Historian Niall Ferguson recently published an article in The Spectator in which he refers to a quote from Norman Mailer’s novel “The Naked and the Dead” concerning the osmosis of war.
We have profited before from putting Niall Ferguson’s findings into the context of Bitcoin, as can be read here. It may be time again to see what the renowned Historian has to offer us to understand Bitcoin better. In the article, Ferguson writes:
“Americans have long been haunted by the notion of the osmosis of war. Throughout the First Cold War, a recurrent theme of liberal and conservative commentary was that there was a kind of convergence taking place, causing the United States to resemble — at least in some respects — its Soviet antagonist.”
Pay attention: a convergence taking place that causes one party of a war to resemble the other party. The convergence could be the war itself. What does that mean in the context of Bitcoin, though?
Remember, we have had a hash war between Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) back in mid-2018. You may want to read Kurt Wuckert Jr.’s “Hash war history” to get into the details of that Bitcoin hash war. Furthermore, we also see a kind of civil war taking place within the digital asset sphere, as well as a war on Bitcoin itself. So it is the war we had in the past and even today all around Bitcoin.
Let us try learning from Niall Ferguson now. We know that war may cause a convergence of one party of war to resemble the other one. In Bitcoin, we may have been at risk to do so, too, and probably still are.
Bitcoin SV is at risk to suffer from the osmosis of war
To analyze whether we as Bitcoin SV have morphed into our enemy—the crypto cartel around BTC and other digital assets—we first have to define what they, as the enemy, are doing. Then we may be able to see if we unwillingly have become like them.
What does the enemy do?
- Market manipulation
- Ad hominem attacks instead of discussing the technology
- Crippling blockchain capabilities
- Selling nonsense to inexperienced investors
- Ignoring laws and regulations
The list could go on forever, but this is enough for Bitcoin SV to check itself: are we the same, or are we becoming the same? Concerning market manipulation, BSV is delisted by most digital asset exchanges as of now and therefore could not even manipulate the general market in any noticeable way. Ad hominem attacks are not perpetrated from within BSV to avoid discussions about blockchain technology. Bitcoin SV’s developers are not known to cripple scalability, which can be witnessed within BTC. Furthermore, the BSV blockchain market is law-abiding, the direct opposite of most other digital assets nowadays.
But what about “selling nonsense to inexperienced investors”? We have seen quite a few NFTs being promoted and traded using the BSV blockchain. We could argue that most of these NFTs remind us of ICO scams. But these NFT things did bring traction to BSV, more users, more transactions, right? We also see Bitcoin SV proponents talk more and more about the price of BSV, price targets, and trading analyses, but this is for the good of BSV, correct?
See? This is the osmosis of war. You want to win against BTC, ETH, and other digital assets, but by doing so, one may end up becoming like them or even worse.
Why is the osmosis of war a problem after all?
In a war, winning is vital, or else you are gone. So one could argue that the osmosis of war is to be ignored, as winning is the sole goal. However, if you become the enemy by winning against the enemy, what is the purpose of fighting then?
Collaboration would be wiser then, since you have already become like the enemy, there is not as much to fight about as it was in the first place when you were not like the enemy. Sounds easy, but it is not—we are reading a text here, and war is not a text.
If we thought about the hash war back in 2018, we saw what the enemy did. But what did we do? Did we react the same way as the enemy, or did BSV stay true to itself? We did not go into the osmosis of war back then, and I can prove that.
Back then, Jimmy Nguyen was the CEO of nChain. He publicly explained the situation and the reaction to the hash war:
So the weekend went exactly as I expected. There was the fork on Thursday, November 15; there was a huge burst of hash that came into the network on the side of Bitcoin ABC that was rented or subsidized—probably from the BTC network, in order to artificially boost the support for Bitcoin ABC far higher than it had ever been in the days and weeks coming up to the hard fork.
Then the Bitcoin ABC supporters decided to declare early victory, because they seemed so far ahead in hash. Then they started going to the exchanges, if not even before the hard fork. (I think they did look before to try and get them to recognise their chain as Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
They added checkpoint—not a surprise, our developers heard about that a week ago.
So everything that happened is exactly as I predicted, and we’re continuing to plug away.
And people are probably wondering why we didn’t bring more hash in to support the Bitcoin SV side of the coin. Let me explain why. We actually had plenty of petahash offered to us; in fact, we actually didn’t have to go ask any miners or mining pools to lend us their hash.
I want you to think about the hypocrisy of that, because it’s staggering. I also want you to think about the game that is being played here, if you are able to just move hash for a day or two from the rival network that many of our community do not like, and use that to claim victory.
This was a long quote but go through it. Here you see how to avoid the osmosis of war.
Bitcoin SV back then could have done the same as the BCH enemy side had done. We could have gone into full osmosis of war at this point, becoming the enemy with all the deceptive and manipulating means and devices the enemy is using. Once you have morphed into the enemy, there is no way back, or a very long and hard way back out of it. So better just to not even start it in the first place.
BTC is already in the osmosis of war, but not concerning BSV
From the Bitcoin inventor himself, Dr. Craig Wright, we learned that BTC has already gone through the osmosis of war. However, not concerning Bitcoin SV but concerning their own enemy.
BTC and with it all the “crypto anarchists” out there claim to free humanity of an evil government-driven fiat money system. So BTC’s enemy is not BSV, but our current central bank currencies (CBDCs) and banking system. Whatever one may think of central banks and their role concerning honest money, BTC proponents are against it.
But did BTC actually stay true to itself while being in a “war with the banks”? No, not really. BTC is literally acting just like the current banking system.
Dr. Wright explained in his article “Banking Old Wine in New Bottles” that with digital asset exchanges such as Coinbase, people do not have a Bitcoin standard, but at most a Bitcoin exchange standard, which is the same approach that we know from the today’s banking system:
When you purchase coins through Square, Coinbase, or any other half-rate bucket shop that doesn’t deserve to be called an exchange, you are not innovating; you are degrading the technology. What you are doing is handing over your financial freedom to a bunch of individuals who seek to capture information about you in the same way that Silicon Valley has always hoped to do. In other words, you are not using Bitcoin; you are using an ancient form of banking that has been reintegrated into a low-grade Silicon Valley application. In effect, you are going back to the age of gold without any of the benefits of gold.
BTC has gone full throttle into the osmosis of war without even winning their battle. This is the worst outcome you could have: becoming like the enemy and not even defeating the enemy.
Concerning Bitcoin SV, we have to avoid the osmosis of war. If we keep being true to the original Bitcoin vision, such as described in the white paper and as intended by its creator Satoshi Nakamoto, we may still have a long way to go, but we will not end up being what we are against.
Learn the truth about Bitcoin from its creator Dr. Craig Wright:
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.