Wake up, buy pixels

February 7, 2024

The culture of crypto is misunderstood for two reasons; one, because the industry is inherently nascent and difficult to understand and keep up with, especially for anyone who didn't spend an entire year at university staring at the bitcoin chart. No, I didn't graduate.

And second, because when you get a new, misunderstood and ideology threatening technology that only a small few initially get to grips with (or obsessed with...) they inadvertently build subcultures filled with, other people just like them. That's communities for you.

If you find ideology threatening technologies exciting, congratulations, you are the modern day example of an outlaw. During 2019, a time I mostly spent naively chatting up hedge fund managers, thinking one of them would seed our wholesome but death defying crypto fund, I met someone called Alex.

Alex had done stints in "TradFi" (the finance where they wear a tie and no one goes to prison), and he had also helped start and fund companies of his own. All the cold handshakes I remember having, Alex's felt like he was ready to jump ship and let the waves wash over him for eternity.

Looking back, I can now understand people's hesitancy to do exactly as he did. The culture we sometimes unknowingly perpetuate is one of an unforgiving and rebellious nature, at least at its core. I don't think many people realised, that to democratise investing, would mean not only making it accessible... but making it fun as well.

Of all the mental boundaries we have been conditioned to reap the comfort of, money being a serious topic is one of the most widespread. Investing even more so. The thing is, serious doesn't have to mean conventional, and it doesn't have to mean boring either.

The parallels you can draw here to other viral technologies are endless.

"YouTubers are just unserious actors."
"Being an influencer isn't a real job."
"You can't surely get paid to play video games all day?"

These all seem pretty similar to:

"You can't quit your job because you bought a Bitcoin Puppet."

The previous quotes are probably real and can be found somewhere with slight variation. I think before the internet, certain privileged people in society were able to have a say in what gets financialised and what doesn't. And then YouTube got a payment rail and the rest is history.

You can't put the chicken back in the egg, or the influencer back in Starbucks uniform. First YouTube got a payment rail, and now the person writing this essay will get one. And maybe everyone reading this will gamble their Ethereum on whether other people will read it and find its contents valuable.

And it will be fun, because when people can monetise what they love doing, and not starve like an artist in the 20s, their personality can be crafted on much more than the immediate question of "how do I pay my rent next month?".

In this coming reality, who knows how far fun can take us.