• Sun. Oct 17th, 2021

The gentrification of Bitcoin


May 7, 2021

At a certain point in history, money became productive, capable of generating more profit by itself. It has taken on a symbolic identity that has made it a quantity capable of determining relationships between people but it has always remained very present in some places. All this until the financial sphere started to separate, subtract, move money out of the real economy to place it in a confused area made up of forecasts and forecasts on forecasts, which on the one hand made it a knowledge for experts and, on the other hand, they distance him from relationships between people. More recently and in some area or network of experiences, money has resumed a certain more direct and personal relationship, in a territory between the private and the political, in a pact between people who know each other or who at least share the same style of life and relationships with belonging to a limited geography. Just think of certain complementary currencies of a regional nature or the widely present forms of barter that even partially circumvent the mediation of money: in some municipalities, including Italians, especially due to the economic crisis generated by the pandemic, the administrative barter that entails is being experienced, for example, the exemption from the payment of the Imu and the Tari in exchange for hours of work in the maintenance of green areas and other municipal assets. The technology itself seemed or seems, at one point, to offer its computing power to a new avenue. It is no coincidence that Bitcoin was born on top of the 2008 financial crisis that threatened to throw the global banking system upside down. And it was born as a peer-to-peer tool, with the declared aim of doing without banks and central authorities. Even to non-nerds, to the incapable who cannot send a collective email without copying their entire contact agenda, it immediately seemed like the pirate island: an autonomous area, with a temporary character, able to keep out the British gunboats and to enjoy life in a moment of celebration. Of course, then came its listing, the platforms for buying and selling, credit cards, the speculations of large investors and investment funds, the widespread exploitation of the technology at its base, the media, famous people, arrived. the glory and the inevitable nefarious prophecies. Until the announcement that national digital currencies will soon be available, a sort of elegant hat that is placed over the heads of everyone, bitcoiners and others, and this is where the meaning of that sociological concept of gentrification that can be defined re-emerges. “As a process of bourgeois urban areas once the prerogative of the working class, which is progressively replaced as it can no longer economically support the new quality standards of the place of residence”. In short, more affluent people enter the neighborhood, the houses increase in value and the people who have lived in the area up to that moment pack their bags. Because a certain feeling that the party is about to end for cryptocurrencies also blows in the wind. But where will that flow of freedom and autonomy move, if it does, that the network of bit and coin relationships have hosted for over a decade? For many it is still that the island of pirates. Not even now that Bitcoin has become more of a store of value than anything else, not even now that it is about to be topped by the whale of national digital currencies will it lose inspiration. For those, on the other hand, who are starting to see the British gunboats on the horizon and are thinking of moving to a new island, what is the horizon that opens up in front of them? Another crypto-evolved currency? The return to the state of nature? Hope in quantum computers to generate new autonomous zones beyond binary codes? The fate, however, of the pirates is to generate islands in the current, with a limited duration and, also for this reason, open and peer to peer.