This is an opinion piece by Brooks Lockett, a freelance writer and Bitcoiner who fell down the rabbit hole in 2018.

I look forward to the day when savers will outnumber speculators on this planet. And the The FTX Saga showed us that we are far from this dream.

Yet the future remains bright. This article attempts to identify the psychological forces underlying the recent crash of FTXand provide insight into how we can create information that directly hooks newcomers to the bitcoin standard and helps them avoid getting entangled with the siren call of altcoins.

The current reality is that, at first glance, bitcoin behaves like a speculative investment. “Number Augmenting Technology” (A G) is the proverbial hook for most newcomers including me at the start. People tend to recognize bitcoin just as another asset before recognizing it as a one-of-a-kind network.

While more speculative traders entering the space are giving Bitcoin broader mainstream exposure, it is not guaranteed that this alone will drive real and sustained grassroots adoption. (i.e. long-term savers who understand the revolution and wisely store their funds in self-preserved cold storage).

The trading isn’t “bad,” but it completely misses the much larger purpose of bitcoin.

For individuals, Bitcoin is a new set of technological, economic and social skills. For society, Bitcoin is a complete re-mapping of our monetary neural circuits. It’s a Renaissance-scale overhaul of how we collectively think about and use money. And unfortunately, we are very far from the mainstream that realizes this.

FTX is just one of many events that have shed light on this fundamental question. As of this writing, the global macro landscape is in a perpetual state of stumbling from one carnage to the next. We’re seeing major exchanges disband overnight, altcoin crashes, and an ever-increasing onslaught of unsubstantiated information. mainstream media attacks.

While the purist Bitcoiners who have their funds in cold storage watch these events as unscathed spectators, the remaining 99% bear the brunt of the pain.

So what’s going on here? For me, this creates an inconvenience in which more people than ever before get lost in the fog rather than locating the signal. We need to show people how to navigate this incredibly rich store of information that is the bitcoin (not “crypto”) rabbit hole.

Bitcoin is best presented as something you study in depth and master rather than a tech stock you invest in.

Contrary to speculation, real skills:

– Does not require market synchronization.

– Elusive by governments.

– Cannot be lost in an afternoon due to volatility.

– I can’t give you the carpet.

At the heart of what makes Bitcoin work, the molten heart is proof of work (PoW).

The keyword here is “work”. In the same way that miners can only ensure that blocks are valid if they have expended some computational power to produce, the only way for individuals to succeed in Bitcoin is to give up shortcuts in favor of real study and effort.

And learning hurts. My first attempt at assembling a hardware wallet was laborious. The attempt, which took several attempts, did not come naturally to me. It was the same for the assembly of my first Umbrella node, and the same goes for understanding how to properly save seed phrases.

As frustrating as those experiences were, it was those moments that formed new neural connections in my brain. And it was these neural connections that gave me the knowledge to not be scared off by price volatility.

Learn more about Bitcoin is the antithesis of Fiat

Getting into Bitcoin requires zero college degrees, zero degrees, and zero technological or financial experience. It is entirely open to everyone, regardless of their background or level of education. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your skin color is, where you’ve been or where you’re going.

In a 2016 Lecture at the Blockchain Training Conference, Andreas Antonopolous described Bitcoin as a “superorganism” similar to colonies of leafcutter ants. The brains of individual leaf cutters are made up of only about tens of thousands of neurons. But together they form a complex agricultural society of individual contributors.

A culture of contributors, not extractors

Imagine all of Bitcoin’s knowledge contained in a giant cookie jar. Most people take the cookies out of the cookie jar and never put them back. But the best Bitcoiners take their existing knowledge, those lessons, and all the wisdom they’ve learned, and found whole new ways to apply, grow, and create something new for the next generation of students. Bitcoin as a field of knowledge is a living, breathing thing that needs to be nurtured.

And you don’t have to be a developer to contribute to bitcoin. Writers, artists, lawyers, filmmakers, even the oil companiesuse their unique experiences to enrich the industry.

As a media philosopher Marshall McLuhan written in the 1960s, the technologies we use shape our thoughts. By experiencing sound currency through the use of hardware wallets, assembling your own node, mining, or whatever avenues you explore within bitcoin, you slowly restructure your mental mesh relating to how money is supposed to work.

Now imagine what happens as this process evolves – when the principles of sound money are etched into people’s identities.

Societal movements, as Charles Duhigg’s book points out “The power of habit“, begin because of”[T]Social habits of friendship and strong ties between close acquaintances. It develops because of the habits of a community and the weak ties that unite neighborhoods and clans. And they endure because the leaders of a movement give participants new habits that create a new sense of identity and a sense of belonging.

This sense of belonging within the Bitcoin community is what we increasingly see today, although it competes with the flashy and misleading narratives of altcoins.

Movements on this scale tap into the inherent neuroplasticity of our brains. For a long time people have said that our brains are largely set by the time we reach adulthood. But recent brain research finds that our brain remains malleable throughout our lives and is able to reprogram itself on the fly.

This 2014 study on communications with nature goes against the widely held belief that our brains lose plasticity and become more cemented as we age. Takeo Watanabe, study co-author and professor at Brown University, said that we “retain the ability to learn, visually at least, by altering the structure of white matter”. According to Watanabe, the human brain is biologically equipped to break stale connections and create new ones.

And isn’t that ultimately our job at hand: to sever fiat nerve connections and form better ones?

Alan Turing’s 1936 article “On Computable Numbersprovides another compelling example. The visionary computer scientist accurately predicted that digital computing devices would eventually subsume all means of information processing. Since then, digital bits and bytes have become our maps, our clocks, our typewriters, our calculators, our telephones, our radios, our televisions – and now they are becoming our money.

To conclude, when we invest to become long-term students of Bitcoin, it opens up the world more to us. Learning the ins and outs of the protocol and its implications is ultimately an exercise in claim sovereignty. The learning process is continuous, inconvenient, intensive and quite necessary. I’ll leave you with one thing: investing your time, energy, and brain in this space will be one of the most rewarding pursuits of your entire life.

This is a guest post by Brooks Lockett. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.