Aleksandar Svetski

@AleksandarSvetski

Bezos & Bitcoin

December 7th 2018

What do they have in common?? RMF

This is not a post about FOMO. It’s a post about opportunity, and the seizing of said opportunity. It’s a post about RMF.

3 things very much worth betting on.

Life, especially in the more privileged parts of the world where we don’t have to worry about the basic necessities, is abound with opportunities. Every day, every hour, every minute.

The challenge is knowing which to choose, and then more importantly, how to execute.

Some will pan out great, others won’t; and if you’re wise, you’ll take solace in the knowledge that those which did not, still offered lessons a-plenty.

This is also not a post about how I found out that “Jeff Bezos bought Bitcoin” or that he’s actually Satoshi, or that he even gives a shit right now.

It’s a post about two potential letters your future self might send your current self, and a mental framework — popularised by Jeff Bezos — which lays out how to deal with & take advantage of what is likely to be one of the greatest potential opportunities of this generation,

Bitcoin

Yes. Bitcoin.

Now — whilst you might say I’m crazy, bias, or overly excited about this internet funny money stuff, give me a moment to lay out my case before you judge.

It’s 2019.

We look around and everything is running “online”. The promise of the internet is everything they said it would be, + more; and it’s only going to get a whole lot more digital and “online” in the near (and far) future.

Marc Andreessen’s words rung so true;

Software was, is and will continue to eat the world.

But it wasn’t always like this. There was a time when talk of this “internet” thing was for the nerds, the weirdo’s, hackers, speculators, etc.

The internet had its ups & downs. The Dot Com bubble was considered the greatest market “fail” of all time, with all sorts of crazy, stupid, brilliant, too early, far-fetched ideas raising capital & ultimately blowing up.

Crazy ideas were everywhere…like online book stores, pet shops & shoe shops — many of which failed. But - those who did succeed; changed the world. Irreversibly.

And it’s these outliers that I’d like to discuss — because they matter more than you can imagine.

These next 3 videos are a trip down memory lane.

They will humble you, and give you a glimpse of how far we’ve come in less than 2 generations, and hopefully remind you that there is always something significant on the fringes, just around the corner.

1. Early 1990's

Back then, you had to go to your local library, wait inline to get on a computer, spend 20min logging in & connecting, just so you could send an email..

Today, if your app doesn’t open fast enough, you want to slam it into the wall.

This is the internet…before search engines, email clients or any real GUI..

2. Early 2000's

Post 2003. The bloodbath that was the “dot com bubble” was still fresh in everyone’s minds, and this madman, Jeff Bezos, whose company lost over 90% of its value during the crash comes out to talk about how the internet is the network that will change the world.

A true visionary

I’ve shared this video around numerous times — and will continue to do so, because you could literally replace the word “internet” with “Bitcoin” and it would sound as if it was recorded in late 2018 / 2019.

3. Mid 2000s

Barely 2yrs after Jeff’s seminal TED talk, 2 punk kids talk about some random “match making” websites they’ve built.

This is a few years after the crash, so the economic recovery is in full swing; but these concepts were considered fringe, strange and “for the few”.

Nut jobs. All of them.

But guess what….

The Numbers

…Had you invested in Facebook just 5yrs ago around the time of it’s IPO, you’d be up 1000%. Had you invested in FB at the time of the video above (not that you could, unless you’re Peter Thiel), you’d probably be up in >100,000%.

How about Amazon in 2003?

Your $1000 would be worth > $7.5m

And the internet?

If you could own a “chunk” of it, what would that be worth?

How much productivity, innovation & sheer economic value do you think has been created since the broader public adoption of the internet?

I don’t even know if it’s quantifiable.

One example I use is the idea of having bought domain names in the early 1990’s and sitting on them as “digital property”. Most .com domains would be worth orders of magnitude more today, than they were 20–30yrs ago.

And even so — that would only represent a minuscule fraction of the real economic value of the internet.

Although you couldn’t really own any of the internet directly, you could get exposure to it via the Facebook’s and Amazon’s of the world, and the myriad other ways people have taken advantage of this new, digital, interconnected, networked world we live in.

So what’s the point in all of this?

Asymmetry

The internet was an outlier. It was an asymmetric bet that returned BIG TIME, coming from the fringes, against all odds.

Bitcoin is very similar, although this time; you can actually acquire your very own, self sovereign ‘chunk’ of the network — and own it; directly.

Please note though: I am not making a comparison between Bitcoin & the internet in terms of their utility, function or technology. They’re very different in that sense. What I am drawing a connection to is the following:

a) They’re both communication networks.

b) They’re both once-in-a-generation fringe, outlier bets with incredible, asymmetric upside.

This is what counts, and this is why 10–20yrs from now there’s a high probability you will be writing one of two letters back to your younger self:

  1. Thankyou for participating
  2. Why did I miss out?

Asymmetry like this only comes around a one, two or maybe three times per a generation — although it’s likely that it’s been accelerating in the last 30–40yrs due to tech.

In any case, I’m personally 31, and was a little too young to be a part of the internet in the early days, and too pre-occupied to be a meaningful part of the more recent ‘mobile internet’ subset.

But…Millennials, and those who are coming up now are prime to be leaders in this new, fringe field.

I know that if it all falls to pieces, it was just part of the process, and very much worth the attempt — but if it succeeds and turns into a ‘big deal’, then it’s going to be [one of] the most asymmetrical bet of my lifetime.

The alternative, ie; having know about it and not got involved, is not a regret I wish to carry with me into my later years.

Which brings to me why I coined this blog; Bezos & Bitcoin.

Regret minimization framework

When asked why he chose to leave his secure, high-paying job on Wall St to pursue some random “online bookstore” on this weird thing called the internet — Jeff Bezos refers to his RMF, or “regret minimization framework”.

In Bezos’s own words:

I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried.

Or if you prefer a quick 3min clip:

Jeff’s RMF

Most regrets are a result of omission, ie; “not being involved”, as opposed to commission, ie; having done something.

Sage words, from a man who came from nothing, changed the world & became the wealthiest individual… in history.

So…..

Buy some Bitcoin

Whilst I’m well aware of the implicit bias, being the founder of a Bitcoin exchange, the reason we built Amber is because we believe everyone in the world should own some Bitcoin. Period.

And it doesn’t have to be much.

It doesn’t have to be your life savings. It shouldn’t be overly complex, and you should be able to leverage technology to automate the process.

By helping you dollar cost average into Bitcoin, with your spare change, the money you don’t notice could one day either:

  1. Disappear, because this whole Bitcoin thing failed; and you would never have noticed / it would not have impacted your life in any material way.
  2. Be worth 100 times as much, and you will most definitely notice. How would your life be impacted if the $1000/yr you set aside in spare change, over a 5–10yr period turned into $500k, or $1m ?

For Christmas, I set my mum, younger sister and a few other relatives up on Amber + gave them each $500 worth of Bitcoin to get started, on the proviso they don’t touch it for the next 3yrs.

My sister, in particular was salty:

“Why did you give me this? What the hell am I going to do with Bitcoin?”

I replied:

“I wish I had a big brother who bought me some ‘useless’ Amazon stock 14yrs ago and told me to just forget about it, or better yet put $50 into it every week ever since”.

And this is the overarching message here people!

If you’re reading this, don’t make the mistake of dismissing Bitcoin as a passing fad, reserved for the weirdo’s on the fringe — for that fringe may well become the centerpiece & leave you looking in from the outside.

The price of a small option now, expiring worthless in the future is far less than the cost of regret in the future for having not followed through and taken a small chance.

Buy some Bitcoin; wether with Amber or some other application out there.

Set it aside, don’t touch it (unless you need to), buy more when and as you can, automate that last part with a tool like Amber, and enjoy the ride.

The next 20yrs are going to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

I hope you got some value out of this. It’s a message myself & all the team @ Amber strongly believe in.

Wishing you all an amazing, prosperous new chapter ahead in 2019.

If you enjoyed this post, please show it some love, give it a clap (or a few) and pass it around to anyone you think should have a read.

Aleks

CEO & Co-Founder @ Amber Labs

www.getamber.io

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