular Rich Men North of Richmond got in a hurry in 2023, particularly amongst Bitcoiners.  The song made the US Republican primary debate question agenda.  As an internet community, we know good and well that any post or meme can go viral at the drop of a hat.  We need memers, writers, artists, and musicians actively working in the Bitcoin space so that those viral moments can happen.  Bitcoin musicians are the “big playmakers” to borrow a sports analogy.  When a Bitcoin song goes viral, we just moved the ball upfield towards the goal in a significant way.  If we want that kind of explosive progress in Bitcoin adoption, it’s imperative that we support the work of these fonts of Bitcoin culture.

Create value. Don’t dilute value others have created.

Culture is cultivated by people.  Bitcoin and Bitcoin culture alike are cultivated by people.  Bitcoin is cultivated by core devs (and we desperately need more core devs).  Honestly every single Bitcoiner who doesn’t know how to code should have it in their plans to learn at some point in the not too distant future.  That’s how this all started, right?  Cypher punks were just individuals like any pleb who knew how to code and understood the importance of the mission.  Cultivate your skillset, anon.

It’s now 15+ years and 4 halvings later.  Bitcoin has grown through alts, MTGOX, a block size war, forks upon forks upon forks, the covid crash, Microstrategy, El Salvador, FTX, and a decade of arbitrary and capricious rejections of spot Bitcoin ETFs by the US SEC.  Bitcoin mining started with CPUs before graduating to GPUs only to move on to ASICs which continue to be improved in terms of hash rate and efficiency every year.  Bitcoin has grown from the point where you needed to know how to use a command line interface and PGP software and Tor to even self-custody Bitcoin to now where most mobile devices are capable of custodying Bitcoin for people making Bitcoin ownership simple enough for a Grandma or Grandpa to do it.

Sweet, unsuspecting Grandma and Grandpa types are, unfortunately, often the targets of scammers. This has been the case since long before Bitcoin was even a thing. One of the most dangerous forms of scammer is the cult leader.  Like cultivate and culture, cult, as a word, derives from concepts like tilling. If one is willing to think of the mind as a field, then working the field, i.e tilling, may be likened to working the mind. Working the mind is essentially training or education. Typically cult leaders are a lot like preachers insofar as they both are molding the minds of the people in the congregation.

Cultists, like proponents of Modern Monetary Theory, are NPCs who can’t articulate an original perspective.

There are a number of indicators that a group is a cult. Insiders may be banned from speaking with outsiders. In some cults, apostates are ghosted by the entire cult community. Outside ideas are not permitted so by banning contact with outsiders and enforcing drastic social consequences on apostacy, the cult’s teachings remain unchallenged. By that notion, cults are definitionally unscientific in their approach. If the truth doesn’t damage points of view that are legitimate and the cult leader has the cult’s best interests at heart, then the cult leader should have no fear about “false outsider ideas” making their way into the cult’s Overton Window, only to be rebutted by the cult leader’s “superior arguments”.

Despite our superior economic arguments, Bitcoiners, due to our enthusiastic evangelism of Bitcoin, are often branded as cult members. We love bomb newcoiners, especially when they were nay sayers in the past (lookin’ at you, Saylor). Bitcoiners study all forms of money, past and present and are not threatened by the knowledge of the existence of these other monetary systems. If anything, our knowledge of these other monetary systems is one of the reaons we have so much confidence in Bitcoin.

When it comes to storing value, there are 4 main cultures: fiat-ignorant, fiat-educated, Bitcoin, and crypto. Fiat-ignorant culture is the bread and circuses. It’s the junk food, reality TV, tabloid journalism, payday loan, and crass consumerism kind of culture.  These people rarely save.  They are indoctrinated into instant gratification based spending by the fact that their fiat will buy them less goods and/or services if they save it.  Fiat-educated culture is all about owning land, precious metals, stocks, bonds, and businesses.  Fiat-educated consists of relatively shrewd middle, upper-middle, and wealthy class people and institutions.  Crypto culture is insanely expensive jpegs, rug pulls, food themed tokens, hype, and casino-like noise. Bitcoin culture is energetic, intelligent, anti-fragile, productive, innovative, collaborative, revolutionary, and signal.

We are here to choose.  We can choose to serve others. We can choose to serve ourselves. We can choose where we live, what we eat, our associates, our attitude, to create, to destroy, to love, to hate, to grow, or to decay. At this point in history, one of the biggest choices facing us all is how we store the valuable product of our labor. Venezuelans know. In 2018, they experienced nearly 1,000,000% inflation. That means for every $10,000 of purchasing power you had saved in Venezuelan Bolivars on January 1, 2018, you had $1 of purchasing power on January 1, 2019.

Purchasing power can dissipate like dust in the wind.  Most people consistently rely on the economy to fill the demands of their biological vulnerabilities. That kind of hyperinflation is a survival level issue. If your survival ever came down to the choice of one money culture at the exclusion of the others, only one culture makes any sense. That culture is Bitcoin.

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