Max's Newsletter #03
September 2020 saw my last newsletter; a lot has changed since. I quit my job, obtained a straddle planche, moved with the conviction onto the next industry I’ll work in—and that was just last week.
The primary purpose of this newsletter is to notify the lot of my most recent subscribers that the next iteration of Crypto Chat with Max is Friday, March 5th, 12pm CST (1pm EST, 10am PST). It will consist of a video call with a discussion on the past month of developments in the crypto economy, and an extended Q&A.
Crypto Chat with Max Google Calendar
A lot has happened in the crypto economy since February 3rd, our last call:
Bitcoin’s USD-denominated price was $36,983; now it’s ~$51,000, with an all-time high of $58,332.36.
NFTs, non-fungible tokens, have captured the imagination; Opensea, just one NFT marketplace, saw $86 million in sales in February from $8 million in January. A Miami-based art collector bought an NFT for $67,000 in October 2020. Last week he sold it for $6.6 million.
Coinbase, the largest centralized crypto exchange, announced on February 25th they had filed with the SEC to go public via a direct listing, trading under the ticker “COIN”. Shares sold in private markets imply a $100 billion valuation.
The agenda of the call will consist of:
A primer on blockchain technology; what is special about Bitcoin, or any other cryptocurrency?
The reflexive nature of Bitcoin and the crypto economy generally; why price appreciation, or network adoption, is self-reinforcing.
Discussion of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens; a wild speculative bubble? The future of digital property?
Mention of Clubhouse the audio-based chat and social media app, the most exciting place in the crypto economy
An extended Q&A
Background links and compiled research:
"But how does bitcoin actually work?", a YouTube video by 3blue1brown, the best explainer of Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper introducing Bitcoin (to be clear: I do not necessarily recommend reading the white paper since it is highly technical in places, whereas 3blue1brown’s video is the clearest explainer on the technology undergirding cryptocurrencies I’ve come across)
"Bitcoin for the Open-Minded Skeptic" by Matt Huang, cofounder of Paradigm, a cryptocurrency venture capital and investment fund
“Our Thoughts on Bitcoin” by Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world
Ass-covering disclaimer: The opinions expressed are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security or investment product. It is only intended to provide education.
Moreover, the resources I linked to above, while I believe to be measured, hedged, and reasonable, generally imply a likely bullish case for bitcoin. If you would like a bearish case, please see:
George Selgin, monetary economist and historian extraordinaire, and his Twitter thread on the practically insurmountable dominance of the US dollar
Ben Kuhn, CTO of Wave, a payments network company operating and based in Senegal helping the unbanked population send and save money, wrote a thread about crypto’s inability to “solve any hard financial inclusion problems”
If you have any bear cases, please bring them with you to our discussion and I’d be happy to engage in a civil discussion of their merits.
I quit my job in late February to prepare for the next chapter in my life. The short story is that I felt next-to-no purposiveness in my previous line of work, whereas I feel an intense purposiveness—a great big answer to my why—in crypto, its consequences socially and economically, and in the community I’ve found in the space.
While I will be doing some traveling and in the next two months, I intend to move on a number of fronts: learning from core developers of Bitcoin and its related projects, picking up Solidity, meeting with founders, organizers, podcasters and proselytizers. Reach out if you have any ideas for me!
I’m continuing the tradition of my previous newsletter of including evergreen, high quality essays that have stayed on my mind, pertaining to any subject.
“Book Review: The Secret of Our Success” by Scott Alexander. It’s a wonder how a mere book review on what is the best blog on the internet came to be the most important piece in my intellectual development of the importance of bottom-up evolution instead of top-down design.
“Developing ethical, social, and cognitive competence” by David Chapman. What does it mean to be a more developed person? Chapman summarizes and builds upon the operationalization of that idea by Robert Kegan.
“If This Is One of The Sexiest Things You've Ever Seen, You May Be a Narcissist” by The Last Psychiatrist. I’m just hoping that if I link enough TLP you all will read it and start your journey of modulating the narcissism in your life.
Thanks y’all. See you Friday.