Why Do I Buy Bitcoin?

The short answer is that I love a gamble and I see high growth potential. The other reasons are specific to me, but illustrate the value of “crypto” broadly.

I personally need to move money out of one country and into the one I’m moving to. There are millions, perhaps billions of people who would like to do the same.

I’m a young guy with a long time horizon, high risk tolerance (I play poker) and a willingness to buy and hold through crashes in return for growth. Yes, I could buy stocks, but they are at all-high time highs and there aren’t too many “great deals.” I already have a majority of my net worth in US companies. As crypto approaches the mainstream, more people will take my “1% of net worth” approach to “get in the game” as an investment. Bitcoin’s “ceiling” is just massive. As I write this, the market cap is only 36B USD. If this thing ever went fully mainstream, it will increase 100-1000x from today’s price.

I file and pay the taxes I owe, including a five figure amount while living outside the US and making a low salary. That financial blow forced me to plan to minimize taxes legally, for example reporting more deductions. BTC’s tax situation is unclear but others might see it a tax avoidance strategy (to be clear-I do not).

A friend straight up convinced me to get on the bandwagon! Look up ‘network effects’: some systems become more effective, and some resources more valuable, with each additional user. Some obvious examples are social networks and communication systems. 1 Telephone is useless, 2 have some utility, 2000 have significantly more and when everyone has one, the system as a whole is extremely useful. Each new user or investor will bring significant value to all the others. Just as my friend convinced me with, I became a crypto evangelist* trying to get my friends and family to dip their toes in Bitcoin Bay. Even if the pool of users is growing slowly, it is likely to grow exponentially if momentum stays in the right direction.

If. If. If! Yeah, this is still a gamble. Even if you believe in crypto, Bitcoin could be the Betamax, Segway, or Hindenburg of the technology: the initial failure superseded by superior products, an expensive toy of limited value or just a too-early implementation of a neat thing. Even Bitcoin hype men (yes, it skews male) seem to be paranoid about this possibility. You can make up your own mind about this, but I will put my money where my iPhone is and put a sliver of net worth into an exciting dream: the million dollar bitcoin. Let’s F’n Go!

*I could never be a fundamentalist anything- I’m more of a skeptical Reform Judaism Bitcoin guy who would never go full Krypto Kosher but still loves latkes and novelties.

Don’t. Read. This. Blog.

When I say I go against the grain, I’m not fucking around. Seriously, this blog and everything in it are for me and not for you. Additional followers will only increase my stress and delay future publications. Positive praise could trigger anxiety about topping past successes. Negative feedback would probably not affect my self-esteem but could further poison my already dark worldview. There are plenty of fine voices out there, and I recommend you go find them. Thanks for your understanding. Gentle readers, shoo!

Meditation is Magic

Over-the-top praise made me skeptical, but months of meditation has made me a believer. It’s mental cleansing. I’m brainwashing myself, but I choose the methods and goals. Edmond Dantès focused on a revenge mindset, and he got it. I opt for gratitude, resilience, and focus. I choose specific guided sessions on the excellent app “Calm.” Preliminary results astound me. I look forward to continued improvement and impact on the rest of my life. I enjoy my practice, in both senses of the word.  Try it.

The World Needs This Title (Article)

A title is more than a finishing touch. Coming up with them gives me more joy than any other part of the writing process. Good titles immediately reveal an author’s stance. My students constantly overlook titles altogether, both when reading (unforgivable) and writing (baffling)! How should you choose a title? These three tips should improve your process:

1) Provide some juicy hint of what’s to come.
2) Try some wordplay: a pun, metaphor or my favorite, alliteration.
3) Finally, have fun with it and unleash your inner poet!

Taking that next step: Randians, take flight!

Is it hard to really transform and improve yourself? If you’re even asking that question, the answer is yes. To twist a phrase, nothing is easy or hard, only thinking makes it so.* Now, buried lede alert, the vital next step is to help another person, which is even tougher. Randians, take flight, because this step successfully taken will give you everything in life that is fucking sweet: love, friendship, gratitude,  meaning, and impact. But how? Let’s break it down into the top 3 most common challenges.

 

Challenge #1: The person doesn’t want your help. Solution: Don’t help the person.**

Challenge #2: The person wants your help, but either isn’t making progress or isn’t seeing their own progress.  Solution: Keep trying and do your best.

Challenge #3: You don’t know how to help someone. Solution: Be honest with yourself, be honest with them, and keep learning.

 

Helping people invigorates me, my small daily successes in it keep me going (I’m a teacher), and my occasional larger successes in helping others feed my personal “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Give it a try!

 

 

*I believe the soft version of this statement. To me, the “hard” (literal, logical dictionary definition) version of this and almost any other assertion is too restrictive to be 100% percent true. There are almost always exceptions. 😉

**This is the short answer and correct for almost all situations. The long answer is, “First, detach yourself emotionally from any outcome good or bad. Second, recognize that effort spent on someone who doesn’t want it will likely be wasted. Third, recognize that their current attitude might change in the future and you might or might not want to be ready to help them at that point.

Continuing the Theme of Finding Gold in BS,

You can actually find great stories in the sea of clickbait that makes up today’s internet. An unholy mishmash of Facebook and Buzzfeed doesn’t offer much in the way of education or lasting value. (By definition, their goal is to generate so many clicks in a short period of time, tabloid-style.) Paradoxically even “thought-pieces” are devoid of serious thinking.* You do see rare exceptions, for example a recent article about my generation, born in the late 80’s, which will be the last one to remember life before the internet. I won’t touch on the irrelevant question of whether pre- or post- a paradigm shift is “better.”

Don’t be fooled by people who tell you that technology doesn’t change anything, human nature being fixed. That’s true to an extent. The internet has radically altered every single second of our lives. Really. When we have sex, we think about porn. When we play basketball, we are making highlight reels to put on youtube. Donald Trump has come so far on the strengths of his soundbites and gifs, not his oratory.

In pre-internet life, “Experts” had the answers. Kids played outside. Books had mystical properties. You were alone. One commenter writes, “We worked a bit harder at learning what we needed to know – we had to really think to logically connect concepts in our minds.” In the New Yorker, Arthur Miller describes life before the advent of the air conditioner, and shows that AC was a quantum fucking leap in comfort for a majority of the earth’s population for a majority of the year. Now the internet is an even bigger shift and our memories will be the final voice to judge its merits. Now that’s worth more than a click.

 

*Perhaps this blog is not an exception. I dictated most of it while running a mile, and I decided to publish it as an experiment to test the merits of such a writing process.

Am I … New Agey?

I’m a heartless cynic opposed to dogma or didacticism of all stripes, but ironically this distance sometimes allows me to cherry-pick some really cool and/or useful shit from inside the BS I could never “buy into,” like religion, self-help, Philosophy, etc.

Exhibit A: “You need to love yourself before you can truly love others!” Source: verbatim from New Age teaching, that spout of endless nonsense. I don’t even think this is remotely true! Yet if you twist it and rotate it and zoom in, you get “Do you hate yourself?” and “is it good to do so?” Honestly, I do, and hmm, probably not.

Takeaway: It would benefit me to explore my self-hatred and eventually lessen it. I gotta hand it to ya, New Age Wisdom and faux-Buddhists, I wouldn’t have taken this focus without your help. Thanks, guys. But. I can’t resist taking a U-turn from this conciliatory moment to mock your original premise. Yeah, what this world needs is more narcissists! I got your self-love right here [holds massive dick].

Serious and introspective moments like this can come from the unlikeliest places. But probably not Wahhabism.