Bitcoin. Crypto. I get it. It’s a thing.
If I had a bitcoin for every time I’ve been sitting next to a guy in a public cafe (where dozens of other people are quietly working), who is loudly taking phone calls, hyping his new cryptocurrency brand, trying to get people on board – I would be rich.
Sure, I own some crypto. I’ve done my research and I (sort of) understand at least some of the implications of the blockchain and beyond. I have met highly intelligent people, with whom I have had informative, fascinating discussions about it.
Those people, however, are never the ones loudly bragging and hyping it, trying to ride some kind of social status bubble. Or trying to get anyone and everyone around them to give them all their money.
The people who actually seem to have some real knowledge and wisdom are the ones who keep quiet, and do their work behind the scenes.
It’s like these loudmouthed bros are the new traveling snakeoil salesmen, constructing nothingness out of thin air, selling questionable wares out of their horse and wagon storefront.
“Come and get it while it lasts! You can buy one of my invisible cryptocurrency non-existent coins, for only $1, for a limited time only! Jump on this wagon before it explodes into the next big thing! It’s real if you believe it is real! Don’t look for the man behind the curtain, just give me your money.”
The air sizzles with possibility. The sunlight glints off his gold tooth. You hand over your money. He hands you a bottle full of air. Then he drives off into the sunset, leaving a cloud of dust behind him.
THE NEW GOLDRUSH (Hushhhh…)
I am currently sitting in a cafe, in Bali, surrounded by a dozen other people who are quietly, politely, working on their laptops. I am on the ground at a tiny table, crosslegged, editing a music video, headphones in, minding my own business.
A manchild sits behind me, tanned and muscled, with a surfer demeanor and a salesman vibe. He has been loudly on the phone for the last half hour. I’m sure he’s a very nice fellow, but he just leaned back and laid himself directly next to me, splayed out on the floor 2 inches from my leg.
I had been politely trying to tune him out, but when his face arrived a mere two feet beneath my line of vision, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Thus, I decided to do what I do when I’m in journalist mode – document this bizarre moment by taking transcription.
The following was the precise, word-for-word content of his loud, oblivious narrative:
”Visionaries like us, we’ve got to be execution oriented. What I’m doing right now is working hard to attract and channel resources. My job is to get our currency going. I’ve just got to convince people that ours will be the best, and bring them on board. And once I turn on that valve, and say ‘ok you can buy shares in this new world we’re creating’, once we can offer that structure, we can open up many income funnels. We bring them in. Next thing you know we’ve got a Kickstarter campaign to bring that money in. We’ve got events to bring that money in. We just have to help people see beyond where we’re at, and buy into where we are going.”
Wow. It’s just so predictable.
You can’t make this stuff up. My gag reflex and eye roll mechanism kicked into overdrive. Yes, yes, we get it. You (and ten thousand others), are trying to ride the wave.
Surf’s up dude.
A dozen other people around the cafe made eye contact with me during this interaction. We raised our eyebrows, smiled, and rolled our eyes in a silent, annoyed (yet slightly amused) collective acknowledgement of his utter lack of manners and self awareness. We were all trapped together, eating our lunch, in a noise pollution bitcoin bubble.
These “bros” are generally digital nomads. They talk loudly to anyone who will listen, about their new currency. They announce loudly and perpetually that they are on the cutting edge of a cultural fiscal revolution, and that they will be the leaders of the new world.
These are the “experts” who I trust least. Who impress me least.
They all use the same buzz words. The same hyperactive salesman energy. The same slogans: “Gotta get on board now! Our currency is the best! Just give me your money and you can be ahead of the curve. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!”
These are the bros who are infecting every public space with their loud conversations, wanting every bystander to know that they are important and might be the next Steve Jobs of CryptoCurrency.
Suspiciously, they are also usually the ones who were flat broke a year ago, and are now trying to position themselves as experts in this nebulous and mysterious field.
They are obviously NOT. It’s called overcompensation.
This feels like the new goldrush. People are descending from far and wide to try their hand at making a quick fortune. But in the end, with most of these pop-up indie cryptos, there will likely be nothing left but tumbleweeds, deserted ghost towns, and a whole lot of fool’s gold crumbling into yellow dust.
ONE TRACK MIND, PERIPHERALLY BLIND
A few weeks ago I met another one of these gentlemen, who was trying to give me his sales pitch on an airplane.
I kept trying to change the conversation, inquiring “So what has been your favorite experience on this island?”( to which he would respond without skipping a beat) “Man all it takes is just that one flip of a switch, you know, and you could be a millionaire. This shit is going to go BIG.”
“Ok, yes, but, so, what did you do last night?” (I asked, amused, seeing if we could shift the topic even for a moment).
”We’re going to save the world with this coin, it’s about to blow up, I’ll get you in right now at the ground floor. You should be putting in every penny you have right now.”
Wowsers, the one track mind strikes again. Manic peer pressure is rampant in this industry. The good ‘ole pump-and-dump is alive and well.
I have nothing against Bitcoin. Or Ethereum. Or Verge. Or Cardano. Or Dogecoin. Or the next big thing. I’m curious about all of it. I’m fascinated by it. I am observing. As we all should.
Frankly, I am only interested in inquiring into the calm minds and visions of those people who are silent. And intelligent. And informed. Not trying to convince anyone to buy anything.
I am open to information from those who are observing, calmly, over time, and building their visions without the salesman hype.
Next time I go to work in a cafe, I will be bringing earplugs. Maybe for now, this guy wants to treat me to lunch, and pay for it with his personal invisible not-yet-launched-but-about-to-blow-up brand of Bitcoin?
More power to the future and all of its mysteries and potentials and cultural revolutions. The flower is unfolding, but has yet to reveal its multi-colored splendor. We must wait and see. Silently. Patiently. Observing.