This is an opinion editorial Boomer, a longtime and active member of the Financial Freedom/Early Retired (FIRE) movement and a contributor to Bitcoin Magazine.
It’s been exactly a year since I started my bitcoin journey, and after meeting many amazing Canadian bitcoiners over the past few weeks, I want to share my story. In some ways, my orange-pilling has been the biggest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also been extremely trying. I guess you can compare it to “Hero’s Journey”.
I have been a job-level economist in the Government of Canada for about eight years. I am fortunate that I have got a career as a public servant where I am able to help people. I am honored to serve Canadians and make a positive difference to my country. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, I did my part to help. I followed the mandate and restrictions, and I really felt like I was doing the right thing.
Isolation and loneliness were very hard. As an extrovert who is used to a lively and collaborative environment where routines and sharing of thoughts and ideas were important, working from home was absolute torture. Over the years, I was very active in the FIRE (Financial Freedom/Early Retired) community and started a financial literacy coaching company. Like most people in the FIRE movement, I dismissed bitcoin as an interesting but potentially passing fad. I could see that a prolonged pandemic lockdown could lead to supply shortages, and the combination of central bank money printing and government stimulus would be inflationary in the long term. I started considering some inflation hedges for my investment portfolio and thought maybe my coaching service could differentiate itself that way. I began my orange-pill journey with the intention of learning how bitcoin would fit into an inflation-hedging strategy, but I knew it had a place.
I’ve been an avid podcast listener for more than a decade, and I often pick a topic and listen to as many podcasts as I can until I’m ready to jump into a new topic. I learned about “crypto” in the same way. While I could see and understand the general economic aspects of bitcoin and how it could be digital gold, I have always lacked the computer science and technology skills to feel confident about jumping into the world of cryptocurrency. I guess I was too scared to actually dive in. I couldn’t differentiate between crypto and bitcoin, but when I decided to commit to learning, I went in with an open mind. I wish I could say that I recognized these altcoins as shitcoins right away, but I didn’t. Despite not really understanding what they were, I created a modest portfolio of top-10 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization in an effort to mimic what a cryptocurrency index fund looked like.
Meanwhile, I was listening to podcasts from Robert Breedlove, Peter McCormack, and Pomp, who were all telling me that bitcoin was the only true cryptocurrency. I remember starting to hear and feel Breedlove’s series with Michael Saylor in mid-June 2021. this is when i really started down the rabbit hole. I ordered a copy of “Bitcoin Standard” and I consumed as much bitcoin stuff as I could over the summer. I created a Twitter account strictly dedicated to bitcoin in September, and since then I’ve been trying to contribute as much as possible to the bitcoin community.
If summer 2021 was my introduction to bitcoin, fall was a honeymoon period. I had so much enthusiasm and wanted to share it with as many people as possible. As COVID-19 restrictions have been eased slightly, I set up a FIRE meetup in early October to talk about how bitcoin fits into a FIRE lifestyle. Over the years, I’ve organized about 10 meetups like this one where people share ideas on how to save money, maximize credit card rewards, and live with purpose. A typical turnout for one of these events was about eight people; The My Bitcoin event brought out a dozen. I didn’t realize it at the time, and looking back, I know I didn’t deserve it anywhere. It was around the same time that a local bitcoiner met me for coffee. It was the first time I personally spoke with a bitcoiner about bitcoin.
By the end of 2021, I had completely sold my altcoins and was completely into bitcoin. The song of the shitcoin sirens is catchy, and most of us fall for it at some point in our journey. Thankfully, I didn’t learn this lesson the hard way. I was able to sell my positions at a small loss, and I consider that loss to be the cost of my bitcoin education. It was around this time that I also learned the importance of self-restraint.
As anyone who’s dive deep down the rabbit hole knows, there are parts of the journey that make you question earlier beliefs and may change your views on certain aspects of the world around you. . I realize this is tough for everyone, but try to do it alone – during another COVID lockdown – when you live in Ottawa over the winter.
By the time the news of the independence convoy was coming in, I was questioning a lot of things I was seeing. When the convoy started going to Ottawa, I decided to follow it. I literally drove with convoys in several Canadian provinces and saw people waving Canadian flags as they gathered on the overpass. It was an absolutely surreal experience that I will never forget.
It just lifted my spirits to see “Community” again after two years of lockdown. It was also heartwarming to see Quebecers and Albertans conversing in broken English at the protests. I grew up in the 1990s, at a time when there was a real rift in Canada between French-speaking Quebec and the rest of Canada. This division had a great impact on me, as my mother is Francophone and my father is Anglophone. Something special happened in Ottawa this winter, and it makes me sad that many – perhaps even most – Canadians still haven’t realized it.
I was aware of what the bitcoin community was doing to support the Freedom Convoy. I followed Twitter threads and listened to podcasts. I knew Canadian bitcoiners were moving to do what they thought was right to support the movement. I wanted to help so badly, but I was scared. I was afraid that if I contributed in any way, I would jeopardize my career. I also knew that I was some plebe with 250 Twitter followers that no one knew. How could I help even if I was not a coward? At its core, bitcoin is about proof of work, and I didn’t do it at the time.
I was invited to a bitcoin meetup held on Twitter while the convoy was in town. Many bitcoiners I’ve been following for some time came to the capital to personally experience what was happening. I can only speak for myself, but the friendship built through orange-pilling feels special. This was the kind of community I was looking for.
In the months since the truck left Ottawa, I’ve focused on learning as much as I can and letting my curiosity take me wherever I can. There have been times when I felt jealous and disappointed with travel. The first year of a bitcoiner’s path isn’t always easy, but it got better for me as I met other people who went through it. I am continually amazed at how many of my preconceived notions have been questioned, and much has been re-learned about how I view money and economics. It is humbling and provocative at the same time. It’s such a unique experience, but I am grateful to the people who have come before me. I know I’m still early in the journey, and there will be more difficult times ahead, but I know I won’t deal with them in solitude.
Every time I meet a fellow bitcoiner, I feel the conversation energized. It’s amazing how people of all kinds of backgrounds and interests can find a common ground in Satoshi Nakamoto’s creation. I am so incredibly bullish on bitcoin, and I feel so because of bitcoiners.
I’m still trying to figure out how best I can contribute to this community, but I know that’s where I belong. Maybe just being in the community is enough, but for the past few months, I’ve felt a strong desire to create something. I still don’t know what that is, but I know I’ll find it if I keep myself with the great people I’ve met on my journey. I came to the rescue of inflation, living through a moment in Canadian history, and now, I’m sticking around through a bear market to build a better world.
This is a guest post by Boomer. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.