Like many people, I became interested in bitcoin for the first time after many points of contact. I first heard about it in 2013 when I found out that you could buy medicines via the Silk Road on the Dark Web. I’ve looked into buying some bitcoin for this, but the only way I could find out how to get some was by using LocalBitcoins to meet a random person in a coffee shop to make dollars to the bitcoin exchange. It seemed as simple as buying medicine from the internet, so I passed and forgot about bitcoins for a few years.
Fast-forward to the end of summer 2017. The bitcoin price was around $3000 and moving fast. I bought ether. I made a similar mistake to countless others, I thought ether would be the ‘next bitcoin’. I also bought bitcoin, but my wallet was about 50/50. Now, I only own Bitcoin and don’t own any Chetcoins. Buying in the middle of the euphoric phase of the market cycle was an amazing thing and an experience for which I am grateful. Because of all the hype, I had several friends to talk to about the cryptocurrency phenomenon. I watched the price go towards the moon and then the bubble burst. All of these friends gave up while I stayed. I thought I should know more about this thing in which I invested a large portion of my savings. What started as a get-rich-quick scheme turned into a “hero’s journey” that completely changed the course of my life.
One of the first effects that Bitcoin had on me was a huge shift in my priorities. I was a teacher and the summer was on unpaid leave. Normally, I would save enough money during the school year to pay my bills during the summer, and to travel to see Phish. I had just finished the summer and hurt my paycheck to go back to school. Once I got into bitcoins, I started saving as much average dollar cost into bitcoins as possible twice a week. I no longer had FOMO about missing concerts and was happy to listen to performances from home. My initial investment in bitcoin also coincided with the discovery that my partner was pregnant. This exciting news combined with my newfound passion was reason enough to focus more on saving for my family and the future, and focus less on live music and travel. In terms of saving for the future, Bitcoin has inspired me to reduce my time preference in other areas of my life. I wanted to be muscular and that would take a lot of work. For the first time in my life, I started going to the gym regularly to lift weights and work out. Bitcoin tends to rip, and I wanted to feel better about my body. After a year of working out, I notice how my body has changed and I feel great. I am more confident, stronger and happier than ever.
Once you fall down the bitcoin rabbit hole, you will realize that it never ends and goes in many directions. I’ve spent the past four years learning as much as I can about economics, finance, investing, the history of money, and the technological innovations of Bitcoin. Most of these topics were completely new to me. I don’t claim to be an expert in any of them, but I discovered a curiosity about topics I had long ago written off as uninteresting. I have devoured articles for and against Bitcoin, listened to as many podcasts as I could find time for, and read several Bitcoin books (and Bitcoin neighboring) with many others on my desk. This interest in learning all I could about Bitcoin stemmed from knowing how to keep my private keys. I’ve always considered myself a tech expert, but now that I’m down the rabbit hole, I’ve learned how to run node, experiment with multi-signature setups, and start hosting my own data with Start9 Embassy. . The drive I gained from self-mastery continues to influence my approach to life in unexpected ways.
Besides discovering radical independence and self-reliance, my political leanings have changed dramatically. From my teenage years until I found Bitcoin, I would describe myself as a progressive liberal. I voted for Bernie Sanders in 2016. I thought the government was incredibly corrupt, we just needed more of it with the right people in charge. Then we can support everyone who needs government assistance with social welfare programmes. I obviously believe in almost the opposite of these feelings now. I am currently politically homeless, but I deal closely with the position of the libertarian right. I went from passive “resistance” by voting in every election to an active revolution of storing my wealth in a censorship-resistant currency that governments and/or private central banks cannot manipulate.
This hero’s journey ultimately led me to the financial freedom I needed when I decided to leave my teaching job last year. As a teacher of young children who care deeply about child development, social cues, and social and emotional education, I am strongly against hiding children. I was the only one working in the school who spoke out against this inhumane policy. I worked at that school for seven years and worked my way from being an after-school teacher to an elementary school program director, but even my promotion wasn’t enough for me to compromise my values. In Jameson Loeb’s article for Forbes, F-you defined money by saying, “It’s a position of strength; it means that you have achieved complete ownership of yourself and your time. You don’t owe anyone. You can say ‘F-you’ to anyone who offends you without fear of consequences.” Because of Bitcoin, I had the ability to tell the truth and move forward when my integrity was questioned. Another teacher spoke to me privately to express her approval, but she told me she needed the job in order to survive. Fortunately for me, I had the money.
In the end, finding Bitcoin completely changed the direction of my life. She went from a promising future in educational leadership to a major career change without a clear job opportunity. I aim to focus on the growth of the Bitcoin network the way I know it: through education. The purpose of sharing my story is to show the positive effects Bitcoin has had on my life, not just from a financial perspective.
Bitcoin means different things to different people. Some people focus on mining, while others focus on creating hardware and software wallets. Some people focus on development at the top of the Bitcoin stack, others focus on HODLing, and some crazy people focus on day trading (don’t be one of those people!). Some people who love bitcoin are omnivores and others are vegetarian. Some people who like Bitcoin deal with firearms and 3D printing, some like to focus on renewable energy, and some like to focus on politics. Whatever you love about bitcoin, you can find someone else in the space with the same interests. At BitBlockBoom, you’ve discovered how easy it is to connect with others when you have the same basic value system, which is Bitcoin for us. I even found another Phish phan at the conference! If you choose to buy bitcoin, you are deciding to participate in the most global impact technological and monetary revolution for freedom in a completely peaceful way. I hope Bitcoin will make as many improvements in your life as it has in mine. The world is a better place with Bitcoin.
This is a guest post by Craig Deutsch. The opinions expressed are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.
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