That is an opinion editorial by BitcoinActuary, an actuary based mostly within the U.Ok.
I’ve just lately returned from spending a protracted weekend with round 200,000 others at one of many loves of my life, Glastonbury Pageant. The 2023 model of this annual music pageant was peppered with units from huge identify acts — Elton John, Weapons N’ Roses and Foo Fighters, to call a number of — however the inevitable media deal with these tends to mislead these viewing it from the skin. Glastonbury is a phenomenon of huge scale; it could possibly be described as 10 festivals wrapped into one. Almost everybody who goes will let you know they’ve had a good time, however in all probability all for various causes.
So, what hyperlinks Glastonbury with Bitcoin? Some cursory analysis and my very own journeys to the pageant lately counsel that only a few have ever made a hyperlink in any respect, barring this typically-scathing Guardian effort from a few years again.
Certainly, many in all probability see the 2 as polar opposites. Glastonbury is famously left wing — there stays the Left Area tent, which homes talks and debates by activists and union members, led by the ever-present, “broadly leftist” Billy Bragg. The pyramid stage subject featured grass coloring this yr to show the large message: “We Stand With The NHS” in help of the U.Ok.’s Nationwide Well being Service.
Bitcoin, against this, is commonly characterised as a know-how that appeals to the precise wing. David Golumbia went about so far as it’s doable to go in his 2016 e book “The Politics Of Bitcoin: Software program As Proper-Wing Extremism.”
Secondly, the pageant is environmentally acutely aware and has lengthy supported Greenpeace. Against this, Bitcoin is continually criticized for its supposedly-wasteful vitality use. Greenpeace’s U.S. arm has been answerable for its infamously poor “change the code, not the local weather” marketing campaign in opposition to Bitcoin, funded to the tune of $5 million by Ripple’s Chris Larson.
However are Glastonbury and Bitcoin actually irreconcilable? In no way.
Firstly, on the political entrance, Bitcoin itself is definitely apolitical. It’s a algorithm with out rulers. Anybody who makes an attempt to argue in any other case tends to mischaracterize it, and infrequently depends on typecasting the typical Bitcoiner as proper wing. In response, I’d encourage readers to take a longer-term have a look at financial historical past, and to ask the likes of Golumbia what it’s about this open-source, universally-accessible, optionally available, non-coercive protocol that’s so detestable. The neatest shortcut response to this hypothetical comes from Natalie Smolenski: “Being an enemy of a know-how is a reasonably dumb strategy to waste your time since you’re not accountable for whether or not a know-how is adopted at any significant scale.”
Furthermore, these from the “progressive” finish of the political spectrum are starting to make their voices heard and present that Bitcoin has common attraction. Reminder: Bitcoin is for enemies.
Onto Bitcoin’s environmental affect. As argued right here and right here, all shouldn’t be what it initially appears when evaluating Bitcoin’s ongoing vitality use. In actuality, Bitcoin is working with ever-increasing effectivity and it drives behavioral change by decreasing an people time choice, which could be a very important step in decreasing the rampant and wasteful consumerism that we see on the earth immediately.
In abstract, on each the political and environmental fronts, Bitcoin and Glastonbury will not be the polar opposites that many would assume. There are commonalities, too. Each swimsuit a libertarian outlook. Every has one-word model recognition. Each would seem to promote themselves — Bitcoin, in fact, has seen explosive progress with no formal advertising division, whereas Glastonbury tickets over the earlier decade have typically offered out in lower than an hour and round eight months earlier than the occasion is definitely held. Bitcoin has memes, Glastonbury has memes on flags.
So, how may Glastonbury embrace Bitcoin?
This previous yr, it was placing simply what number of funds have been being made by card versus just a few years earlier, when money reigned supreme. With many small retailers on the pageant, it may vastly scale back charges of anyplace between 1.5% and three.5% presently levied on each buy, by embracing Bitcoin’s Lightning Community as an added fee choice. Within the U.Ok., I’d counsel testing the superb work finished by CoinCorner and Bridge2Bitcoin in driving ahead the Lightning Community as a low-cost fee mechanism for retailers.
As well as, bitcoin may signify a pure, long-term treasury reserve asset for Glastonbury — a long-term holding in bitcoin may assist journey out any tough instances in future. Certainly, the pageant is not any stranger to the pernicious nature of inflation: Ticket costs have been £105 in 2003 and had elevated to £335 in 2023, which little doubt displays the various will increase in prices confronted.
Glastonbury have lengthy been forward of the curve in making sweeping modifications forward of others. In 2007, it eradicated ticket touts and scalpers in a single fell swoop by together with pageant goers’ pictures on tickets. In 2019, it banned single-use plastic bottles solely from the location, and in 2023, round 22,000 tickets have been offered particularly for pageant goers touring by bus. May it additionally get forward of the curve in embracing Bitcoin?
Admittedly, in all probability not, based mostly on any present proof. However I might say to Michael and Emily Eavis, the organizers of the occasion: Dig a little bit deeper than the present, skewed output on show from mainstream publications within the U.Ok. There may be far more to Bitcoin than first meets the attention.
Michael Eavis confirmed on this yr’s pageant program that the native council has now issued a license for them to carry the pageant in perpetuity. This should really feel notably candy, given his struggles with them over time. For Glastonbury, it appears, there’ll at all times be one other yr. And so too for Bitcoin.
This can be a visitor submit by BitcoinActuary. Opinions expressed are solely their very own and don’t essentially mirror these of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Journal.