As mentioned in my introductory article, Bitcoin was a watershed moment in my life. Indeed, at the end of 2012, having lived for two years in Canada, I still knew little about the world around me.
How I stumbled upon Bitcoin is not particularly interesting: I read about it in an article, ignored it, then read some more. When I finally decided to give it due attention, I started with a simple but fundamental question that would jumpstart my journey: "Why do I need bitcoin, and what is wrong with the money I have in my bank account?" Answering it led me to choose a completely different lifestyle, a path less traveled.
I became a better person and found new friends who, by my standards, are better people too.
Better With Money
The most straightforward way bitcoin makes you better is by forcing you to save money. You do not need to be an expert to realize that the current financial system favors spending and penalizes savings.
Credit cards and cheap loans are ubiquitous. Every day new shiny gadgets hit the market and seduce your wallet while your older devices break down unexpectedly due to planned obsolescence. At the same time, if you want to save money, your options are limited. Savings accounts do not beat inflation rates, so, in reality, they should be called "losing accounts." Not to mention negative interest rates that are coming to the bank near you: pay to save!
You are, then, left with investments. But who has time to study investing when they have a job or two? You need to find someone who will take care of your money. And the market is, of course, full of sharks looking for the catch of the day.
If you are a bit more sophisticated than the majority, then you are aware of other asset classes that you can store your wealth in. Precious metals like gold come to mind. Gold has been a good store of value, has it not? Not really.
How does bitcoin fix this? The most important feature of bitcoin is its monetary policy. There is a hard cap on its supply in the amount of 21 million BTC, making it "the hardest money ever invented." It means that the supply will remain intact, no matter how much the demand for the currency grows. Compare it to fiat currencies (like the USD), which can be printed to infinity at almost no cost, or even to gold, which can still be dug out of the ground to increase supply. The basic economic rule of supply and demand tells us that if bitcoin keeps gaining traction (i.e., more people hoard it and transact in it), then its value will increase. It is, indeed, what has been happening for the past ten years.
It follows that bitcoin does not only save your wealth, but it also multiplies it in the long run!
By having a long-term bitcoin stash that you want to keep adding to, you will start forgoing certain things in life. A habitual dine-out? Better cook at home today. A pack of cigarettes daily? Quitting smoking is suddenly an option. The reason for such a behavior change is your sudden realization that all these optional activities may cost you hundreds or even thousands of potential dollars in the future. A $100 meal can become a $1,000 meal if bitcoin's value increases by ten times (which it has done multiple times in the past). In other words, the opportunity cost of spending money on short-term pleasure becomes unbearably high.
This change of attitude has to do with time preference, an economic term that I learned from Saifedean Ammous, author of The Bitcoin Standard. Lower time preference means prioritizing long-term effects over short-term ones. You spend less and save more. In other words, you become better with money. I did.
Better With Knowledge
Having monetary wealth makes your life easier in many ways, no doubt. It gives you a certain amount of power. But wealth is not limited only to money. A truly wealthy person is knowledgeable, too.
Many bitcoiners understand that knowledge combined with money puts them in a superior position. How does bitcoin make you more knowledgeable?
If you are like me, the question at the beginning of this article will be the first of many. It will be your entry into the rabbit hole. With every satisfactory answer, a bunch of new questions will appear. A couple of years in, you will understand that the rabbit hole has no bottom: the amount of useful information out there is virtually unlimited. I say "useful" because there is, of course, a lot of noise, which will follow you wherever you go. You will feel overwhelmed under its weight. With time, however, your "noise filter" will get better, and your path will become more evident. The last thing you want is to end up with a head full of random data that you cannot apply in the real world, except for crossword puzzles and trivia.
If you commit yourself to seeking the truth, you will find it. Not only that, but you will have to stick to it because truth is non-negotiable. People call it "having principles."
Being ignorant about certain things does not make you bad, but knowledge does make you better.
Better With Time
While bitcoin is the most scarce money, there is a far more limited resource that you appreciate better with age: time.
On your journey, you will realize that there is no time to waste on useless information, meaningless relationships, unproductive activities. It is that precious.
If you are lucky enough to know your purpose in life, you will feel more focused on pursuing it. If you have not found your calling yet, the search for it will become the biggest priority. It took me more than five years to learn that I did not have a clear purpose for what I was doing. However, understanding that there is a problem is the first step to solving it. Defining your purpose well may take years or even a whole life. With time, as you are exposed to new knowledge and experiences, it will become more detailed and refined. With purpose, there will be a clear recognition that the limited time you have on this earth is worth... well, everything.
As soon as you become better with time, you will achieve a lot more with less effort because nobody needs to force you to get up in the morning and start working.
Bitcoin fixes many things, both in your life and the world around you. If you study it intimately and understand the real implications of its long-term success, a whole new reality will open up to you whose existence was concealed by a veil of ignorance. Ignorance is not bliss. Choose to live with uncomfortable truths rather than sweet lies.
New to bitcoin? Below are some of the best resources that will help you get up to speed.
- The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous
- Satoshi Nakamoto Institute
- The Bullish Case for Bitcoin by Vijay Boyapati
- The Little Bitcoin Book
- Marty's Bent Newsletter