To the Moon! I’m Deep Into Crypto and Haven’t Gotten a Paycheck in Years
A political economist at my roots, I couldn’t be happier about the future of money and the evolution of value that is happening today.
When I was little, my parents hunted exclusively for 70 percent sales. They were so frugal that I even gave back my dance class payment check once to my mom when I was 7, telling her, “I don’t need it,” because I thought we were poor. She rolled her eyes and gave it back to me. I took this spendthrift mindset with me, backpacking the world for eight years, trying to stretch money as thin as I could for as long as I could.
My scarcity mindset is so pervasive. I watch myself choose to take a 25-minute bus over a 10-minute Uber because of the 12-times price differential. I don’t buy new things. I stay in cheap hotels. And I “HODL” my crypto. I knew a guy who did the same, and in 2012, he quit his job at Walmart and invested in Bitcoin with his last paycheck. He’s a multimillionaire today.
There’s good reason for my cheap ways. I haven’t had a salary in five years. Sure, I do some contract work here and there, but over the past two years, I’ve been launching a nonprofit trying to change the world and not taking a cent for it. How can I do that?
I Trust Crypto Because of Late-Stage Capitalism’s Fragility
Well, I really think part of it is mindset. I still watch myself fight moments of insecurity. But overall, I have a deep-seated trust that the financial world as we know it is ripe for massive disruption—and crypto holds the keys.
I’ve been involved in the crypto space since 2014, when my town in Asia was a test site for Bitcoin vending machines, but the evolution of money is something I’ve been waiting for since the 2008 crash, when I took $10,000 cash out of the bank and stored it in a backpack in my parents’ bathtub for six months. Begrudgingly, when nothing drastic happened, I returned it to the bank. While it might not qualify to the IRS, I "retired" from normal work at age 29. I hadn’t become a millennial millionaire and didn’t even have huge savings. But I’d already been invested in crypto for a few years, and I know hope hung high on the horizon.
My trust in crypto as the future is founded in a thorough understanding of the fragility of our current late-stage capitalism. We are exploring how far we can take inflation and injustice. I’m pretty sure we’ll see a major global financial collapse by April of 2022, and I’m in the process of moving all of my fiat (the crypto word for government-controlled currencies, meaning “trust”) into crypto by then.
Yeah, it’s fucking unpredictable. All my friends who work deep in crypto have gone numb (including my ex-boyfriend) because of the inherent volatility. It’s a lot to handle for the human nervous system. But if you’re in it for the long haul like me—more for the ethos of decentralization, taking power away from central authority figures—then it’s less grinding. So when I think about money, I make sure I’m OK for today and a year or so of tomorrow, and I’ll let the future handle itself. This is a movement that’s going far, and we are still in the early adoption phase, so I rest calmly in my daily investments. (My early Bitcoin friends are saving their holdings for Mars.)
The Crypto Market Is More Valuable Than Ever
I still do some freelance work whenever I want to feel that dopamine hit from making “real” money. But something about that now feels cheap, like my value can’t even be measured in time (and I charge a pretty penny). Divorcing time from money has been my most liberating mind shift. I don't have to rely on centralized banks or other people’s value of what they’re willing to give me for my worth. And I don’t need to scramble like an Amazon rat or landlord for passive income.
Yeah, yeah, Dad. I hear you. “Something more reliable would ensure a more stable future.” But really, 11 years in, I feel that crypto markets are more promising now than they’ve ever been. We’ve reached a tipping point and are heading for mass adoption. The bull run through the end of 2021 will solidify that as well as seal faith in the greater movement. The correction coming around December 30 will shake off a few flies, but nowhere as many as in 2018.
My time is worth so much more than your paper money of “faith.” I’m much more interested in what we can conspire from a generative force of detached value. There’s no price tag on my worth, my ability to create or my time. And I can let go of hoarding money because as I circulate and spend, more is coming my way. (I’m talking to myself there—take the Uber, jeez.)
The evolution of value gives honesty to our digitized society. Money isn’t really finite. If anything, crypto has proven that. So let’s harness this unlimited energy source (even though most coins have a finite number to be mined, and we will tokenize more) and invest in one another and projects that will change the world.
I’m Committing to Spending Again
As we depart an era of extractive economies and enter a time when money becomes a generative asset, the way we exchange (“verkner,” as Marx called it) will be through investment in one another. True belief. Support of ourselves and of our humanity.
As I write this, I take a final exhale of being cheap. I commit to spending. And I commit to the embodied trust that I will be taken care of. Maybe I’m writing from privilege. But if crypto has taught us anything, it’s that the most unsuspecting of characters—with wise investment and a belief in a new tomorrow—can get rich quick without trying too hard.