Bitcoin and Music
When I was in college I took a class on music theory. I will always remember waking up at 7:00 am and walking to that class in the freezing cold. Of all the classes I took this class was always of particular interest to me. One morning we watched an interview John Lennon gave on a boat somewhere in England. The interviewer asked him where he got the inspiration for the songs he wrote. Lennon kind of paused for a second and then responded, and I’m paraphrasing here but basically, “Im not the writer of the songs, the songs already exist they just flow through me.” That always stuck with me and in subsequent years from time to time I’ve watched many other generational song writers echo similar sentiments. It is really a theme amongst some of the greats. I suspect there is a bit of humility coming through when they say this but it has been repeated by so many that I don’t believe it to be a coincidence.
In recent months Bitcoin adoption has been rapidly accelerated, partly due to the fact that major companies are now choosing to own Bitcoin on their balance sheets. Very few anticipated this move to happen so quickly. One of the largest and most vocal adopters of this has been Microstategy’s Michael Saylor. If you haven’t watched an interview with him I highly recommend it, you will be hard pressed to find anyone more excited or bullish then him. Frankly, I get fired up every time he talks about it. Even better, he puts his money where his mouth is, at the time of this writing his company owns over $1 billon in BTC.
Saylor has a great talent for coming up with analogies and explanations to explain and back his bullish case for BTC. In an early interview he compared the Bitcoin community to a swarm of cyber hornets protecting the network. I think it’s these analogies that really get people thinking and fired up. It’s a not so simple, simple way of explaining a not so simple topic. One such analogy he gave caught me in the same way watching Lennon on the boat describe where he got his inspiration for his music. At first glance they don’t seem similar but let me attempt to walk you through the comparison. In the interview, he stated, again paraphrasing, that “Bitcoin was the first creation that had ever allowed man to capture and store energy with the ability to send it across space and time.” He said it so much better but for the sake of this article that was the basic idea. That idea in and of itself is pretty remarkable and I had never thought of it or heard it explained in that way, even after being in the space for 4 years. Needless to say the thought stuck with me.
Tonight, I was listening to music with friends and we put on the song Sail by Awolnation. We were talking about how anytime you hear that song it instantly fires you up. How cool would it be to write a song like that, we said. Talking back and forth about the talent and skill it takes to be a musician and to be able to turn that vision of a song into a reality. It’s a talent that most of us wish we had. The conversation then turned a debate over whether or not it was the lyrics or the music that inspired the feelings a song provokes. We then began discussing the instrumental versions of songs that influence our emotions and how truly awesome those songs become when performed by classical musicians and orchestras. If you have never listened to the violin cover of Sail, check it out on YouTube its awesome. No matter what side of the debate you land on, it’s pretty awe inspiring to think of just how talented these people really are.
After the song Sail finished the algo went on to play the instrumental cover to Aerosmith’s Dream on performed by an orchestra. As I sat and listened to that song, released in 1973, well before I was born (Yes I looked that up) I had the thought “Music is one of the only things that can truly transcend space and time.” How amazing is it that a song written so long ago could survive its writer and original instruments and singers and live on through the ages. Not only that, but it still has meaning. This is where my next thought kind of stopped me in my tracks. I thought of the interview with Lennon where he said that the music just flows through him and that he is just a medium through which it enters the world. And then, clear as day the thought hit, or was delivered through me, “Music is an intelligent life form that uses human consciousness to come in and of reality.’’ Said another way, music exist independent of human beings. In some sort of weird way that we will probably never be able to perceive or understand music is alive and is an energy propagated through the universe and every once in awhile the gifted among us receive the message and we are allowed to take a peak into another reality.
Forget the philosophical arguments about if a tree falls in the wood and no one is around to hear it blah blah blah…just run with that thought for a second while we compare it to the only other thing I have ever come across that can store energy and truly transcend space and time. Thats right, Bitcoin. In 100 years my great grandchildren will hear Dream On by Aerosmith and have similar emotional responses and reactions. The music will be able to release its energy in 100 years without needing the original artist who wrote it or the instrument that played it. It will carry the energy throughout space and time irrespective of its original host. Another way to think about it is that energy has always existed and always will. In the same way in 100 years my great grand kids will be able to use the energy stored and captured by Bitcoin, transcended through space and time without its original owner or even the original instrument used to procure it.
I can think of few things that have a similar effect. Is Bitcoin, like music, alive? Has it always existed in the ether and was Satoshi the first person to perceive it in a way the rest of us could understand? Time will tell but the thought struck me in a such a way that I had to stop what I was doing and write it down. Maybe we will never get to know the answers to these questions, or maybe when we move on to the next life we get to rejoin that energy. Regardless what a fun thought experiment involving my favorite two things. Hopefully you read this and were just as struck by the thought as I was, or maybe you just laughed to yourself and thought Dream on…