Why crypto is appealing to me

Crypto has a number of skeptics. People hold reservations about the tech, whether it delivers value, or the likelihood of any meaningful social adoption.

Many of the criticisms are warranted. For example, I’ve expressed concern, even back in 2018, about how market cycles hurt the average investor. I ended that post with “I think about [Maria Lomeli] often,” referencing a 56-year old housekeeper who staked her savings on bitcoin when it was $15,000 and had since then fallen to $7,000. My friends tease me and ask me if I think about her every time crypto cycles bust. The answer is yes, I do.

The latest example is this list of Twitter DMs SBF received in 2022 from FTX users when the exchange lost customer funds. The messages are heartbreaking. We should all empathize particularly since these people weren’t victims of a cycle gone bust but rather victims of fraud.

That said, I also want to share why I find crypto fascinating. There are four primary reasons:

(1) The first reason is straightforward. Crypto has delivered strong returns as an asset class over the last 15 years. Even as prices approach all-time highs, the entire industry is just $2.5 trillion, multiples smaller than gold, real estate, stocks, and other asset classes. It’s reasonable to expect it to continue to grow. Now I am not looking to play PvP games. I don’t chase memecoins; I’d rather buy aspirational projects and just hold. If you take snapshots at how this strategy has held up, at times, it’s gone horribly. Other times it goes well. Either way, I set it and forget it.

(2) The reason I can set and forget is because crypto fits nicely into my worldview. Balaji has written quite a bit about this. Take a look around. Society is quite wonky. Fiscal mismanagement. Changing geopolitical realities. Economic issues and their corresponding social unrest. Emerging technologies and governments worrying how it’ll impact their authority. Sometimes I think it’s because I’m young, that older generations have survived these issues before. But I believe the challenges we face are serious enough to make bets on things turning out differently.

(3) Intellectually, I think crypto is interesting because the ideas are fresh. I like how the interoperability of the tech allows one to build upon the work of others. What’s most exciting in crypto is its primitives. There are plenty of fresh applications, uses, and design choices for builders and users to play around with. That leaves a lot of thinking both on a technical and a business level.

(4) Lastly, as an immigrant myself, I respect how international the community is. Industry knowledge is relevant in New York, London, Singapore and Dubai. That’s not true for every industry. For example, the knowledge to become an expert in the U.S. healthcare system is useless outside of the USA. Same with being a lawyer. Legal proficiency doesn’t immediately transfer due to another country’s own set of laws.

In my travels, I encountered people who believed in crypto from all walks of life. I was happy to see that my little Internet tokens held appeal not just to me but also millions around the world too.

(BTW as for Maria Lomeli today, I sure hope she held onto her bitcoin.)

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