This is an opinion piece by Santiago Varela, a bitcoin miner and writer from Mexico City.
My sister turned 18 in early 2023, and this holiday season I gave her a very unusual gift. Because I love him, I truly believe that the best gift I can give him is an orange pill.
It all started with a letter explaining the gift I was going to give him. Then I gave him a copy of The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous and a hardware wallet. But this was the beginning of a long process that we would have to go through together if I really wanted to give him the orange pill.
Of course, I was well aware that her initial reaction to my surprise would not include the typical face of an 18-year-old girl opening a cheerful present on Christmas morning. At first he seemed very confused with excitement. I have no doubt that he was expecting a nice pair of shoes or a nice gadget. I’m sorry sister, but that’s how we maximalists roll.
In the birthday/holiday letter, I mentioned three reasons why I gave her this special gift:
- I want to put him on the path to financial freedom
- I want her to be a sovereign woman in a fiat world where dishonest relationships are normalized
- As a high school student who doesn’t know what he wants to study in college, he can benefit from Bitcoin, which can give him an idea of what he wants to do.
My sister’s lengthy orange wrapping process began with a quote from the prologue of The Bitcoin Standard. I think it’s a perfect starting point. I asked him to read this quote over and over again to get him on his orange packing journey:
“This book does not provide investment advice, but is intended to help clarify the economic features and operation of the network, providing readers with an informed understanding of bitcoin before deciding whether or not to use it. Only with such an understanding, and only after extensive and thorough investigation of the practical operational aspects of owning and holding bitcoins, should anyone consider holding value in bitcoins. While Bitcoin’s rising market value may not seem like an investment, it does offer a sobering warning to anyone considering taking a closer look at the countless attacks, hacks, scams and security failures that have cost people their Bitcoins. owning bitcoins provides a guaranteed profit. If, after reading this book, you think bitcoin is worth owning, your first investment should not be buying bitcoins, but the time you spend understanding how to securely buy, store, and own bitcoins. The inherent nature of Bitcoin is that such knowledge cannot be delegated or outsourced. There is no alternative to personal responsibility for anyone interested in using this network, and this is a real investment that must be made to access bitcoin.”
In the letter I told him that I would help him set up a hardware wallet and send him some bitcoins. I sent him $10 worth of bitcoins to get started. But then I promised to send him $100 worth of bitcoins for every chapter of the book he reads, to make sure he spends time getting the basic, necessary knowledge and understanding the proof-of-work philosophy. . So I made a quiz for each chapter to check if he really read carefully.
However, as someone deep down the Bitcoin rabbit hole, I knew that reading the book wasn’t enough to make it sats in a hardware wallet. It was nothing, we were just getting started. So what was next in the orange peel journey? Every chance I got, I tried to turn that moment into a little Bitcoin lesson.
For example, such an opportunity arose after my sister was assigned a project in her high school philosophy class. Knowing that I am a great admirer of philosophy, he came to ask for my help. The project involved having a conversation with one of your family members, but using the popular Socratic method of conversation. If you don’t know what it is, the Socratic method (named after Socrates) is “a form of collaborative argumentative dialogue between individuals based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and elicit ideas and underlying assumptions.”
Obviously, we had a dialogue about Bitcoin and money using the Socratic method.
Another thing I did on this orange trip was show him a rabbit hole inside the Bitcoin rabbit hole: bitcoin mining and energy. I love bitcoin mining and the energy aspects of Bitcoin. In fact, I love it so much that we have an ASIC in our garage. It wasn’t that hard to understand how passionate I was about home mining. Believe it or not, he had never seen my ASIC (only heard “brrrrrr”). As a result, I took it to the garage and it got hands-on experience. I also have Bitcoin and Lightning nodes in the garage. It was fun because with tools like Mempool.Space and LnVisualizer I was able to help him see the material side of Bitcoin. It really felt like everything started to come together.
As you all know, Bitcoin knowledge cannot be delegated or outsourced. When it comes to Bitcoin, there is no alternative to personal responsibility. As much as I’d love to help him with anything, I can’t guide him down the rabbit hole forever. You have to go down the Bitcoin rabbit hole yourself. I guided him for a long time, but it was time for him to travel on his own. As Oscar Wilde once said: “Education is a wonderful thing. But from time to time it is necessary to remember that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”
So I started treating him like any other Bitcoin pleb and let him go down the rabbit hole on his own. All I did was send him a bunch of resources (articles, podcasts, videos, books, etc.) and let him go. At the same time, I realized that I could do this with other children of the same age as my sister. Even better, I realized that my sister could help me with this and introduce her digital native friends to Bitcoin, because if you’re interested in Bitcoin, you have to take people personally.
Accordingly, I decided to turn our garage into a small Bitcoin academy. Although my sister was the guinea pig for this experience (and as I write, she is the only student who attended the Bitcoin academy), I have to give a big shout out to other bitcoiners around the world who share educational content. anyone to use. For example, Mi Primer Bitcoin (from Salvador) is amazing Bitcoin diploma workbook anyone can download it for free. I have no doubt that their initiatives, or ones like Escuelita Bitcoin in Uruguay, are what we need if we want a future with sovereign individuals. we have to do teach the youth.
We hope this inspires other bitcoiners around the world to introduce their little sisters to Bitcoin. I was inspired by the aforementioned initiatives and stories like the Denver high school students who became Bitcoin entrepreneurs. With any luck, the next time I write an article for Bitcoin Magazine it will be about high school students from Mexico City who became Bitcoin entrepreneurs. For now, stay humble and gather my friends.
This is a guest post by Santiago Varela. The views expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.