Cryptocurrency and Ghandi aren’t normally two words you would put together, but in the ten years since Bitcoin’s creation a particular Ghandi quote has become a favorite of crypto Twitter and beyond:
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
Unfortunately, it appears that the quote in its current form is at best incorrect and at worst completely made up. The closest that can be found in Gandhi’s writings is, incredibly, even more appropriate for cryptocurrency, as we will see here.
First they ignore you…
Bitcoin first garnered any meaningful publicity in June 2011 when an online article linked it to narcotics website Silk Road went public. Until then, for almost three years, it was the preserve of enthusiasts and those into counter-culture. It was very hard to buy, very risky to store, and had few use cases, so it was no wonder it was largely ignored for so long.
Then they abuse you…
The Silk Road connection started a chain of negative stories regarding Bitcoin, which in many ways has never really stopped, as those in positions of financial and political influence have become more aware of what cryptocurrency is and where it might lead. Bitcoin has been labeled a “useful tool for various illegal activities” by the FBI, “rat poison squared” by Warren Buffett, “the mother of all scams” by Nouriel Roubini, a “fraud” by Jamie Dimon. and has been accused by Bill Gates of “causing deaths in a fairly direct way”.
Then they crack down on you…
Of the 195 countries of the world, twelve have openly tried to ban Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in some way, going back to 2013, including Brazil, China, Israel, Morocco, and Bolivia. Yet, digital currencies remain in use in many of those countries, displaying a continued desire for their use in the face of government retribution. Google, Facebook, and Bing all banned cryptocurrency adverts for a short time recently, while calls still continue for cryptocurrency to be made illegal because of its alleged association with illegal activities.
… and then you win
What a cryptocurrency ‘victory’ would look like is not a simple question to answer. Obviously, Bitcoin being considered a legal currency would represent the ultimate victory, but in the likely absence of this, allowing cryptocurrencies to operate alongside traditional currencies as an alternative medium of exchange would represent a huge stride forward, as would an end to the incessant comparisons of cryptocurrencies to tulip bulbs and Ponzi schemes.
Achieving these kinds of small victories takes time and education, with the latter hopefully coming as a result of the former. It also requires the populations of the world to use cryptocurrencies themselves on a daily basis so they can realize that they are not the work of the devil. This is partly the responsibility of crypto projects to build real-world use cases that demonstrate what digital assets can do and start undoing ten years’ worth of misinformed opinion.