Hardwoods and Hard Money:
A Vision for Forestry on The Bitcoin Standard
“A society grows great when old men plant trees
whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
— Ancient Greek Proverb
Bitcoiners and land owners are pioneers, problem solvers, and thus natural allies. They are both subject to the stresses of a hostile and swiftly changing environment. Each is deeply concerned with the creeping limitations set on their individual freedom and autonomy, undermining their efforts and threatening their way of life. They are each the other’s equal across the digital and physical realm.
From my dual vantage point, I find myself fascinated and bemused with how one could possibly perceive the other as inferior or irrelevant, and not as they obviously are: two columns of the same arch, supporting as the connected whole, a bridge to lasting sovereignty. An expert in either field who cannot appreciate the relevance of the other, reveals a limited set of beliefs.
As there are no solutions to broken money from even the best example of a cattle ranch or forestry operation that still uses paper notes in trade, nor will there be resilient physical supply chains emerging from a developer’s studio that is supplied by a supermarket chain. I believe that to be detached from either “satoshi’s” or soil makes genuine autonomy a Sisyphean task.
I take heart in the early signs of cooperation between the early few, who acknowledge their inalterable mutual dependancy on one another, but a wide gap remains and it needs to close quickly. Their purpose and ambitions must be as one, as they cannot hope to thrive without one other.
In financial theory, the solution to uncertainty is said to be “long volatility”. For those unfamiliar with this term, it is – simplified – the buying of broad forms of insurance that generally benefit from a very wide range of unknown outcomes.
I see this governing concept of “positive exposure to future uncertainty” represented equally well in the Bitcoin and Homesteading/Ranching movements.. Both are “long volatility” professions, and owners of either are by default, masters of risk management in their own spheres.
In times of rapid change, in money and nature, it will always be the most adaptable that survive. Today, it has never been truer.
Here’s where I see the comparisons and overlaps in more detail, and how I plan to adopt the core tenets of Bitcoin on my own forest or further afield:
Bitcoin holds most highly, the principle of decentralisation and it is embedded in the basic design. Operating as a decentralised ledger of independent nodes, means that no single entity has control over the entire network. Each node has the choice of what transactions it validates and which it doesn’t. This removes trust and adverse consequences of trusting, which eliminates single points of failure in the network as a whole.
Similarly, permaculture and silviculture represent a move away from the outsourced, trust based systems of agriculture and arboriculture, insourcing more of its dependent functions and input requirements at the lower expense of efficiency and short term growth.
On the land, this strategy focusses primarily and most obviously in a broader diversity of life. Once implemented, it requires lighter ongoing maintenance . Wildlife supports itself relatively autonomously, and is more balanced. Therefore is more adaptable to general pressure and change than industrial scale forest or farm management practices which assume greater certainty of the future, and are thus inherently “short volatility” and fragile.
A reduced requirement for specialised machinery in day to day operations means that expensive assets such as timber handling equipment built around a single function done efficiently at scale, can be rotated into smaller, versatile tools with broader uses and lower outputs.
Neighbouring estates (or nodes) stand ready to collaborate for any remaining specialised tasks, as Bitcoin does, in second layers of functionality built on top of the base, limiting the need to specialise at estate-level, for a tolerable and beneficial tradeoffs in trust and absolute ownership.
Use of log splitters, mobile sawmills, plant, and machinery could be negotiated for between smaller communities. For a small amount of joint-venture, this both allows individual holdings to go further down the value chain from their core products, adding value and variety and reduced cost in what they can do themselves or offer to the market, and by sharing their inventory, mitigate the outlay of their exclusive use. The same can be equally said of specialised skills and knowledge.
This fortified land network concept has been been coined “Meshtadels” and is already taking place, though still in its nascency.
The principle of diversification can be expanded further still. Land use can often be broadened further from its previously assumed single use. Silvicultural operations may still produce timber, and derivative materials, but also can produce food, water and even provide amenity incomes from such things as activities, events and hosting tourists, generating yet another flexible revenue stream, without relying solely on one.
In any system where single points of failure are removed, central governments and similar monopolies are denied their ability to coerce by means of structural dependency, and must fall back to tactics of direct enforcement. Being expensive, ineffective at scale and vastly more unpopular, this is not likely to last long if at all, and the likely outcome is reduced government influence and the greater freedom will inevitably follow.
Building on these benefits of decentralisation, Bitcoin users enjoy absolute control over their funds, with neither the requirement for, or the permission of, intermediaries like banks and institutions. This is the essence of sovereignty.
Bitcoin doesn’t need permission to exist and cannot be pushed over with physical force. Landowners could do well to adopt this general approach. Resilient systems are harder to attack and to the degree that land is defensible and independent – it is sovereign.
It’s unlikely that land owners will achieve in the physical world, the level of sovereignty that Bitcoin achieves in cyberspace. In that abstract environment, the mathematical laws of cryptography rule, but the physical world remains inherently subject to the laws of violence.
Presently, ignorant public views prevail and clumsy, heavy handed laws persist both communities. While this currently restricts many of the possibilities and uses, regardless of any present trends, land owners and bitcoiners both stand to benefit from the broad changes that diminished central authority will inevitably lead to. And crucially, each cannot do so well in its own sphere that it makes the other redundant.
For as long as Bitcoiners exist in the physical world, they are subject to the laws of nature, even if their money is not. It is from this simple deduction, that Bitcoiners will never be able to completely abdicate their responsibilities of sovereignty to their money alone, and must attend seriously to where they live and how they sustain their mortal life.
You can’t live in a Bitcoin, and you can’t eat sats. Act accordingly. Exist within a productive citadel, supporting a Layer 2 Meshtadel – it will consolidate and compliment your sovereign digital wealth by keeping you safe through any future volatility, in a way your Bitcoin alone cannot.
Low time preference
Such system transformations do not often happen overnight, and where they do, we can never predict when with accuracy, and so it is only people who can appreciate the potential for substantial long term rewards that are drawn to Bitcoin or sustainable land management practices. In both cases, our time and near-term consumption are deferred into a growing and durable long-term value, and short-term risks are borne along the way, and counted as part of the process.
In my forest, having laboriously cleared the land of overstood conifers, I intend to restock in native hardwoods of better quality and value, otherwise made unattractive by their slower rates of growth and lower short term incomes. Despite the aforementioned benefits, planting in such a manner in today’s market actually reduces the near term value of the land, giving you a discouraging heuristic of wider investor sentiment and time horizons.
Under an ambitious end goal that supports your personal values, the ups and downs in the short run are acceptable. Pain becomes easy to bear. Bitcoiners care no more about short price fluctuations, or technical challenges, than the falling of tree across the road, or a tractor breakdown matters to me. It is nothing under the broader upward progress of the forest. Some days we catch fish, some days we mend the nets. For myself, the incentives offered by hard money flow naturally into the wish to establish hardwoods, or invest in deep, rich soil by equivalently motivated permaculturalists.
While an old man might not expect to sit in the shade of an oak they plant, as someone slightly younger, I do hope to see with my own eyes the early maturity of my forest, but not for a very long time, and that’s okay. Bitcoiners and naturalists both know that good things take time.
Then it is no coincidence that both communities feel deeply about passing down generational wealth and know-how, as a moral obligation to their children and grandchildren. On this point alone – they surely have much to discuss.
Striving for these long term goals mean we realise the importance of health, gain a greater appreciation of life, and an acceptance of death. If immortality is the concept of low time preference taken to its furthest limit, then it logically follows that those striving for results falling far outside of our natural lifespan, are definitionally on a Godly path.
Few may understand that this is hardly cheap altruism. Our real reward is to live forever in the fruits our noble deeds, and through our heirs and beneficiaries who start their life’s journey step closer to God than we did.
Proof of Work
Both Bitcoin and ranching/homesteading are rooted in the ethos and reality of hard work. The rules of the Bitcoin network make low energy attacks expensive and futile. Land is arguably harder to defend, but when the value of the output is inseparably connected to the work required to produce it, fewer people are interested in attempting to steal. This concept is what makes both hard to attack.
I often scoff at the notion that my land is captured – what thief would do what I must as the owner? Best of luck! Like Ellis Wyatt in Atlas Shrugged I say – “Take it – it’s yours”, just as Bitcoiners invite anyone to spend their energy fighting against the ‘Proof of Work’ design. It’s always easier to spend that energy obeying its rules than fighting them. So no-one does.
Relentless and Radical Innovation
In both permaculture and Bitcoin, being unafraid of positive change is another shared value. These communities exhibit a general openness to innovation that makes possible what wasn’t before, because they have no privileged position to protect, in how things are currently done.
This is not only a general principle, but a rare example of where the impact of Bitcoin can directly benefit land owners. I think of two small examples: waste methane produced on farming operations being used to generate power that directly serves Bitcoin miners, and in forestry, the use of waste wood in a pyrolysis system to do the same. The latter producing the additional side product of biochar as a marketable product, or better still, for use on the land to accelerate high quality soil structures. So you see, you can be a Bitcoiner and a land owner in the same task!
In other areas, technological innovations stand to benefit independent land ownership. Responsible use of AI to produce better analysis for decisions, or in emergencies to provide medical advice, or even just limit the costs of the administrative aspects of land ownership. In Bitcoin, mainly to ship projects faster and more efficiently.
Satellite internet systems stand to disinter-mediate many of the advantages of city life. Once remote places have the same scale and speed of communications, and yet another reason to take to rural life.
Lastly, NOSTR, a new decentralised communications protocol is now doing to information what Bitcoin has done in money: make it un-censorable. For landowners, decentralised public squares will become available, and most exciting: marketplaces with no middleman between you and your customer.
Yet another example of a shared concept that landowners and bitcoiners can both intuitively understand is that of having limited supply. As with decentralisation and sovereignty, Bitcoin has captured the aspect of fixed supply totally in mathematics, where land is scarce but to a lesser extent.
At the time of writing, 19,527,443 of a total 21,000,000 have already been mined. And while it is true in general that most land has already fallen into the custody of someone, I’d rather consider the relative value of productive land to that of all other land, as being in an earlier stage of realising it’s true value, and in a similar position to Bitcoin in this respect. As both become more appreciated for their fundamental properties, its logically follows that fewer units of supply will become available over time.
Both appear to me as showing the same reward profile, that is to say producing lower ongoing yields than their fiat alternatives, but a vastly higher potential for increased capital appreciation and utility over time. Where land falls short in the absolute supply, it makes up for in producing stable income and produce. The combination of both under one owner creates a sovereign.
The third and final aspect of limited supply is of course our time on earth as human beings. Understanding that our time is valuable and scarce, it is no surprise to me that neither community cares much for procrastination or waste under the limited supply of life, land and hard money.
I see healthy levels of voluntary cooperation, under an umbrella of mutually beneficial competitiveness in both my roles as a Bitcoiner, and land owner. Charity/voluntary work is active, and is focussed on more specific and manageable problems, with clear objectives, having a closer relevance and benefit to the donor in both spaces. Bitcoiners are well know to fund community projects, and provide funding and support for work that is to the general good of all on the network. I see much of the the same in local real-world communities.
Ranchers and homesteaders often rely more on community networks, sharing knowledge about sustainable practices, livestock care, and crop cultivation. Innovations are broadly adopted. Mistakes are collectively learned from. What is good for your neighbour is good for you – so it is amongst Bitcoiners and their projects. The networks grow in strength and value through good faith participation with fewer incentives to extort or show bad faith.
As a result, both also enjoy the increased value of personal integrity and reputation. While these 2 communities still show limited aspects of the same bad behaviour made normalised and institutionalised in the wider world, the effects of social shame and boycott are amplified in both of these tight-knit and connected spaces. There is simply less room for grift and stupidity. The requirement for prisons and courtroom processes, albeit still required, are often reduced or mitigated.
Personal Growth and Meaning
"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,
but the cultivation and perfection of human beings."
Masanobu Fukuoka from “The One-Straw Revolution”.
"You don't change Bitcoin - Bitcoin changes you"
There are personal and spiritual benefits to managing your own ecosystem, as there are from owning your own money. If you think starting a modest vegetable patch is satisfying, or a walk in a National Park, imagine what doing that at scale in a way that pays for itself must feel like. A diverse land strategy requires more varied job tasks and breadth of function than has become typical – this makes for a more enjoyable and interesting working day.
The physical benefits of outdoor life cannot be understated. Closed environments are inherently unhealthy, sitting in a crouched position for large parts of the day are very unhealthy, shortened hamstrings, weakened spines and feet, all while breathing recirculated air. It’s funny that Bitcoiners, who could be considered unhealthy laptop dwelling nerds (and some are!) and outdoorsmen would have an unknown connection over unprocessed food or the magic of sunlight as it relates to health and happiness.
So returning to meaning and purpose – happier, healthier, purposeful people make better decisions and are better people overall. I hope and pray if more widely adopted, we would see a reverse of the skyrocketing suicide rates and other ‘life sicknesses’ of the globalist economy and the spiritually anaemic existence it offers.
Lastly, and possibly too briefly, in matters of education, children living in a productive environment clearly benefit from that which goes on around them. Typically, education is more flexible and relevant. Like a higher order form of survival skills. Passing on more than money, but a durable means to exist in peace and happiness. This is something I know that Bitcoiners with families are interested in deeply, especially as the schools systems offer less and less. Perhaps being a landowner would assist such families in their broader aims?
History may well come to judge the Baby Boomer generation as morally corrupt (collectively), but ultimately that point of view, compelling as it is, is self defeating and perilous to become lost in, like a Dark Wood of Error.
Just as my forestry contractor focussed solely on the immediate urgency and problems of the conifer forest, we as a society are hyper-focussed on the problems of a late stage debt backed system, often at the expense of appreciating the opportunity it presents for the long term future.
You can’t measure the value of a broadleaf woodland using the criteria of a softwood monocrop, anymore than you can value the potential of a Bitcoin economy from the limited perspective of a fiat worldview. What starts off as a narrow attempt to draw strained parallels between apparently unique and distinct scenarios, zooms out into a coherent and unifying governing principle for ALL scenarios.
Mathematics is the language of Bitcoin >
Bitcoin is the language of Economics >
Economics is the language of Resource Allocation >
Resource Allocation is the language of Land Ownership.
They are neither separate from one another, nor exclusively able to offer true sovereignty to the individual who seeks it from one or the other.
In a derelict forest, or a misallocated economy, all matters dissolve into a simple principle of risk management. Focus must switch away from the desperation of the immediate scene, and who’s fault it is, and focus instead on a strategy of responsibly managing the risk you hold and can’t pass off. Any c**t can be right. It takes a sovereign man to turn the situation to his advantage and produce a better result.
Be critical of collective decisions, and hold the group collectively responsible. But hold no one individual responsible. A reader of a certain age taking personal and direct insult from my real-life observations about collective behaviour is surely immune to irony. However, as a generation, you screwed up and though you may never see the result of it, your kids certainly already are – and they may not be up to the task.
We may live in the late stages of a dying system, poorly and arrogantly defined from the beginning, destined to fail, with risk and wealth hanging at once invitingly and precipitously over our heads. I choose to see though the immediate problem, acknowledging that the end of one cycle is no less the start of another, and recognise the vast opportunity of what follows with direct intervention and a serving attitude.
Landowners and Bitcoiners stand to gain in whatever volatility lies ahead. My belief is that only those with an understanding and connection to both spheres can achieve true sovereignty in our lifetimes. Monetary security is nothing without physical safety, to ignore either is to be dependant, and to be dependent is folly. Hardwoods and hard money for the win.
I hope my own small article will help ‘close the canopy’ between these otherwise separate fields of interest, and not be any the weaker for spanning the gap.
May you never look at a forest (or your parents) the same again!
Stay humble and stack sats/saps
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
"The Road Not Taken" - by Robert Frost