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Follow the Rabbit Hole

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Welcome to The Block. I’m Jeremiah Lewis, crypto-enthusiast and early adopter. This is a twice-weekly
 

The Block

March 7 · Issue #22 · View online
Weekly curated #cryptocurrency news and commentary.

Welcome to The Block. I’m Jeremiah Lewis, crypto-enthusiast and early adopter. This is a twice-weekly email digest comprising one or two short topical essays followed by a manageable collection of curated links.
If you know anyone who’d be interested in this kind of content, forward this email, or they can subscribe here. I love feedback, so don’t hesitate to email me.

Rabbit, Meet Hole
Last week I talked about the need to be a polymath to truly understand crypto. And I stand by that. A reader sent me the following graphic, which, while funny, also illustrates the challenges facing us modern technophiles.
The last item especially is a time-killer, and does nothing to add to our knowledge stack. So, to become a polymath in crypto, we must jump in, knowing it’s a long way down and terribly confusing at times.
When you first encounter crypto, the effect is not unlike waking up not knowing where you are. It’s disorienting–upsetting even–because it throws everything you previously knew into stark relief. Even if you don’t fully grasp it (and you don’t–no one does their first time), you still get the inkling that this is something important, something groundbreaking, and possibly even world-changing.
This is the Matrix effect–the realization that the world is no longer what it was before.
Crypto is complex, not least of the reasons why is that it encompasses a wide array of knowledge silos, and true understanding entails being versed in most if not all of them. And sometimes, the idea is simple and yet complex at the same time. How long did it take for you to realize that a blockchain is simply a chain of blocks? That’s all it is. And yet, it’s so much more than that, too.
Emotions run high in crypto world. As soon as you think you’ve “got it” something comes along to disrupt your state of being. Crypto is disruptive by nature, so this shouldn’t be surprising. What is a surprise is how often and how long it can surprise even the most jaded, experienced crypto-user.
Crypto requires certain “next-level” knowledge. These are things we shy away from because they cause us physical pain to learn. This is any subject in college that you just couldn’t get excited about, either because it was boring or arcane or seemed too limited to have any practical bearing on your life. For me, it was matrix maths. For you, it might be an economic principle, or business concept, or it might be some philosophical topic that makes your eyes glaze over.
In crypto, things like cryptography, ledger technology, and even the foundational idea of a blockchain is vital to get fully invested in if you want to master crypto. And to do so takes breaking down the topic to its base parts and studying them individually and cohesively.
Finally, mastering crypto is about time management. Your time, specifically, is one of your most valued resources. And crypto, by its nature, is demanding on the clock. At first the temptation is to try to absorb everything. You read all the pertinent subreddit threads, subscribe to Telegram and Discord, join Slack channels, follow 200 Twitter gurus, and discover Bitcoin forums.
And maybe this can work for you, if you’re Batman and you have preternatural focus. But for the rest of us, limiting our intake of media is actually going to be more useful in the long run. For one reason, the less you take in, the less subject you are to FUD, scams, lies, deception, and general unpleasantness that any online sources inevitably dumps on you. For another, you will be more inclined to curate your sources and find only the best quality information available to keep you satiated.
Find authors whose work is trustworthy and vetted. Read primary sources such as ICO whitepapers and even Wikipedia for information. Check out books from the library (yes, there are books on cryptocurrencies, and some of them are excellent). And if you get to a point where you’re comfortable with a particular area of crypto, try teaching it to someone else. You will quickly learn where your knowledge falls off a cliff.
If you are paranoid like me your instinct will be to follow the X-Files dictum to “Trust No One.” This is misguided. First, you can trust me.
Kidding. Well, not really. You can trust me.
But really, you should find SOMEONE you can trust. Hopefully multiple someones. You cannot navigate this on your own. Crypto is a ladder, and the ladder is created by geniuses and users. The geniuses help us build the steps higher, the users follow in their footsteps. So find people who offer legitimate information and insight. They will be your guides.
And then you can be a guide to others, as you gain in knowledge. Sharing is caring, and all that.
BREAKING: The SEC has ruled that crypto exchanges must register with the agency. Bitcoin falls below $10,000 in response.
Bitcoin Dives After SEC Says Crypto Platforms Must Be Registered
Links of Note
Judge Rules Cryptocurrencies Are Commodities
Merriam-Webster adds entries for 'blockchain' and 'cryptocurrency'
And this is why we can’t have nice things:
Shady cryptocurrency touting Ryan Gosling as designer raises $830K
Amanda B. Johnson
Had a disturbing thought.

Many people probably think that buying an "ICO token" is the same thing as "investing in cryptocurrency."

Meaning they're mistaking one person for an entire network. Mistaking tiny sprinkles for an entire cake.

Not sure, maybe I'll ask Ryan Gosling?
This next link is a bit esoteric, but if you’re interested in being a crypto-polymath, it’s a good place to start learning about some foundational concepts that are becoming more important as the industry matures.
The Emergence of Cryptoeconomic Primitives
Thinking and postulating about the future is both easy and hard. Easy, because anything we imagine is possible, assuming it’s not implausible. But nailing it is tricky. But what does a future with non-national currencies dominating commerce and international trade look like?
Cryptocurrency Will Replace National Currencies By 2030, According to This Futurist
$5.7 Trillion Investment Company BlackRock: Cryptocurrency Will Be ‘Widely Used’ In Future
A $1 Trillion Money Manager Is Adding Cryptocurrencies To Its Portfolios
Forget $100,000 bitcoin, says Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff — try $100 instead
PayPal Seeks Faster Crypto Payments Tech
How Cryptocurrency and Blockchain are Changing Philanthropy
Computer guru Steve Wozniak publicly recounted the time he got bilked out of thousands of dollars in a fraudulent bitcoin sale and fell for a credit card scam. If it can happen to a guy as smart as Woz, it can happen to anyone.
Steve Wozniak admits falling for a Bitcoin scam
Wrap Up
That’s it for today. Thank you for reading! Did you find this newsletter useful and interesting and think someone else would enjoy it? Please forward it to them! Subscribe or read back-issues here. If there’s a topic you’d like me to write about, let me know.
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