Time to improve my football article.
I’m On Team Bitcoin
Being part of a team, whether it be playing a sport or participating in a decentralized financial system like Bitcoin, is a valuable experience. As a matter of fact playing football for 11 years helped me see the value in Bitcoin when I was first introduced in 2017. Like most I was tempted to venture away from Bitcoin only and start dabbling in shitcoins because as any wanna be investor knows “diversification is key”. Ironically enough it was not until I hung up my football cleats 3 years later that I started to understand why Bitcoin is completely different from the rest of the space. I was looking for something to fill the hole in my heart after my football career was over so I started spending more time in the Bitcoin space. Games and sports provide a way for individuals to unwind, relieve stress, improve cognitive function, and foster social connections. Without my favorite game I was lost. Football helped me get an education at a solid university, it helped me make some of the best friends I still have today, and it helped me avoid obesity, which as someone who is a glutton for good food is no easy feat. I’ve found going down the Bitcoin rabbit hole has done all those thing and then some. For example, I’ve started learning how to code, I’ve met tons of new friends online and in-person, I’ve become more religous, I started a family (which Bitcoin Twitter definitely helped convince me was a worthwhile thing to do), and I’ve been doing some fasting which is something I never even considered until I heard some Bitcoiners talking about its benefits. It’s weird to think that computer code can have such a profound impact on both individuals and civilization as a whole. Bitcoin brings together people from around the world to work towards a common goal of a decentralized financial system. This is the key because as Henry Kissinger said
“Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.”
I’ve found Bitcoin to be a bit of a paradox in the sense the community is both global and inclusive, and local and exclusive. As someone who has been a part of many different teams, Team Bitcoin is unlike any team I’ve ever been on. Anyone can run a Bitcoin node with an old laptop to send and receive transactions. At the same time if you venture into Bitcoin twitter and start spatting off about alt-coins in the wrong circles you will quickly get to experience the wrath of the cyber hornets. The way I think about my journey in the crypto space is I started off on the JV super excited and ill prepared to compete. 5 years and some change later and I feel like I’m slowing getting comfortable articulating why Bitcoin is the innovation and everything else is fiat 2.0.
One of the awesome things about football is that no matter how many championships you win there is always another one to go after next season. Just look at Tom Brady, who also fell victim to the broader crypto space. If and when he ever decides to hang up the cleats I remain hopeful he can learn from his mistakes and see Bitcoin only is the way. Some people are too far gone to save, but for those who haven’t put in the proof of work to see why Bitcoin and crypto are completely different I implore you to do so. Being a part of the Bitcoin community is full of challenges and adversity, but it is where some of the strongest friendships and bonds are forged. It’s on thing to call yourself decentralized and another thing to actually be a decentralized network. It is important for experienced Bitcoiners to guide and educate those who show potential on their journey towards a true understanding of Bitcoin. I would be remiss to mention that the whole point of Bitcoin’s bottom-up approach is to offer people the sovereignty to choose on their path. It’s been great to see all the educational resources coming online since Covid shocked the world in 2020. It takes a lot of repetition for things to click so I’ll try and say this as simply as possible: Bitcoin Maximalism is the virtuous position, everything else is noise.
When you are playing a team sport it is fair to say that a team is only as strong as its weakest player. However, in the crypto community that might be a bit of stretch to say considering this space attracts both the best and brightest as well as the most despicable delinquents. If Bitcoin is going to break away from crypto we need to come together as a team and help our most under-educated members realize that perception and reality are starkly different. The best sports teams I’ve been a part of lifted up their weakest links. That doesn’t mean we kept people on the team who weren’t willing to put in the work. It means those who have shown they are committed were lifted up while the ones hanging around for the clout who were not willing to work got kicked to the side. At some point the junior varsity football players would grow up and reach the varsity level. It’s no perfect metaphor but that’s how I look at altcoin holders who just need to do more work to fully embrace the Bitcoin philosophy and decentralized nature. In that same round table discussion someone brought up an amazing Odell quote that goes “I’m bullish on Bitcoin but more bullish on Bitcoiners”. I can’t think of a better way to frame it. No matter the outcome of bitcoin nothing will take away the friendships and bonds I’ve made because of this random software that has turned out to be the best money humanity has ever had. I‘ll never stop laughing about how one white paper has had such profound changes on the individuals who interact with this new form of money. Some would call Bitcoin a mind virus because those who go down the rabbit hole can’t stop talking about. I’d argue Bitcoin is the antidote to the problems of fiat currency. Those on the team understand this and that’s why they’re all in.
This is my personal anecdotal experience so I’d say go verify for yourself instead of trusting me. With that disclaimer I can confidently say I’ve seen Bitcoiners to be more invested in the growth and success of their community members, than in the success of the technology itself. Which is not to say they aren’t invested in making sure the technology succeeds. Bitcoin just helps you realize that the most important things in life don’t necessarily come from having a certain amount of wealth. They come from having meaningful relationships. From starting familes, from being a good community member, from trying to do your part as an individual to live in the world you want to see. I’ve heard multiple people tear up on Bitcoin podcasts and I’ve done so myself while listening because WE CARE. We care deeply about fixing the world, about educating others, and about righting the wrongs that are becoming more and more apperant by the day. Many, myself included, came to Bitcoin because number go up and while I can’t speak for everyone I’ll say the reason I stayed is because I believe with every fiber of my being that Bitcoin is the best hope humanity has to fix the world.
These metaphors I’ve listed above are far from perfect but the idea holds true. So far in 2023 we’ve seen what looks to be the start of another bull market. I can confidently say after being humbled through two cycles I have absolutely no idea which was the direction of this coin is going in USD purchasing power terms. What I do know is that when bitcoin is in it’s dead phase you don’t see as many “JV players” coming to celebrate with the true Bitcoiners. At least not until the next bull market. So if this is a fake pump remember the bear market is a great time to build. Bitcoiners are a unique breed of people. The best friendships are formed in the bear market and when you find your team start writing, coding, podcasting, hosting a Bitcoin meetup, or whatever else floats your boat. If it turns out this is the start of the next bull market then do all these things and remember to stay humble. If we are going to get to a Bitcoin standard it is going to take proof of work. I was fortunate enough to attend a Bitcoin dinner for Mass Adoption and at that dinner everyone went around the table talking about their experience with Bitcoin. When it was my turn to present I talked about my 11 years of football and the hole I felt in my heart after hanging up the cleats. I had no idea doing a legitimate deep dive into Bitcoin would fill that hole and then some. Going to meetups in my area and meeting like minded individuals was cathartic. I’ve made a whole new set of friends who I know are willing to go to battle with me. The same feeling I had about my teammates after a brutal training camp heading into the regular season is the feeling I have with the friends I’ve made at Mass Adoption. Some would call Bitcoin a mind virus because those who go down the rabbit hole can’t stop talking about. I’d argue Bitcoin is the antidote to the problems of fiat currency. Those on team Bitcoin start taking more self-sovereignty, save more, create value, and work towards a better future. I’ve been on a lot of teams throughout my life and I’m grateful I found team bitcoin to help make sure I don’t give into the nihilism team fiat is poisoning the world with.
Of course, the transition is far from over and the mainstream media will never stop painting Bitcoin as either dead or a bubble. It will take a whole new set of media outlets filled with Bitcoiners who understand the potential for true decentralization and the benefits it brings. I’m confident these outlets end up replacing the old outlets soon enough. In a bull market, many new participants join the community, and the true Bitcoiners know that many of these “JV players” are not yet ready to fully understand and embrace the true potential of Bitcoin. So whatever happens let’s remain patient, teach those who have sinned with their shitcoins, and ignore those who are beyond saving. Bitcoin is not just a new form of money, it’s a community of individuals who strive for self-sovereignty, savings, and a better future. It’s a team worth being a part of.
Still got a lot to do in terms of editing and making the whole thing coherent but that work is for another day. I did a great podcast with fellow Bitcoiner, Tim, and I will have that out shortly. Also watched the first two episodes of The Last Of Us and that was great. Sidetracked me from finishing up this essay but that’s alright. Will be good to get another day of writing in.
Life is good. I’m enjoying being down here at my girl’s parents and I randomly decided to fast today. While I’ve been having cravings it hasn’t been that bad. I do feel some mental clarity and I’m so excited for breakfast tomorrow. Cheers anon.
Conor Jay Chepenik