Like many people, I first became interested in bitcoin after numerous contact points. I had first heard about it in 2013 when I discovered that you could purchase drugs through the Silk Road on the dark web. I looked into buying some bitcoin for this purpose, but the only way I could figure out how to get some was by using LocalBitcoins to meet some random person in a coffee shop to make the dollars to bitcoin exchange. It seemed about as sketchy as buying drugs from the internet, so I passed and forgot about bitcoin for a few years.
Fast-forward to the end of summer in 2017. The bitcoin price was around $3,000 and moving up quickly. I bought ether. Making a similar mistake to countless others, I thought ether was going to be the “next bitcoin.” I bought bitcoin too, but my portfolio was about 50/50. Now, I only own bitcoin and do not own any shitcoins. Buying during the middle of the euphoria phase of the market cycle was fascinating and an experience for which I’m grateful. Because of all the hype, I had many friends to talk to about this cryptocurrency phenomenon. I watched as the price went to the moon and then the bubble popped. All those other friends gave up while I stayed. I figured I should learn more about this thing I had invested a big chunk of my savings into. What started as a get-rich-quick scheme turned into a “hero’s journey” that has completely changed the entire trajectory of my life.
One of the first effects that bitcoin had on me was a major shift in my priorities. I was a teacher and had the summers off with no pay. Usually, I saved enough money during the school year to pay my bills during the summer, and to travel to see the band Phish. I’d end the summer broke and hurting for my back-to-school paycheck. Once I got into bitcoin, I started saving as much as possible to dollar-cost average into bitcoin twice per week. I no longer had FOMO about missing concerts and was happy to listen to the shows from home. My initial investment into bitcoin also happened to coincide with finding out that my partner was pregnant. This exciting news along with my newfound passion was reason enough to focus more on saving for my family and the future, and to focus less on live music and travel. Related to saving for the future, Bitcoin inspired me to lower my time preference in other areas of my life. I wanted to be muscular and that was going to take a lot of work. For the first time in my life, I started going to the gym on a regular basis to lift weights and exercise. Bitcoiners tend to be ripped, and I wanted to feel better in my body. After a year of working out, I’m noticing how I’ve physically changed and it feels great. I’m more confident, stronger, and happier than I’ve ever been.
Once you fall down the Bitcoin rabbit hole, you realize that it never ends and goes in many directions. I’ve spent the last four years learning as much as I can about economics, finance and investing, the history of money, and Bitcoin’s technological innovations. Most of these topics were brand new to me. I do not claim to be an expert in any of them, but I’ve rediscovered a curiosity in subjects that I had long written off as uninteresting. I’ve devoured articles both for and against bitcoin, listened to as many podcasts as I can find the time for, and read numerous Bitcoin (and Bitcoin-adjacent) books with many more on my nightstand. This interest in learning everything I can about Bitcoin stemmed from figuring out how to hold my own keys. I have always considered myself to be tech savvy, but now that I’m down the rabbit hole, I learned how to run a node, experiment with multi-sig setups, and am getting started self-hosting my own data with a Start9 Embassy. The motivation I gained from self-sovereignty continues to affect my approach to life in unexpected ways.
Along with discovering radical independence and self-reliance, my political leanings changed significantly. From my teenage years until I found Bitcoin, I would have described myself as a progressive liberal. I voted for Bernie Sanders in 2016. I thought that the government was so unbelievably messed up, we just needed more of it with the right people in charge. Then we could support everyone who needs government assistance with welfare programs. Clearly I believe nearly the opposite of that sentiment now. Currently I am politically homeless, but I identify more closely with the libertarian-right position. I switched from a passive “resistance” by voting in every election to an active revolution of storing my wealth in a currency that is censorship-resistant and cannot be manipulated by governments and/or private central banks.
This hero’s journey ultimately led me to the financial freedom I needed when I decided to quit my teaching job last year. As an educator of young children who cares deeply about child development, social cues, and social-emotional education, I strongly oppose masking kids. I was the only one working at the school who spoke out against this inhumane policy. I worked at that school for seven years and worked my way up from being an after-school teacher to being the program director for the elementary school, but even my promotion was not enough for me to compromise my values. In Jameson Lopp’s article for Forbes, he defines F-you money by saying, “It’s a position of power; it means you have achieved complete ownership over yourself and your time. You are beholden to no one; you can say ‘F-you’ to any who offend you without fear of repercussion.” Because of bitcoin, I had the ability to speak my truth and move on when my integrity was in question. Another teacher spoke to me privately to express her agreement, but told me she needed the job in order to survive. Luckily for me, I had F-you money.
Ultimately, finding Bitcoin has completely changed the direction of my life. I have pivoted from a promising future in educational leadership to a major career change without a clear employment opportunity. I aim to focus on the growth of the Bitcoin network in the way that I know how: through education. The purpose of me sharing my story is to demonstrate the positive effects that Bitcoin has had on my life, and not only from a financial perspective.
Bitcoin means different things to different people. Some people focus on mining, some focus on building out software and hardware wallets. Some people focus on developing on top of the Bitcoin stack, some focus on HODLing, and some crazy people focus on day-trading (don’t be one of those people!). Some people who love bitcoin are carnivores and some are vegan. Some people who love bitcoin are into firearms and 3D printing, some people love the focus on renewable energy, and others enjoy focusing on politics. Whatever you love about bitcoin, you can find someone else in the space with similar interests. At BitBlockBoom, I discovered the ease of relating to others when you have the same base value system, which for us, is Bitcoin. I even found another Phish phan at the conference! If you make the choice to purchase bitcoin, you are deciding to participate in the most globally impactful technological and monetary revolution for freedom in an entirely peaceful way. I hope Bitcoin makes 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. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.