Dan Held is a Bitcoin educator and marketing advisor at Trust Machines. In this interview, we discuss how to get involved with Bitcoin: how to buy and store Bitcoin, how to spend Bitcoin, how to avoid scams, how to engage with the community, and the best Bitcoin-related books, podcasts and Twitter feeds to follow.
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This is the third in a series of special What Bitcoin Did shows aimed at opening people up to Bitcoin. In the first episode, we learnt that Bitcoin is a new form of money. In the second episode, were learnt what Bitcoin is and its technical features. In this episode, we discuss how to buy and hold Bitcoin.
To those new to Bitcoin it can feel overwhelming. Its ideological and technical basis can seem impenetrable. Actually acquiring Bitcoin is another hurdle that requires an appreciation of new concepts and implementing disciplines distinct from other types of investment. But, the technical skills and behaviours required are actually well within the capabilities of the majority of people.
To invest one must first learn about changing your time preference. Bitcoin is about discipline over a longer time frame. Volatility exists, but Bitcoin is volatile to the upside. In contrast, other over-hyped digital assets advertised as offering better returns hide extreme downside risks. Those who stay humble, hold (referred to as hodl) Bitcoin and avoid the human desire for quick returns, are best placed to benefit over the long term.
Then one must appreciate the risks associated with custody. Most people are overly confident in third parties keeping their assets. But, in both traditional finance and cryptocurrencies, there are many examples of such trust being broken. There is a famous Bitcoin mantra: “not your keys, not your coins”. In essence, if you don’t hold your Bitcoin, you don’t own the Bitcoin.
Taking ownership of your Bitcoin means having to be disciplined in how you secure that Bitcoin. But again, these are new behaviours to attain, not difficult skills to learn. And they are reinforcing. Self-reliance is what Bitcoin ideology is predicated on. It is part and parcel of becoming a good Bitcoiner. Further, these habits will naturally bleed into other aspects of your life. Becoming a better Bitcoiner is synonymous with becoming a better person.