Why Boomers Don’t Trust Bitcoin (And How I Convince Them To Open Their Minds)


This is an opinion editorial by Dan Weintraub, an author and high school teacher who first became interested in Bitcoin while teaching economics.

Trust is a funny thing. Generationally speaking, one could make the argument that it is the job of the younger generation to essentially tell us older folks to go fly a kite (perhaps in more raw terms, and metaphorically of course) when it comes to our values, our norms, our advice, etc. Music provides an apt cultural landscape on which to view this tension.

The Same Old Song

In every generation, emerging and evolving musical forms have been decried by the older, traditional set as being bad music, noise, even not music at all. In the late 1950s, Walter Cronkite referred to jazz as “musical noise,” and his words were not offered as praise. Rockabilly of the 1950s was surely detested by many in the traditional country community. The music of the Summer Of Love was rejected by many parents who likely embraced jazz and bebop. Punk rockers were undoubtedly met with blank stares and utter contempt by their hippie parents, and rap continues to be the object of musical scorn the world over. The point is clear: Tradition hates innovation, mostly because tradition doesn’t understand innovation and feels threatened by this new iteration. And yet, the truth remains; it’s all just music.

Here’s where things get a bit complicated.

It’s one thing to not understand, dislike, even personally reject something new. It’s another thing entirely to discredit the new, to actively fight against the new, to try and destroy the new. And within that effort to destroy and to bury the new form of expression, those seeking to kill off the new thing will, in their rather tired and sad desperation, create false narratives and stories to rationalize their adherence to traditional ways. Unfortunately, these narratives can become so powerful, that they lead to the development of institutions and movements guided entirely by falsehood, led by self-serving and power-hungry zealots, armed with all of the cultural weaponry that tradition has at its disposal; shameless and conscienceless, these forces will often go to extreme lengths to kill the thing that they have decided, in their self-concerned ignorance, is evil.

As much as I hope that, somewhere far in the future, such destructive and reductive forces can be disempowered by truth-informed mechanisms like the Bitcoin protocol, I am not holding my breath. But in the present, the power of verification — that very thing that makes Bitcoin such a revolutionary moment — can be leveraged by the Bitcoin community as a way to bridge the generational gap, to push back against the narratives that baby boomers and others embrace in their rejection of Bitcoin, and to move the protocol adoption curve forward.

My Bitcoin Pitch To Fellow Boomers

Here’s my point:

My generation (I’m a youthful 61) has many qualms with Bitcoin. Some of these concerns are valid (old people hate volatility), while others are informed by entirely false narratives and prejudices. And just like with the musical examples above, so many of these false narratives are incredibly difficult to disarm; for embedded within these rejections of something new there exists a desperate clinging to something understandable, something empowering, something unifying in its self-righteous disgust and self-concentered defensiveness.

Now granted, I’m a boomer, so I have a little more natural validity when I speak with my peers about Bitcoin. I’m not the AirPods-wearing, yoga-mat-toting, entirely-self-absorbed and personal-development-obsessed millennial who my generation loathes so very much (wry smile). But even such affinity does not get me far with Bitcoin. Rejection narratives come hot and they come quickly: environmental degradation, dark web currency, gambling casinos that make TikTok’ers rich, etc.

My strategy in pushing back against these arguments goes back to music:

“Look,” I say “You may be right. Bitcoin may be energy intensive and not helpful to the environment. Bitcoin may be used by scammers and defrauders as part of their schemes to get rich. Bitcoin may be the currency, or one of the currencies, of a generation of social-media heads, people who you hold in such contempt. This may all be true. But I would argue three things: One, that you are embracing arguments that you have heard but have not investigated yourself; Two, that you are basing your hatred and rejection of Bitcoin not on the merits of Bitcoin, but on the way Bitcoin shows up in the world (just like our parents rejected our music, because it came with long hair and blue jean jackets); And three, that you are rejecting Bitcoin because you don’t understand it, which is so very much what all older generations do about shit they don’t get.”

And then I say this:

“There’s one thing about Bitcoin that makes it different from anything else in the world, and that is the dynamic of verification. Ignore all of the other stuff just for a second, if you can. I am entirely willing to stipulate that, after you do your own research and after you challenge your own prejudices toward those yucky millennials (another wry smile) that you may still reject Bitcoin, but hear me out on this one thing, this one really cool and rather revolutionary element of Bitcoin: Unlike every other human interaction in the world, Bitcoin does not ask us to put our blind trust in anyone else. No one owns it or controls it, so we’re not being asked to trust the words and deeds of bankers or government officials or scammers or anyone; no one can hack it (take some time to learn about why), so it is, even in its volatility as an investment, the most secure network of all time; and no can destroy it, because it is software that runs on millions of computers, all of which are verifying each and every transaction that takes place.”

And then this:

“Look, I’m not saying you should invest in bitcoin. And lord knows that in a world replete with greedy people and liars, bitcoin is just as apt to be used by these people as are dollars or gold or real estate or whatever gets them rich. And truth be known, millennials make me roll my eyes as well. But you know what, that’s my generational B.S. It’s my own crap. Just like my parents shook their heads at my Grateful Deadness and my punk rockness, I shake my head toward millennials. But that rigidity and silliness shouldn’t inform my views about an emerging monetary technology and protocol. If it does, then I am guilty of the very thing that we blamed our parents for being guilty of 40 years ago. I don’t want to be part of yet another anti-intellectual generation that rejects stuff it doesn’t understand, or that embraces false narratives about things because those are the narratives we are exposed to the most.”

And then my closing:

“All I’m asking is that you take a moment and consider what a world in which verification of truth, rather than trusting someone else’s words, might look like. For example, bitcoin and the Bitcoin network could have totally ended all of the stuff about stolen elections, because within this realm of verification there exists the ability to validate and verify each and every transaction (every vote) beyond any doubt. Also, with the Bitcoin network and protocol, you can say goodbye to things like identity theft and credit card scams and being double charged for stuff you didn’t buy; because with Bitcoin every, every, every transaction is verified on an entirely secure network by tens of thousands of computers running unhackable software. And the thing is, there are so many examples of how verification could make the world in which we live so much better, because when we can verify stuff then we end up trusting the whole process. So all I’m asking is to do a little investigation about this thing before you reject it; you may find, despite yourself, that as you get it more, your appreciation for it changes.”

We live in a world in which trust is an ever-diminishing construct. As I noted in my first two pieces in this series, as trust continues to erode, we, as a species, are in increasing trouble and distress. I totally grok why my generation doesn’t trust Bitcoin. But I also get that our mistrust is informed by false narratives, by petty prejudices, and by a tenacious adherence to things we understand and know. The thing about Bitcoin that makes it so novel, and so elegant, is that the protocol, by way of example, cuts through all of the falsehood. This I feel is the most powerful thing about Bitcoin, and this I feel is a route toward bringing more and more people into the fold.

Virtually everyone on the planet, boomers included, is concerned about the direction we are heading as a species. And at the heart of this fear is the fact that we can’t trust anything anymore. Bitcoin changes this through its inviolable verification mechanism. It begins with money, property, assets. Who knows where it ends.

This is a guest post by Dan Weintraub. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

Trump’s Persistent Election Result Denials Demonstrate The Need For Bitcoin-Verified Truth


This is an opinion editorial by Dan Weintraub, an author and high school teacher who first became interested in Bitcoin while teaching economics.

I recently watched with bemused indifference CNN’s Donald Trump town hall charade, yet another in an endless list of macabre political and social zombie dances.

The truth is, I don’t care all that much anymore about party politics, about the upcoming presidential election cycle, about supposedly heartfelt and earnest liberal and conservative political expressions within the American polity, about the hand-wringing surrounding the tenuous future of American Democracy, etc. What I do care about, however, is how easy it is for human beings to be manipulated, to believe the lies.

We are all sheep — blind followers with little sense of discernment — we are all entirely programmable and entirely impressionable. History may not repeat itself per se, but as an endless record of follower-humans following leader-humans off of proverbial cliffs demonstrates (and for no other reason than the leader-humans were/are really skilled at lying), it certainly feels like déjà vu all over again.

Worry not! This is not an article about Trump or about ideological disaffection. Trump is just one man in a human melodrama that spans millennia. The focus of this piece is about the role Bitcoin can play in restoring belief and in ending human somnambulance; it is about how we disempower the disinformationalists. And it is a warning, for those in power will go to any lengths to maintain their hypnotic grip on humanity.

Why Governments Fear Bitcoin

So, the first question we must examine is this: Why are governments seemingly so afraid of Bitcoin? Interestingly, it’s not simply because Bitcoin has the potential to end governments’ monopoly on money (which is admittedly a pretty big deal in and of itself). No. The underlying reason actually indicates something far more fundamental: Governments are afraid of Bitcoin as a construct because governments can only govern through deceit and dishonesty.

You see, the most powerful and successful governments throughout history have been (and remain) the ones that are the most adroit and accomplished at lying. The United States government, that bastion of supposed democratic righteousness, is in fact a compelling example of this principle. From Vietnam to Iraq, Joseph McCarthy to Lyndon Johnson to Jerome Powell and beyond, U.S. history is replete with examples of the power of lies, and of the malleability of the minds of well-intentioned, patriotic, innocent, hopeful, lost citizens.

Bitcoin Outs The Lies

Back to Trump for a moment. This from the BBC:

“Mr. Trump has questioned the legitimacy of the election process in a series of tweets, the latest of which said on Monday: ‘Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day… Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!’ “

The above quote is not from the fall of 2020. This is from 2016, when then-candidate Trump was facing then-candidate Hilary Clinton in the general election. Lest we forget, Trump has been making claims of rigged elections for years. A masterful and, in fact, quite sophisticated practitioner in the art of exploiting human neurological frailty, Trump brilliantly leveraged (and continues to leverage) his skills as a purveyor of disinformation. Indeed, tens of millions of Americans continue to believe that Trump’s claims of election fraud in 2020 are correct, and that the presidency was stolen from him and from his followers.

I find this entirely fascinating and frightening at the same time.

The point is not whether Trump’s claims are accurate. And, if I am being honest, I must admit to having no way of knowing whether or not Trump’s claims are true. (The fact is, if I reject his claims, I may simply be choosing to believe the narrative that has been proffered by the other side. Both sides adhere tenaciously to their data. Both sides dwell in echo chambers that reinforce their narratives. Both sides suffer from the anti-intellectual effects caused by the frailties of human neuroplasticity. And both sides are composed of millions of follower-humans, unaware of the power that the leader-humans wield through their manipulations, through their theater, through their deceits.)

The point here is that, without the capacity to verify Trump’s claims, we are all potential prey; without the ability to know beyond any doubt what really happened in the last election cycle, there is no way to trust the election results — indeed, there is no way to trust our political process at all.

Bitcoin And Neuroplasticity

Neuroscience 101: Hear something enough and you will believe it to be true. Get on your knees and pray to God every day for an hour, and within months, perhaps weeks, even dyed-in-the-wool atheists will believe in God. Read only articles on Breitbart and The Gateway Pundit, listen only to podcasts by Tucker Carlson and Glenn Beck, and you will, beyond any doubt in your mind, believe the election was stolen. Read only articles on Mother Jones and HuffPost and Slate Magazine, and you will believe beyond any doubt in your mind that the election was valid. Listen only to YouTube channels broadcasting the views of Michael Saylor, Balaji Srinivasan, Mark Moss and Jeff Booth and you will believe that bitcoin to $1 million dollars is inevitable, that hyperinflation is coming and that the banks are all going to collapse. Listen only to YouTube channels touting the views of Warren Buffet and Peter Schiff and you will believe Bitcoin is a ponzi scheme and a scam.

Humans are sheep because we are wired to be sheep. We believe that we are critical thinkers and great discerners of truth, but we are all of us just ingesting and internalizing the narratives that we hear, over and over and over again.

Without verification, we are all potential victims to the lies told by those in power.

Again, enter Bitcoin.

As I posited in my previous article, we need to have some imagination. We need to have the willingness to see that, in time, the Bitcoin network could act as the foundational layer to all digital interactions. And in time, there is every possibility that such a network could have the capacity to verify beyond any possible doubt each transaction, each interaction, each news story, each claim by the government, each tweet, etc.

But here’s the thing: We actually do not need to have much imagination at all to recognize that elections and blockchain technology are present tense, not future tense, considerations.

Imagine a system in which every ballot is imprinted with a digital private key/signature. All voting records live on an immutable ledger. While this will not disempower those who employ lies and disinformation as a way to manipulate the neurologically susceptible, it will move us in a direction in which claims of voter fraud, like those touted by Trump, have no teeth. And perhaps in time, as Bitcoin and the Bitcoin network proliferates, more such forms of verification have the potential to undercut the liars’ superpower.

I recognize that at this moment, Bitcoin is feared more for its ability to circumvent monetary control than it is for its inherently truthful nature. U.S. leaders are frightened at the prospect of the dollar losing its status as the world’s reserve currency, and as such, they will do pretty much anything to question and undermine the legitimacy and accessibility of anything that furthers such a possibility. (For example, right now we hear far more about the evils of China and of RNB ascendancy than we do about Bitcoin.)

But can you see, in a possible future in which lying becomes increasingly difficult, why our leaders might fear Bitcoin so very much? And can you see why our leaders will do anything to stop the ascendency of truth and verification? I have little doubt that, as the Bitcoin network becomes increasingly capable of vetting any and all forms of data, of verifying any and all forms and claims upon truth, that leaders the world over will do everything — everything! — in their power to destroy this network — because without the ability to lie, to manipulate we the sheep, all governments, all centralized power brokers, must by their very nature fail.

In time, Bitcoin can become so much more than a monetary network. It can become so much more than a store of monetary value. It can become so much more than property. In time, The Bitcoin protocol and Bitcoin network can become the very thing that those in power fear most: the truth.

Where there is truth, the sheep awaken.

The Trumps Of The World Must Be Held To Account

As I said at the beginning of this piece, this is not a political screed. Politicians lie, regardless of ideology. Leaders on the left are just as apt, just as skilled, at employing disinformation and dishonesty as are those on the right. The point is, without the ability to objectively verify the truth, humans will continue to hurl their mindless selves into the fray, believing to their core the lies proffered by those who benefit from such duplicity.

I know that many of you reading this will see my views about the evolution of the Bitcoin network as the stuff of fantasy. I ask you though: Throughout human history, hasn’t every advancement at once been thought of as fantastic? Bitcoin is only just beginning. Once our leaders come to realize that, in the not-so-distant future, the Bitcoin network and protocol could morph into a global and inviolable lie detector, they will go to any length to kill it. For they are only as powerful as are the believability of the lies they tell.

This is a guest post by Dan Weintraub. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

The Death Of Trust: As Institutions Erode, Bitcoin Is Our Only Hope


This is an opinion editorial by Dan Weintraub, an author and high school teacher who first became interested in Bitcoin while teaching economics.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a good deal about Balaji Srinivasan’s $1 million dollar bet that bitcoin would reach $1 million in June (which he recently conceded), his apparent hyperbole with regard to imminent U.S. dollar hyperinflation and his musings about digital lockdowns. It all sounds a bit far-fetched to me.

On this score, he reminds me of Peter Schiff, a man who for decades has told us the sky is falling and that the world will end as fiat currencies all collapse; a man who claims intellectual superiority over the “fools” at the Federal Reserve (meanwhile and generally speaking, the global economy hums along and collapse appears, at least for the time being, to be the stuff of dystopian clickbait on YouTube).

I, for one, try to eschew conspiracy thinking because it feels neurologically indulgent to me. In simpler words, those who peddle in conspiracy theories do so because it gets them, and their followers, off. “Meltdown masturbation,” if you will. (By way of example, the wild-eyed belief that the U.S. government used the COVID-19 lockdowns as a trial run for further repression reeks of paranoia and a desperate quest for making some kind of dopamine-producing meaning out of a rather bleak moment in time. Crazy town, really; but good fodder for the production of adrenaline-inducing catastrophe porn.)

Yes, I am skeptical of prognostications of impending doom. But that said, there is an underbelly to such thinking that reveals a far more troubling dynamic; a dynamic that, driven by the exponential age in which it exists, is fast on the rise. And this dynamic will be far more destructive, far more catastrophic, than the supposed collapse of fiat or that the coming of a global banking crisis could ever be.

We are entering an age in which all trust is dying, and with the end of trust comes the end of… everything. Sure, I may think that Srinivasan and all of the other gloom-and-doom, the-end-is-nigh purveyors have, in some manner and to some degree, lost their grips, but there is something quite revealing not simply in the power of their musings, but in the reality that it reveals, in the attention and excitement it attracts.

You see, no one trusts anything or anyone anymore. And that utterly terrifies me.

The Death Of Trust

The list of institutions that we increasingly mistrust is, well, endless. And the depth and breadth of such distrust grows daily.

I’m not so sure that I need to provide the reader with an in-depth analysis of our collective loss of trust in everything. And so, in the interest of brevity, here is the abridged version:

Track the numbers and you will see that trust in government is at all-time lows and continues to crash. Whether it’s because our leaders actually are dishonest, self-serving, greedy, power-hungry, incipient lobbyist-ghouls, or whether it’s because that’s how they are portrayed in the media, government officials and institutions are roundly and profoundly distrusted.

An ever-diminishing minority trusts law enforcement, perhaps because such a minority either has relatives who serve on the police force or because their own power is buoyed by the machinations of the policing and legal systems. For the most part, Americans seem to view police officers as former high-school misfits who magically discovered expressions of sweet revenge in being able to bully the rest of us. Add to this the widespread corruption that permeates every nook and cranny of law enforcement and of our justice system (cough, the Supreme Court, cough), and it’s no wonder that “f*** the police” is a popular cultural refrain.

Interestingly, fewer and fewer people trust the so-called mainstream media; so few, in fact, that there actually isn’t a mainstream media anymore. Pretty much all media has become an expression of ideological vitriol, a theatrical dance aimed at capturing a larger market share of the neurologically dispossessed; a cynical beast birthed and nurtured to line the coffers of the men and women who captain these galactic founts of misinformation.

Few trust our public school systems anymore. What was once viewed as a virtuous institution, an endeavor of the highest good, public education has been summarily devoured by every possible ideologically-propelled interest group; the vomit that has followed has painted a picture of public education as rife with lazy teachers teaching knucklehead kids.

I could go on. From corrupt corporations and their corrupt CEOs to the self-serving, self-righteous and self-aggrandizing leaders of organized labor; from duplicitous, woke and censorship-informed activists touting the need for correct pronoun adherence to the reactionary and manipulative religious leaders looking to return the nation to the wonderful patriarchies of the 1950s, trust is vanishing into the very ether in which these individuals stoke their fires and solidify their self-concentered narratives.

But wait! It gets better. For now, superimposed over this already bleak landscape, say hello to ChatGPT, to deep fake technology, to central bank digital currencies; bid an open-hearted welcome to trust’s final frontier, a world in which discerning truth from falsehood becomes virtually impossible.

What a dumpster of a world. What is to be done?

Enter, Bitcoin.

Bitcoin And Verification Of Truth

I have written several papers (I like to call them books because it makes me feel smart, and I have even published them on Amazon) about Bitcoin, extolling the virtues of this quite-extraordinary technology. In all of those pieces I have asked, nay begged, that we have some imagination when considering our Bitcoin future. I will go even further here: Bitcoin is our only hope in an increasingly trustless world, for within the Bitcoin protocol lies the answer to all of the conundrums posed by a trustless world:

The ultimate answer is verification of truth. Hear me out.

To begin with, when I suggest that we have some imagination, I am actually not asking for all that much. The boxes in which we live, the lenses through which we view reality, have evolved time and time again. It wasn’t all that long ago that we believed that the Earth was the center of the universe, that humans would never fly, that computers were the providence of NASA. Things have changed, and they have changed quickly. The public internet was born around 30 years ago, give or take. Now look at us. It is almost too hard to imagine what the next 10 years will bring.

So, why Bitcoin? Why is this relatively-straightforward technology (ingenious and elegant, complex and nuanced… but straightforward nonetheless) the answer to the impending doom we all face if we are unable to prime and restart our national and international trust engine?

It’s simple. Because Bitcoin is the truth. On a most basic level, the Bitcoin protocol — and the tens of thousands of nodes that run the software — verifies each and every transaction that takes place on chain. No one is in control. No one’s word needs to be taken as fact. The truth is manifest and auditable on the blockchain itself. Countless, entirely-objective nodes make falsification of the record an impossibility. Bitcoin is thus an inviolable, immutable, incontrovertible truth.

Have some imagination!

What if, just what if, the Bitcoin network, in time, becomes the base layer of this thing we call the internet? What if all data that passes through this network is verified and scoured for falsehood by the soon-to-be billions of verifying nodes; nodes that become native to the devices that we employ for all of our communication and social/virtual interactions? And what if more and more people, in an effort to believe, abandon the cynical and exploitative and fetid digital world that has evolved to date, and instead join a network of unassailable truth?

You see, the promise of Bitcoin is not that it serves as sound money in an unsound monetary universe; the promise is not that it births a banking system that is devoid of scammy, fraudulent middlemen; no, the promise is far, far more profound.

The promise of Bitcoin is that it slowly devours the very beast that gave birth to its need.

Trust is a human imperative, a social imperative. Without trust, chaos ensues. In a world in which belief in things must always be questioned, mental health suffers, governments fail and anarchy rises; lawlessness and violence become the norm rather than the exception. In a trustless world, isolation and hoarding are seen as virtues rather than maladaptations. In a trustless world, everything falls apart, institutions crumble, warlords and demagogues emerge on an ever-rising tide of uncertainty and fear.

We are moving toward such a future, toward such a world. Bitcoin is our only hope. In Bitcoin there exists the possibility that trust can slowly be reestablished, not based upon the words and deeds of men, but instead on a universal digital protocol that sifts through the mire and always, without prejudice, arrives at the truth.

We must have the imagination to believe in this possibility. This is what makes Bitcoin a beacon of hope, a ray of light permeating the haze of a creeping fog of surrender.

I HODL bitcoin, thus. I preach the gospel of Bitcoin because I dare to hope, for my great grandkids, in a world community governed by truth, verified by benevolent objectivity; a world in which trust forms the very core of our existence.

So to Srinivasan and Schiff and all of the other catastrophians I say: Perhaps you are right. But the truth remains: The only way out of this existential death spiral is through a rebirth of trust, and only Bitcoin, realized to its highest and most majestic potential, can provide this.

Just imagine.

This is a guest post by Dan Weintraub. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.