Boomer, a long-time contributor to Bitcoin Magazine and an active member of the financial independence/early retirement (FIRE) movement, offers his opinion in this opinion editorial.
I began my Bitcoin journey exactly one year ago, and after being motivated by getting to know some incredible Canadian Bitcoiners over the past few weeks, I want to share my experience. My orange-pilling has been the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me in equal measure. It might be compared to “The Hero’s Journey,” I suppose.
I’ve been employed by the Canadian government as a working-level economist for about eight years. I consider myself fortunate to work in a position where I can assist others. Serving Canadians and improving my country makes me feel honored. I contributed when the pandemic struck in March 2020. I adhered to rules and regulations and genuinely believed that I was acting morally.
The loneliness and seclusion were extremely difficult. Working from home was a complete torture for an extrovert who is accustomed to a lively and collaborative environment where routine and the sharing of ideas and thoughts were important. I started a business that provides financial literacy coaching after participating actively in the FIRE (financial independence/retire early) community for several years. Like the majority of FIRE members, I wrote off Bitcoin as an intriguing but probably fad.
I understood that prolonged pandemic lockdowns would probably result in supply shortages, and that the long-term effects of central bank money printing and government stimulus would be inflationary. I began to think about specific inflation hedges for my own investment portfolio and wondered if there might be a way for my coaching service to stand out in that way. I set out on my orange-pill journey to understand how precisely bitcoin would fit into an inflation-hedging strategy, but I was already aware that it had a place.
I’ve been a devoted listener of podcasts for well over a decade, and I frequently choose a topic and consume as many podcasts as I can until I’m ready to switch to another. I approached learning about “crypto” in a similar manner. I could see and understand bitcoin’s potential as digital gold and its general economic aspects, but I’ve never had the computer science and technology skills to feel comfortable entering the world of cryptocurrencies.
I suppose that I was simply too intimidated to fully engage. I was unable to distinguish between bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, but when I made the decision to dedicate myself to learning, I approached it with an open mind. I wish I could say that I immediately understood these altcoins to be shitcoins, but I didn’t. I made a modest portfolio of the top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization in an effort to resemble what a cryptocurrency index fund would look like, despite the fact that I had no real understanding of what they were.
I was hearing podcasts from people like Robert Breedlove, Peter McCormack, and Pomp in the meantime, and they were all claiming that bitcoin was the only real cryptocurrency. In the middle to end of June 2021, as I was listening to Breedlove’s series with Michael Saylor, I remember feeling as though things were finally coming together. I really began to fall into the rabbit hole at this point. I bought a copy of “The Bitcoin Standard” and immersed myself in as much Bitcoin information as I could over the summer. I started a Twitter account solely for Bitcoin in September, and ever since then, I’ve been attempting to give as much back to the Bitcoin community as I can.
If the summer of 2021 served as my introduction to Bitcoin, the fall served as my honeymoon. I was so excited, and I wanted to tell as many people as I could about it. I organized a FIRE meetup in early October to discuss how bitcoin fits into a FIRE lifestyle since COVID-19 restrictions had somewhat loosened. I’ve organized about 10 of these meetups where participants discuss ways to live purposefully, maximize credit card rewards, and save money over the years. For one of these events, there would typically be eight attendees; my Bitcoin event had a dozen attendees. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but now that I think about it, I can see that I wasn’t even close to being qualified for the position. A local Bitcoin user and I had a coffee date around this time. The first time I had a face-to-face conversation about bitcoin with a bitcoiner.
I sold all of my altcoins by the end of 2021 and switched entirely to bitcoin. Most of us succumb to the siren’s song of the shitcoin at some point during our journey. Thankfully, I didn’t have to experience a difficult lesson. I was able to exit my positions at a small loss, and I see that loss as the cost of getting to know Bitcoin. Around this time, I also became aware of the value of self-custody.
As anyone who has gone down the rabbit hole knows, there are some parts of the journey that cause you to reevaluate your beliefs and may even cause you to have new perspectives on some elements of the outside world. Try doing it alone — during another COVID lockdown — while you’re living in Ottawa in the winter. I know this is difficult for everyone.
I was already doubting a lot of what I was seeing by the time the Freedom Convoy was reported on the news. I made the decision to follow the convoy when it started moving toward Ottawa. I saw people gathering on overpasses to wave Canadian flags as I drove alongside the convoy through several Canadian provinces. I’ll never forget the experience because it was so bizarre.
After being in lockdowns for two years, seeing “community” again was uplifting. It was also touching to hear Quebecers and Albertans conversing at the demonstrations in shaky English. When I was growing up in the 1990s, there was a real gulf in Canada between French-speaking Quebec and the rest of the country. Given that my mother is francophone and my father is anglophone, this divide had a particularly strong effect on me. It saddens me that many — perhaps even most — Canadians still aren’t aware of what happened in Ottawa this winter.
I was aware of the efforts made by the Bitcoin community on behalf of the Freedom Convoy. I listened to the podcasts and followed the Twitter conversations. I was aware that Canadian Bitcoiners were taking action to support the movement by doing what they believed to be right. I was so desperate to help, but I was also afraid. I was concerned that making any kind of contribution would jeopardize my professional standing. I also understood that I was just a commoner with 250 anonymous Twitter followers. Even if I wasn’t a coward, how could I possibly be of assistance? Bitcoin’s fundamental concept is proof of work, and at the time, I hadn’t put in the necessary effort.
While the convoy was in town, a Bitcoin meetup was organized on Twitter and I was invited. A few Bitcoiners I had been following for a while had come to the city to witness the events firsthand. I can only speak for myself, but I feel like orange-pilling friendships are special. I was looking for a neighborhood like this.
I’ve focused on learning as much as I can and letting my curiosity lead the way in the months since the trucks left Ottawa. I have occasionally experienced travel-related burnout and pessimism. A Bitcoiner’s first year isn’t always easy, but as I met others who had experienced it, it got easier for me. I continue to be astounded by how many of my preconceived notions have been disproved and how much I’ve had to learn all over again about money and economics. It’s simultaneously demeaning and energizing. Although it’s a very special experience, I am appreciative of those who have come before me. I understand that I’m still at the beginning of the journey and that there will be more difficult times, but I also understand that I won’t have to face them alone.
I always feel inspired after a conversation with a fellow Bitcoiner. It’s amazing how Satoshi Nakamoto’s creation can unite people from diverse backgrounds and interests. I have such strong positive feelings about bitcoin, and I attribute this to Bitcoiners.
I’m still figuring out how I can best serve this neighborhood, but I’m confident that this is where I belong. I’ve had a strong urge to create something for the past few months, though perhaps just participating in the community is sufficient. I’m still not sure what that is, but I’m confident I’ll find it if I keep hanging out with the wonderful people I’ve met along the way. I arrived for the inflation hedge, experienced a significant period in Canadian history, and am now staying through a bear market to create a better world.
Boomer is a guest author on this page. The views expressed are solely their own and may not represent those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Inc.