Crypto is Dead? (Again?)
Posted September 13, 2022
In 1935, a habitually beer-clenching Bill Wilson was told by his doctor that unless he quit drinking, he’d be in a coffin in less than six months.
That night, beer in hand, he stared at nothing in particular… as those in deep thought do… wondering how he was going to kick this long-held habit.
Bill had listened to the experts on how to quit drinking.
So had his buddies.
He was tired of listening to them. Most of them didn’t know anything -- not a damn thing -- about what it meant to be addicted.
His buddies said the same thing.
Instead of turning to the experts, Bill realized that he needed a support system from others in the same predicament. People who could relate with what he was going through.
People like his buddies.
Alcoholics Anonymous was born… one of the most successful decentralized organizations in recent history.
This will sound strange, but this story has everything to do with why James just sold all of his Bitcoin.
(No, it’s not because he’s addicted.)
It will also explain why, contrary to popular thought, crypto (still) isn’t dead.
Before we go there…
There’s a huge “disruption” scheduled for the crypto market in TWO days.
It’s a hurricane of creative destruction so powerful that it will create big losers and even bigger winners — some cryptos will thrive, while others disappear.
That’s why James and our publisher Doug hosted a special webinar yesterday to tell you all about it.
Couldn’t make it? Don’t worry.
And read on.
The Leaderless Organization
As said, Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most successful decentralized organizations in recent history.
From the start, nobody owned AA. There were no application forms. It was 100% permissionless. Anyone could start a chapter, anywhere, without anyone saying a word otherwise.
In AA, nobody’s in charge but everybody’s in charge. Sponsors didn’t lead by force and coercion, but by example.
That’s the thing about decentralized systems: there are no clear leaders, the hierarchy is relatively flat, and there’s no central headquarters. This structure allows for ideas, iterations, and innovations to happen quickly.
But, as we saw yesterday with the Apaches, it’s easy to turn a starfish (decentralized org) into a spider (a centralized org).
(If you missed it: The Apaches, after fending off the Spanish army for nearly two centuries, only fell when their cultural leaders were given control of cattle. Centralized property became a centralized force.)
From Starfish to Spider
Let’s see how AA lost a little bit of its leaderless spirit.
When Bill put together a book, nicknamed The Big Book, he decided that the proceeds would go to support Alcoholics Anonymous World Services (AAWS), a non-profit dedicated to supporting chapters worldwide.
At the time, AA only had about 100 members.
He figured the proceeds would be meager; maybe enough to buy some supplies for a few chapters.
But then, AA ballooned into 10,000 chapters and the book sold over 25 million copies, producing an enormous amount of money for AAWS.
What was once a decentralized organization now had a central HQ flush with cash. AAWS decided to spend millions of dollars on renovations for its offices, generating conflict with many AA chapter leaders. The money, they believed, would have been better spent on the chapters themselves — not some corner offices where there are no AA circles.
The tension only got worse from there.
Members of AA began translating The Big Book into different languages, often giving it away for free. HQ would have none of it, suing some members in the interest of protecting their intellectual property.
As the HQ became more demanding and strict, it reduced the ability of each chapter to self-govern and innovate. AA became bureaucratic. Nothing like its upstart.
Just the Beginning
The authors Brafman and Beckstrom of The Spider and the Starfish put it like this:
“At the core of what happened with the Apaches and with AA was the concentration of power. Once people gain a right to property, be it cows or book royalties, they seek out a centralized system to protect their interests. It’s why we want our banks to be centralized. We want control, we want structure, we want reporting when it comes to our money.”
Of course, this isn’t a bad thing. But it does open up the potential for corruption and arbitrary control.
As mentioned yesterday, it’s synchronistic that Brafman and Beckstrom wrote their book in 2008, the same year Bitcoin was released to the world.
Here was a leaderless and permissionless organization that distributed power and property rights to the edges.
From that one innovation, we saw a Cambrian explosion of ideas, iterations, and other innovations on how to create leaderless organizations — many with specific utility — using the greatest incentivizer ever invented: money.
Sure, most of the cryptocurrencies have been complete copycats disguised as innovation…
But the true strength of decentralization is permissionless iteration over time. Crypto’s open and permissionless structure allows it to iterate faster than any industry in history.
All of this explains why…
James Sold All of His Bitcoin
As you may know, James first spotted Bitcoin in 2013.
At first glance, he thought it was a scam. Then, his friend Naval Ravikant took him down the rabbit hole, telling him everything he needed to know.
He was sold.
But then, something happened. Just recently, he sold ALL of his Bitcoin.
And he did so in anticipation of a major disruption happening in TWO DAYS from today.
If you want to know WHY James sold his Bitcoin… and what he bought instead (and where he believes you should park your money)...