This is an opinion editorial by Anthony Feliciano, a Bitcoin event organizer and contributor to Bitcoin Magazine.
On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, the Federal Reserve announced a 75 basis point hike to interest rates and possibly another 75 basis point hike in July. Friday, June 17, bitcoin saw a massive sell-off along with the rest of the crypto markets, shedding billions in total market capitalization. A first for bitcoin happened as well — we dipped below the previous cycle's all-time high of $19,756. Bitcoin dipped to ~$17,000, not once but twice, before rebounding to $20,000 levels by Sunday. This had many people talking about the “R word” for the economy and another “crypto winter” like that which occurred from January 2018 to December 2020.
Not all bear markets are the same.
I say not all bear markets are the same because we are presented with an unique opportunity. During the last crypto winter, I took a different approach when it came to Bitcoin — I went down the rabbit hole. Now if you are just an investor in bitcoin and looking to make money, then yes, you don't like these times. I would suspect there is a very high percentage that is more of the investor than going down the rabbit hole. For those who are peering over the edge looking into the rabbit hole, if we truly get another “crypto winter” then this bear market is the time to fall into the rabbit hole.
Falling Into The “Rabbit Hole”
A little over four years ago, I fell into the rabbit hole. My god, what a bumpy, rocky, uneven descent it was into Bitcoin projects. The projects you hear and see today are far different to what we had in 2017 and 2018. Now if you, like me, aren't a coder, and your eyes glaze over looking at the blinking cursor in the terminal, then you probably would have turned around, climbed out and kicked all the dirt back into the hole. Despite not being a coder, I decided to stick it out anyway; a glutton for punishment, I guess, but grateful that I decided to keep going and smoothing those bumps down into smoother, more manageable pathways.
I first decided that I was going to start by making my own Lightning Network (LN) node a few years back. I give a brief overview of a few projects in the article I previously wrote, “DIY Bitcoin Nodes.” I chose RaspiBlitz as my node, for no particular reason versus other projects — I just picked one and decided to build. With a plethora of options inside the RaspiBlitz suite, I learned a lot about Electrum, how to run it properly connected to your own node versus public nodes, and JoinMarket to enhance my privacy when moving around UTXOs between wallets.
Then came an obsession with privacy, in particular smartphones. I used to root my cell phones back in the early 2010s, ran a lot of custom ROMs — again I am no coder, so I bricked a few phones in the process. This led to learning about a de-Google phone project called GrapheneOS, so I now have a backup phone that has no sim, was never registered and has been de-Googled. But what is key is that I am able to download many Bitcoin project APK files to this device while still managing to have a working UI that connects with my LN node over Tor. Think of it as a bug out phone, with none of the spyware and all the abilities to interact with your LN node and Bitcoin network.
Now we come to where I am at today, trying to help onboard merchants to accept bitcoin as payments, which is a different type of struggle in its own right. Imagine walking in cold to a brick-and-mortar store and talking to the owner about the ability to accept bitcoin payments, after the last two years of stress they had to deal with. You get the picture. Again, I worked through it, which led to this taking place back in January 2022: the First Successful CryptoBeerKings LN Event.
Listen To The Bitcoin Ethos And Fade The Noise
Even if we are about to enter a recession and/or another “crypto winter,” there is one thing I learned that doesn't stop: development. Developers are going to continue to develop for the Bitcoin network no matter what. If they didn't stop in 2018, they are certainly not going to stop in 2022. If you are a burgeoning developer yourself, then this is an even better time for you than last cycle, because the coding and tools have become more refined. If you find yourself on the other side of the coin like myself, then applications are the way to go. Take some time to learn about some of the projects out there and how to use them in your everyday Bitcoin rabbit hole life. This is an opportune time to hone your craft, no matter your skill level or what interests you the most. If you can “listen to the Bitcoin ethos and fade the noise,” I guarantee by the time the next cycle comes about, you will come out of your rabbit hole bright-eyed and ready.
This is a guest post by Anthony Feliciano. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.