‘Australia should HODL Bitcoin’… like El Salvador: Australian Bitcoin Industry Body files official petition
While Blockchain Week is being conducted at the ASX and other venues across the nation, hosted by peak body Blockchain Australia, a local fringe BTC-advocating org is making a noise of its own.
Albeit a much smaller one.
The Australian Bitcoin Industry Body (ABIB), run by CEO Jeremy Majit and Secretary David Pinkerton, has sent out a press release far and wide that’s landed in Coinhead’s inbox. And it’s notable for its inclusion of a petition directed at the Australian government and Reserve Bank of Australia, imploring them to hold some of its reserves in BTC.
Here are some of the most eye opening details from the release and the petition (which currently has 261 signatures with 16 days left).
The release prefaced some of the finer details of the RBA’s reserves with some potted history involving the US and France’s fractured relationship in the early 1970s with regards to gold reserves, highlighting the dangers of “what can happen when a country trusts another nation to safe-guard its assets”.
(In 1971, US President Nixon reneged on a decades-old agreement with France, in turn nixing the gold standard, “suspending” the convertibility of the US dollar into gold, and effectively ending the 25-year Bretton Woods era of fixed currency exchange rates against the US dollar.)
• In March 2023, the RBA, which publishes its reserve assets on its website, had assets totalling AU$87.5 billion. Of this, 88% is held in government-backed fiat currency.
• Aside from this, notes ABIB, the RBA owns 80 Tonnes of gold, worth roughly AU$7 Billion, making up 8% of total assets.
• About 99.9% of that gold is stored at the Bank of England, with only four (!) bars stored in Sydney.
• “While the gold that is stored in England was audited in 2022, the harsh reality is that other than four gold bars, Australia has no real money stored on our land and under our complete control,” notes ABIB.
“Should we bring our gold back to Australia?” asks ABIB.
It’d be a good start, it reckons, but notes that our 80 Tonnes is a paltry amount compared with the stocks of other countries. France, Italy and Germany, for instance each own more than 2,000 Tonnes each (the flamin’ rich so and sos).
In any case, Australia is the world’s 13th largest economy and is doing pretty okay, thank you very much, but the point the Bitcoin advocates are making is that our nation has an opportunity to “drastically improve” its financial situation.
We can hear the snorts of derision already, and even this BTC-investing columnist has a scoff or two set aside, but ABIB’s solution is this: follow in the footsteps of El Salvador, the Kingdom of Bhutan and Lichtenstein and HODL Bitcoin.
El Salvador famously made Bitcoin legal tender in 2021 and has grand plans for a Bitcoin City powered by Bitcoin mined using the energy of volcanoes; Bhutan has been mining BTC since 2020, and Lichtenstein is accepting government payments using the OG crypto asset.
Based on sovereign crypto-holding guidelines set out by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), ABIB is calling for the RBA to hold at least 2% of its capital in Bitcoin.
“The earlier we do so, the more bitcoin Australia will own, and the better position we will be in as a country, ensuring our prosperity into the future,” says ABIB.
Do you agree?
— Australian Bitcoin Industry Body (@AusBTCIndBody) June 16, 2023
Why? Because, according to the Australian Bitcoin Industry Body, the asset…
• “has unique properties that makes it far superior to gold as money.”
• “has a capped and known supply of 21 million, as opposed to gold, which can be mined indefinitely and fiat currencies, which have no supply cap.”
• “is native to the internet, Bitcoin enables international transactions of any size” at a tiny fraction of the cost it takes to move gold around and then melt it to ensure its not fake.
• “is the only truly decentralised crypto, meaning it avoids regulatory heat and exists outside of the control of any individual or country, making it the perfect money for the global economy”.
• “allows nations, organisations and individuals to take custody of their BTC”… and there are sophisticated and secure ways to do this, including multi-signature accounts and instiutional-grade cold storage.