I recently read an interesting article from CoinDesk that talked about one key value proposition inherent in Bitcoin that, while eagerly touted by early adopters as a hallmark advantage, seems to be lost on many people who have become more recently interested:
Self-sovereignty of money — the idea that your assets belong to you regardless of what any government or regulating authority says about it.
By owning Bitcoin, your assets are secured in a decentralized ledger that has been distributed all over the world, which thus renders them completely untouchable by any single authority outside of yourself or anyone you trust enough to hand over the keys to your account. Unlike a traditional bank account, which can be frozen by court order regardless of your permission, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, or any other crypto asset belong to you and to you alone; the government is unable to take any unilateral action against them.
With that said, the government still has the authority and means of force to throw you in jail… which they just might do if you don’t give them access to your crypto asset accounts. But at least you have the option in that case to go to jail for the sake of your assets or to turn them over for the sake of your comfortable bed and personal freedom.
In my own life, this question of self-sovereignty of money and decentralized currency has begun to become somewhat relevant on a daily basis. I spend a lot of time in foreign countries, and therefore take special interest in currency conversion. Dealing with conversions rates, transfer fees, and international transaction fees imposed by centralized financial institutions can be a drag, and they add up very quickly over time. Cryptocurrencies existing outside of this centralized framework have since opened up doors to much more efficient and effective means of international transfers, which I have been quick to take advantage of.
The personal authority and freedom we hold over our money now exists to an extent that was quickly becoming obsolete in the modern world of electronic payments, “too big to fail” financial institutions, and encroaching governments. Blockchain technology, and the creation of Bitcoin has placed the opportunity to exercise self-sovereignty back in our hands, which is a good reason to be excited about the future ahead.