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It finally happened. For a couple weeks now, major economic news in Forex markets has circulated on the internet.

A 50-year agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia reportedly elapsed in early June. This freed Saudi Arabia to price oil in currencies other than the dollar, which meant the end of the petrodollar system, dollar supremacy, and life as we know it.

For days, I kept trying to check that story against the news wires. It didn't have to be a mainstream source, just some outlet I'd heard of before. I wanted to learn more about the agreement's history, and I couldn't find it anywhere. Surely, if the petrodollar system spontaneously combusted, someone like Reuters or Al Jazeera would be on top of it. Or at the very least, the Deep State in its infinite wisdom would gaslight us with an op-ed about how the U.S. and Saudi Arabia had gone through a conscious uncoupling but it was actually good. Nope, not a damn thing. Crickets.

Could this be part of the coverup? If only. It turns out there was one small problem with this story: the agreement didn’t exist. It was fake news.

The dangers of confirming your beliefs
Google Trends is reporting an astonishing spike in searches for “petrodollars” in the past two weeks, to the highest on record. This is apparently because of a viral story that on 9 June Saudi Arabia failed to renew a secret 50-year deal with the US to keep oil priced in dollars.

You might say, of course, J.T., that's if you take the system's word for it. I'll respond with this: find me the agreement that elapsed. I want to read the terms of it.

Bitcoiners have been sharing this nonsense en masse and analyzing every wiggle of the DXY index for signs of Weimar deluge on Twitter Spaces. I'm still getting texts about it. People keep taking this report at face value. It crystallizes the number one problem I have with the bitcoin ecosystem in 2024. It has become so reliant on bullshit doomer narratives at the expense of critical thinking.

Listen to the podcasts. Move to the country. Say goodbye to normie friends and forget your old life. Grab your bitcoin, stamp it on a metal seed plate, run into the woods, dig a hole where no one will find you even though no one is looking for you, eat beans from a can, wait for the government to collapse, so you can emerge from your foxhole victorious, and then you'll be king. It won't happen. At least not in that way.

It’s easy to see why bitcoiners long for such a harrowing trajectory. There's the ever-present martyr complex. For millennials like me, having lived through 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and 2008, and having the prime of our lives stolen from us in the COVID lockdowns, we've been left with a bad taste in our mouth. We want to believe our sacrifice means something.

Then, there's the reality that most of us are castoffs from other places. This isn't necessarily bad. It's cool to be a standard deviation, regardless of which part of the curve it's on. In a vast unfeeling universe, at least it's entertaining to be someone the system can't make heads or tails of. We were never gonna fit in anyway, why not burn everything down?

But no, this isn't the real reason bitcoiners tend to wish for the end of days. It's just easier. A dollar collapse spares us from the actual hard work of educating people, answering dumb questions about blockchain, building L2s, and scaling bitcoin. If the world ends tomorrow, it allows us to feel superior without doing anything.

All of this fiat implosion manifesting is just high time preference. You can tell the scam from the sense of urgency. People with heavy bitcoin bags have seen some shit and desperately want out of them. So, the dollar's downward spiral is just right around the corner. Always. "Gradually, then suddenly" is just a way to move the goalposts forever.

Sure, fear is compelling. And preparation is healthy. But we've reached a point where it's no longer contrarian to talk shit about Keynesian economics. Choose the object of your panic attack: the right has the national debt and the left has climate change.

Either way, these doomscrollers are actually bearish on bitcoin. If they actually believed in bitcoin, they wouldn't waste their breath spinning some apocalyptic narrative that requires everything else to fall apart for bitcoin to rise up. If anything, attaching ourselves to lazy, weak arguments is an embarassing hindrance to adoption. At best, we risk losing sight of the positive movement bitcoin stands to be.

Bitcoin doesn't have to be a doomsday cult. That's not original tech at all. If bitcoin succeeds, it will be on its merits, not fearmongering. There are many reasons to use bitcoin that aren’t dependent on the end of Western civilization. It's already a fairer system. The supply cap works right now. Same goes for peer-to-peer transactions and self-custody. I need to read up on ecash, BitVM, and all the wild ways it's been integrated into Nostr. We have barely scratched the surface of this frontier. It's too early to claim the high ground.

Charts do evil things. This is one of them. The M2SL money supply hasn't deviated from the trend that much. Cough, cough, deficit spending.

Fiat currency dies a little every day. This isn't news. Some say it's a feature, others think it's a bug. You won't hear me preaching the glories of the U.S. dollar on Hallelujah Square. I buy bitcoin every day but I don't think the dollar is vaporizing into thin air tomorrow. Give these show ponies some credit. So I try not to ask myself when this latest batch of fiat will reach its bitter end.

The question I ask myself is this:

If the dollar is doomed, why hasn't it collapsed yet?

The answer is debt.

Fiat isn’t the root of all our problems. It's not that worthwhile to ask WTF happened in 1971. Past is prologue but it doesn't change human nature. People were cheapskates, corner cutters, and Scrooge McDucks on the gold standard too. Debt is the fuel that keeps this merry-go-round we call an economy spinning, and it's how we ended up with fiat in the first place.

When you take out debt in an instrument, you have to gather the resources to service it. Most bitcoiners I know have a mortgage, myself included. We have no other choice. We are so behind the 8-ball we need this means of economic acceleration to pull forward our consumption and piece together a reasonable standard of living.

And we're part of the problem. As long as we're taking out promissory notes in dollars, we're creating demand for the world's reserve currency. My liabilities are someone else's asset to balance against their liabilities. So it goes.

You can rationalize it however you want: fiat loans with bitcoin collateral, speculative attack, get on zero, asymmetric trade, etc. But what you resist, persists.

Wanna do God's work? Watch some of Caleb Hammer's videos, and notice how many of these millennials and zoomers have zero clue of what it means to be anything approaching solvent. I'm talking about an entire generation raised on a steady diet of DoorDash and credit card preapprovals. I would bet more people in America know their credit score than their net worth. So much for the land of the free.

There's no two ways around it. These people are fucked but at least they have a way out — they can declare bankruptcy. We're stuck dreaming of hyperbitcoinization for the rest of our lives.

Until you turn into your neighborhood Dave Ramsey and convince everyone in your circle to stop taking out debt, living above their means, using credit cards, or stealing from the future to pay for the past, we will all continue to fan the flames of the infinite shit pie.

Once you're willing to forgo all debt, have liberated those around you, and embrace a tee-totaling monklife lifestyle, that's when you'll know you can stand by for the unraveling.

In the meantime, the real nonconformist view these days is finding reasons for optimism. Satoshi didn't sit around biding his time so he could say 'I told you so.' Bitcoin doesn't need the apocalypse, and neither do we. Stop waiting for the end of the world, and build the one you want to see. You won't hear about that in the mainstream media.