Most people know Michael Caras as The Bitcoin Rabbi and for his book, “Bitcoin Money: A Tale of Bitville Discovering Good Money.” Michael got into Bitcoin in 2017 and his passion and enthusiam to teach people about Bitcoin has earned him respect in the community. He may not be an OG bitcoiner, but his fresh perspective is a great addition to the Bitcoin Bear Market Diaries.
For more background and history on the Bitcoin Bull Market Diaries check out Bitcoin Bull Market Diaries Volume 1 Interview with Hodlonaut.
How do people know you?
People know me as @thebitcoinrabbi. I’m a rabbi and a teacher. I try to find connections between Judaism and Bitcoin and share it on twitter and Jewish groups.
People also know my book “Bitcoin Money: A Tale of Bitville Discovering Good Money”, which is a beginners introduction to Bitcoin.
How long have you been into Bitcoin?
I first started looking seriously at Bitcoin in mid 2017.
Best Bitcoin experience?
My most exciting experience was the day that I first got a Lightning Network node running and bought stuff with Lightning. I am not highly technical and was waiting for months to find something that worked at my level. Ever since then, I have been using lightning almost daily. I pay my kid’s chore money with lightning on her ipod touch.
Worst Bitcoin experience?
Sending any large transaction or restoring any recovery seed still makes me shake. I once misread a letter on a recovery seed due to my poor handwriting.
What made you write your book and who is it targeted for?
I have a presentation that I’ve given to Jewish groups called “Bitcoin and Judaism” in which I explain the history of money and where bitcoin fits in technologically, economically, and ethically. After months of telling everyone I know about Bitcoin, I wanted to compress those ideas down into the shortest format that I felt could explain Bitcoin both to my 7 year old daughter and to my senior parents.
The book is at an elementary school reading level, but it’s really a good introduction of “Why Bitcoin?” for a person of any age. The colorful pictures and the short read (only 30 pages) make it easily accessible even if a person wouldn’t initially be interested in reading a book about Bitcoin.
What I imagine is that you buy the book for your niece, and then your sister and niece read it and learn about Bitcoin together.
What do you think is Bitcoin’s biggest threat?
I don’t predict that it will happen, but I think that western governments’ regulations and crackdowns could dampen the amount of widespread interest, especially amongst institutions and high net worth individuals. I’m fairly hopeful that regulation is going to go in Bitcoin’s favor.
What are your thoughts on the various Bitcoin forks?
I think it will be interesting to see how they progress through the next halving or two. Right now, Bitcoin and all of its forks are still highly subsidized by inflation, but as that block subsidy goes away, Bitcoiners are prepared to pay fees for blockchain space. I don’t know how the other chains are going to survive with low volume, low fees, and low hash rate. I’m honestly surprised they haven’t been attacked already.
I have never met in person someone who is really into bcash or bsv. I can understand a person being interested a couple years ago, but at this point, I really don’t get what is going on over there.
What are you optimistic about in this space?
I think that basically everything in the Bitcoin space is getting better. More books, more podcasts, more articles and information. Development is happening on every facet of the system. Regulatory and institutional adoption seems to be progressing. The fundamentals of Bitcoin are so much better now than they were 2 years ago when I entered the space.
Biggest regret during the last Bear market and what did you learn?
Not exactly during the bear market, but right before, near the top of the bull in 2017, I made a nice lump sum investment. I wish that I had spread that out into dollar cost averaging, having more to purchase going down the bear market.
What is the biggest fail you observed during the last bear market?
One of my friends bought some bitcoin near the 2017 top. Exactly one year later, at the absolute market bottom, he capitulated. I tried to convince him to wait longer, but he ended up selling to me. Those were the cheapest satoshis I ever bought!
What do you think help turn things around to the current Bull market?
I’m no expert on price cycles or technical analysis. I don’t know why the price bottomed where it did and when it did. But personally I felt that sub $4k just seemed cheap to me and that is when I began to DCA.
It’s possible that the #stackingsats movement of slowly accumulating satoshis has added up and brought up the floor of hodlers.
Who are the heroes of the last Bear market?
All of the podcasters who kept putting out content are real MVP’s. Bitcoin needs the message and information to keep getting out there and keep the interest up and motivate hodlers. In particular Matt Odell for the #stackingsats meme.
I love the Bitcoin permabull attitude.
Why do you think alt-coins are still struggling?
I have never owned a single alt-coin. I have been waiting for anybody to be able to explain to me why I should own any, and I am still unconvinced. I think that this whole invention of the blockchain is basically custom-designed for Bitcoin, and that’s the only thing I’m interested in.
I think the more light that is shone on this space, the less reasonable the alt-coin narrative becomes. People aren’t passionate about alt-coins like Bitcoiners are about Bitcoin.
What do you have to say to those who claim alt-season is coming?
It could be, I hope not. I don’t trade or short anything, so it doesn’t matter to me much.
Do you hold any alts? If not, why?
What do you think about the upcoming Bitcoin halving and what it will do to the price of Bitcoin?
I think that the evidence is clear that the halvings are not priced in and that the diminished supply of new Bitcoins plus the demand of new people entering the space creates a feedback loop of higher prices in the long-term.
What do you think makes Bitcoin superior to anything else out there?
I think that the origin story of Bitcoin is powerful; the anonymous and disappeared founder, the lack of authority and governance. I think that the scaling debate which lead to UASF and NO2X really cemented in my mind that this is a decentralized system. If it’s not decentralized then I don’t think any of this really matters.
Do you think central banks are or will be accumulating Bitcoin?
I have no clue. Probably not for a long time.
How do you feel about the current state and future of lightning network?
I think that development on the Lightning Network has been fantastic. I like to try out every new wallet and follow all of the updates.
It is still extremely early, but the nature of the system and flexibility of development makes a lot more sense than trying to scale the base layer.
What are your thoughts on HODLing Bitcoin?
I think that for the foreseeable future, decades to come, the most logical, useful thing to do with Bitcoin is to HODL. I think there will be a price S-curve and by then we will have all the payment rails in place.
What are your thoughts on Bitcoin Maximalism?
It has been the only thing that made sense to me since day one. To me it means that the monetary premium value of world money will consolidate around Bitcoin, and that all other digital tools and assets will be built around it.
Other cryptocurrencies and digital assets will exists, but they won’t have the monetary premium as a store of value.
Thoughts on the notion of bitcoinization?
I believe that we will see it in my life time. I think it will cause massive life improvement.
What do you think Bitcoin dominance will do as the price increases?
The whole metric is flawed. Because of that, it’s hard to predict what it will be. The real Bitcoin dominance has always hovered around 90%.
What will someone have to do to prove they are the real Satoshi Nakamoto?
He would have to sign early keys to be even considered. I don’t think that will ever happen and I hope it never happens.
What Bitcoin startups are you excited about?
I am a big fan of Casa. I think their company ethos, their employees, and their products are the things we want to see in a Bitcoin company.
What “crypto influencers” do you think get it wrong and why?
I think that the “crypto” concept is disingenuous. I don’t think there is a lot of long-term value in most “crypto”.
What “crypto influencers” do you think get it right and why?
There are so many great writers in the Bitcoin space that put out thoughtful and well researched articles. Bitcoiners have been thinking deeply about economics and technology consistently for a decade, it really shows that there is a coherent, logical philosophy. I think that gives legitimacy and helps spread the idea.
Where do you envision the market heading in the next 5 years?
Number go up.
I don’t think we’ll see the same altcoins in the same positions in 5 years.
Best tips for storing Bitcoin?
I really need to up my multi-sig game. I am looking forward to more user friendly ways to create multi-sig setups with multiple hardware devices.
I think that the coldcard wallet is top notch plus billfodl metal backup. I also have some ledgers.
Any tips you want to give to people new to Bitcoin?
The purpose for which Bitcoin was invented was to replace the central banks and the process in which money is created and distributed. Bitcoin’s primary function at this point is a deflationary store of value, not a medium of exchange. We have dozens of other seamless ways to spend money and send money instantly, that is not what Bitcoin was created to solve. What makes Bitcoin valuable is that it can’t be easily changed.
It’s important to understand what a full node is, why it’s important, and how you can run one. Whether it’s Bitcoin or any other coin, if you are not running a full node, then you’re missing the whole point.
Run your own full node and store and backup your own keys.
Name some of your favorite information sources and/or podcasts in the space.
I listen to the top Bitcoin podcasts: Stephan Livera, Noded, What Bitcoin Did, TFTC
I also like to follow Tone Vays’ channel. I am not a trader, but I like to look at charts and hear his and Jimmy Song’s news analysis.
My favorite place to learn is Bitcoin twitter. I think it’s such a fun and friendly place. Bitcoiners in general have a great positive attitude.
Why do you think so many Bitcoiners lose their hardware wallets in boating accidents?
I have a feeling that a lot of these hardware wallets may turn up washed ashore once the regulator policy catches up to Bitcoin.
Any last words of wisdom?
Everything that exists in this world is merely a tool. It’s up to all of us to decide how we are going to use Bitcoin and every other technology. I believe that just like the internet, Bitcoin will be a force for good for the entire world, but it’s up to us to make the choices to do what’s good for ourselves and for our fellow. In everything in your life, Bitcoin, twitter, work, community; try to find a way to do good for others.
Stay tuned for the next Bitcoin Bull Market Diaries. I have some awesome interviews in the queue and will be dropping new volumes regularly. Special thanks to David Bennett and all of our fellow Taco Carnivore Bitcoin Plebs out there!