So I’m not gonna lie, I’ve definitely been a little distracted these last few weeks with all these crypto shenanigans.
Bitcoin to the moon!
Ripple to the moon!
It’s such a distraction.
So I figure I might as well talk about crypto a little bit today.
I won’t really get into the specifics. Just some passing thoughts.
Since everyone else is talking about all the specifics.
One of my earliest memories in America is living in this apartment complex called Riverside, across the Hudson River in New Paltz.
I was still in nursery school at the time and so life was pretty simple for me.
But I remember we had this little TV on top of the fridge in the kitchen. And throughout the morning my mom would have that TV tuned to CNBC.
“Do you know what it means?” She asked me one time.
“Green arrow is good and red arrow is bad!” I proudly explained to her.
My parents didn’t have a lot of money at the time, but they were always good with the little money they had.
And my mom, who was still learning the language, learning to drive, was already learning the ways of the stock market. Via CNBC every morning, of course.
And you know, this was the 90s when retail trading still mattered. It was still a thing that the middle class did. The markets were accessible. If you played it smart, it felt like you could win. Maybe more so, and more importantly, it felt like you, as a middle class individual, were an active participant in the American economy.
Fast forward to today, my parents still have CNBC on in the morning. Sometimes. The channel now shares precious morning time with Fox News and also the conservative newcomer, One America News. (I like how they do bits of American history during commercial breaks sometimes. But they need better talking heads, yikes. Like, some personality, maybe? Just all pretty girls reading cue cards as monotone as possible. Anyway.)
So in a way CNBC has been taking a little bit of a backseat. Politics is more relevant than the markets these days. Really, the markets are pretty sterile. There’s no volatility and it just keeps going up. Stuff goes up and down and no one can really explain it. “Sector rotation,” some guy will explain. And the game of musical chairs continues. Buy FANG, they say. (There is probably a more recent more relevant acronym by now.)
And retail investing is dead.
You’re not supposed to trade stocks anymore really, despite what Cramer screams about every evening.
Smart individual investors pile their money into index funds.
It’s basically communism.
Back in the 90s, the public markets were important. A company rushed towards an IPO. Because money, baby. We love it.
These days, all the real action is in the private markets.
And so by the time any of these companies do make it to the NYSE or the NASDAQ or whatever, they’re old news. They’re stale and sterile. The insiders have gotten theres’ and there’s not much upside left. These are mature companies, pretty much.
And so retail is basically dead.
And so maybe that’s where the real appeal of cryptocurrency lies.
So much volatility, the establishment players will chant.
And yet, that’s what makes it vibrant. That’s what makes it attractive.
Suddenly, ordinary people get to play the game again. That game they don’t get to play in the stock market anymore.
In a way, volatility is vitality. It’s also risk, which means reward.
But it’s really about how the whole thing is structured.
It gives normal people a sense of ownership.
You don’t have to be an accredited investor and yet, you can get in on the ground floor.
And, you know, you get that sense of ownership when you use the stuff to. Like, it feels like it’s yours. It’s there when you want it. And you can send it whenever you want wherever you want.
(Contrast that to today’s world, where it doesn’t feel like I own anything. It’s all in the cloud, man. All my music. Like, I have no music, but I have all music. Weird. But the same goes for my money at the bank. Sometimes it feels like the bank really owns the money and I have to convince them to let me do stuff with it.)
And so in crypto, the door opens for the middle class whereas in the real world, with all its glitz and glamor, has become this sort of stale and sterile Disney world where all the important doors are closed. VIP only.
None of this is investment advice, BTW.
And I am pretty biased, obviously, if you know me.
But I think culturally, that’s why all this stuff has been so disruptive and so viral.
Anyone can play. And the stakes are huge.
In a way, that’s what America has always been about.
So these days my mom still watches CNBC. She talks about Facebook sometimes. But it’s crypto that gets her blood flowing.
It’s crypto that makes her feel alive again.
Like back in the day in that small apartment back in New Paltz when the world still felt raw, when everything felt possible. When it still felt like you could get yours if you played the game right.
And you know, this is only the beginning.
In response to yesterday’s post about movie stuff:
Lilit: “JUST WATCH “THE SQUARE””
Pawan: “Check out Detroit (Kathryn bigelow movie about race riots in 60s I think)”
Mathilde: “I absolutely love The Office. When we were filming in Missouri in November with Jonathan we would binge watch it with beers after our long days. We took the chance because it’s not on the Netflix catalogue in France. Sucks.”
God bless America.
Top photo: Behind the Riverside apartment complex in New Paltz, we had a view of the Mohonk and that tower up there (which we climbed up last year with the fam). Anyway, a few years later, I ended up painting that image, burned in my head and heart forever, from memory. (Just below that and to the right is the tennis racquet I used in high school. It’s a Wilson Pro Staff Tour 90. Apparently Roger Federer also used it, from what I hear.)