How I got into crypto
December 16th, 2021

This one’s for Jordine. 🧀🍻

Crypto at the dinner table 🍷

I traveled to Boston for a business trip back in 2018.

On the first night, our company organized a dinner for our team. We were mostly remote. Our seating arrangement was randomized and the group I was placed in were with co-workers I informally engaged with in Slack, but never in person.

We introduced ourselves by our names and our handles. We started with small talk: how the flights and check-in went, where we’re usually based, and what music we liked. Someone brought up that they felt trapped in the Spotify loop listening to the same sets of songs over and over again. This discussion made its way into big tech’s social graph and after a few drinks, made its way into crypto (specifically, cryptocurrency).

I listened in. Well, I tried to. I understood 100% of the words in English, but I hadn’t a clue around what it meant to manage a portfolio of digital currencies that I had only ever heard of in memes and GIFs on Reddit.

The attention suddenly focused on me: “Almond, do you own any crypto?”

Bashfully, I replied: “no.”

After an awkward pause, I continued on: “I’m not really sure what it’s all about to be honest. I mean, can you really make money off of it, and is any of it even real?”

One of my colleagues shared that she managed a portfolio and did her own research in online forums and reading others who were well-versed in the space. She cheerfully added that she managed her boyfriend’s portfolio for him; he allotted a sum every once in a while and enjoyed allocating to wherever she saw it fit.

She encouraged me to do my own research, but to not worry about it if I never got into it.

Today is December 15, 2021. I started to look into crypto at the beginning of the year, and I cringe whenever I recall how I used to think of it as “funny money”, dismissing it without a second thought.

It turns out the joke was on me for having not paid even closer attention.

Fiat: Uncle Sam's Dollar is as good as he says it is 🇺🇸

I have a good friend named Lex. He’s a lawyer.

When I ask for his perspective on certain topics, I’ll get an evaluation that’s informed by his own interpretation of the law and the implications on our society, and a second take on how he really feels aside from how the law’s standing. His stance as a Christian is also very interesting and helps me in my own faith walk.

Cryptocurrency came up as one of our garden variety of conversation topics. In his fascination, he proposed that it could be as a possible replacement for a fiat currency.

Side bar: after our conversation, I summoned the appropriate page on Wikipedia:

Fiat money is a currency (a medium of exchange) established as money, often by government regulation. Fiat money does not have intrinsic value and does not have use value (inherent utility, such as a cow or beaver pelt might have). It has value only because a government maintains its value, or because parties engaging in exchange agree on its value.

Cool. At the time, I understood all of the individual words in English. But, I didn’t understand its implications in relation to cryptocurrency.

I remembered in our chat that he pointed me to a political commentary on the federal reserve printing money, where you can view the real time supply of money in circulation on this governmental site. Several trillion of what’s in circulation… had been printed over the year of 2020 during the pandemic.

That made me wonder: why is that important?

He then pointed me to a documentary about how many became worthless, and my main takeaway was fiat currency, like the US dollar, isn’t back to gold or to another “hard” asset, but to what the government says it is. (Recent learning: if you’re interested in learning more, I recommend checking out Robert Breedlove’s What Is Money?podcast on The Ultimate Macro Framework with Raoul Pal.)

My mind broke. It’s when I had this question come to the forefront of my mind: when will there be a time when the countries who bought treasury bonds from the U.S. government demand that cash up front, but the U.S. Government doesn’t actually have anything to give them?

Can they just keep printing, not knowing what the ramifications or consequences are if they print too much?

Cue the money printer. 🤑

That thought concerned me. And, I recognize that there’s so much more to this story than I know, #learning , so bear with me!

And so, off I went to learn more about this cryptocurrency thing. (Thanks, Lex. ✨)

Research 🕵️‍♀️

I asked co-workers in our #cryptocurrency channel, researched every term and expression about crypto I didn’t understand, scoured technical documentation, and even bought my first $200 in BTC from an exchange last week. In some way, I felt like getting skin in the game is the best way to pay attention to something.

Here’s a compilation of resources that I’ve benefited from ever-evolving, that I can personally speak to based on my own consumption and use.

Starter Guides 💁‍♀️

Whitepapers 📄

Exchanges 💱

Here are some places that I have used where you can trade your fiat money for cryptocurrency.

Wallets 🧧

Podcasts & Videos 🎧

Open Questions 💭

Exploratory topics that I don’t have the answer to, wrapped in questions. 🌯

  • What are the implications of DeFi (Decentralized Finance) in relation to not just the financial industry, but any organization that relies on financial contracts?
  • What does the “market” look like for programming smart contracts, and where's the best place to start learning by example given that Solidity is the dedicated language for writing them for the Ethereum platform? Coins may come and go, but someone will need to create those contracts for humans to interface with and send money through.
  • Given the government's open data sets, what would it look like to "replay" every one of those interactions on a public blockchain ledger and track future transactions by appending to it? Could this provide the redundancy in the case the servers and backups containing those records disappeared?


tl;dr | This is not financial advice. Please do your own research and consult with your financial or investment advisor(s) before making any decisions.

Past performance is not indicative of future results. I do not guarantee any specific result (profits or losses). Please be aware of the real risk of loss in following any strategy or investment discussed here. Strategies or investments discussed may fluctuate in price or value. Investors may get back less than invested. Investments or strategies mentioned may not be the right thing This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation or needs and is not intended as recommendations appropriate for you. You must make an independent decision regarding investments or strategies mentioned. Before acting on anything in this post, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and strongly consider seeking advice from your own financial or investment advisor(s).

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