Tag Archives: Bitcoin

Seeking Tribe #18: A Time to Poast and a Time To Log Off

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Long time no email! I meant to reach out while on my journey…and then when I returned…and then every week since then. I wrote a draft Seeking Tribe while I was living it up in Austin but I never pressed send.

I’ve previously alluded to the absurd amount of time that I’ve spent on Twitter. My use certainly increased from the outset of the pandemic and it has been, let’s not mince words here, an on-going addiction. At this point, I have to admit that it’s my favorite MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) and it consumes me…just like World of Warcraft Classic did this past February… Right now, I am taking a break from Twitter to try to reset and focus my energy on achieving the goals that I outlined at the beginning of this year.

In particular:

  • Publishing a short e-book and associated blogs that I’ve drafted in my journals over the past year or so
  • Securing a stable enough stream of US dollars and a quality housing opportunity so I can make the leap out of Rochester (likely to Austin!)

Before my trip, I was feeling quite down on how I’d spent most of the last year. I had a ton of free time and mostly spent it tweeting, reading, and coping to not lose my mind while trapped in my houseHowever, while on my journey, the upsides from my weird use of my time began to materialize.

At this point, I have met twelve ‘mutuals’ (the Twitter term for people who you follow and who follow you back)— most of which I connected with in Houston, Austin, and Oregon. All of these experiences were excellent. I have some tentative plans to connect with more of them and I’ve been invited to quite a few cool parties, meet-ups in the coming months. Furthermore, at least two of the meetings have resulted in interesting part-time gig work.

After my visit to Austin, I began working part-time helping one friend grow adoption for the crypto protocol he helped launch and helping another friend to provide value for his private research community, by co-hosting a series of workshops and Q&As with some brilliant people (I’ll keep you posted about future events). I fully expect that continuing on this weird path and meeting more of my mutuals will result in similarly positive collaborations.

I am partially so interested in moving to Austin because a disproportionate amount of the people I’ve connected with online are located there or are relocating thereThere’s clearly an overlap between the selection biases of why people decide to follow me on Twitter and the selection biases of why people are choosing to relocate to Austin.

While some of these trends may begin to shift as we return to true normal, I do think this year has both exacerbated and revealed how atomized and isolated people feel. The pursuit for quality information (or information that confirmed their biases) led many people to online ‘networks’ and ‘communities’. Some people who have been threatening to leave, or who did exit NYC and SF [and elsewhere], will likely return back once social life returns. However, I think migration and other methods of taking online connections offline will continue as people feel comfortable leaving their [limited] social safety nets and venturing out in the pursuit of new opportunities and values-aligned relationships.

I’m optimistic about the positive externalities of people connecting based off of their revealed shared values. But I would also advise you to brace yourself for the acceleration of cults, they exist on forums and Signal chats already. I don’t know where Q Anon is relocating but I guarantee you it’s happening.

Pro tip: you’re much less likely to end up in a cult if you move to a city, rather than coordinating with people to move to a small village or some kind of commune. Keep an eye on your friends!

I wish that I had written this newsletter about a month ago. One of the big takeaways is that it’s still important to meet people face-to-face and break bread. Back when Bitcoin was up to the new all-time-high of ~64k, I was particularly eager to attend the BTC Conference that occurred this past weekend in Miami. However, unlike Austin, NYC, SF, or even Salt Lake City, I have almost no contacts in Miami! I considered purchasing an early bird ticket, half-heartedly tried to find a business to hire me to network on their behalf, or just spending the money to book a hotel and hoping it worked out. Ultimately, I didn’t pursue the opportunity and I regret it.

The conference itself did not seem to be a particularly exceptional event. Many of the videos that I watched were kinda cringe and featured narratives about Bitcoin that I find less persuasive and credible. I regret it because I’m aware of at least a couple contacts of mine (who work places I’d love to…) that I certainly could’ve met with. The next time I have a similar opportunity, I’m going to make it happen and figure out the details later.

If you’re not looking to invest yourself into something weird, you probably don’t stand to win in the 21st century.

Justin Murphy

This sentiment has been shared with me by multiple people who I strongly feel are going to be wildly successful entrepreneurs and public figures in the coming decades. Keep your mind, eyes, and ears open for weird opportunities that excite you. The 21st century is not on course to become any less strange.

This post was initially sent via Substack on June 11th, 2021.

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Seeking Tribe #17: Dark Winter is Over

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I am feeling quite optimistic at this moment (it may not be a coincidence that you receive emails from me on days when I’m feeling particularly positive and energetic,,,).

For those of you who are a bit tuned out, and I do not blame you:

One can certainly find reasons to temper our optimism. There’s a lot that we still don’t know and we’ve all just lived through 12 months of bad takes that seldom played out as expected. I am adding this little paragraph because I don’t want this email newsletter to end up on this feed in a year…

But personally, I think we’re about to have an amazing spring and summer. The past few days in Rochester have been moderately sunny and the temperature has been as high as 38F. While finding that to be good and remarkable is kind of sad, we learn to cope in Western NY. We’ll have some warmer days in the next few weeks and people will find it easier to socialize as we monitor the effects of mass vaccination.

My winter is over. I am leaving this Sunday to go visit Orlando for a week with a few of my friends. From there, I’m continuing on to Houston for a week and then Austin for a minimum of two weeks. It’s unclear exactly where I’ll go from there but it seems unlikely that I’ll return to Rochester before May. If you have any recommendations, connections, big ideas, etc that you want to share with me – please hit me up.

I’m looking forward to seeing the sun again and (re)connecting with friends and strangers alike.

Best of My Recent Read:

  • Bitcoin Dissidents: Those Who Need It Most by Anna Baydakova, Coindesk

    Bitcoin, like Amazon and Tesla, has benefitted disproportionately from the US’ (and other country’s) monetary policy response to the pandemic. As new dollars have flooded the market and short-term interest rates declined, people with a large amount of assets and the ability to borrow at near 0% interest have sought out assets with potential long-term growth and robust network effects. While it may not make sense for Tesla to be valued at $586/share, it would make much less sense to have seen a 500% rise in price of a robust, moderate-growth manufacturing company. Tesla, like Bitcoin, at least has a plausible narrative for how it could eventually earn its valuation. This article demonstrates the utility of Bitcoin beyond its role as a speculative asset class, or hedge as “Digital Gold”. It’s easy for Americans to forget that cryptocurrencies are of global significance.
  • How I Read by Slava Akhmechet

    TL;DR: Read ~40 pages/day, assume 30% failure rate. That’s 10k pages and ~20 books annually. Pick a problem, and read clusters of five books to study that problem from a unique perspective. Visualize each cluster as an instrument to inspect the world. Collect instruments into a mental lab, with various stations for related instruments. You can upgrade the instruments one book at a time. Have your bookshelf reflect this mental image. Win the decade, not the day. Start now and never stop.

    I recommend reading the full article. I’m still refining which clusters I want to focus on this year but community and localism will certainly be two of the topics. Lately I’ve been listening to more audiobooks as I’ve soured a bit on podcasts. If you have Audible, there’s a ton of interesting books that are available for free, “Included” FYI.
  • Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism by Scott Horton

    If you have any opinions about American foreign policy, you need to read this book. Horton certainly has his clear biases, as we all do, but almost all of the most damning claims are from official, publicly available government documents. He does a great job of sharing a clear narrative about the madness of American Middle Eastern policy, from the Carter administration through to the book’s release date.

    As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read the newsletter and I’d love to hear from any and all of you. I think my trip will be quite energizing and I’ll have some interesting ideas and perspectives for y’all in the weeks to come. Have a great

This post was initially sent via Substack on March 5th, 2021.

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Seeking Tribe #10: Birthday in Quarantine

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I turned 26 years old yesterday.

Usually having a November 21st birthday is quite nice because I’ve always been able to see family and friends, due to its proximity to Thanksgiving.

This year, I decided to just isolate and lay low because of the recent spike in hospitalizations in Rochester (and throughout many states in the US).

I will celebrate with a few friends once Thanksgiving is over but my response to everyone asking me, “What are you doing to celebrate?” was “Not much.”

Thank you all for the warm birthday wishes! They really mean a lot.

The Best of my Recent Reads:

  • “In the United States in February 2020, pre-pandemic, 8% of the workforce worked remotely. When the pandemic hit, that rose to 35% in May and bounced back to 24% in August. In Canada, in 2018 ~13% worked remotely, that grew to nearly 40% of the workforce working remotely in March 2020 [3,4]. In Europe, pre-pandemic, 5.4% of the workforce worked remotely, which rose to nearly 40% a result of the pandemic. We can assume there’s growth in remote work in regions outside US/EU too.

    In just a few months the amount of people working remotely ballooned to ~125 million people in North America (US, Canada) and Europe, or over 5 times the amount before the pandemic” [from: The greatest human migration in history will happen in the next decade (part 1) by Peter Levels]

  • “Billions of savers worldwide must therefore reckon with inflationary currencies, or monetary repression — a state of affairs where they don’t have the freedom to move their assets around. This latter phenomenon is often imposed by central banks that fear currency flight and accompanying depreciation…

    The Lira isn’t the only sovereign currency in which Bitcoin is already trading well beyond its prior highs. Other currencies where Bitcoin has already hit new highs since 2017 include the Argentine peso, the Russian ruble, the Venezuelan bolivar, the Brazilian real, the Colombian peso, the Lebanese pound, the Sudanese pound, and several others. Those countries alone account for 523 million people” from Nine Bitcoin Charts Already at All-Time Highs by Nic Carter

    Bitcoin’s valuation in USD has risen by over $5,000 USD since the last time I shared an article from Nic Carter. It is now approaching a new all-time-high in USD. This bull-run looks distinctly different than the previous run-up in 2017.*

    [*Nothing in this newsletter is ever investment advice. I just think this is an interesting topic – although I wish I had followed the enthusiasm of my friends who were into this in 2014 :’)]

I wanted to keep this week’s newsletter short. I’m sure there’s a lot on everyone’s minds as we prepare ourselves for what has been branded a ‘dark winter’.

I plan on:

Please reach out if you feel isolated and need some social interaction! We will get through this together, you’re not alone.

This post was initially sent on November 22nd, 2020 as part of an early prototype of my newsletter Seeking Tribesubscribe here!

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Seeking Tribe #8: We’re All Going To Make It

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloweekend. It feels strange that we used to have, more or less, one set day to wear a mask…and now we all wear them every day (is this a coronavirus joke or…?)

While the spoozy szn has past, I know the real scary day on your calendar, for many of you, is Election Day. Although, it does seems unlikely that we’ll have a clear winner on Tuesday (I’d guess ~ 20% probability that we have a  definite winner on Tuesday night – ie. some sort of wave scenario, or otherwise surprising trend; particularly after reading reports that some PA counties will not count votes until the following dayThis could change).

Before you go to check 538 again, I’d like to encourage you to not. One of the common critiques is that 538 “got it wrong in 2016”, which reflects a common misunderstanding of probability. No candidate is given a 0% probability of winning, therefore, in reality, a certain outcome cannot be used to refute the validity of their models.

However, this rebuttal can be easily followed-up with another critique. This type of modeling can be better or worse, more or less useful, but it’s ultimately unfalsifiable. Were the odds 99-1? or were they 55-45? We only get to live in N=1 reality, so we’re not able to see in how many simulations of the world Candidate A or Candidate B wins.

I have no idea what the results of the election will be. Personally, I am looking forward to exiting from this (two-and-a-half-year?) electoral cycle. Politics, and more importantly, governance are important. But I am hopeful that soon we’ll all have more energy and attention to focus where we can can make the greatest direct, positive contributions.

Now, like all of 2020, is a wonderful time for each of us to practice having a healthy, functional belief about our ability to influence the world. There are tangible actions you can still take to influence the [on-going] election at the margin, please have at it and leave it all on the field. Just know that no matter how many times we refresh the latest polls page, we will not have any greater predictive power about what electoral results the future will bring us.

The most doomer scenarios are all unlikely, ie. Civil War, large-scale violence, etc. I would bet against a significant breakdown in our society’s functioning (although I think it’s plausible that we’ll see localized issues and violence similar, and perhaps a bit greater, to what has already occurred in 2020). While the only thing that most of our elected officials can agree on is “This is the most important election of our lifetime,” I think more voters (and non-voters) would agree with the statement “The United States is worth more than the results of a single election.”

People are going to continue to work, go shopping at the grocery store, educate their children, and love their neighbors. Most people have spent much less time thinking about any of this than most of you who are still reading this. Please do not let fear or despair come to dominate your life. Elections have consequences and life goes on. Both are true!

We’re all going to make it.

The Best of my Recent Reads:

  • The Centralized Internet Is Inevitable by Samo Burja

    I still believe that the internet has and will continue to “change facts on the ground” and facilitate the creation of products that enable [certain] 3rd-parties to be disintermediated, ie. Bitcoin or 3D Printing

    Samo likely wouldn’t dispute any of that but still provides a powerful counter-narrative that’s worth considering

  • There are millions of highly skilled developers in the world. Only a small fraction work at large technology companies, and only a small fraction of those work on new product development. Many of the most important software projects in history were created by startups or by communities of independent developers.” from Why Decentralization Matters by Chris Dixon

    Samo referenced Chris’ piece so I figured I’d feature it to present the kind of theory that he’s challenging

  • I don’t know if I will see the completion of this project, or even if it will work in the long term. But that doesn’t bother me. I’m focused on placing the next brick.“, from Bitcoin at 12 by Nic Carter

    Bitcoin hit a valuation of $14,000/BTC as it turned 12 years old. This piece from Nic resonated with my own thesis on Bitcoin, in that, I do not think it’s inevitable, or perhaps even likely to succeed in its vision.

    That doesn’t mean it won’t change our world, or continue to capture the minds and talents of many of the most competent technologists. Or the dollars of institutional and retail investors… [Not investment advice].

I should have much more original content in the upcoming newsletters! My plan was to press publish on quite a few pieces that I’ve been working on. However, I ended up having quite a few time-sensitive work opportunities pop-up throughout the past week. Please wish me luck on these interviews :))

As always, please feel free to reply and leave any feedback, questions, or share something random with me to spark a conversation. I wish you all nothing but the best this week!

This post was initially sent on November 1st, 2020 as part of an early prototype of my newsletter Seeking Tribesubscribe here!

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Seeking Tribe #3: Lookin’ for All My Real Fans

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Let’s start this week on a high note!

Whatever challenges you have staring you down this week, please know that I believe in you.

Thank you to everyone who has taken a moment to reply to these first few editions. I am so glad that this project has enabled us to reconnect!

The Best of my Recent Reads:

  • 14 colleges in NY likely to ‘perish’ in coronavirus pandemic, new analysis says (7/27/20). Professor Scott Galloway has long been sounding the alarm about the threats that higher education faces, from the coronavirus to increased costs and reliance on all-time-high tuition rates. The content of this story comes from his comprehensive analysis of colleges and universities throughout the US.

    Want to see where your alma mater stacks up in his analysis and by what metrics? Click here (University of Rochester is unfortunately not in the ‘Thrive’ quadrant).
  • Complex problems — for example, any question of public policy— always surprise you by their depths. Lars Schönander’s recent piece ‘The Case for Supporting Open Source Infrastructure‘ further complicated my understanding of value v. value-capture (see Inequality and Power Laws). His analysis reveals how vital open source tools are for governmental, non-profit, and private sector operations and makes the case for actively investing in their maintenance and development.
  • Is Cheyenne, Wyoming about to become the finance capital of the US? Kraken Financial was approved to become the first ‘Bitcoin Bank,’ receiving a formal bank charter that is recognized by both federal and state law. Wyoming created a regulatory environment that is conducive to gaining whatever upside may come from cryptocurrencies, while New York passed regulations to kill the Big Banks’ competition.

    [Full disclosure, I own a small amount of $BTC. If you’d want to read more about that, DM me! *Not Financial Advice*]

My top recent posts:

  • If you still don’t believe inequality matters, you haven’t been paying attention. But where does this inequality come from and is there a tension between profitable innovation, ie. the creation of consumer photography, re: Kodak, and inequality? Read more about ‘Inequality and Power Laws
  • While Kanye is freaking the media as he works to own his masters, and advocates for black equity. I figured it was a good opportunity to plug my essay ‘999 Real Fans.’ This essay is a synthesis of Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans and the biggest lesson I’ve taken away from Kanye’s self-love.

Question for you all:

What good habit do you wish you started building a month ago? Or which bad habit do you wish you stopped a month ago?

This post was initially sent on September 21st, 2020 as part of an early prototype of my newsletter Seeking Tribesubscribe here!

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