Why bitcoin will change your life
Note: The following is not investment advice, but represents my personal thoughts for my own investment portfolio. Do your own research.
It’s often said that money can’t buy happiness. While the saying is a reminder not to become consumed with greed, the idea is an oversimplification. A person needs money to control his or her destiny in a highly competitive world.
Some forms of money are better than others. Better money holds its value over time and conveys that value to others with ease. This makes the right money a more accurate instrument of our free will. Money represents sovereignty, or ownership and responsibility over your life. When you have better money, you feel more in control.
For most of recorded history, money has been entirely outside of our control. Up to now, humanity has relied upon money determined by the whims of nature (gold) and government regimes (fiat currency). Today, we have money that acts as an airtight store of value, a practically instant medium of exchange, and a perfect instrument of individual sovereignty. Bitcoin is the first money you can truly own.
But ownership is a choice and it has consequences. Deciding whether to choose better money over lesser alternatives has a profound impact on your ability to survive, live as you see fit, and, ultimately, your happiness.
Who controls your money?
Virtually every nation today uses fiat currency, or money by decree. Governments create institutions known as central banks to control the supply of fiat currency. The most prominent form of fiat currency today is the U.S. dollar, which is controlled by the Federal Reserve with an infinite supply.
An infinite supply of money creates many problems. For starters, what else is infinite? The world is a certain size with a specific amount of land and a limited amount of natural resources. Even a person’s time on Earth is limited. Human beings are forced to live within these natural constraints, and yet, governments claim their ability to produce money is somehow limitless.
The math doesn’t add up and it’s not supposed to. An infinite supply of money benefits no one except the people in charge of controlling it. Governments can only reap the benefits of an infinite monetary supply by releasing a little more money every year. When money is created, it causes the price of everything to rise, known as inflation.
What’s this got to do with you?
Inflation is a hidden tax. For every dollar you have, your purchasing power diminishes with inflation every year. Money controls every aspect of lives, and those who have sovereignty over the monetary supply don’t experience the consequences we do. This is fundamentally unfair at a basic human level.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Bitcoin is specifically designed to alleviate inflation beginning with a finite monetary supply: no more than 21 million bitcoin. No more can ever exist. This rule is permanent and was set at the very beginning of the bitcoin blockchain. Anyone who attempts to change the total supply of bitcoin will be rejected by a network that enforces the rules.
A limited monetary supply provides everyone with the ability to save in earnest. This power allows you to store your wealth effectively and better pursue your dreams.
What is happiness?
Most of us experience happiness as a fleeting, elusive emotion. A more objective way of looking at it is the feeling of satisfying all your needs and wants.
There’s actually a framework for achieving happiness. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a psychological theory that illustrates a person’s motivation ranging from the most basic needs to the more complex feeling of fulfillment. Each level progresses upon the next, so think of it like a pyramid that you scale over time. When you choose to save in limited bitcoin over limitless fiat, you enhance your ability to fulfill these needs.
🍕 Physiological needs >>> Medium of exchange
We humans are complex creatures, but our needs are rather simple at first. There are the essentials we need to survive: food, water, shelter, rest, etc. These needs are behind much of the goods and services we buy. People work hard everyday to pay the rent and put food on the table.
As you fulfill your needs, you naturally feel better. If you’re traveling, for instance, a good night’s sleep is worth the price of a hotel stay. Depending on your financial situation, you may have already figured out solutions for most of your basic needs. In any case, our overall health and well-being are directly correlated to fulfilling these needs.
Bitcoin interacts with these physiological needs in a straight-forward way: you can trade it, just like you do with traditional currency, but there’s an important difference. Bitcoin allows you to transact peer-to-peer, rather than rely on a middleman like a credit card company. Credit card companies often charge processing fees of 1.5% to 3.5%, which vendors often include in their prices. Bitcoin and the Lightning Network — a Layer 2 protocol — can allow you to transact at a fraction of the cost of credit card processing.
Bitcoin’s potential as a medium of exchange has existed almost from the very beginning. In 2010, a man bought two pizzas with 10,000 bitcoin, a transaction that sounds crazy in hindsight but made history nonetheless.
Today, there are several vendors who accept bitcoin as a form of payment. Most people don’t use bitcoin for this purpose today, but this is a use case that can be expected to grow with further adoption. And if you’re hungry at a bitcoin conference, a slice of pizza could be worth the sats.
🔒 Safety and security needs >>> Store of value
Once you’ve taken care of the bare necessities, you progress to higher needs — namely, your ability to continue providing for your household over the long term.
Safety and security needs are a slightly more complex part of earning a living. Here resides the concerns that keep us up at night: job security, retirement, medical bills, college tuition. Financial security is crucial here. Savings help us withstand hard times and make better use of our money for larger purchases like a car or house. By storing our value away for later, we’re more adaptable and less stressed because we have more control.
But there’s a major problem with saving today. Our money is bad at its job. The currencies we use today aren’t backed by gold or any other rare commodity that restricts their supply. Governments can create more money whenever they want, resulting in an endlessly growing supply of money. Each unit of fiat currency – U.S. dollars, Euros, and Chinese yuan – holds less and less value over time.
When you hold onto cash for too long, it seems like you’re growing wealthy over time on paper, but the money doesn’t go as far as it should. You could spend a year saving for a down payment only to see the price of your dream house increase by 20%.
When you store your wealth in a depreciating asset like fiat currency, it’s hard to really get anywhere. Assets become more unaffordable, and you end up working longer hours for less and less real compensation. This happens to low-income households around the world. Many have no real assets to speak of, just a cash pile losing value every year and multiple jobs. Bitcoin fixes this.
Bitcoin was designed with a hard cap of no more than 21 million bitcoin or 2.1 quadrillion sats, the smallest unit of bitcoin. This hard limit provides us with something no fiat currency can: absolute scarcity. One bitcoin will remain one bitcoin from now until the end of time because it can’t be debased. While Bitcoin’s price may fluctuate in the short term based on U.S. dollars, it’s helpful to flip the equation and look at the bigger picture. The dollar has been losing value against bitcoin for more than a decade.
With bitcoin, you can finally save on solid ground. When you can save in an asset that transcends inflation over time, you’re free to store value and build a life that you couldn’t have otherwise. This is the promise of digital sovereignty, a path only you can choose with money no one else can change.
🤝 Love and belonging >>> Bitcoin community
Once you’ve met your basic survival needs and attained a sense of long-term security, which most people holding cash never get past, your mind tends to flip a switch.
Human beings are social creatures, and we naturally want to share our experience with others. When you own bitcoin for a long enough period, you start to look beyond yourself to those around you. You seek out a community.
Behind the network of computers talking to each other, bitcoin is a network of people with a common goal of fixing the world’s money. Today, bitcoin has a vibrant community of developers, entrepreneurs, industry professionals, artists, musicians, writers, and athletes who believe in Bitcoin as a store of value and how it can change the world. They can be found on social media, meetup groups, and conferences everywhere.
The excitement around bitcoin has led some to refer to this era as the “Bitcoin Renaissance.” Others disparage the community and label it a cult, but these perceptions usually say more about the person uttering them than they do about bitcoin. The fact remains that people who have attained a basic financial standing in their lives still want to be a part of something, and bitcoin, as a movement, is here to stay. Financial freedom belongs to all of us.
😎 Esteem needs >>> Number go up
People need to feel significant. It’s not enough to satisfy our basic needs and a few creature comforts. We want to feel like we’ve made progress toward our goals and have attained some level of standing in our community.
There are hard ways of achieving status, such as building something special, doing honorable deeds, and receiving recognition from your peers. And there are shortcuts to earning status, too. You can lease a sports car to give off an image of success and wealth.
Money is the greatest status symbol of all because of the purchasing power it represents. Just think of all the core needs you must satisfy before you can afford to show off. If you change your relationship with money, you drastically alter your reality.
This is the case with bitcoin. No money printer in the world can erode your savings. You can plot a course for the future and see some of those dreams come to fruition. From now on, all your hard work can be saved against a hard denominator of 2.1 quadrillion satoshis. With bitcoin, you transcend the hamster wheel of life.
And sure, the bitcoin price might go up in your nation’s currency but measuring your wealth with fiat currency is missing the point. Saving in a form of money where no one can change the supply means the value of your savings goes up over time. As long as you hold bitcoin, you never have to start from square one again.
🧭 Self-actualization >>> Purpose
Money isn’t everything. It’s a cliché but it’s true. How many houses do you need? How many fancy vacations will make you whole?
Bitcoiners derive personal satisfaction from being a part of something special, rather than status symbols or even wealth for that matter. Many people that have been involved in bitcoin for long enough and withstood the peaks and valleys eventually figure out that bitcoin is bigger than all of us.
Financial freedom is a life-giving force. Hard money can change the world, and that’s what you achieve at the pinnacle of the hierarchy of needs: a higher purpose and your full potential.
The last bitcoin won’t be mined until 2140. Most of us won't be around to see it happen. It’s a harsh concept, but it’s fulfilling to know your work will survive long after you’re gone. Those who adopt bitcoin believe it can help the world, and its existence has given clarity and direction to many people’s lives, ours included.
When you become a bitcoiner, you stop thinking about yourself. You think about your family, your friends, your community, those you come into contact with, and even bitcoin as a whole, how to help this beautiful phenomenon continue to grow and take root all over the world. The right money does buy happiness.
Welcome to humanity’s finest hour.
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