In 2013, A Time Traveler Warned Us About Our Bitcoin Future. How Right Was He?

31 May 2024

The time traveler Reddit post is an inextricable part of Bitcoin lore. The text, which supposedly comes from the year 2025, is famous for introducing “The Citadel” concept to the ecosystem. In general, it predicts Bitcoin taking over and the unimaginable horrors caused by the population refusing to spend it because, without inflation, they have no incentive to do so.

However, even though it's rooted in Keynesian concepts, the time-traveler Reddit post seems to promote Bitcoin in a twisted way.

Whether or not it comes from the future, it’s an interesting text that merits analysis. How many predictions did the time traveler get right? Let’s look at the Reddit post with 2024 lenses and find out.

Formal Characteristics of the Time Traveler Reddit PostTitle: “I am a time traveler from the future, here to beg you to stop what you are doing.”

Submitted: August 30th, 2013

Author: Luka Magnotta

The writer chose to identify himself as the subject of the 2019 Emmy-winning documentary series “Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer.” Since the events that led to Luka Magnotta’s arrest took place between 2010 and 2012 and the hunt was a big Internet story, the name may be trivial.

Nowadays, the profile is empty and it seems like the time-traveler story was Luka Magnotta’s only Reddit post.

First sentence:I am sending this message from the year 2025. Things are looking bleak here, and some of you will carry blood on your hands.

Nobody can predict what will happen in the next six months, and 2024 does look bleak from an angle, but it seems that the text starts with a huge exaggeration.

Bitcoin Price Predictions From a Time Traveler

To put the time-traveler Reddit story in context, 2013 was a historic year for Bitcoin’s price. The orange coin started at $13 in January and crossed the $1000 mark in November. The time-traveler posted it in August, and Bitcoin closed at $135.35 that month. In the middle of that insane rally, the time traveler predicted:

“On average, every year so far, the value of Bitcoin has increased by about a factor ten. From 0.1 dollar in 2010, to 1 dollar in 2011, to 10 dollar in 2012, to 100 dollar in 2013. From now on, there's a slight slowdown, as the value increased by a factor ten every two years, to 1,000 dollar in 2015, to 10,000 in 2017, 100,000 in 2019, and 1,000,000 in 2021.”

Bitcoin over everything!

That settles it; not even a time traveler could have predicted that 2013 rally. And, even though Bitcoin remains the most profitable asset in the world, it’s easy to see why some consider the gains of the last few years disappointing. The expectations were higher.

“From here onwards, there's no good way of expressing its value in dollars, as the dollar is no longer used, nor is any central bank issued currency for that matter.”

The time traveler was too optimistic about fiat currencies. In 2024, they are still going strong, and the dollar is still the global reserve currency. However…

In The Future, Governments No Longer Exist

Speaking of too-optimistic predictions, the time-traveler informs us that governments ceased to exist because “Bitcoin transactions are done anonymously and thus most governments can enforce no taxation on their citizens.” Will hyperbitcoinization lead the world through that path? The crystal ball is foggy on that one, but make no mistake: Bitcoin is pseudonymous, not anonymous.

“Most of the success of Bitcoin is due to the fact that Bitcoin turned out to be an effective method to hide your wealth from the government.”

This is where the time-traveler shows his lack of vision or his low Bitcoin IQ. First of all, Bitcoin is traceable to a degree and privacy has to be earned with impeccable OPSEC. Second, hiding wealth is not even in the top 5 characteristics that will take Bitcoin to unprecedented heights. Third, big industry and the government are one and the same. The ETF investors and the megacorporations behind them will gladly pay taxes.

“Governments tried to stay relevant in my society by buying Bitcoin, which just made the problem worse, by increasing the value of Bitcoin.”

This is happening for sure; El Salvador is doing it in the open while many, many other governments are probably doing it behind the scenes. They would be dumb not to.

The Time Traveler On Bitcoin Institutional Adoption

This might disappoint some of you, but with this prediction, it becomes obvious that Luka Magnotta is not a time traveler and wrote this text in 2013:

“The four institutions with the largest still accessible Bitcoin balance are believed to be as following:

-ASICminer - 50,000 Bitcoin

-The IMF's "currency stabilization fund" - 70,000 Bitcoin

-Government of Saudi Arabia - 110,000 Bitcoin

-The North Korean government - 180,000 Bitcoin”

He couldn’t predict that Bitmain would take over the ASIC miners business, and that microBT would then conquer half of the market. He gave the IMF and Saudi Arabia too much credit and couldn’t see the rise of Bitcoin in El Salvador and the whole African continent. And BlackRock’s interest in Bitcoin would’ve seemed like a fever dream to him.

He might be right about North Korea, though.

Introduction of the “Citadel” Concept

One notorious aspect of Bitcoin culture is the assimilation and appropriation of insults and ill-intentioned attacks. It happened with Vitalik’s “bitcoin maximalists” moniker, it happened with Greenpeace’s Skull of Satoshi, and it happened with the “citadel” concept. The time traveler wrote:

"What is a Citadel?" you might wonder. Well, by the time Bitcoin became worth 1,000 dollar, services began to emerge for the "Bitcoin rich" to protect themselves as well as their wealth. It started with expensive safes, then began to include bodyguards, and today, "earlies" (our term for early adapters), as well as those rich whose wealth survived the "transition" live in isolated gated cities called Citadels, where most work is automated.”

Since this text hit the web, Bitcoiners worldwide took the “citadel” concept and ran with it. So much so that it’s expected that Bitcoin citadels will emerge any time now.

Look at us. We own the Skull Of Satoshi now!

These are some examples straight from Bitcoin culture:

  • Notorious podcaster Stephan Livera’s catchphrase is “See you in the citadels!

  • Notorious Bitcoin free thinker ODELL’s podcast is called “Citadel Dispatch.”

  • The now-defunct Citadel21 was a prominent Bitcoin cultural magazine.

A citadel is at the center of my Bitcoin fiction short story “EYE IN THE SKY,” part of the “21 Futures: Tales From The Timechain” anthology that Konsensus put out. (Use promo code “prospero” for a 10% discount)

Back to the time traveler:

“Most such Citadels are born out of the fortification used to protect places where Bitcoin mining machines are located.”

Yep, that sounds about right.

Economic Growth and Keynesian Concepts

This is where John Maynard Keynes enters the chat and the time-traveler starts to lose me. In real life, economic growth is related to production capacity, which the world would still have in a non-inflationary environment. This scenario would never play out:

“Economic growth today is about -2% per year. Why is this? If you own more than 0.01 Bitcoin, chances are you don't do anything with your money. There is no inflation, and thus no incentive to invest your money. Just like the medieval ages had no significant economic growth, as wealth was measured in gold, our society has no economic growth either, as people know their 0.01 Bitcoin will be enough to last them a lifetime.”

Look, people need to eat. Bitcoin will circulate. And the notion that inflation is the only incentive to invest is a Keynesian myth that doesn’t hold water. The human being’s imagination is boundless and the need to create is an inherent characteristic of ours. A non-inflationary environment would potentiate that, not discourage it. You don’t have to believe me; just go to the history books for examples.

This image ties in with the “Don't F**k with Cats" thing; if you haven't noticed.

The Gilded Age was the period “after the restoration of the gold standard in 1879 in the wake of the American Civil War.” In his magnum opus “The Bitcoin Standard,” Saifedean Ammous describes it as:

“With the majority of the world on one sound monetary unit, there was never a period that witnessed as much capital accumulation, global trade, restraint on government, and transformation of living standards worldwide. Not only were the economies of the west far freer back then, the societies themselves were far freer. Governments had very few bureaucracies focused on micromanaging the lives of citizens.”

And, mind you, a Bitcoin standard would be much more efficient than a gold one.

The Enormous Damage Bitcoin Caused

When I said that the time-traveler “seems to promote Bitcoin in a twisted way,” this is what I referred to:

“Why didn't we abandon Bitcoin, and move to another system? Well, we tried of course. We tried to step over to an inflationary cryptocurrency, but nobody with an IQ above 70 was willing to step up first and volunteer.”

However, the time traveler also seemed to have an insidious anti-Bitcoin agenda. I mean, Bitcoiners will become targets at one point or another, but this prediction seems like too much:

“After seeing the enormous damage done to the fabric of society, terrorist movements emerged that sought to hunt down and murder anyone known to have a large balance of Bitcoin, or believed to be responsible in any way for the development of cryptocurrency.”

Make no mistake, as the whole financial system collapses, the governments will try to blame Bitcoin for their incompetence. And a part of the population will believe it. To make sure that it doesn’t lead to death squads, bitcoiners worldwide have to make sure to educate the public. Our survival might depend on it.

It Began In Africa

Do you detect racist undertones in this part of the story?

“The African Union had ambitious plans to help its citizens be ready to step over to Bitcoin. Governments gave their own citizens cell phones for free, tied to their government ID, and thus government sought to integrate Bitcoin into their economy. All went well, until "the tragedy" that is. A criminal organization, believed to be located in Russia, exploited a hardware fault in the government issued cell phones. It's believed that the entire continent of Africa lost an estimated 60% of its wealth in a period of 48 hours.”

The scenario seems unlikely. As of 2024, the African continent is slowly becoming the world’s leader in Bitcoin adoption despite their governments’ objections and laws. On the other hand, the only country using government-produced wallets is El Salvador with the Chivo ecosystem. However, Salvadoreans can use any other wallet because Bitcoin is interoperable.

The Time Traveler’s Underground Network

To close a very entertaining text, the time-traveler introduces his organization’s terrible plan, “I am part of an underground network, who seek to launch a coordinated attack against the very infrastructure of the Internet itself.” Would the collapse of the Internet seriously hamper Bitcoin adoption? Sure. Would it destroy Bitcoin? I wouldn’t bet on it. And the underground network’s plan is to:

“... launch a simultaneous nuclear pulse attack on every densely population area of the world. We believe that the resulting chaos will allow the world's population to rise up in revolt, and destroy as many computers out there as possible, until we reach the point where Bitcoin loses any relevance.

Of course, this outcome will likely lead to billions of deaths. This is a price we are forced to pay, to avoid the eternal enslavement of humanity to a tiny elite.”

Wait a minute, what “tiny elite” is the time traveler talking about? The fiat world is controlled by a tiny elite. Bitcoin is not.

Who owns Bitcoin? You and I own Bitcoin.

The year is 2024 and BlackRock is buying every available coin for their ETF clients. Still, 57% of Bitcoin is still in the hands of individuals. And our numbers might grow, if you, dear reader, start doing your part.

I already did mine with this not-so-serious article.

This was a dispatch by Eduardo Prospero, Bitcoin’s ambassador to HackerNoon.

In case you missed them, these are the previous dispatches →

1 - “Why BITCOIN ONLY? - Bitcoin is NOT “Crypto” 2 - “Bitcoin Is The ONLY Digital Scarcity That Matters — Here's Why

3.- “Bitcoin’s Weak Spot: Mining Centralization and How We're Working on It

4.- “Bringing Energy To Those Who Need It: Five Mind-Blowing Bitcoin Mining Stories

Open-source images by Yegorpetrov.