Why am I sharing my travel stories?
Founder & CEO of TruStory. I have a passion for understanding things at a fundamental level and sharing it as clearly as possible.
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Almost every day, I receive emails asking for advice on how to get into cryptocurrency (or “crypto”). The people emailing have read about how crypto is going to be important or heard their peers talk about crypto blowing up in the future and don’t want to miss out on “the next big thing”. With that fear in mind, they set out to try and learn just what crypto is.
The typical experience for a crypto newcomer goes something like this: they hear or read something about crypto. They then begin Googling Bitcoin, Blockchain, and other cryptocurrencies. They read the first few search results that pop up and then follow the links within those results to more results. Before they know it, they’re swimming in a seemingly endless sea of information.
It can be challenging to decipher which resources are a good starting place, so many newcomers merely guess and then dive in. Before they know it, the technical jargon and concepts have gone way over their head. They are trying their best to understand, but feel overwhelmed and stupid because they just don’t get it.
One blog post leads to another. There are countless “intro to cryptocurrency” articles, Wiki pages, blog posts, courses, etc. As they start learning about one thing, they realize there are ten more things they need to learn to truly understand. Before they know it, they’re stuck in endless rabbit holes and struggling to understand how it all fits together.
After a few failed attempts and lots of wasted time, they realize they have more immediate and important life priorities and they simply don’t have the time to try and understand the confusing ocean of crypto.
So they move on.
This type of experience is all too common for crypto newcomers. It can be hard to find a good starting place when you’re not even sure what your end result is going to be. Where should a crypto newcomer start? How do they know which resources are trustworthy? These questions can be incredibly difficult and even seemingly impossible to answer.
And honestly? My own experience with cryptocurrency started this way, too.
I first heard of Bitcoin in 2013 through the grapevine at Andreessen Horowitz. I was told crypto was a big deal, that it was going to revolutionize the financial world. Like any curious venture capitalist would be, I was eager to learn more. I stayed late at work one night, downloaded the Bitcoin Whitepaper, and spent the night reading it.
I have to admit something: even though I read the entire thing, I had no idea what to think. “Why is everyone freaking out about this?” I thought. I set it aside and went home to get on with my life, telling myself, “I’ll come back to this later when I have time.”
A few months passed and I continued hearing chatter about Bitcoin. Developers on HackerNews bantered endlessly about it in the comments, people on Twitter constantly tweeted mythical-esque predictions, and even journalists were beginning to latch on to the phenomenon.
Articles began emerging with sensational headlines like...
“Bitcoin is a fundamental breakthrough in Computer Science”,
“Bitcoin reimagines how the financial system can and should work in the Internet era”,
“This is the distributed trust network that the Internet always needed and never had”
and so on.
“If it makes so much sense to everyone else, why doesn’t it make sense to me?” I asked myself. I knew I needed to make a more serious attempt at figuring out what I was missing.
At the beginning of the week, I blocked off the entire weekend to get to the bottom of things. I was determined to understand what cryptocurrency was and why it mattered so much. I scoured the internet in preparation and bookmarked any articles that talked about Bitcoin. When the weekend finally rolled around, I anchored myself to my computer and read, hoping to find enlightenment.
Before I knew it, midnight on Sunday had rolled around and I was nowhere closer to unravelling the mystery of cryptocurrency than I had been when I started. Still, a little voice at the back of my head urged me to keep going.
So, I did the same thing the following weekend and the weekend after that. In everything I read, I discovered something I didn’t know and I would chase that new lead. Before I knew it, I was hopping around the internet like a rabbit. I went from reading about “trustless” money to economics, from cryptography to finance, even from philosophy to history.
Suddenly, I’d found myself in an endless web of information. Countless subjects were fighting for space in my brain while I tried to make sense of how they connected with one another and what they meant for the bigger picture. As I continued my searching, I was driven by a gut feeling that all of these answers were going to be important. I couldn’t explain my motivation in words, but I had an undeniable feeling that something about cryptocurrency was right.
The more I learned, the more I thought to question things I never had before. I started to realize how little I knew about most things.
For example, I had grown up assuming our current financial system was the only option. I never questioned it, never thought to question it. Frankly, living in America meant I never had to question it. I never ran into any real issues with my banking account, getting access to credit, or sending payments to friends and family. There was no real reason for me to examine my faith in the dollar.
After beginning my research into cryptocurrency, however, things changed. For the first time in my life, I was reading the works of intelligent people who had been deeply examining our financial system for over a decade and came across several very large, very real flaws. They had realized how big and untrustworthy our governments and banks had gotten and they were out to make a change. There was a common theme that existed at the root of the crypto movement: loss of trust.
I began to realize perhaps I had been too trusting of our government and banks. Suddenly, I was forced to recognize my state of oblivion and acknowledge that I needed to look beneath the surface. I needed to dig in to really understand the systems our society operates within, whether that be financial, economic, or social. Moreover, I needed to examine these systems not just in America but all around the world.
I began to question how each of these systems worked: their power structures, the authority of their various factors, and their incentive structures. During all this questioning, a major realization was dawning on me: one of crypto’s biggest potentials was its ability to fix some of the broken, ineffective, and corrupt systems we have in place today. Crypto might even have the potential to re-imagine these systems from the ground up and change them entirely so that we could operate more openly, fairly, and efficiently.
All along, I had been approaching crypto as a mere technological breakthrough but I realized that was merely the beginning. Cryptocurrency is a mix of ideas, philosophies, cultures, and politics that merely presents itself as a technology. In reality, it is so much more than that: cryptocurrency is a tool to create a movement for a more transparent, trustworthy, and democratized financial, economic, and social system for people all around the world.
I fell in love.
However, falling in love with a vague idea and actually contributing to it are two very different things. I was eager to do something, but I had no idea where to start. Even though I’d spent months immersing myself in the world of crypto, I still didn’t have a clear vision for what I wanted to do in cryptocurrency or how I could fit into my everyday life.
I considered the industry leaders that I looked up to: Nick Szabo, Vitalik Buterin, Andreas M. Antonopoulos (to name a few). They all shared a common trait: they had clear vision for change. Whether that vision was smart contracts, a world computer, or trustless money, they had a goal in sight.
Me? I was hopelessly lost and wishing for a fraction of their clarity.
Wishing wasn’t going to get me anywhere. Neither was sitting around, reading an endless number of whitepapers, books, and blog posts. Deep down, I knew that I needed to stop reading and start doing. I needed to put my knowledge to the test and solve a real problem.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but that was easier said than done.
At the time, I had recently graduated from a coding bootcamp and was looking for my next endeavor. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to apply my newfound skills as a web engineer within the crypto space. I remember looking into the Bitcoin core repo one night and thinking, “No way! I’m not smart enough for this. This is genius level shit. Maybe I should just stick to web development.”
During times of uncertainty, I have found that talking to a mentor can really help me clear my head. My thoughts had become so muddied, my path so unclear that I decided to seek out my mentor. When I confessed my struggles, he told me that if I truly believed in cryptocurrency, I should look at Coinbase. “They’re the most trusted cryptocurrency company out there and you’ll learn a lot,” he said.
Full of new energy and hope, I took his advice.
A few weeks (and many interviews) later, I was silently screaming and jumping up and down after receiving the call where Coinbase extended me a full-time job offer. Looking back, I’m thankful for every day I had at Coinbase. They took a chance on me, giving me an opportunity to learn and contribute. Coinbase was my platform to break in and fully immerse myself in the world of cryptocurrency that I had spent so much time studying and thinking about. Observing and contributing to the inner workings of the world’s most trusted cryptocurrency company was an unforgettable learning experience and I knew it would serve any future goals I would make.
By the time I left Coinbase in early 2017 and ventured out on my own, I had an entirely new knowledge base and believed more strongly than ever that cryptocurrency would eventually revolutionize all sectors of society.
The real answer is that no one truly knows. No one knew 10 years ago when Bitcoin was first founded and no one knows today, even in the midst of another hype cycle. This is what makes crypto so beautiful and so scary at the same time. The future of crypto lies in our hands. Satoshi and his predecessors granted us this new tool and it is now up to us to figure out how to use it to build a better future.
There are many ways this can play out in the long run:
In an extreme scenario, crypto may completely replace the current financial system. The broken aspects of the current system may be too large to fix, leading to its eventual collapse and need for a replacement, which is where cryptocurrency comes in.
On the other hand, we may realize that crypto merely serves as a hedge against the current system (ie, digital gold).
Or perhaps we may realize that the future is some hybrid of crypto and the current system where both pieces come together to create more transparent and fair financial, economic, and social systems.
In any case, cryptocurrency at least serves as a measure of checks and balances against the current broken, ineffective, and corrupt system. That’s why you’re seeing so much hype revolving around cryptocurrency. We have a blank canvas to build the future and thousands of people are rushing in to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity. Everywhere we look, new projects are springing up and raising millions of dollars. Some of these projects are building innovative and interesting technology, but many are unfortunately taking advantage of the situation to profit off great-sounding ideas that will never work in practice. This juxtaposition means that from the outside, crypto looks like nothing but a bunch of hype, ideological debates, and crazy ideas.
Even for an insider, this madness can get tiring and disheartening. Fortunately, there are sparks of hope in the midst of the chaos. It can be hard to separate the signal from the noise, but when you look close enough, there is some really fascinating stuff happening.
Unfortunately, sifting through all the noise takes way too long for the average person. The space is full of complexity and toxicity. Unless a person is willing to commit multiple hours a day to separate fact from fiction, it is impossible to get a clear picture of crypto.
The crypto space is sorely lacking a guided and structured path for newcomers to learn about and maybe even contribute to the field. Crypto insiders are “too in it” and don’t understand how to communicate effectively with outsiders while outsiders are too overwhelmed with all the conflicting and complicated information to really make sense of things. As it stands, there’s no one to bridge the gap.
This is why I’m launching a new email course for crypto newcomers who want a guided introduction to cryptocurrency. This course is not just for “nerds” or those “in the know”, but for normal people seeking to satisfy their curiosity and understand what all the fuss is about.
I have been on the outside and I know how daunting it can be not knowing where to start. There’s a massive amount of information to learn and a plethora of things to do in crypto, but it is hard to find your way around without much structure or purpose. As you have learned by now, it took years of wandering around in the cryptocurrency space before I figured out where I belong. If I’d had some sort of guidance or a structured process for learning, I would have gotten to where I am today much sooner.
You may be in the same spot I was in a couple of years ago, looking for ways to figure this thing out once and for all. I want to give you the same stepping stone into crypto that Coinbase gave me: a course that provides a structured, digestible intro to crypto that anyone can follow.
Regardless of where you are on your crypto journey, I invite you to join the course. Beginner, intermediate, or expert alike‒I believe everyone can benefit from gaining a strong foundation in cryptocurrency and more importantly, why cryptocurrency matters.
If you are someone who is interested in cryptocurrency but:
This course is for you. It is designed for the busy person who has not been able to make cryptocurrency a priority for any or all of the reasons listed above but still has an interest in giving crypto chance. The only thing you need is an internet connection, your phone or computer, and an email address. The rest is up to me :)
No. This course is designed in such a way that even if you are not an engineer, you can still follow along. Having some technical background will help because it will allow you to grasp some concepts quick and allow you to go deeper, but it is NOT a prerequisite. You will still gain a strong foundational understanding so long as you are curious and willing to learn.
This will be 100% free, from my heart to yours :)
Whether you are a total newcomer or a crypto insider looking to revisit the basics, this course is for you. There is no reason to continue wandering aimlessly around the crypto space. I can’t wait to take you on this exciting journey. :)