This post was originally published on HackerNoon, and I'm re-publishing it on here.
I'm sick of being expected to "make my money work for me".
I'll be honest. I wish I didn’t have to get so interested in the concept of saving.
But my interest sparked when I, like many others, started wondering:
Why are savers considered ‘losers’?
Why is it our default habit to take on more risk in the form of speculative investment?
Why are we disincentivized to simply hold cash balances?
Expansionary global monetary policy forces us to obsess over returns on money we’ve already earned just to outpace currency dilution.
As a result, everyone has to pretend they’re a financial expert, study market landscapes, and keep up with the endless vortex of geopolitical events – all just to hang on to the value we’ve already created.
Our savings muscles have atrophied, and our risk profiles keep climbing – further worsening financial exclusion for those living paycheck to paycheck.
Luckily, putting in an active effort to "make your money work for you" doesn’t have to be the default. Despite the universe of misinformation on the subject, we have an incredible savings technology that’s been around since 2010: Bitcoin.
And I believe Bitcoin will pan out as a radical reintroduction of saving back into our set of keystone habits.
Keystone habits – a term used by business journalist & author of The Power of Habit Charles Duhigg – are “small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives”.
For example, people who simply focus on nailing exercise as a keystone habit tend to start eating better and sleeping better as a side effect. Other examples could be reading more, meditating more, or getting more sunlight.
I think saving is a long-forgotten keystone habit that’s making a comeback thanks to Bitcoin.
And new inventions changing how we interpret the world around us is nothing new. History is rich with examples.
Take, for instance, the first introduction of wearable eyeglasses in 13th-century Florence, Italy. The Roman Empire had a glass industry since the first century AD. But it wasn't until Salvino D'Armati noticed how optical lenses could be used to assist declining eyeballs.
Over the centuries, D'Armati's wearable lenses ended up becoming a boon to the expansion of literacy. People read more because they could see more, which raised the collective human IQ over time, and centuries later gave way to the creation of the microscope and telescope.
Roughly two centuries later, German goldsmith Johannes Gutenburg invented the Printing Press. Scholars have referred to this era as an inflection point at which “knowledge began freely replicating and quickly assumed a life of its own.”
In conjunction with wearables lenses, mass printing created new generations of literate Europeans – creating a sociocultural ripple effect that’s still being felt today.
Scientists and mathematicians, for example, were groups whose behaviors were indubitably changed by the printing press. Until this point, scientific ideas were roadblocked by geography, language, and the snail-like speed of handwritten transcription.
But the ability to publish findings with a widespread, increasingly-literate audience gave way to massive leaps forward in human advancement during the 16th and 17th centuries.
As Historian Elizabeth Eisenstein writes, the new availability of standardized datasets allowed scientists to devote more energy to breaking new ground rather than re-creating findings that already existed.
German thinker and social reformer Martin Luther has a quote that sums up the impact of the Printing Press: “Printing is the ultimate gift of God and the greatest one.”
I can’t help but notice history rhyming. In the same way the printing press granted ordinary people the opportunity to obtain literacy was a major stride in raising the masses’ quality of life, Bitcoin giving ordinary global citizens a chance to save in Bitcoin – with built-in protection from government debasement – is a big deal.
In countries like Venezuela, where years of devastating inflation and reckless leadership have rendered the bolívar completely worthless. As thousands flee to neighboring countries with close to nothing – living on rationed groceries and medicine – many lose their life savings.
But over time, more Venezuelans have adopted Bitcoin to evade hyperinflation and authoritarian restrictions over basic financial services.
The Bitcoin network removes the Venezuelan regime’s ability to further erode citizens’ savings through further hyperinflation or taking inane cuts out of remittances coming in from abroad.
Venezuela isn't the only country where populations are using Bitcoin as a safe haven to store their savings. In Russia, Vladimir Putin can seize your bank accounts, but he can't seize your Bitcoin wallet.
Syrian refugees are using Bitcoin’s politically-neutral rails to transport their life savings out of the country with 12 words – without having to ask permission or verify their identity.
Bitcoin proponents understand that the monetary network they’re storing their time and energy in cannot be inflated, diluted, or distorted by governments seeking to change the rules at the expense of citizens.
I’m not the first person whose savings habits changed when I fully grasped that one Bitcoin will always equal one Bitcoin – and I’m certainly not the last.
And, like D'Armati's wearable opticals eventually complimented Gutenberg’s Press, a quickly growing industry of tools is being developed on top of Bitcoin’s base layer to further spread access to the network. The more time passes, the easier it’s getting to stack Bitcoin for your future.
Saving, in its rawest form, is a tool to self-insure against unexpected future events. The more people who hold cash balances, the less fragile the economy is due to reduced uncertainty.
Bitcoin is the only monetary asset that resists the political pressures to inflate or dilute it (see: decentralization).
What will the future look like? I’m largely unsure. But the one thing I’m confident in is that we’ll have more savers walking around with Bitcoin cash balances as their safe haven.