If you’re interested in freedom, economic empowerment, the environment, or human prosperity in general, Bitcoin represents a deeply powerful force for good. Unfortunately, however, this truth is far from self-evident and can actually be completely counter-intuitive to the uninitiated. Combine that with the whirlpool of misinformation surrounding Bitcoin and the inherent complexity of the domains involved, and we Bitcoiners have a small PR fiasco on our hands. So far, old-fashioned fear and greed have been the most effective means for people to break through the above-mentioned undergrowth to participate in this currency revolution. Greed to participate in the Number Go Up (NGU) technology and to fear that the madness in the current system requires reliable protection.
Could it be possible to appeal to some of the nobler impulses of humanity? What about amazement, awe, transcendence or the feeling of participating in something much bigger than yourself? Such feelings are often experienced when one encounters the great cathedrals and monuments that are the crowning glory of civilizations, as well as when one experiences the grandeur and beauty of nature. I believe we can tap into this positive vein of human nature and convey the finer qualities of Bitcoin on an inner level by planting trees. Not metaphorically. Literally. Large f-ing trees. Giant sequoias, ideally. As the largest tree in the world, the mighty sequoia can live for thousands of years, reach a height of over 75 meters and a diameter of over 7 meters. To see a sequoia tree means to see one of the wonders of nature and, briefly and easily, to see the creative genius of the universe. By pushing our time preference down, Bitcoin helps us to better participate in this creative force in our everyday lives. The Bitcoin community would be well served if more pre-coiners understood this ennobling potential.
With Bitcoin we can take on more complex tasks and coordinate better over time and space. What better, cheaper, and more accessible way of demonstrating this low time preference behavior and net benefit to our species than to embark on a mission to plant sequoia groves in every village, town, and town with a suitable climate for our descendants to use can revel in their splendor in 1000 years? Planting trees through bitcoin is a good start, but I believe this activity could be the seed for something bigger.
Here’s the vision: In 1000 years, Bitcoin will be everywhere and so will a new civic institution called the Bitcoin Tree Forum (Bitcoin Tree Cathedral or Local Bitcoin Forum are other possible names that match their intent). The Bitcoin Tree Forum is a grove of ancient trees planted by Bitcoiners and managed by Bitcoiners to serve the generations to come. It serves as a place to gather and coordinate human efforts for projects that promise long-term community value. It is a meeting point for citizens to lower their time preference and participate in something bigger than themselves. In the middle of the grove is a publicly accessible Bitcoin node, which serves as a portal for communities to exchange values with each other and to enable other, still imaginable use cases. Bitcoin is a public utility and as such, I believe it should have public interfaces.
When we talk about trees: the bigger and older, the better. Hence, the giant sequoia should be considered first if the local climate allows. Other impressive trees like baobab or banyan trees can be used in warmer climates. Another version of this could be productive food trees, like fruit trees or chestnut trees, whose products could serve as a recurring source of income, similar to what Joel of Untapped Growth does with cattle. Establishing positive long-term projects in the physical world is important for bitcoiners, and trees are a wonderful, easily accessible way to do so.
A Bitcoin Tree forum doesn’t have to be public. It can be as simple as a grove of unmarked trees planted by a bitcoiner. There may also be a Lightning QR code metal plate anchored nearby to channel an inspired person’s donation to the Human Rights Foundation or a Bitcoin development fund. In its fullest form, it can be a sequoia grove planted in City Hall, with a Bitcoin node running in a weatherproof enclosure that hosts weekly get-togethers for like-minded people who are committed to building civilization. The knot grove can also act as a direct economic connection to a twin city at the other end of the world and thus enable cultural exchange and enrichment. Think of it as a hyper-flexible, parallel local government that is helping to win citizens back to the betterment of their communities and thus bring about some kind of civic renewal.
If enough Bitcoiners adopt this concept, a donation-financed incentive structure can be put over it. This voluntary cultural company could be called Proof of Growth. Those wishing to participate, be they individuals or communities, are qualified for a raffle by submitting proof that their trees are still alive, which is held at every halving (details are admittedly difficult). This Proof of Growth festival would not only encourage tree planting but also help promote a civic culture centered around the most important Bitcoin-native event. As early adopters of Bitcoin, we have the opportunity to lay the foundation for a new culture. We should not take this opportunity lightly. Proof of Growth could be one such attempt.
To get started, I set up a modest sequoia nursery in my garden with 70 trees so far. I hope to work with forward-thinking citizens, business owners, and mayors to start building the first bitcoin tree forums as soon as possible. For anyone interested in participating, I invite you to visit BTreeC.com and sign up for the newsletter. You can also follow me on Twitter @btcfangorn. For the skeptics, I invite you to plant at least some trees, the bigger and more durable the better. Plant a sequoia tree if you can. Someone 3,000 years from now will thank you.
The best time to start a Bitcoin tree forum was January 3rd, 2009. The second best time is now.
This is a guest post by Fangorn. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.