I thought I should write a post explaining why Bitcoin is so appealing those who get it, or my opinion anyway of what the essence is of this almost religious feeling. I believe bitcoin is a metaphysical level-up from anything having to do with wealth that came before. If this distinction is lost on you, bitcoin is just another investment to you like penny stock #234,234 or a new kind of tulip, but if you do get it, oh boy is this a whole other ballgame! For the first time, humans can store wealth as a pure abstraction. Bitcoin is nothing less than the link between platonic heaven and finance, access to which is a divine superpower.
Platonic heaven contains all possible ideas including all cryptocurrencies. Ideas are cheap and don't accomplish any of this on their own. Maybe someone had a vague idea of "digital cash" before, but it couldn't be implemented properly and certainly not be reliably transacted with, so there was no real link between ideas and money, no solid reliable gateway from one realm to the other. In order to understand how different and fundamentally poorer the world was before bitcoin, we need to consider the best one could do in that direction.
When I was a kid, we thought it would be grand to have a Swiss bank account that the authorities couldn't touch. Even if that had been successful, little did I know that something (then) unimaginably better would come along which makes bank accounts sound like a joke. And of course, a bank balance is merely a debt to you. Better than debt is cash in hand, but that isn't platonic either and at the mercy of governments. We did have something better than fiat too, but commodities such as gold or art are mere physical possessions that can be physically seized, plus they aren't very liquid when you want to transact with their value.
The closest you came to having value in abstract form before bitcoin was intellectual property, if you managed to write a good book or something. Ideas could in a sense be traded, but it was awfully complicated and depended on copyright laws and enforcement by brute force. So you had a Rube Goldberg machine that some people could use to "mine" and resell abstract value, rather than a sure link between ideas and finance. Espionage might also qualify, and expertise. You could sell certain kinds of secrets, but again, it was an extremely hazardous or exclusive business.
I should also mention social status. By belonging to the right group, you can have favors done to you. A gift economy works sort of like a blockchain where wealth is stored in the idea that you deserve it. But again, the link is extremely fuzzy compared to the hard mathematics and self-enforcing consensus of bitcoin.
It took the invention of Nakamoto consensus and the miracle that it caught on as a trusted asset to establish the link I am talking about. So here we are, with a whole other metaphysical level of wealth that you can obtain, hold and transact with as if it were physical possessions, only better and safer. There are also shitcoins, but they only derive some fleeting value from your ability to scam people into thinking they are not superfluous, so pay them no heed other than ways to get more bitcoin.
In slightly less lofty terms, the power of bitcoin lies in its permissionlessness, which is really the same thing as pure abstraction, abstracted from anything but pure freedom. I need nobody's permission to make a new private key which controls an address that nobody needs permission to send to. How different this is from anything that came before is mind-boggling, but perhaps a good majority of people are so accustomed to asking permission for everything they do that they don't even consider this possibility.