A bit of historical research was making the rounds on social media recently, a monograph that compares the 21st century emergence of Bitcoin, encryption, the internet and millennials with the Protestant Reformation that shook Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The two events have similar dynamics, argues Tuur Demeester, whose white paper, “The Bitcoin Reformation,” is packed with bold predictions about the crypto and blockchain future, such as, “Bitcoin savers could accelerate a revolution in the history of thought.”
The report had 7,000 visits and was downloaded 2,800 times in the first 24 hours of its publishing, announced the author on Twitter on Nov. 8, adding, “translations in French and Finnish on the way.” Demeester, a founding partner of Adamant Capital LP, also said:
“The main thesis of ‘The Bitcoin Reformation’ is that there are four fundamental parallels between the Protestant Reformation and the present day, which could signal profound societal and economic changes ahead.”
It is worth enumerating these four conditions that “enabled” the reformation and may be present again today:
A rent-seeking monopolistic service provider
In 16th century Europe, the Catholic Church was a monopolistic provider of spiritual services. The Church also commanded the legal system, “and controlled the keys to heaven via forgiveness of sin.”
Demeester compares the Church with the International Monetary and Financial System, which traces its origins back to the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement that replaced the gold standard with the United States dollar as the global currency. Central banks today, most prominently the U.S. Federal Reserve, control key parts of the legal system as well as “the keys to the wealth and pensions of the world’s citizenry,” argues Demeester.
Technological revolution: Catalyst for change
Sixteenth century Europe gave birth to a number of transformative technological inventions: The printing press, for instance,…