Rethinking Money 01/30/21

I think I’m starting to “get” Bitcoin a bit more, now. I needed the ELI5 description. I started getting into it with Nick Land’s very dense philosophizing, and while I dig reading that kind of stuff as an exercise, I needed some bro podcasts to explain it to me.

The biggest shift in my understanding is that BTC is not something that you want to treat as the stock market. The goal isn’t to invest in BTC and then cash out when it’s worth the most USD. The idea is that it is its own form of currency that can interact with USD (and other cryptocurrencies), and that as the years and decades go by, owning BTC will become more and more important independent of its relationship to USD.

That, more than any understanding of “proof of work” or blockchain tech, is the key to getting how this thing is supposed to work.

Like 90% of the online bros you know, the GameStop thing has made me intensely interested in how money works. When you position money as something that you acquire first for stability, then for increasingly ostentatious purchases (boats, etc.), well, I lose a bit of interest. The stability angle is very important, not so much the loot.

The GME news cycle has made it click for me that money can be used as a tool of social…”revolution” is the wrong word, a word that I kind of refuse to use anymore. Maybe “redistribution”? No, that’s wrong, too.

I’ll explain it impressionistically: money for me used to be this dragon looming large in my mind. Undefeatable, breathing fire, making my life hell. I’m a villager in this metaphor. I’ve recently began to understand dollars, stocks, crypto, trade of physical goods, etc. as an octopus. A dispassionate octopus. Maybe a slightly bored octopus. But each arm can be used for different task at a different time, and it requires you to be as fluid as the money.

“Rhizomatic” is probably the word I’m looking for. Scratch the octopus: it’s a mushroom intelligence, interfacing with its world, influencing it, poisoning and healing, a demigod that requires attention if nothing else.

Money is wild, but fascinating.

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