Who am I? What do I believe? These do not matter. I know what question you have, and the answer is (enough) BTC.
I can’t promise to update this regularly, or at all after this one posting, but here’s me thoughts on the ride so far and guesses on the future:
"Baby, aren’t you into that?"
Unlike some of the other early ones, I fortunately — God is merciful — do not have a wife. What I have is a long-term girlfriend, and I’m under no legal obligation to spend any of my hoard to impress her dumb friends.
Got in early, after talking about it for a week or so with her, and then never mentioned it again. “Treat it as if it doesn’t exist, check back on it in a year,” was my thinking.
She saw something about bitcoin in USA Today, and from there it has been a Gestapo re-enactment in our apartment.
"Baby, how many did you buy? Did you keep them?"
Very few people know about my BTC interest. I told her at that point not to tell her parents, not to tell her friends, no more than you would tell acquaintances you have a million in a duffel bag under the sofa. I explained that we need to continue to play the game of appearing middle class for the next year or two. “We’re like spies,” I told her, trying to frame this in a playful way.
So far she’s been good, to be honest. I wouldn’t be with her otherwise. American men are indoctrinated with neediness of all kinds: financial neediness, status symbol neediness, body image neediness, and of course pussy neediness. This helps advertisers sell you a $50,000 car, but it doesn’t help you break free.
The way I see it is that a relationship, no matter how great, won’t stand between me and discarding the middle class like a hermit crab’s abandoned shell when the moment comes. If my hardline stance on not selling too early ruins our relationship, that’s fine: then my potential access to other great women becomes x - 1, whereas before it was x. That’s still a lot of women.
Where it will go
I’m staying in for the same reasons I got in. If you’ve ever spent more money than you should on something that gives you pleasure - a weekend fishing trip in Wyoming, front row at Cirque de Soleil, whatever - you already understand this. I got in when I did, with a bit more than I was comfortable with, because the very idea of Bitcoin brought me pleasure. A world where the Visa and MasterCard logo are forced to share space with ‘Bitcoin accepted here.’ A world where bankers go to sleep at night stressed and watching their dwindling assets on the screen is a world where the rest of us can sleep well.
Do I pity people who didn’t get in early? Not at all. I’m the guy who bought concert tickets six months out, got front row for a steal. You’re the guy who bought it a month out, paid more for shittier seats. But you’re still at the concert. That’s what matters. And that puts you way ahead of the people who didn’t buy tickets at all, who watched it on a shaky youtube video the next day.
They’ll be comfortably upper middle class, freed from the treadmill. I’ll be in la la land.
Some people can’t see
Bitcoin didn’t go up 4,100% in a year because of “hype.” Believe me, there are many who want to discredit Bitcoin and watch the whole thing tumble down. They just don’t know how. You can’t destroy the pious, and Bitcoin is the single most pious financial instrument humans have cooked up since the cuneiform ledger books of ancient Mesopotamia.
It’s going up because our world is changing. The Chinese have stopped hoarding US dollars, a shocking change in policy that many of my fellow USAers are sadly unaware of. We can chant USA! USA! until our vocal chords fry, but that won’t make our economic privilege come back from the dead. The world is moving on without us. Go buy Mad Men on DVD, because that’s the closest you’ll come to seeing another American golden age. But that’s okay. We’re still good people, we still own one of the most productive swaths of land on the planet, we’ll do OK.
But those who understand the shifts happening will do better than OK. “Life changing” has been misused by late night infomercials so many times that when something actually is life changing, the sheep turn the other way and continue to munch on their delicious, predictable grass.
There’s a coffee shop barista I go to often who looks like one of the hipsters you’d see in an iPhone commercial. She’s supposed to know about all the new trends, but when I asked her if the shop has considered taking Bitcoin, I had to explain to her what a Bitcoin was.
"You’ve never heard of it? Really?" I asked, delighted - this is good news for the slightly-less-early adopters, in my mind.
That conversation sparked my curiosity, and I spent an afternoon at the mall asking cashiers and clerks if they knew what Bitcoin was. The only person who knew anything was a young Asian dude selling tobacco vape pipes at a kiosk.
My background is in maths and finance, so apologies in advance for blatantly appealing to your base emotional instincts here, but I’m going to do so anyway.
Consider a lottery ticket. You’re not going to win. You KNOW you’re not going to win. But you play anyway.
Bitcoin is a lottery ticket you could actually win. Even if Bitcoin becomes more popular than the Discover card, which apparently still exists, it will make all of us more than satisfied.
I’m seeing more and more of these types on discussion boards that talk BTC, and although it first annoyed me (desperation is annoying, isn’t it?), I now see it as yet another leading indicator: if BTC weren’t perceived as valuable, people wouldn’t be so swiftly giving up their social value and dignity in exchange for 0.005 BTC.
The more beggars, the more confirmation that BTC is money.
And I sometimes give. Sending someone an unexpected tip for a job well done - a good ebook on Bitcoin wallet security for example - or buying something from a small business that just started accepting Bitcoin - is part of the responsibility that us early adopters must take on.
What would Bruce Wayne do? (Probably sit in his mansion for a year, hobble around on his cane, and put his paper wallet in a vault… bad example.)
In all seriousness, though, there is a responsibility. The biggest threat to Bitcoin is that people won’t actually use it. Have to give a little to get a lot in return. And sometimes that little tip or buying that florist’s arrangement with BTC is the spark that converts them. You see something in their eye. They’re a part of the club now, enlightened. And they will spread the gospel to other shop keepers.
As a friend put it, “You’ll never go broke by giving to people.” That’s completely true - you only go broke when you selfishly try to make too much, too quickly, with too little research or effort.
I must admit, I did sell one BTC in a moment of weakness. I wanted money for a new laptop. The price went up significantly just after that, as if a sign from the gods. Selling that one coin still fucking stings, I’m not kidding. But the seeding I’ve done hasn’t hurt at all. It feels good. Johnny Appleseed.
If it fails
If all goes to hell and my hoard becomes worth nothing, I’ve been given the gift of an exciting internal life for the past few months. I won’t regret any of this and reality sometimes, not always, rewards bravery. My ideology is the same, my belief in a new, more fair world is the same. Bitcoin is fair. Won’t get into the technical details as you probably already know them, but no bank offers you its equivalent of a block chain to review at any time. And no major currency today is as supply/demand market-based as BTC. There’s no wizard behind the curtain, there’s just you and me, hoping for a better future.
One year from today, I’m either back to where I was before this shared hallucination, which is completely OK - or I’m in a suite at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC for a 3 day weekend, treating my girlfriend to a bottle of champagne and giving her a white gold necklace from Bergdorf’s. Then going to dinner at the steakhouse nearby my father took me to after I graduated college. I have this image very clearly held in my mind.
I don’t know you, but I do wish you well. Rather than recommend anything technical - wallets, web sites, etc - I want to ask you to watch There Will Be Blood on Netflix if you haven’t seen it yet. Fantastic acting. The point where he strikes silver and then falls down the well. That’s where I feel Bitcoin is at right now. We haven’t struck the real oil yet.
This blog is for entertainment purposes only, is not licensed investment advice, is provided without warranty or guarantee of any sorts, and is not meant to be a financial disclosure statement for tax or bookkeeping purposes.