Can a Book Make You See Bitcoin Sympathetically?

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  1. A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption.
  2. Key Takeaway:
A barbell that has weights only to one side
Photo by Victor Freitas at Pexels

Let me guess your thoughts seeing the above title: “An article about bitcoin? Another one? Now that its price has dropped by more than half? And what’s with the barbell photo, what does it have to do with anything?

Patience is a virtue

~ Cato the Elder

I was skeptical about publishing this article during this conjuncture. But, this morning I conclude that now is the best time for someone to learn and invest in bitcoin.

Warren Buffett said:

Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful

Buy the Dip.

Disclaimer: I am like you. (And definitely not a financial advisor)

Skeptical, but also curious. Hesitant, but persuaded that knowledge is power. That is why I’m trying (not always with success) to overcome my inherent decision plagues:

  • the Anchoring bias: we rely heavily on the first piece of information we learned about a subject (“bitcoin is a scam”)
  • the Confirmation bias: we find and remember information that confirms our perceptions (we only pay attention to articles that agree with our existing impression about bitcoin)
  • the Dunning-Kruger Effect: the less you know, the more confident you are (we don't understand how it works, something with a blockchain, I'm sure it is mambo-jumbo)
  • the Status Quo Bias: we prefer things to stay the same (only governments should issue money, currency can't be decentralized),

and the especial relevant in this case:

  • the Zero-Risk Bias: we prefer to reduce even small risks to zero, even if we can reduce more risk overall with another option (a 5% of our investment won't hurt us much if we lose it, but a 10X of this 5% would make a big difference in our investments portfolio)

I changed my negative opinion about bitcoin. I will guide you to my perspective so you can decide for yourself.

l will even use the help of the essayists Jean-Paul Sartre and Nasim Taleb to support my case..!

Like many of us, I used to wonder what’s the difference between bitcoin with any digital file that we can share? How a currency can even exist without a government or a bank to issue and support it? It didn't make sense.

But...

The world's richest man, Elon Musk tweeted some months ago that he would accept BITCOIN, as payment for buying a Tesla (eventually).

New York’s Mayor Eric Adams converts his paycheck to Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Microstrategy, a multi-billion-dollar company, invests a big part of its profit in bitcoin.

El Salvador, the country, made Bitcoin legal tender by September of 2021 and invest in it. As of 2022, the Central African Republic has begun its adoption.

Even Gucci “goes Crypto” with US Stores to start accepting crypto payments

The Winklevoss Brothers. They rose to fame for hiring Mark Zuckerberg to build a precursor to Facebook, achieving a net worth of 4 billion dollars each. They have done it due to their early investment in bitcoin. That's why they are the…

Bitcoin Billionaires

A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption.

A book by Ben Mezrich

That’s the book that changed my perception of bitcoin and the blockchain revolution.

What I did before reading this book:

For years, bitcoin appeared from time to time on my radar but as something unfathomable.

When its price climbed to $ 10,000 I understand that I was overlooking something important. Intrigued, I tried to learn more about it.

But, I was under the influence of confirmation bias. I paid attention only to the articles that align with the “bubble” perspective. Many articles justified its enormous price because some use it in illegal activities. Indeed, it was favorable to money launderers and as a currency on the Dark Web and the Silk Road.

In September of 2020, I stumbled across this book. The story was about the cofounders of Facebook, the Winklevoss Brothers, and their involvement with Bitcoin. That intrigued me.

I start reading the book. Unlike the non-fiction books I was reading, it was an easy, fun read, like a novel. By the time I finish it, everything made sense. The hype, its value, and the opposition of the media.

I won’t try to explain in this article what bitcoin is or try to persuade you to invest in it. It is not a concept I can explain in a few paragraphs or even an article. If you are interested you can read some of the books I am proposing, so you can educate yourself and make your own decisions.

After many trials and errors, I learned that there is no shortcut to proper understanding. especially in complex topics. You must pay the price. A small one. Some dozen hours of reading. The book is the most entertaining, educative, spirited way to do it.

Summaries won't work, and articles won't work either. What they can do, is give you a certain perspective, so you decide to act and take things into your hands. That is the purpose of this article.

I‘m only going to give you two reasons why I think is an improvement to the current currencies.

  1. Scarcity. Only 21 million bitcoins will ever be.

As Jean-Paul Sartre said:

“The essence of reality is scarcity. There isn’t enough love in the world, enough food, enough justice, enough time in life. To gain any sense of satisfaction in our life we must go in to heady conflict with the forces of scarcity.”

There aren’t enough bitcoins either.

2. It is decentralized. No one owns it, no one can manipulate it. It is the first currency that the users will determine if it is suitable for the task. Monetary Natural Selection will judge it.

What did I change after my new understanding (Actionable advice):

I invested a small part of my savings in Bitcoin and Ethereum (the second most popular cryptocurrency).

The process was difficult at first and a little scary, everything seemed unwarranted. I was not ready yet, but the psychological effect of this book was still strong in me.

I decided to read more books on cryptocurrencies and further delve into the subject. I wanted to understand it better and ease my insecurity. The excellent books of A. Antonopoulos helped a lot. In my final decision books on unrelated topics played an important role. Nicolas Taleb's books Black swan, Antifragile, and Skin in the Game completed the list.

When I was ready, I choose Binance exchange and proceed with my first purchases.

Impact on my life (What to expect):

One and a half years later, bitcoin has lost half of its highest value, and yet, I have gained 300% of my initial investment. I now own a dozen of different cryptocurrencies. Because of their big rise in price, they now consist a significant part of my portfolio. And, I think, this is just the beginning.

No one knows what the future holds, but the cryptocurrencies seem to have come to stay. Many compare the cryptocurrency revolution, with the Internet revolution of the ’90s.

Early adopters always have a huge financial advantage. Who wouldn’t wish to have bought Microsoft’s, Google’s, Apple’s, or Tesla’s stocks in the early days? Then their cost was a fraction of what it is today.

Not everyone is risk-tolerant enough to invest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But, maybe it is the safe thing you can do. As author and essayist Nicolas Taleb writes in his book The Black Swan:

“If you know that you are vulnerable to prediction errors, and accept that most risk measures are flawed, then your strategy is to be as hyper-conservative and hyper-aggressive as you can be, instead of being mildly aggressive or conservative.”

This strategy is named the barbell strategy, inspired by the shape of a barbell:

(Now you can understand my choice of the photo at the beginning of the article! I didn’t want to have a bitcoin photo, this would drive most of you away..!)

I find this logic compelling and quite reasonable. In some way, we must have this kind of wildcard exposure in our portfolio. I think bitcoin could play perfectly that role.

Before I close this article I have a little confession to make.

I overdid it. I was overexcited with the rise of my crypto investment, so I continued to invest my savings for a whole year. I thought I had found the golden goose. (is there any golden goose fallacy?) I would now suggest against it. Choose a percentage that you would be comfortable investing (and possibly lose) and stick to it.

Key Takeaway:

  • To make a financial difference in your life, you must take things into your own hands. Educate yourself accordingly.
  • To have a solid opinion about important things, you must overcome a handful of inherent biases. Learn about them, so you know how to beat them.
  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could be a big thing in the future and the early birds will have a significant financial gain.

Thank you for your patience, please comment with your ideas and experience on the subject, let us interact!