Learning about bitcoin
You’ve probably heard the term “falling down the rabbit hole” at some point in your life. The first Matrix movie in 1999 help propel that term into the public consciousness. But have you ever experienced falling down your own rabbit hole of discovery?
In more recent times, you’ve probably heard that term applied to people who experience an epiphany; a moment of insight and awareness followed by a journey of seemingly never-ending learning. If you’ve been anywhere near the bitcoin and crypto community, the better odds are that you’ve heard that a lot.
So what IS falling down a rabbit hole? What is it like? How would it be described to someone who’s never experienced it? This piece is an attempt to do that from a first-person perspective.
Text-book definition: Falling down the rabbit hole is the process by which people fill their mind with the knowledge and information that enables them to explain to themselves and others what they innately understood during a moment revelation and higher awareness.
Saying this is all fine and good, but what does it MEAN? What goes on INSIDE the mind of person who walks this path? Let us begin.
In the spring of 2017, a confluence of events came together to produce my own “a-ha” moment. At the time, I was pondering what to do with my life. I had been working skilled office jobs for 17 years and wanted to find something that gave me a greater sense of fulfillment. I had a very green thumb and was always (ALWAYS) growing something indoors and outdoors, so I began exploring the possibility of doing intense urban farming. I was also educating myself on the ins-and-outs of being an entrepreneur, and attempting to acquire the high degree of self-reliance needed to start on such a journey. During that time, a current affairs commentator I regularly listened to on YouTube began to talk about cryptocurrencies.
I’m going to pause the story for a moment to share with you that prior to this point, I was aware of bitcoin and had some concept of it as an alternative store of value. I had learned of it back in 2011 under the narrative of it being a digital currency that central banks and federal governments could not control (and thereby manipulate, as is done in our current iteration of a monetary system.) Over time, I would see stories shared through either my twitter feed or on Zerohedge; a couple who planned a trip for several weeks across the US spending nothing but bitcoin; bitcoin reaching parity with the US Dollar; the creation of dogecoin (listed alongside the dozen or so other cryptocurrencies that existed at the time); and bitcoin’s rise to $125 per coin, coinciding with the 2013 Cyprus bank bail-in. (That last event, in my mind, legitimized bitcoin as a store of value, similar to precious metals.) From here, I watched as the price first rose to $1,000 and then fell into a bear market. I read about the collapse of the exchange Mt. GOX. I read of bitcoin being used as currency on the Silk Road online marketplace; however, during this time, I knew next to nothing about bitcoin’s characteristics, how the network functioned, and how it fit into much larger narratives. Back to the story.
As I began to hear more and more chatter about crypto, I began to read into it. It was then that the knowledge began to sink in. It was then that the functionality and usage of it came to be realized. Decentralized cryptocurrencies would be a component of new human economy that had been evolving around us for some time. We were moving from a more centralized model of management and governance towards a model that is more localized, more decentralized, and more peer-to-peer.
This movement could be seen in many manifestations: online marketplaces like eBay and Half.com that arose in the 90's; crowd-funding platforms that grew in popularity during the aughts (personal finance); the massive expansion of peer-to-peer services via web sites and apps like Task Rabbit (misc task and handy-man services,) Lyft and Uber (ridesharing,) Etsy (arts and crafts markets), Fivvr (online digital services), Uber Eats, Door Dash, Postmates, (food delivery), Shipt and Instacart (brick-and-mortar shopping and delivery); dog walking, freelance work…the list goes on.
This energy was expanding into all realms of human interaction, and continues to do so today. Within the context of this trend, I recognized that with bitcoin’s characteristics: decentralized, censorship-resistant, trustless, permission-less, and peer-to-peer, that Bitcoin, to reference the 1998 movie “The Big Legowski,” is rug that “ties the room together.” It is was a product of, and an enabler of this energetic trend, and the trend encompasses the entirety of humanity; not just a select pocket or population- this includes everyone, and would be the most macro of macro events that I could ever be a part of. Seeing something of this level made me realize that I HAD to be a part of this. And so began the journey.
I ate up everything I could. I began watching YouTube videos, I purchased Clif High’s special crypto reports (I was already reading his monthly predicative analysis reports, so I understood his perspective.) Clif’s reports provided me with a lot of the projects by with I could begin my research. I began to read crypto news sites, and I started to follow people on twitter. I discovered crypto faucets, the Bitcoin Forums, and began to familiarize myself with the space. I even opened an account with Coinbase and a few exchanges so that I could start to acquire these coins I learned about. I jumped in head-first and figured things out as I went along.
Along the way I made many of the mistakes that led to me starting up the Tinycryptoblog identity. I lost some bitcoin from a few scams (HYIPs, or, High Yield Investment Programs, which are legitimate ponzi schemes.) I learned what kind of YouTube channels were garbage (“crypto go up!”) and which ones actually educated you and helped you to learn the nuts-and-bolts of different projects. I found out which coins were garbage coins (shit coins, in today’s nomenclature,) and what made them as such, and that trading cryptos is only for the 1% who dedicate themselves to the craft full-time. I eventually began discovering the podcasts and reliable news networks that introduced me to the names, the philosophies, and historical events that had shaped the space and defined the narratives making the news. All the while, I continued to devour information with the same ferocity that I did at the outset (to this day, that momentum has never slowed down.)
As the price markets peaked in December 2017 and declined into the bear market of 2018–19, the learning and devotion were as solid as ever. Now that there were no upward price movements to revel in, the energy to learn intensified even more. Day after day, week after week, I went through a journey that I never questioned my devotion to, because more and more, I began to understand how bitcoin and the bitcoin network was not going anywhere, and this time of depressed prices was just a moment in time of a much, much larger timeline. My conviction grew as well as my ability to finally be able to explain to people who knew nothing of bitcoin what exactly bitcoin was.
Fast-forward to today. I still continue to gobble up information, views, and opinions by refined minds in the space. And as my knowledge of the big picture expands, so does my understanding of the details on the granular level. It is a ride that sometimes slows down, sometimes speeds up, but never stops.
So what does the experience of falling down the rabbit hole feel like? Like the experience of a lifetime.
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