The Onion Router – also known as Tor – is an internet network that allows for anonymous communication.
It’s a way to prevent others from tracing your internet activity.
Of course, while great for privacy, it also means it’s a bit of a haven for nefarious activity.
That’s a conversation for another day…
But the point is, through the Tor network, you can find yourself in all kinds of interesting message boards and threads.
In late 2010, I was kicking about exploring Tor – curious to what the “deep web” was all about.
And from time to time, I’d see discussions of bitcoin pop up on tech forums. Most of them pointed to another forum called Bitcointalk, which had an abundance of information on bitcoin.
So, curiously, I went to Bitcointalk to poke around.
It was tedious, as it regularly stops you from searching because it says, “You are searching too quickly.” But it had enough information for me to learn about the bitcoin basics.
Most notably, the white paper that explained how it worked.
That white paper opened my eyes to something beautiful: a decentralized, open-source, peer-to-peer money system.
The paper was a game-changer.
It proposed a trustless system. That means instead of relying on a middleman to verify transactions, it relied on cryptographic proof.
More interestingly, the unit of exchange on this new network was a digital currency.
What really made it interesting was these “coins” had value. (Not much value, I might add… at the time, about 30 cents.)
As fascinating as this all was, my brain didn’t quite register what was coming.
After all, I got my degree in traditional finance (TradFi), and that was where I was starting my career.
So an alternative to all that was a completely new experience to me.
Then in June 2011, Adrian Chen published an article on Gawker titled, “The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable.”
Not many people knew about the deep web (or “dark web”) – but it was and continues to be a massive part of our online world far more expansive than most people would care to know about.
Within the deep web, Chen exposed to the public for the first time the Silk Road.
This was a deep web marketplace mainly used for the buying and selling of drugs – any drug imaginable. The Silk Road could be found on the Tor network.
The mainstream media picked up on this story, and it went viral.
My “nerdy” senses pricked up again. And while I had accessed the deep web, I hadn’t found my way to the Silk Road yet.
The thing about the Silk Road that caught a lot of attention wasn’t just the drugs you could buy… It was the unit of currency used on the network.
That currency was bitcoin.
Next thing I know, those bitcoins weren’t worth 30 cents anymore. They were worth $30.
I understood the core principles of bitcoin… privacy, anonymity, decentralization, breaking free from a corrupted and convoluted financial system.
This all was in line with my own views of the world at the time.
It’s worth remembering too, we were still reeling from the effects of central bank policy from the 2008–09 global debt crisis.
The term “quantitative easing,” or QE, was common vernacular.
And central banks stepping in to buy up assets they literally called “Troubled Assets” – remember the TARP program? – from the market all pointed to a very big can getting kicked down the road.
In short, although I was in finance, I hated Big Finance. I understood that it wasn’t designed for everyone but tilted toward the financial elites.
I despised central banks’ poor monetary policy. I strongly believed that all politicians were untrustworthy, and that the only person who knew what was or wasn’t good for an individual was the individual themself.
And here in front of me was a monetary system completely outside the control of the kakistocracy. (A “kakistocracy” is government by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state.)
I loved it.
Crypto Is Weird, Wild, and Wonderful
At the time, I was geeking out over bitcoin with a friend of mine, a mortgage broker who I worked with named Daryn.
We tossed around a few ideas. Should we build a mining rig? Should we just buy a chunk of bitcoin with the money we’d use for the mining rig instead?
We had priced up a computer and graphics processing units, estimated hash rates and electricity costs… And we figured it would take about two to three months to pay back the cost of the rig.
Then bitcoin’s price crashed from $30 to around $2.
Oof. That hurts.
In the mind of a TradFi financial adviser, that’s too risky. Blowing $1,500 to $3,000 in your 20s is a big chunk of change to fritter away.
And you can’t help but think, what if it goes to zero?
When you’ve seen it go from mere cents to $30, then your brain tricks you into thinking, well, it’s now just going back to cents again.
But it didn’t.
Those early years in crypto were wild. It was interesting, exhilarating, exciting, and terrifying… but overall, just bloody good fun.
And that’s what I came to love about crypto in the years since.
It’s weird, wild, and wonderful. It’s full of the highest highs and some pretty dark lows.
It’s the feeling of being a pioneer, a discoverer, learning all the time, uncovering new ideas and opportunities.
I’ve since lived through huge events like the collapse of Mt. Gox (still waiting to get paid back on that one) – you can see my proof below.
I survived the first “altcoin” cycle in 2013–14. I got rolled twice more on exchanges like Cryptsy and Mintpal. (Learn that mistake enough, and you never fall for it again.)
I was there for the first big retail investor pump cycle in 2017 and early 2018. I even have the CryptoKitties to prove it… That’s right, the first NFT hype.
I’ve lived now through four Crypto Winters. I staked crypto in 2013. I bought, sold, and traded, made some great returns, and have taken some heartbreaking losses over the last 13 years.
I’ve been scammed, been the target of threats, and seen a rug-pull or two over the “DeFi Summer” of 2020–21.
I’ve scored a few big hits and missed some agonizing shots, too (like selling my SHIB coin about $2.05 million too soon – another conversation for another day too).
I’ve also written two books on crypto.
My first was written in 2016 and published in early 2017. It’s titled, Crypto Revolution: Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, and the Future of Money.
My second, written in 2022 and published in June this year, is titled, The Crypto Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding and Investing in Digital Assets, Web3, the Metaverse, and More.
When it comes to crypto, I’ve just about done and experienced everything you can think of.
I’ve travelled the world talking to people about bitcoin and crypto, presenting and speaking at conferences, meeting with people in the industry, and getting out to understand how this all looks in our future.
I’ve also been able to survive this long because I’ve always been good at managing my own risk and capital and knowing where my limits are.
That kind of self-awareness is crucial to success and longevity in crypto, particularly crypto investing.
Why I’m Here
If you’ve read this far, I want to thank you.
It’s a lot to introduce myself. I just wanted to give you some context to my journey and why I’m joining Daily editor Teeka Tiwari and his team at Palm Beach Research Group.
In short, I’m of the view that a massive crypto bull cycle – my fifth – is in the cards. I’m on record saying I expect it to start this year.
We’re starting to see signs of that already. Since January, bitcoin is up 125%. That’s outperforming every asset class.
I’m also of the view this bull cycle will blow the roof off every cycle we’ve seen previously. And I want to help Daily readers maximize every single bit of opportunity from what’s coming.
I’ve been a fan of Teeka’s work for years. And while we’ve been on separate paths until now, we’ve been on the same wavelength with our views on the crypto markets, on bitcoin, and on the direction this is all heading.
If you’ve been following the Daily this month, you know Teeka and I have been warning about an event that could trigger the final collapse of the dollar.
Later this month, to fund the government’s ongoing operations – and the trillions in debt it continues to stack up – the U.S. Treasury will auction off a host of Treasury bonds and bills to the market.
But there’s a gigantic elephant in the room: What if there’s no one there to buy at the auction?
The Treasury needs to sell hundreds of billions in its auction to fund the government. But if it can’t… All hell could break loose.
The inability to sell bonds to service the absurd debt spiral means the Federal Reserve will have no other choice but to wind up the money printer again.
If money supply ramps up again, and we move sharply into a world of de-dollarization, then we expect bitcoin will see $500,000.
And just like 2020, bitcoin’s bull run will act as a slingshot for select altcoins.
Last week, Teeka held a special briefing to discuss details about these five coins. You can stream the replay here.
So you see why when the opportunity presented itself to work with Teeka and, more importantly, write to you about what’s coming, I had to jump at that chance.
You’ll get to know me more as you read more of my work. And hopefully bringing my perspective and insight to the Daily team will help you be a better, smarter, savvier crypto investor too.
I look forward to writing to you more.
Analyst, Palm Beach Daily