Vote With Your Money, And Your Feet

Individual voting, often considered a civic duty, has a statistically negligible impact on election outcomes. Studies show minimal difference between Republican and Democratic state governments on various policy outcomes.

Politicians often declare every election as the “most important of our lifetimes” to rally their supporters. However, despite increased voter turnout, change remains elusive.

Government keeps growing, but trust and satisfaction in government institutions continues to decline. 70% of Americans trust the presidency “some or very little” and economic confidence among U.S. adults is –41 on a scale of –100 to 100. 74% of Americans think economic conditions are worsening.

Vote With Your Money

There are other ways that individuals affect change besides voting in elections. For example, consumers “vote” with their money all the time when they choose which goods and services to purchase. This serves as a signal to producers, such as entrepreneurs and companies, about what the market wants them to produce.

An infamous example is the launch of “New Coke” by Coca-Cola in 1985. Furious consumers rejected the new flavor. Some even started campaigns to urge the company to return the original Coke product. In less than a year, Coca-Cola reversed course and admitted the mistake.

Today, marketers remember New Coke as perhaps the most famous product flop in history. But the episode also demonstrates the rapidity of consumer feedback loops – and the impact people have when they vote with their money.

Vote With Your Feet

Another approach is “voting with your feet,” or relocating to areas where the cultural environment, economic opportunities, and other factors better align with your priorities. As populations shift, governments are motivated to adapt their policies to maintain their tax base.

During the pandemic and its aftermath, many Americans relocated away from states with strict policies of business and school closures. A migration of historic proportions took place as people moved from states like California and New York to places like Florida and Tennessee. California’s population declined in 2020 for the first time in over a century.

Money 2.0 Is Even More Powerful

Bitcoiners are taking these actions to another level by opting out of fiat money entirely. However, this may give rise to unique challenges depending on where they live. That raises the question, which locations best serve bitcoiners needs?

As we looked for answers, we were inspired to consolidate our research into a report that we call the Bitcoin Index. Each U.S. state is ranked (<0 – 100) according to their alignment with the likely priorities of bitcoiners.

The Bitcoin Index


Inspirations for the Index include the Sound Money Defense League’s Sound Money Index as well as the Cato Institute’s Freedom in the 50 States Index. The Free State Project in New Hampshire, which aims to attract enough libertarians to the state to influence policy in a pro-freedom direction, was another source of inspiration. However, what sets the Bitcoin Index apart is that it is written by bitcoiners, for bitcoiners.

Composing The Bitcoin Index

The Bitcoin Index provides an analysis of all 50 states using nine indicators across four top-level categories: Cost of Living, Business Friendliness, Monetary Freedom, and Proactive Positioning. We allocate up to 25 points per category, with a maximum of 100 points per state. States can receive negative points for policies that are significantly out of sync with bitcoiner priorities.


Cost of Living

Cost of Living is estimated by considering tax burden, electricity, and housing costs.

Business Friendliness

Business Friendliness indicators include right-to-work, business climate, and fiscal stability.

Monetary Freedom

Monetary Freedom is estimated using money transmitter licensing requirements and mining regulations.

Proactive Positioning

Proactive Positioning is based on a single indicator that captures nuances that traditional metrics do not include, such as statements made in favor or against bitcoin by public officials in the state.

Using The Index

Technology has given us the freedom to choose where we live and work, while the number of people who own bitcoin is increasing every day. With higher mobility and the rise of remote work, governments will need to pay more attention to the needs of bitcoin owners when formulating policies.

It’s not inconceivable to imagine national and regional governments worldwide setting up rules and regulations explicitly to attract bitcoiners. It already happened in El Salvador, and while researching the Bitcoin Index, we discovered that it is happening in several U.S. states as well.

We hope that the bitcoin community finds the Bitcoin Index useful as a guide to help find the ideal places to live, work, and raise a family in a community that aligns with their values.

This is a guest post by Dave Birnbaum, in collaboration with David Waugh. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

As the product director at Coinbits, Dave Birnbaum leads a team that is making Bitcoin user friendly for the next generation of Bitcoiners. He is a prolific inventor, with dozens of patents in fintech, VR, communications and more. He lives outside of Nashville.

David Waugh is a business development and communications specialist at Coinbits. He previously served as the managing editor at the American Institute For Economic Research.