Bitcoin dropped over $900 from its record high at $2760 on Thursday in the last 48 hours, but has bounced back to remain up 17% week-over-week.
A 30% drop from Thursday's highs...
But Bitcoin is still up around 140% year-to-date...
While the volatility is unprecedented, Liberty Blitzkrieg's Mike Krieger notes it is indicative of the emotional excesses as investors experience the difference between fear and concern of what lies ahead for the global financial system (and indeed the status quo).
The last 24 hours were quite interesting for me, and have sparked all sorts of thoughts and tangents in my mind. I’ve been absolutely thrilled that yesterday’s post, A New Financial System is Being Born, has been so well received in the broader Bitcoin/crypto/tech world, but I also noticed a meaningful contradiction. While the post has been cheered beyond the confines of this website, within Liberty Blitzkrieg itself, it hasn’t been celebrated by anyone, at least not publicly in the comment section. In fact, if you scroll through the comment section of the post, you’ll see it’s basically 100% skepticism or dislike for Bitcoin. The reason I find this so interesting is because of what it tells me about sentiment.
I got a lot of insight from the comment section of this particular post because I know for a fact many of my readers love Bitcoin and have been involved in it for years. I know this based on private conservations I’ve had as well as many donations over the years. In a euphoric market environment, I’d expect the comment section to yesterday’s post to be filled with gloating, giddiness and “to da moon” commentary. There was absolutely none of that. In contrast, the skeptics were out in full force and totally dominated the discussion, which is fine. I want people to express different opinions and feel like they have the space to totally disagree with something I write. At the same time, it does tell me something about overall sentiment. The people who are long and sitting on gains are largely keeping their mouths shut, while the skeptics are very, very vocal. It’s not just here either, the skepticism and dislike for Bitcoin is even more prevalent within my Twitter feed. Incredibly, despite the recent enormous run, Bitcoin sentiment seems cautious-to-negative. Take that information as you see fit.
This sets the stage for the key part of this post which relates to the difference between fear and concern. One of these is a largely unproductive emotional state, while the other is a rational response to potential or real trouble. The reason Bitcoin sparked my interest in the topic is because I’ve witnessed a lot of people miss the Bitcoin run due to irrational fear, as opposed to reasoned concern. This isn’t to gloat about Bitcoin, or predict its future price. Pretty much everyone involved in this space for more than a few days understands that its price could completely collapse any minute and, despite all its advances, Bitcoin remains an experimental project that could end up worthless. I knew that back in 2012 when I first became involved and I know it now, yet I got involved anyway. Why did I do that?
The main reason is because I could see the potential and didn’t allow myself to make decisions based on fear. Fear overwhelms you, stunts your growth, makes you miss out on opportunities, and ultimately prevents you from living a fulfilled, interesting life. I know plenty of people who saw the potential of Bitcoin, but didn’t buy any or embrace it out of fear alone. Fear governments wouldn’t allow it. Fear the power grid would go down. Fear they’d be hacked. Fear overwhelmed them and prevented them from becoming involved in one of the few areas of this terribly corrupt economy filled with actual innovation and optimism. In my years in this space, I’ve found crypto currency people (especially the old school ones), to be some of the most humous, talented, decent and optimistic people I’ve ever met. So what if it goes to zero? The whole journey has been one of the most interesting of my entire life and worth every minute. As I noted on Twitter earlier today...
Brilliant, talented people are out there doing stuff, fearful envious people are warning me of doom.— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) May 26, 2017
Gonna bet with the former.
Which brings me to concern. While I always acknowledged many of the things Bitcoin skeptics pointed out, my response was concern, not fear. Concern allowed me to think things through and determine an appropriate allocation to something as unproven and risky as Bitcoin, but it didn’t propel me to avoid something I believed in and wanted to support. Concern is normal and healthy. It helps you take calculated risks and prompts reasonable measures to insure against catastrophe. Concern doesn’t freeze you up. It doesn’t prevent you from taking action or embracing new experiences. Fear does.
Fear is a negative emotion and mindset that only holds you back. It prevents calculated risk-taking, without which us humans would still be shivering in caves somewhere. We’ve all heard the saying “fortune favors the bold,” but you’ve never heard anyone say “fortune favors the fearful.” That’s because it doesn’t. And by fortune, we’re not just talking material wealth. We’re talking mental health, a breadth of experience and the joy and fulfillment that comes from a life of action as opposed to existing in a state of doom and gloom.
Of course, there are times when fear is appropriate and beneficial, but I’d argue pretty much only when you’re faced with a life or death situation, like in the middle of a war zone or being attacked by a wild animal. Fight or flight is very well established element of the human being for good reason, but unless you’re in a situation of extreme distress or danger, it’s almost always better off to avoid this state of mind.
I previously touched on this concept in my series on Spiral Dynamics. Here’s what I noted in the piece titled, What is Spiral Dynamics and Why Have I Become So Interested in It?
All of the madness being perpetrated by the media and divisive pundits on both sides needs to be seen in the context of this unfolding of consciousness. These people are in the fight for their lives to keep the current paradigm they are comfortable with alive. If you accept this view, then you recognize the importance of staying true to your values and not regressing back into first-tier type thinking. As Wilber and others explain, these are fluid states, so periods of stress or fear can result in a regression of consciousness. It’s not an exaggeration to say that preventing this from happening is of the utmost significance.
Expanding our consciousness is probably the most important work any of us can do on an individual basis, and fear is characteristic of the most base level of consciousness. As Ken Wilber described it:
1. Beige: Archaic-Instinctual. The level of basic survival; food, water, warmth, sex, and safety have priority. Uses habits and instincts just to survive. Distinct self is barely awakened or sustained. Forms into survival bands to perpetuate life.
Where seen: First human societies, newborn infants, senile elderly, late-stage Alzheimer’s victims, mentally ill street people, starving masses, shell shock. 0.1% of the adult population, 0% power.
People living a life consumed by fear are in many ways living as if they are mentally ill. Living life in fear is a voluntary choice for most of us, and it’s one of the most unproductive, unhealthy lifestyle choices a human being can make.
Which brings me to the point of this post. While it was inspired by some of the stuff I’ve witnessed related to Bitcoin and various people’s responses to it, it’s about much more than that. It’s about sharing some of the things I’ve learned over the years based on my own painful mistakes. I’ve found that it’s always better to be open-minded than stubborn, and that it’s always better to be a person of action as opposed to someone living in fear. Fear will bring nothing to you and those around you but misery and happiness. Concern is fine, but how you respond to the concern is what matters. Are you going to cower in a corner, or are you going to try to do something about it? Karma is action, and action is a huge part of being human.