UW Philosophy Professor Speaks at Bitcoin Policy Summit

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Bradley Rettler

University of Wyoming philosophy Associate Professor Bradley Rettler has gained international attention for his forthcoming book, “Resistance Money: A Philosophical Case for Bitcoin,” which argues that bitcoin is a net benefit to the world, despite its imperfections.

He and his two co-authors -- Andrew Bailey, an associate professor and founding faculty member at Yale-NUS College, and Craig Warmke, an associate professor of philosophy at Northern Illinois University -- received the opportunity to amplify their message at the international Bitcoin Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.

The summit, hosted by the Bitcoin Policy Institute, was for policymakers, academics and industry leaders to discuss the opportunities and challenges presented by digital currencies. Among the participants were five members of Congress -- including U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo. -- along with members of more than 20 congressional staffs and over a dozen government agencies.

Rettler and his colleagues talked about why bitcoin stands apart from other cryptocurrencies and how to evaluate bitcoin from a neutral, global perspective.

“Bitcoin’s founding is unique because there were no insiders; everyone had the same access from day one. Its rules are unique because they ensure consensus and issuance without needing to trust anyone. And the network is unique because it’s the oldest, biggest and most used,” Rettler says. “We suggested that everyone is biased, approaching bitcoin from their own circumstances. The way out of that is to imagine that, tomorrow morning, you could wake up to be anyone in the world. Given that, and the relatively high odds that you end up living under authoritarianism or exclusion or inflation, would you rather wake up in a world with bitcoin or without?”

“Resistance Money: A Philosophical Case for Bitcoin” became available on Amazon Feb. 15 and is now a bestseller among philosophy books. In it, the authors offer a framework for evaluating bitcoin from a global perspective and use it to examine bitcoin’s monetary policy, censorship-resistance, privacy, inclusion and energy use. The book is intended for the public -- “from the clueless to the specialist, from the proponent to the die-hard skeptic and everyone in between.”

Rettler, who gave UW’s 2024 Faculty Senate Speaker Series presentation last month, has been at UW since fall 2018. “Resistance Money: A Philosophical Case for Bitcoin” is his first book. Another book, “The Problem of Divine Personality,” will be published later this year.

To see a recording of his presentation at the summit, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJeFYsk675k&t=2877s. His part is about 35 minutes in.

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