The most important thing I’ve learned from crypto

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When I first got into crypto, I was like most people. I wanted to buy low, sell high, then live happily ever after. Basically, I just wanted free money, because after all, who wants to work when you can get something for nothing?

But when the number stopped going up, I realized I better find out what I’d really gotten myself into. And so deeper down the rabbit hole I fell.

What I realized was that while crypto was indeed a revolutionary new technology, there was still a ton of work left before it could fulfill its potential. Basically, my thinking evolved (if that’s what you can call it), from “number go up”, to “devs do something”.

That’s when I stopped lurking and got more active in the community. By which I mean I started actively complaining. I wanted to know why so little progress was being made. Why weren’t the devs doing their job?

At one point I even accused Amaury of holding the network hostage, which he didn’t take too kindly to. His response caused me to do some much needed self-reflection.

I dug even deeper as I tried to better understand the problems Bitcoin ABC was facing. While I couldn’t possibly know all the challenges they had to deal with, one thing I was able to realize was that I wasn’t helping. I was only part of the problem.

I began to sympathize with their situation. Suddenly I could see all the other people who were problems like me. People who demanded everything while contributing nothing–or at least nothing worth noting.

Since I’m no engineer, I didn’t know what I had to offer, but the one thing I could do was stop adding to their problems. So I stopped complaining, for starters. After all, who was I to complain? Who was I to tell someone else how to do something when I couldn’t do it myself? No one forced me to buy those coins. No one promised me the moon, or a lambo, and even if they had, it would have been my choice to believe them.

In the end, I did what I could. I became a Bitcoin ABC supporter. I donated to their fundraisers and wrote articles supporting their work.

All this to say that the most important thing I’ve learned from crypto is this: stop expecting something for nothing.

I was wrong to expect Amaury and Bitcoin ABC to do all the work while I reaped the benefits. But it was actually even worse than that. Not only did I expect to get something for nothing, but I expected others to do what I was simply too lazy to try and do myself.

No one was stopping me from learning C++, or studying how consensus mechanisms work, or the game theory behind it all, but instead of putting in the work to gain the necessary skills, I expected others to do it for me. What does that remind you of?

The truth is if eCash is going to succeed and become a truly decentralized currency, this project needs to grow as quickly as possible. Not just by adding more engineers, but also entrepreneurs, educators, designers, community builders, and most importantly, people who are going to use eCash.

So how do we attract these people? By creating the kind of community that fosters building rather than this mentality of expecting something for nothing that’s become all too prevalent in crypto.

Everywhere I look I see things that are breaking. People in Mississippi are unable to get clean water. In the United Kingdom, 6 in 10 factories are at risk of shutting down due to rising energy costs. Californians are facing rolling blackouts. Supply chains are being disrupted, we’re in danger of food shortages around the world. Meanwhile, all any of us seem to do is complain about our leaders. In other words, we expect something to change while doing nothing about it.

Maybe this is what inevitably happens when society comes to rely too heavily on central authorities. We expect them to take care of everything because we’ve forgotten how to take care of ourselves.

This is why I’m passionate about the eCash project. Because I believe it can help show us a better way.

What I want more than anything is for my boys to become men who can take care of themselves, but I also want them to live in a free society full of people who understand what it takes to preserve that freedom.

Recently, my wife and I watched this show called “We Own This City” that depicted the corruption of the Baltimore City Police Department during the 2010’s. It was hard not to get angry seeing the despicable actions of the police officers and how utterly broken the system was. I told my wife this is why I support gun rights, and that I’d want to live in a world where people can protect themselves so they don’t have to rely on a police department. Her response was telling. She said, “No one wants that, they just want someone else to do it for them.”

To me this is the fundamental problem that needs fixing in the world right now. We’ve become too reliant on broken systems run by flawed human beings. The way I see it, true decentralization is about more than having a bunch of computers around the world running the same piece of software. I don’t just want redundancy when it comes to the number of nodes on a network, I want redundancy in terms of the number of people who believe in liberty and freedom.

I know changing the minds of billions of humans is a tall order. That’s why I hope we can start by focusing our efforts on the eCash project. I want to help build a community of people who don’t expect something for nothing. People who look to contribute rather than complain while expecting others to do everything for them.

Because eCash is an open source project, anyone can review the codebase and help improve it, and because it’s a decentralized cryptocurrency, anyone can earn coins in exchange for providing security to the network, or purchase XEC on the open market to invest in the project’s future.

We might not be able to fix our governments, or private institutions like Google, Facebook, or Coinbase, but what we can do is help make eCash the best money in the world by creating a culture that attracts builders, not speculators; people who want to contribute value rather than just looking to suck value out of the system while contributing nothing themselves.