I saw something funny the other day. I got into a rideshare vehicle, and the driver had something hanging from his rearview mirror. It was: a Bitcoin.
Or rather, it was a gold-colored token or medallion in the shape of a Bitcoin icon. A “real” coin made to look like a virtual coin.
I couldn’t take my eyes off it. This solid Bitcoin was one of the single most hilarious and interesting things I’ve ever seen.
What was it saying? I couldn’t really ask this driver because he had a plexiglass divider installed between the front and back seats. Between that, both our masks, and my face shield, there wasn’t much point in idle conversation.
What was it saying?? Payment accepted in Bitcoin? I heart Bitcoin? Wish I had some Bitcoin? Buy me a coffee and I will explain the blockchain to you? Bitcoin bought this car? If I had a Bitcoin mining rig I wouldn’t have to drive a rideshare vehicle during a global pandemic?
I liked that solid Bitcoin so much I considered trying to buy one for myself as a joke. But then if anyone else saw it, they’d probably insist on talking about Bitcoin with me.
I’m not necessarily against the idea - of Bitcoin itself, mind you, not of inviting bros to lecture me about it. In fact I’ve decided to charge for that. I’m available to debate you on any subject for $10,000 an hour, and I’ll let you rant at me without responding for $25k. Why not. A girl’s gotta eat.
Will I take payment in Bitcoin? No.
I think it’s the currency of the future. That or something like it. It stands to reason that all the space colonies will take either some kind of digital payment, or scrip, whether that’s at the “company store” or whether it’s some kind of provisional territory currency. Marsbucks or Lunacoin.
Perhaps it will be more along the lines of an automatic debit to an account, such that the user is barely aware of the balance. In space there probably isn’t much to buy.
It was a strange day in rideshare world, because the Bitcoin driver dropped us off, and another financially-oriented driver picked us up an hour later.
“We” would be myself and my little gray parrot Noelle, who exists in a cash-free world of total abundance. People just come over and hand her radishes and lettuce and turn on various music playlists and build her forts, and she shrugs and enjoys. As far as she is concerned, even your shoes belong to her, so why should she apologize for destroying your shoelace tips?
Wealth is whatever you think it is.
Our return driver described himself as a trader.
“A day trader?” I asked, partly out of politeness and partly because it seemed amusing to me. Perhaps he would show me the setup he used to make trades between drop-offs.
He explained that he is not a day trader because he keeps most of his stocks for as long as ten days. “I measure time in ten minutes, ten hours, and ten days,” he told me.
I’m an investor, too, I offered.
What’s your biggest return? he asked.
Well, I bought Tesla at $42...
Yes, but over what span of time? he asked.
Okay, that’s a good one. I’ve made, depending on the week, about 1500% interest on that one purchase. But he’s right, it did take me longer than ten days.
What is most instructive about this conversation is the context. Here we are, driving up the road, one rideshare driver in the front and one middle-aged office professional in the back. Both thinking that we have any inkling of finance or macroeconomic trends. Meanwhile passing through one of the most expensive zip codes in Southern California, a place where the dog walkers probably out-earn both of us.
It hasn’t escaped my notice that so many rideshare drivers have vocal opinions about the stock market, or cryptocurrency, or various entrepreneurial ventures, or real estate. With a low bar to entry, people show up from a wide variety of backgrounds with a broad spectrum of goals.
I try to collect tips from them to pass on to other drivers.
For instance, I was talking to a kid with an interest in real estate investing. I pointed out that if I drove as much as he did, I’d be taking notes on the neighborhoods I passed through and checking out comps. “That’s a great idea,” he said, seeming surprised. I told him the other thing I would do is try to pick the brains of his passengers.
I told this driver - a Russian immigrant who has lived in a dozen cities - that I’d met another driver who traveled from state to state, driving to pay her expenses. Seems fun.
The reason my driver was so interested in the stock market is that, he told me, under communism, anyone who tried to buy stocks would go to jail. Wow! He came here 17 years ago because he was so interested in the workings of capitalism.
Under communism, no jazz either, he said.
I wondered what these two drivers would have to talk about if they met, which is unlikely to happen since they are both drivers. Crypto or stonks? Both? How much of each?
I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation. I like to be aware of what’s going on in pop culture.
I also consider the chatter of random people such as cab drivers, baristas, and hairdressers to be a strong indicator of trends. One of those is investing. When almost any person of almost any professional background starts expounding on the virtues of a particular investment vehicle, it’s probably getting kinda overvalued. You think?
If you care for the opinion of a random blogger such as myself, I’ve got all my new money in cash, waiting for the downturn. Eleven years of a bull market, I ask of you. Am I putting any of my money in Bitcoin? Call me when the transaction costs are down to a dollar and we’ll talk.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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