Bitcoin was born in 2009, becoming the first cryptocurrency. Its creator (or creators), under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamto, started from the ideas that are raised in the Eric Hughes Cypherpunk Manifesto and is both a currency and a digital system.
The first cryptocurrency , regardless of whether it is recognized as a currency or not, can be used for everything it does with a common currency (or fiduciary), but unlike fiat money, it is not controlled or issued by a government entity – as a central bank. The basis of this financial instrument lies entirely in the blockchain , the technology that allows an anonymous, secure and decentralized system where transactions made with cryptocurrencies are recorded.
The aforementioned manifesto states that privacy is essential for “an open society in the electronic age” and this is a principle totally opposed to “secrecy”, since privacy involves choosing who can know what about us; while the secret or secrecy, is wanting nobody to know about us. The path that Hughes proposes to achieve such a level of privacy is cryptography.
The so-called cypherpunks – according to the manifesto – can not leave their privacy to companies, governments or banks for the promise they made: “build anonymous systems” and defend privacy through the code and not man. The tools they have are cryptography, anonymous mail forwarding systems, digital signatures and electronic money.
Although the manifesto focuses more on the economy and money, it is clearly part of a cultural manifestation that seems to take a bit of the literary or subgenre movement of cyberpunk, which exposes futuristic environments with advanced technological and scientific advances, such as artificial intelligence and cybernetics, together with a degree of deterioration or radical change in the social order.
Returning to Bitcoin, after its birth and start-up in 2009, the cryptocurrency was only known among a small community of cypherpunks , programmers and geeks interested in disruptive technologies. Little by little it was spread among the Internet worlds and of course, being a payment system that offered a certain level of anonymity and speed, it soon attracted the attention of hackers and criminals of the darknet .
Over time, the Bitcoin ecosystem experienced the growth of rumors about its use and advantages, increase in value, adoption in exchange houses , more computer experts were interested in it … The revolution had begun. For the common user, there were two possibilities: Bitcoin was nonsense that had nothing to do with real money; and the second was the rumor of a “special” money for the crime and the crime of an Internet world that was dangerous to access and where we could find from drugs to any kind of illegal horror.
However, we already know that Bitcoin is much more than that and its use in illegal transactions is just that, a case of use. The cryptocurrency was born to give people freedom and privacy, so the way it was used depended on the same people. In this way, Bitcoin, beyond finance, became part of the culture, came out of ignorance of mass media and became popular. Below are examples of how Bitcoin, in addition to being part of global financial systems, has sneaked in one way or another in the culture of our society.
BITCOIN AND THE OVERCROWDING OF ITS USE
The fact that Bitcoin is integrating into the culture is a fact and the same happens with the technology that sustains it. The adoption of this cryptocurrency as a payment method is high and, although it faces some scalability problems , it has reached hundreds of companies and businesses that already receive it as a payment method.
Defining culture is something that intellectuals have tried many times, being redefined at various times including our days. As in everything literary or artistic, a definition is not enough; but for practical purposes we can return to what Daniel Bell said in ” Modernity and mass society: variety of cultural experiences” : the word culture “once designated a moral and intellectual refinement, today incorporated the codes of conduct of a group or of a town. ”
The latter means that for the present moment, culture is everything common to a social group (punk culture, comics culture, pop culture, rock culture, etc.). The so-called “high culture”, which referred to the elitist culture of exclusive access for intellectuals or the upper social class, also began to become popular at some point; to a greater extent, thanks to industrialization and the conversion of cultural symbols into useful and mass-produced products, accessible to social strata who had no way of accessing elite culture.
For example, if a company takes a picture of the Mona Lisa painting, places it on a key chain and sells it en masse, a large number of people who previously ignored the existence of the painting will now have access to it without having to go to the museum Louvre of Paris. In the case of Bitcoin, we could compare its growth in popularity thanks to its adoption as a payment method with the popularity of the Da Vinci painting among people who have gone to the Louvre.
A large number of technology companies and financial entities have paid attention to Bitcoin; however, in this opportunity we will focus more on those companies, businesses and places that anyone could visit in their day to day.
One of the most immediate cultural symbols that we could think of when talking about Bitcoin is a pizza , thanks to the relationship that exists between the two after the first pizza sold in bitcoins . It is very likely that because of this, there are also around the world other pizzerias that accept the aforementioned payment method.
And giving long to the subject of food, in Canada, the KFC chain launched a special promotion linked to the original cryptocurrency. Your customers can now purchase a fried chicken cube that can be paid for with bitcoins. Also, as a companion for those meals or just for the sake of a toast, you could buy a good bottle of French wineusing the same technology to cancel. Also, in Spain you can already go to the cinema and the theater for a whole year paying the subscription of the Bankia Príncipe Pío Grand Theater with BTC.
On the other hand, despite not being a case of daily use, you could also pay an apartment with bitcoins. Evidence of this is the case of the luxurious penthouse in Miami offered in exchange for bitcoins or the recently offered Japanese building valued at 540 BTC. To make matters worse, there is also the possibility of either vacationing in a spa in Argentina , or buying the souvenirs of a trip to Australia with the fraction of a bitcoin.
The adoption of the first cryptocurrency has even reached religion , which, by the way, forms a good part of world culture. We could continue mentioning local or online shopping platforms to use your bitcoins, but we would cover pages and pages, which we saw are just the most recent.
BITCOIN IN SOCIETY, CULTURE AND ART
Beyond Bitcoin as something useful, cryptocurrency is also present in art and in the media. It is no secret that he is the protagonist of thousands of daily news. It is already in the cinema and TV , that as mass media, they have made the cryptocurrency reach the knowledge of even more people.
As previously mentioned, aside from its useful function, the first cryptocurrency is part of the culture as a theme in visual works of art – in many cases including the cyberpunk theme – in music, in films such as Dope or series like Meet the Bitcoins . This has opened the way for other cryptocurrencies to begin a similar path, as in the case of the comic called ” El Gato Monero “.
Bitcoin in the artistic or media representations in general is seen both positively and negatively. In most cases, the characters – like ordinary people – have a concept of Bitcoin as money for illegal matters or of dubious origin. Although it is also clear that this begins to change as the cryptocurrency becomes popular. It does not take long for us to see futuristic series and movies where Bitcoin could be a major form of payment.
Finally, it is still worth noting that the fact that Bitcoin is widely used or popular does not mean that people know in depth what it is about at a technical level; something that in fact, is not necessary. “That today more Beethobven records are heard than before, it only serves for people to sing or whistle a melody and not to appreciate better the complex structure of the symphony that has been heard”