What crypto has taught me

Lesezeit: 6 protokoll

Hello, this is Cain, and you’re listening to the proof of writing podcast.

I was recently told by someone that I’d changed. They didn’t say it in a negative or positive way. It was just an observation. One that I didn’t disagree with, because I’ve probably changed more in the last few years than at any other point in my adult life other than maybe the four years I was in college.

So what caused me to change so much during these past few years? Crypto, of course. Being in crypto has taught me all kinds of things I never knew about. It’s opened my eyes to new perspectives and world views that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. Because that’s what crypto does. It leads you down this rabbit hole where you encounter new people, new technologies, and new ideas. You learn about history, computer science, economics, and society in general.

The truth is my dream was always to become a novelist, so naturally all I used to read was fiction, and literary fiction at that. But once I got into crypto suddenly I was reading books by Milton Friedman, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Plato, the book of Matthew, and so on. I learned new terms like the bozo explosion, and commitment strategy, and schelling points. I learned about concepts like technical debt and technical decay, the economic calculation problem, voluntaryism, libertarianism, anarchocapitalism, and much more.

I’m not going to pretend I’m anything close to an expert on any one of those things, but what’s important to me is that I was at least introduced to them. To these different ideas and ways of thinking.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you like some kid telling you about every single thing they know about animals, but what I thought I’d do is talk about three areas in which I feel like I’ve gained new insight as a result of crypto and how they’ve changed my way of thinking, starting with one that might surprise you: religion.

Many people have compared Bitcoin and crypto to religion before, and I can see why. I’ve written a bit about this in the past, but despite having grown up attending church every Sunday with my mom and my brother, I never saw myself as this religious person. It’s not that I had anything against religion, I just never felt whatever it is you’re supposed to feel when you go to church. I would see the people with their hands raised up during praise and ask myself if they really felt something, or were they just pretending. To be honest, I was kind of jealous. I really wanted to feel what they felt, even if just once, just to see what it felt like, to see if it’s something I even wanted to feel. To be clear, I don’t consider myself an atheist, either. Basically I don’t know if God is real or not, just like I don’t know if heaven is real or not.

If you look closely, there are plenty of parallels between religion and crypto, but one parallel I see is how they sometimes refer to people who are really into crypto as “true believers”. You don’t see that on crypto twitter much these days, but I’ve definitely been called a true believer in the past. I kind of see it like referring to a die hard Christian as a holy roller. And I take no offense to being called a true believer, because it’s true.

Even now, I still genuinely believe that crypto has the potential to change the world. Because while I haven’t made up my mind about the existence of heaven, I’m convinced that crypto can make it possible for us to live in a kind of heaven on earth. A world full of freedom, and abundance, a place where kids can grow up free to explore, and have fun, and achieve whatever they set their minds to.

As an American, I’m supposed to live in the greatest country in the world, but it sure doesn’t feel like it these days. I’m worried about its future. Every day my friends share links to news articles about the latest robbery in the area. Literally every day. I also can’t help but see the growing injustice in the world, and I wonder where it’s all headed. So while some people put their faith in God, I’ve put my faith in crypto as a potential solution, and for the first time I finally think I understand what those people in church were feeling. That sense of calling, and the conviction that if everyone believed in the Lord almighty, the world would be a better place.

For the devout, they have faith that God will bring them salvation. For me, what I’m betting on is crypto and that it can finally empower us to separate money from the state. It may not bring me salvation, but I’m counting on it creating more freedom in the world.

I’m guessing some people hearing this are saying to themselves what the hell is he talking about separating money from the state. Well, if that’s you, you’re in luck because those just happen to be the other two topics I’ll be talking about today.

Let’s start with money. Before crypto, I never thought about money other than wanting more of it just like everyone else.I never thought about how our money worked, or where it came from. Only after I became interested in crypto did I start piecing things together. Like the fact that we have no choice but to use money that is issued by central banks, these central authorities who get to just print it out of thin air without any real accountability. How these bureaucrats get to manipulate our economy while having no idea what they’re doing. Of course I knew about inflation, and even hyper inflation, but I only thought of that as something that happened in other countries, not here. And that was really the extent of my knowledge when it came to money. I never gave much thought to fractional reserve banking, or the national deficit, or even taxes. I just accepted that our financial system and our money always worked that way and always would. But then crypto made me see that money isn’t just this thing, it’s a technology. It’s a way for us to communicate, to signal what we value as a society, it allows us to trade, and invest, and motivate. But the money we’ve been using all our lives hasn’t been working as well as it once did. Instead of our money being used to fix things, it’s being used to take advantage of others, or to cover-up mistakes. And this is where crypto has opened my eyes, not only to the fact that our money is failing us, but that there’s a better way. Crypto offers us the chance to have a totally new kind of money. If we think of dollars, euros, and won like the horse and buggy, crypto is like the internal combustion engine. Something not just incrementally better, but exponentially better.

I know there’s a lot of work left to do, but I have faith that crypto has the potential to take humanity to the next level. That it can be money that is as fast as the speed of light, as frictionless as a superconductor, relying on a network that is always running, always cheap, and what Milton Friedman famously described as a reliable eCash that can help reduce the role of government.

Which brings us to the final topic for today.

For a long time, I never gave much thought to the government. Like my entire twenties I probably thought about the government less than 0.001% of my waking hours. But growing up, I’d say I thought of the government as a good thing. A lot of it came from my mom who was grateful for what the US government had provided for us when we needed it most. I’ve also written about this before, but not too long after we came to this country, my father passed away, leaving my mother to raise me and my brother on her own. She’d never really worked before. She spoke hardly any English. And in a lot of ways the only reason we survived was because we had help from the government. So of course I saw the government as being good for society. Government is also what gave us order. They built the roads. They provided the military to protect us from invaders. They paid for schools, and medical care, and the fire department. I saw politicians as being chosen by the people, for the people, to do what’s right, and have integrity, and to be better than the rest of us.

But unfortunately, that’s not what I’m seeing today. I honestly don’t know who or what to believe these days. Times have changed. Technology has changed. And just as I think it’s time for our money to evolve, I also think it’s time for governments to evolve. But that will have to wait until the next episode of the Proof of Writing podcast, when I talk about a new kind of government.

That’s it for this week, and as always, thanks for listening.