FRAGILE LIFE SAVINGS

Tomorrow is your 62nd birthday. You made it.

For 40 years, you've dedicated 40 hours of every week of your life to that sweet goal. That promised land you've dreamed of on the good days. That promised land you've longed for on the hard days.

Retirement.

Tomorrow will mark the final leg of your journey to the promised land. As you get ready for bed, you take one final look at your retirement account on your phone. Your investment advisor has grown your account to this point, and you're glad you chose someone who knew how to pick the right stocks without taking on too much risk.

Your retirement account has enough money in it for you to live the rest of your life in peace without having to conform to a 9 to 5 schedule. You'll have so much time to focus on whatever you want.

You've saved for this. Every 2 weeks when your paycheck came, you've put money into your retirement account. You've done the right thing. You knew this day would come, and it's finally here. You close your banking app on your phone and settle into bed. Tomorrow is the day.

*beep beep beep*

Your alarm rings. It's 7:30am, time to wake up. Just as you have every work day for the past 40 years. But this time is different. Today is the day! You bounce out of bed with excitement and go through your morning routine. Coffee, shower, breakfast.

You leave your house and lock the door, smiling as you think about returning home from work later today and never having to go back. You sit down in your car for the final drive to your office you've known for so many years. As you get in, the radio starts playing as it usually does. You hear your favorite radio announcer at the end of an announcement between songs.

"...unprecedented action. This is something we never thought could happen here."

The music started playing again.

"What were they talking about?" you wondered briefly, quickly turning your attention to the next song. As the music played, you started to think you might even miss your ride to work every day.

When you got to the office, you were surprised that everyone hadn't arrived yet. As you walked through the halls and found your desk, you noticed your co-worker Linda sobbing at the desk across from yours. You and Linda have worked together for 40 years. Today is not just a big day for you, it's a big day for Linda too. You've both qualified for retirement. You've made it to the promised land.

"What's wrong? Today is our big day!" you asked.

"It's gone... it's all gone."

"What's gone? What do you mean?"

"Didn't you hear?

"No... what are you talking about?"

Your memory of the radio announcement this morning played through your head.

"...unprecedented action. This is something we never thought could happen here."

Linda continued, "look at your account."

You opened up the banking app on your phone. The same app you logged into last night before your final day of work.

"Error: service suspended."

"Okay..." you say nervously. "Is something wrong with the server?"

"It's not the server, it's so much worse than that. We can't access our money!" Linda exclaimed.

"Well surely it will be fixed? This is probably just temporary, right?"

Linda looked down and shook her head. She pressed play on a recording on her phone. It was the radio show host from this morning.

"Good morning everyone. Today has been a shocking day for many. What we thought would be another routine day has turned into one of chaos and uncertainty.

This morning, the President issued a freeze on the assets of all citizens in order to combat rising inflation.

What we don't know is how long this will last. What we do know is the President believes this will finally get inflation under control. This has happened before in other countries, but for our country, this is an unprecedented action. This is something we never thought could happen here."


"Oh my God, a freeze? They can't do this!" You exclaimed.

Linda began to cry again. You frantically reached for your phone to check if this was true. This couldn't possibly be true. This happens in third world countries, but not in my country! This is illegal! "I'll just call my investment advisor and get this sorted out." You thought.

Ring... ring... ring...

"Come on, pick up"

Ring... ring... ring...

The person you have dialed is not available. At the tone, please record your message.

*beeeeeep*

"Hey man, it's me. Have you heard the news? Is this true? Is my account affected by this freeze? I don't think they're allowed to do this, I mean, this can't be legal, right? I need the money in my retirement account. Please call me back when you can."

One hour passed. No call back.
Lunch time passed. No call back.
The work day passed. No call back.
Weeks passed. No call back.
Months passed. He's not going to call back.

While this story may seem dramatic or improbable, it's a reality that millions of people around the world have faced in one form or another. If you lived in Greece in 2011, this was your reality when the government decided to steal half of your savings without your consent. The Greek government needed a bailout, and the citizens were the only ones they could steal from to make it happen.

If you lived in Canada in 2022 and participated in peaceful protests that the government didn't like, this was your reality when the government decided to completely freeze access to your life savings.

Greece and Canada are two of many examples of financial freezes and seizures affecting ordinary citizens who never thought it could happen in their country.

While the circumstances surrounding these freezes and seizures were all different, they were all made possible by one thing: Fragile Life Savings. We have an entire financial system built upon custodial solutions where individual users don't hold the keys to their own wealth. Billions of people globally have given the keys to the vaults which hold their life savings to massive institutions. Why? Because these are large, reputable institutions that the government has promised to backstop. That's all great, until that promise is broken.

Instead of holding the keys to our own life savings, we trust these institutions to hold our life savings for us. There's no perceived risk. Your savings accounts have government insurance so the government will have your back in case your bank messes up. Your investment advisor follows rigorous investment guidelines to make sure you don't take on too much risk and can grow your wealth for retirement. But what almost everyone fails to acknowledge is the inherent risk in trusting these institutions and advisors to custody our wealth. This risk is called Counterparty Risk.

The people lucky enough to have retirement accounts today store nearly 100% of their net worth in custodial accounts. That is, accounts that are under the control and management of someone else. Stocks and other investments are held by investment advisors. Spending money and cash savings are held by banks.

These same people with retirement accounts and bank accounts have probably not heard the term "Counterparty Risk", let alone thought of a day where that risk would manifest into reality. But the reality is we are all taking on extreme risk by allowing others to control our wealth. We trust financial advisors to custody our stock certificates. We trust banks to custody our savings. We trust governments and institutions to custody our pensions. But what happens when that trust is broken?

This insane reliance on others to store all of our wealth has created a Fragile Life Savings for billions of people. Rather than trusting ourselves to store our own wealth, we've offloaded that trust onto others because it's seen as the safe thing to do. Who in their right mind would store a bunch of physical cash under their mattress anyway?

The problem with a Fragile Life Savings is that it can disappear in an instant, and you only have one life. A retirement account you've built for decades can be frozen overnight, but you don't have decades of life left to rebuild it.

So how do we protect ourselves and our wealth? How do we get away from a system of Fragile Savings and into a system of Secure Savings?

Imagine if you could store your money—whether a small amount or your life savings—not in the hands of a trusted investment advisor, but in the folds of your brain.

This is a reality with Bitcoin.

Imagine if you could store your money in a small computer that fits in your pocket.

This is a reality with Bitcoin.

Imagine if you had a digital version of gold that you could bury in the ground, but also teleport across the world to a new hiding spot in an instant.

This is a reality with Bitcoin.

For the first time in human history, we have access to a money system that enables us to store our own wealth in a truly secure way. By writing down or memorizing a list of 12 words, you can custody your wealth forever without counterparty risk, or risk of censorship or seizure. These 12 words give you complete access to the money you choose to save in Bitcoin.

What would history look like if humans had access to Secure Savings technology that could be stored secretly and simply?

Would Jews fleeing Nazi Germany have been able to take their life savings with them instead of losing it to searches and seizures? What if they could have memorized 12 words instead of melting their last remaining gold into buttons, painting the buttons, sewing them on to clothing and praying their clothing wouldn't be seized by border patrol?

What would the world look like if victims of countless wars could prevent their assets from being seized by their governments to fund those wars? Would the world be more peaceful? Would individuals be more empowered?

What would the world look like if governments couldn't force their citizens to bail them out? Would we have more representative government?

What would the world look like if we were no longer dependent on massive institutions to hold our money, but instead held our money securely ourselves? Would we prevent financial catastrophes caused by a few people in control of everyone's money?

We're beginning to find out what this world might look like, and it's all thanks to Bitcoin. Bitcoin is Secure Savings technology, and it's empowering more people every day.

Bitcoin works as Secure Savings technology because the system is designed to not be reliant on one institution or a small group of people to function.

Instead, the users of Bitcoin are able to keep the other participants in the system accountable by running a node on the network. Bitcoin users don't have to trust that a few powerful people aren't going to steal from them or freeze their accounts. In Bitcoin, the only person you have to trust is yourself.

While this might sound scary to some at first, the alternative has been much scarier to millions of people around the world throughout history. The events portrayed above might not happen to you, but what if they do?

Will your Secure Savings technology keep your money safe, or will you wish you didn't have a Fragile Life Savings?

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