[Malibu, CA] “Whatever we thought to be a problem somewhere else, has arrived to be a problem here today.”
Michael Saylor, one of the world’s leading bulls on Bitcoin and the Executive Chairman of MicroStrategy, spoke at the Atlas Society’s 2022 Gala in Malibu, CA on Oct. 6 on the vision of Bitcoin as a means of a mass opting-out or “shrugging” of the layman in a world built upon a broken and corrupt monetary system.
Recipient of the Atlas Society’s 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award, Saylor was celebrated as one of the modern day’s most influential defenders of Objectivist principals at the Thursday gala.
Saylor spoke at one of the daytime panels and dinner later that night, relating Bitcoin to the themes of Russian-American author Ayn Rand’s most influential novel, the 1957 Atlas Shrugged.
The MIT-trained engineer spoke at the third of the three daytime panels, titled “Objectivism and Bitcoin” hosted by Polish-American media personality, investigative journalist, podcast host and educator Natalie Brunell.
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Brunell: What are the similarities between Satoshi Nakamoto and John Galt?
“John Galt says withdraw your productivity, withdraw your talent from the economy because it is corrupt. Satoshi said withdraw your wealth from an economy that is corrupt,” Saylor responded.
“In essence Satoshi is saying: to the extent that you could build a multibillion dollar company, you could generate hundreds of millions or billions of dollars of profits but if someone is elected and triples the money supply, they steal two thirds of all your labor for the last thirty years and they do it in about a week.”
“If someone can steal everything you’ve done and everything you do with the click of a button, you can’t win by playing that game.”
Saylor makes a distinction between fictional character John Galt’s response to the broken society in the world of Atlas Shrugged and the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. Whereby Galt chooses to withdraw from society or “shrug,” Satoshi provides a way out through choosing a new form of money — Bitcoin.
“John Galt kind of said: ‘well we know we can’t win no matter how hard we try so we should just withdraw and go on strike.’ Satoshi took a different point of view which is: ‘we know we can’t win as long as we hold the currency of a corrupt government.'”
The technologist points to the properties of Bitcoin itself, properties absent from the broken FIAT system of the modern world, he argued.
“The only way to win is to create an immortal, incorruptible currency. And the only way to make an immortal, incorruptible currency is to get the people out of the way.”
Highlighting the inability for a real world mass exit or “shrugging” to a new frontier such as the hidden valley of “Galt’s Gulch” in Rand’s 1957 novel, the MIT-trained engineer points to cyber space as the new frontier and a place to store one’s money.
“Both of them are heroic figures that said you’re in a no-win situation as long as you’re in a corrupt system. You need to depart the system and one of them gives a solution of Galt’s Gulch and a strike and the other one gives us a solution of shift your money to cyber space.”
“People are looking for political saviors, but we need to look deeper at the financial system”Natalie Brunell
Saylor went into detail on the properties of Bitcoin that make it the “Rearden Steel” of the modern world and the antidote to a broken financial system. Citing an “immutable ledger” with every human on Earth able to “audit that ledger,” Bitcoin’s decentralized nature creates a system that requires no need for trust of a central body to ensure the security of transactions.
“Since everyone can run their own node, you don’t have to trust any bank, any entity, any government to know the truth. The truth is manifested every 10 minutes in the blocks. The truth is protected by the integrity of the cryptography and the underlying protocols are naturally conservative in a Newtonian sense and in a physical sense. They represent conservation of energy because there’s a 21 million as a cap, you’ll never have more than 21 million, so this is the manifestation of the laws of thermodynamics.”
“The Bitcoin protocol puts absolute transparency of monetary dynamics into the hands of all 8 billion people on the planet and it puts it beyond the corrupting influence of a counter party”Michael Saylor
Grounding his case for Bitcoin, Saylor articulated the systemic problems of “modern economic theory.” Articulating the frequently-labeled “stealth tax” of inflation of the steadily increasing money supply, the entrepreneur likened living under a FIAT system as running a marathon while being bled everyday.
“It would be quite a trick of mine to get you to focus all your time on training for the marathon while I bleed you every night because you’re going to lose, it doesn’t matter what you do”Michael Saylor
“If you understand money as economic currency, destroying the money is the same as opening up one of your arteries and bleeding you to death or sucking all the oxygen out of a room or pulling all the hydraulic fluid out of a machine” Saylor opined.
“The subtle thing is, if you keep sucking 7 percent of the value or ten percent of the value out of the currency every year, the half life of the money becomes ten years. If the half life of the money becomes ten years, you cut it in half ten times in a century. If you don’t cut the energy of the currency, the half life of the money is forever,” he continued.
“The debasing of the money is kind of like artificially accelerating the destruction of the entire economy”Michael Saylor
The MIT-trained engineer who majored in aeronautics and astronautics spoke of money in terms of physics and energy. Attacking the steady debasement of the US dollar since its divorce from the gold standard in 1953, Saylor linked this depletion of economic energy to a death in aspirations.
“Therefore, there is no point in striving for anything great 100 years out or 500 years out or 50 years out if the useful life of the economic energy is 7 years,” Saylor explained.
“If we don’t have good money than every other aspiration is either going to result in a suboptimal impaired, crippled outcome or it is going to result in failure.”
Saylor argued that all other economic problems faced in the modern world are “second order if the money is broken.” That centrality of money in society could be the defining theme of Saylor’s arguments during the panel.
Contrasting what he labeled as an objective, sound, rational and just Bitcoin protocol against a perpetually devalued dollar, Saylor placed money at the heart of many of the facets of contemporary society’s problems.
“If the money is broken you can guarantee all the other things are going to be broken until you can fix the money,” he said.
Who is John Galt? Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
Drawing parallels between not just their shared vision of “opting out” or “Going Galt,” Saylor linked the mysterious origin stories of the fictional character of John Galt and the anonymous figure of Satoshi Nakamoto.
“Who is John Galt? He build something and disappears,” Saylor says.
“Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Satoshi realized that the only way for us to make this work is we have to build a system that is completely separate from the existing financial structure, the existing power structure,” he continued.
“The price that was paid by Satoshi to create something that was virtuous, and uncorrupted, and incorruptible was give up fame, and fortune, and self interest, and expediency, and any kind of get-rich-quick, and simple notion, and do it the hard way. And do it in such a way that what do you get if you mine Bitcoin, you get more Bitcoin. What’s that worth? It’s worth nothing initially until people decide that having something which is incorruptible and immortal and orthogonal to the entire corrupt 500 trillion dollar financial system is something they might want to join in on.”
“And do it in such a way that what do you get if you mine Bitcoin, you get more Bitcoin. What’s that worth? It’s worth nothing initially until people decide that having something which is incorruptible and immortal and orthogonal to the entire corrupt 500 trillion dollar financial system is something they might want to join in on”Michael Saylor
The Atlas Society, who’s mission is to “promote open Objectivism: the philosophy of reason, achievement, individualism, and freedom,” is an open Objectivist organization which hosts weekly online seminars and distributes educational materials that promote Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. The society is named after Ayn Rand’s most influential novel, Atlas Shrugged.
The Atlas Society’s 2021 Gala featured German-American billionaire entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and Conservative political activist Peter Thiel, who received the Atlas Society’s 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.