The unsustainable immutability of Tulips

Real tulips

“This is the story of the most absurd bubble of all times: back in the 1600’s, the Dutch got speculations fever—to the point where you could buy a beautiful house by the canal in Amsterdam for the price of one bulb. They called it tulipmania.- The market crashed and they gave you 10 bulbs for 2 bucks, people lost everything. But who remembers?

Gordon Gekko

“Who still remembers?”. Those who recall of that financial event thanks to this cinema citation, would recall it wrong as things didn’t went exactly so.

However I wouldn’t like to discuss the real history behind “Tulip mania” per se but about the fact that, since the appreciation of Bitcoin after 2010, several skeptic commentators happily called bitcoin as “tulips” and depict its value growth as “tulip bubble”.

The bull run times, when there is an immediate pump of the value of Bitcoin, are really similar to the story of tulip bubble? Are bitcoin tulips? And if tulips were like bitcoins?

Bitcoins have their own features, let’s quickly analyze some of them:

  • bitcoins are limited
  • bitcoins are immutable
  • bitcoins are remotely transferable

Tulips can have these features ?

Let’s imagine a world like ours, but where tulips are the main currency since decades, and dig into a brief story of a parallel fantasy world.

Tulipland chronicles

Tulips are special kind of flowers and are used as a means of exchange for goods and services since a long time.

In june 2020 tulips in circulation are exactly 18.485.425 and will get to (allowing a strictly selective growth) to its maximum of 21 milions of mature flowers in 2140.

Unfortunately nature is not 100% compliant to human made rules and sometimes it allows wild tulips to growth randomly, which are not really counted and completely illegal. So, in order to adhere to its tulip-based economic system, a new central controlling entity was created, the so called Tulip Police, which had to control each newborn tulip that may led to destabilization of the limited number of tulips in circulation. The Tulip Police (TP) had an enormous number of work force: just to name one, to keep control of twelve tulips garden in a oriental kingdom, 1000 tulip officers were needed; for each new tulip in the world, an agent had to find it and take it away. A really dire job that led these men to have no sleep!! 

The reader will ask: how does the immutability of tulip is kept under control?

Oh, that’s another difficult one!

Tulips, aside being controlled in numbers, are also controlled in their properties over time. Tulips, as depletable entities, are subject to time and climatic factors, are constantly monitored to preserve their “immutability”! For any tulip there was a personal card, constantly updated by notaries around the world, where every characteristics (every one!) has to kept noted. For each tulip in decading phase, another very similar one were found (often a clone) that would replace the original one when it died. Every fraud attemp is a crime, but rarely someone goes to prison since almost all population were either a notary or a TP policeman.

Now, Bitcoin can be transferred online, and tulips? How does commerce works globally with tulips?

Well, if it was already difficult to keep the maximum number of tulips and their features under control, it’s even more difficult to make any exchange! For each tulip exchanged, it was required to follow a long, laborious and costly procedure along with a notary and a TP agent.

Imagine someone named Linda from Rome decided to send its 1.42 tulips to Giacomo in Milan: Linda to send 1.42 tulips has to follow a long bureaucratic iter: must go to a notary and a TP agent available in that particular day, and must have kept a generous commission to pay the service. Linda calls the notary and agent and must explain them that she wants to send 1.42 tulips to Giacomo. Notary has to managed a commodity tulips future contract: “So, you must send 1 physical tulip with us today, and the rest of 0.42 will be paper written”. 

“Let me explain this further: of the second tulip we must distinguish the two parts of 0.42 + 0.58, which the first one will be Giacomo property with the contract we are proposing to sign to you and with the presence of at least two testifiers, in this case me and the agent. We will make a copy of the contract and the original will be registered and stored in our archives in a permanet crystallized display case to be available for public scrutiny, along with a copy for you and one for Giacomo.” 

“The second tulip will be kept in its vase but you will not be able to use the 0.42 since its notarized that partial is owned by Giacomo.”

And here it is, the notary and agent began to certificate the property of things from the color of petals, to age, to length, number of petals and parassite, available damages and so on.

Once registered every data the notary consult with the TP agent and began phone calling Milan: in that city must be make 1 tulip available as much as similar to the one that has to be moved phisically. Once found, often in the secret militarized reserve of tulips and not available to free market, the first tulip from Linda will be eradicated from vase and destroyed. Taking his place a new one exist in Milan, “sent” to Giacomo along with a contract signed of 0.42 tulip value (+ VAT). What the hell!

In this short text we imagined how some characteristics of Bitcoin can be transfereed to tulips, obviously for other properties like programmability and notarization, the work of fantasy is almost unfeasable, but we would like to encourage our most audacious readers to try and send us their own stories, if you like. Happy tulips to all!

Marco Amadori
Marco Amadori ceo @