Let’s talk about Value for Value
I took some time off Twitter and Nostr to find more IRL Bitcoiners. The events that followed this decision were amazing. I recapped them in this blog post.
Albert Einstein once said; Strive not to be a success but rather be of value.
I read this quote in a book a few weeks ago, and it stuck with me. Not because I was aiming to be a success at something in particular, but because I was thinking about value for a while now.
Whether in the economy or our daily life, the moment something lacks value or we stop exchanging goods for something we deem valuable, the whole system collapses.
We saw a version of this in the last two months. People lost trust in their banks and withdrew money. This lack of confidence in the banks led to major collapses. Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic are now synonyms for failure and, in some cases, worth one symbolic dollar.
These banks were, at one point, all part of the elite financial world. This old, slow, and corrupted world is only accessible to people with inside knowledge or the right connections. Funnily enough, its real value is not the amount in the bank account, sure you need it to get into the club, but the most valuable asset you can have in these circles are the people you know. Ideally, you know people who owe you and can capitalize on that. The only reward is prestige which inevitably leads to power.
The only value consumers get is the ability to account with these banks and, if they’re lucky enough, access to the financial market. That’s it. Access. Nothing more. If you want to retire comfortably, you must invest and outperform the market for years. Why? Because our money is broken. Long gone are the days when money was appreciated. This hybrid tool can only survive because we still see some form of value in it and because countries are buying other countries’ debt.
Satoshi Nakamoto either realized this along the way or instinctively created Bitcoin to counteract this system. From its early days, it was never intended to be the one-fits-all solution, but rather the David to that massive Goliath, the financial system.
It evolved and, over 14 years, became a viable alternative for people without access to a bank account, citizens stuck in dictatorships, or a symbol against financial oppression. Just like all grassroots movements, Bitcoin attracts different ideologies. These different narratives found their way into Bitcoin as well. And it’s these narratives I want to spend the remainder of this article on.
See, whenever you scroll Bitcoin Twitter or Nostr with the regular people posting 24/7, you end up reading the same stuff. Lightning is the way to mass adoption; we need to ignore the mining FUD and although there is clear evidence in today’s society that not everyone can think for themselves, all of these “NPCs” out there will get self-custody at one point.
Please remember I’m not saying all Bitcoiners online are like this. It’s a tiny minority who’s saying these things. Unfortunately, these statements overshadow the hard work others are putting in and make it seem as if typical Bitcoiners are not interested in adding any value. For many outsiders, Bitcoin is an elite club where you can only be if you play and act a certain way.
Again, I’m not stating that all of Bitcoin is like this! About five weeks ago, I asked myself if there is more to the Bitcoin community than this. Indeed the Bitcoin spirit I got to know earlier has to be around. It might not be on Twitter or Nostr; it must be somewhere else.
So, I decided to experiment. Instead of being online and engaging with my fellow Bitcoiners online, I would cut my daily usage and try and find meetups, podcasts, or other ‘offline’ Bitcoiners. The goal was to provide value and get value in return. I wasn’t planning on chasing trends or news items but instead making connections with interesting individuals and engaging in healthy debates to discover how to improve Bitcoin with our skills.
The first few days were rough; I had to rely on Telegram, Signal, the Orange Pill app, or IRL events to meet people. However, about a week in, I found my groove and had a neat system to meet more people.
I would either scan all the businesses on BTC Map and reach out to talk to the owners, or I would use the Orange Pill app to meet people in my area. The last resource, if nothing works, is to ask fellow friends if they know someone nearby.
After two weeks, I was dialed in and had already met a few Bitcoiners at coffee shops, in calls, or at a meetup. I didn’t do this to gossip about the latest news or how unfair it is that Bitcoin isn’t as much accepted as other cryptocurrencies.
We didn’t do any of that. Instead, we thought of different approaches to talk to merchants or what needs to be fixed urgently with Lightning wallets. We also spoke about the shortages in the Bitcoin ecosystem. How we as a community need to grow, and what we feel we need to improve.
As a community, we often focus on details and get lost in culture wars against negative press. Instead, we should focus on what every one of us can add to the discussion. There are a lot of different approaches to Bitcoin and a lot of other interests. We shouldn’t focus on minor details but reach out to everyone in the community and contribute this way.
Just look at where Bitcoin was a few years ago. The most exciting thing was Lightning; nowadays, we have people building on Bitcoin. I am not a big fan of the Ordinals and BRC-20 something, but it proves a valuable point. Bitcoin is not slow, and you can build on top of it!
All roads inevitably lead to Bitcoin. It’s up to us now to show the path for newbies and add value wherever possible.
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