The best time to plant a tree

There’s a popular Chinese proverb that says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” It is in the context of this proverb that I feel my work at the Bitcoin Association is best captured…

In reality, the best time to start teaching people about the real potential of Bitcoin would have been in 2009/2010. Were it framed as a story, it might have gone something like this…

“There was a hill that was bare and one day a man named Satoshi took an acorn and put it in the ground, but the soil was dry and the seed failed to germinate. Instead, the grassy knoll that so desperately needed a shady oak with branches to climb and explore exploded with weeds and rubbish, the acorn of truth buried too deep to sprout, lay dormant as the seasons turned.

10 years later, a great reset took place. Lightning struck and a fire torched the hill bare. The weeds still spread down the slopes and into the surrounding area, but where the seed was originally planted only bare earth remained. Rain came, and finally the seed planted so long ago felt the warmth of sunlight in the soil above.

At last, germination, and the giant tree whose seed was placed in the earth so long ago could finally sprout the leaves it needed to catch the light of the sun.”

The Bitcoin Association exists as this tree. An organisation with a purity of purpose, created to advance global awareness of Bitcoin and to advocate for its use wherever it is needed by providing the resources needed to give people the information they need to build the knowledge required to practically apply Bitcoin to areas of our daily lives.

Be it through using the ledger as a data repository to capture measurements of weather and air quality, or using the network as the basis of a social media platform. I say with confidence that there isn’t a product, service or industry in the world today that won’t be changed, transformed or replaced by faster, cheaper and more efficient systems that use the Bitcoin network and ledger as a platform to build.

Key to this process is the dissemination of knowledge to any and all comers without limitation. Bitcoin is an open system and the design is set in stone. There is nothing to keep secret or withhold about the protocol or the system, so creating the most in-depth knowledge base possible is needed.

The first piece of this is the Bitcoin SV wiki, which exists today as a set of almost 90 highly detailed pages containing information covering many of the most important aspects of Bitcoin. The site is (and may never be) fully comprehensive, however it is constantly being refined, added to and improved. It hangs from our tree, a rope ladder giving all comers quick access to the lowest branches. From this vantage point, routes to the higher, less stable perches can be seen, and extending the way to reach them is the next stage of our work is in progress.

The Bitcoin Association is already in discussion with educational institutions to create courses that eschew the current ‘blockchain’ based narratives for something much closer to Satoshi’s truth. Using the ledger is not complicated, and buzz words don’t help. Even as it grows, the knowledge in the wiki is already being used to generate course material that teaches Bitcoin as a platform. Something that applications can use and depend on as a foundational element rather than a layer that must be recreated due to the cost of unscalable ideas. In this way we hope to achieve something more profound than the creation of a course or the generation of some material. From these efforts will spring the genesis of ideas, ways of doing and of being that eschew old and broken models by using Bitcoin as an ownership layer. I hope that for many, climbing this tree will be the first time people see over the weeds to the horizon and realise how vast the world truly is.

Read the full Bitcoin Association Annual Report here.

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