6 things I wish I knew before I got into Bitcoin
- I wish I understood how much cultish behaviour permeated this space. There’s this well quoted scripture that says something like “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” People who invest in a random cryptocurrency routinely lose the ability to think rationally about their investment, and instead become evangelists for it, wildly parroting whatever meaningless tripe the verbose technocrats in charge of their coin tell them. What is often called tribalism, can, in the cryptocurrency space, descend into flat out cultish behaviour, where participants compete for approval from the group’s mystical leaders, and cult members carry an ever present risk of being shunned and attacked should they fail to toe the doctrinal line. Actual thinking, constructive criticism, and the debate of ideas is frowned upon and shut down quickly in BTC and many other cryptocurrencies.
- I wish I knew how little the exchanges knew what they were doing. When I got into Bitcoin I went down the list of currencies offered by Coinbase, Bitstamp, BTCMarkets etc, and figured if they were selling them they must be legit projects. And of course, if “Bitcoin BTC” is at the top, it must be the proper Bitcoin. (I no longer think that.) The truth is the exchanges will go completely out of business if the noble goal of having a single unifying global currency is ever achieved. These businesses have interests that are in direct opposition to the actual goals of what I believe Bitcoin was birthed to achieve. They serve their purpose for the moment, sure, and many of their well-intentioned staff and founders are unfairly maligned, but exchanges are, for the most part, not a useful barometer of project legitimacy.
- I wish I knew that the devs working on BTC (Bitcoin Core) actually WANTED to have high fees. When transaction fees on BTC hit $50 a transaction (if you actually wanted your transaction to be processed) in December 2017, BTC shills declared the narrative to be “This is good for Bitcoin and what we wanted all along!” Of course, if I was too cheap to pay $50 to move my $15 worth of Bitcoin then I just needed to wait for lightning. (Side note, lightning doesn’t solve anything as fees on BTC are going get that high again.)
- I wish I knew there were people who felt like me and wanted a usable cryptocurrency. I complained on r/bitcoin about the high fees, and promptly had my posts deleted. That was a dead end, so I argued on Twitter instead. It achieved nothing, and I was only left with people who I thought were a lot more experienced than I, and must therefore know a lot more about Bitcoin than myself, telling me the technical reasons why lightning will solve all my woes one day. I trusted and waited, but didn’t realise there were tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of people who had moved on from BTC because they wanted an actual Bitcoin they can use, not just a “hodl coin” that will perpetually go up in value without ever needing to be a useful currency. I’m very grateful to have found likeminded people now though who want a functional Bitcoin, in the Bitcoin SV community.
- I wish I knew Craig Wright was rather smart. Almost everything I came across about Craig Wright was cherry-picked-out-of-context-nonsense that BTC investors and developers used to justify their shunning of anything he said. Here’s an example from this week of the kind of nonsensical criticism that I was bombarded with for over a year straight.
This Joshua J Bouw fellow could easily have gone and seen the final copy of the paper published here. But instead, even after being presented with the link to the published paper, Joshua finds far more value in reinforcing his invented caricature of Wright that he leaves the post up anyway. I don’t mean to pick on Joshua, he’s more than welcome in BSV when he too grows tired of the unusable BTC. But the point is this is the daily diet of anyone who is into BTC. When one is new to Bitcoin, there is so much to learn, so many characters and personalities, so many people far smarter than yourself saying things that are in direct opposition to each other. One tries to find the voices that make the most sense, filter out the things aren’t worth researching, and slowly begin to build a body of knowledge. But there wasn’t a soul I came across in BTC who even once said “you know, I don’t like Craig but he actually makes some really good points, he seems to understand a lot about Bitcoin.” Not once. It took me going on a deep dive of my own, listening to lots of interviews and voices outside of BTC, and ignoring completely what I had been told, to find the truth; that Wright is perhaps the most knowledgeable person with regards to Bitcoin that I’ve come across to date. I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of valuable time listening to Blockstream staff, BTC Core developers, and Twitter trolls recite their mantra about Craig Wright instead of exposing myself to what he has to say first hand.
6. I wish I knew Bitcoin was meant to be easy and simple to use. There’s a belief that’s crept into BTC in the last few years that goes something like “blockchains are slow and clunky and therefore Bitcoin is a terrible experience, the only advantage it has over Paypal and Visa is security.” On the surface that makes a lot of sense. Hey, I tried using BTC, it took AGES to get to the destination, cost way too much, and felt clunky the entire way. Little did I know that BTC used to be super fast, and Bitcoin SV has fixed (and is still fixing) the things that were INTRODUCED INTO BTC TO SLOW IT DOWN.I kid you not, it made me so angry once I tried Bitcoin SV and had an amazing user experience, had instant transactions explained to me honestly (also called 0 conf transactions), and I learned these instant transactions USED to be in BTC but were taken out. I have been playing with an app called Handcash. It’s in Beta but still 100x better than anything I’ve used from BTC. I’m in control of my private keys so I own my Bitcoin SV, and I can send BSV back and forth to friends and family instantly, safely, with tiny fees, and it’s so simple my 8 year old uses it. It’s far easier than Paypal or Visa, way faster, AND has all the security features you want in Bitcoin.
In BTC I was sold the lie that the only way to properly and safely use BTC was to download a full node (there goes 4 days), store 100GB plus on my computer, pay horrendous fees, wait between 10 minutes and an hour before the funds would be received by anyone, and if I want instant and low fee transactions I have to also have a seperate running online lightning node, a seperate lightning wallet, and send more transactions to “open channels” before I can spend my Bitcoins, but also only to people with online lightning nodes. The experience using BTC is so needlessly painful. It’s great to know BSV has fixed things and isn’t wasting my time with hurdles like lightning.
When the penny dropped that the same people telling me that “Bitcoin is slow and the Lightning network is the future” are also the same people hoping to make lots of money through routing fees on the lightning network, it became very clear to me what was going on.
The fact is, Bitcoin works wonderfully today, as it was designed. You don’t have to wait 5 to 10 years. We call it Bitcoin SV now, it’s great, and you’re welcome to come and try it for yourself.