I just love the John Wick series of movies. Keanu Reeves plays the character so well. It’s gutsy and gritty. Reeves also stars as Neo in another of my favorites - The Matrix. And it is here that he cut his teeth on films that are not simply meant to entertain, but to make us question and think. The Matrix sparks my curiosity every time I sit down to watch it. A world within a world with deep meaning and a picture of what our dystopian world could look like in the future. However, this weekend, I felt that I was Reeves acting out my part of Neo in The Matrix, while out having lunch with some friends.
As a Bitcoin advocate and someone who has moved miles in their thinking, I still feel I’m learning about where Bitcoin fits and how it could benefit humanity in the next 100 years. I’ve shared a stage at the UK Bitcoin Conference with some great minds: Samson Mow, Adam Back, Allen Farrington, Natalie Brunell and, Jeff Booth to name a few. I’ve visited Texas and attended Bitcoin conferences there to listen to Dan Held, Natalie Smolenski, and so many other clever, smart folks who know and understand Bitcoin. But, while out dining with some buddies, I was tested both on my rationale and my understanding of the “why” of Bitcoin.
The process of “orange pilling” someone isn’t something that happens over night. Max Keiser has spent years butting up against Wall Street types, business media reporters and of course the new wave of Youtube journalists, like Daniela Cambone, who regularly attract tens of thousands of viewers every week. It can be a quick and painless operation or a drawn out battle of wits and acumen as educating or informing others on Bitcoin takes in so many other disciplines. In short, it can be a masters degree in macroeconomics distilled into a 30 minute chat. Suffice to say, my “orange pill” encounter took an hour and was a bloody affair. Both John Wick and Neo would have been proud of my stoicism and fortitude.
Alas, as I brought up the subject of “Bitcoin” at the table, I noted a pugilistic shift in the chair as I watched my buddy suddenly become my adversary and a worthy opponent. Maybe I was being naive, but I was not prepared for this so soon in the discussion.
As we batted back and forth on Bitcoin, fixed supply, inflation, investing, currency, sound money, peer-to-peer remittances, and global debt etc., it became apparent to me that my mate was entrenched in a position and not willing to compromise or see Bitcoin from any other perspective. He stated “you just want to get rich out of it and bringing me and people like me in - helps your cause.” He went on, “we need to borrow to grow our economy and debt is all part of that.”
During our encounter, which was becoming a trifle heated, something happened that I would normally have found hard to explain. I was immediately transported to my version of the Bitcoin Matrix, where I had a sudden clarity and focus on my “opponent” that felt real and surreal at the same time. It dawned on me that he was completely brainwashed by the current system we live within in the UK: governments, banks, the political and monetary system were operating as they should, and would save the day. I was like Neo in the Matrix movies floating above and fully aware of my buddies' predicament and protestations. Of course, he was not trying to kill me, but the venom was most definitely there.
To finish, I walked him through central banks and had to give up when he couldn’t accept that central banks have been part of the problem we have had for decades. In short, he believes central banks are the good guys. It was now time to eat and reflect not just on my orange pill aptitude, but on why from the start, my mate was so defensive of the status quo and brutally hostile to the notion of Bitcoin as money or currency.
Then it dawned on me. Like many who work and get paid in the system that we live in within the UK, the idea of such huge change via Bitcoin was terrifying. This financial technology has the potential to upset his apple cart. It could cause pain as it opens up a new perspective on the macro picture and how we as humans pay, price, and barter for goods and services in the future. And I honestly understand why he and so many others experience fear when this notion is played out in their heads. Of course, not helped by a biased and uninformed media.
I’ve exited from my role as Neo for now and my buddy, I am sure, has some stuff to think about. That’s the beauty of the orange pill. It creates and agitates new thoughts in folks’ minds. For me that’s a good thing as it ignites curiosity and new ideas.
One thing to think about as Bitcoin enters the mainstream lexicon more and more each week.