Literature predicting Bitcoin




I have recently read some literature with narratives similar to ones of Cypherpunks and the Bitcoin community. These books are not directly related to the cryptocurrency community but rather earlier works predicting its movement. One should keep in mind that books about the future is often books about the present and there were ideas about cyber money before Bitcoin.

Building on Dwork (1992), Back (2002) and the many previous digital currencies such as b-money (Dai, 1998), Satoshi Nakamoto’s (2008) innovation was to combined blockchain technology with PoW in a meaningful and working way. Before Bitcoin there had been attempt to create functioning digital currencies such as b-money (Dai, 1998), bit gold (Szabo, 1998)


Cryptonomicon (1999)

Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson does not predict Bitcoin per say but a story is told about a group of people wanting to build an autonomous digital currency backed by gold. The book also centers around cryptography which is fun.


The Soverign Individual (1997)

I started reading “The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive during the Collapse of the Welfare State” a book by James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg from 1997.

The authors predict that a new revolution will take place in cyberspace after the IT-boom, “An entirely new realm of economic activity that is not hostage to physical violence will emerge in cyberspace.” One of their assumptions for this to take place was DeFi, “In the new millennium, cybermoney controlled by private markets will suspende fiat money issued by governments. Only the poor will be victims of inflation.” Now 25 years later, the book might be more relevant when the last piece of the puzzle has been laid.

It would be interesting to hear an updated view from the authors in a podcast or similar, since their predictions are quite alarming, such as,

“Weakened by the challenge from technology, the state will treat increasingly autonomous individuals, its former citizens, with the same range of ruthlessness and diplomacy it has heretofore displayed in its dealing with other governments. Increasingly harsh techniques of extortion will be logical.”

“Like an angry farmer, the state will no doubt take desperate measures at first to tether and hobble its escaping herd. It will employ covert and even violent means to restrict access to liberating technologies. Such expedients will work only temporarily, if at all. The twentieth century nation state, with all its pretensions, will starve to death as its tax revenues decline.”

“When the state finds itself unable to meet its committed expenditure by raising tax revenues, it will resort to other, more desperate measures. Among them is printing money. Governments have grown used to enjoying a monopoly over currency that they could depreciate at will.”

These narratives are similar to ones within the Cypherpunks. Are these doomer theories or based predictions? Is survivorship bias a part of the prediction thus far? What are your thoughts?