Why I Am Already A Nostr Maximalist

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/why-i-am-already-a-nostr-maximalist

After being inspired by a podcast with Preston Pysh and Will Casarin in January of 2023 I experienced my first interaction with ‘the nostr’ using a rather clunky interface. Since that time, nostr has gradually become more user friendly and an increasingly meaningful part of my life. I have now deleted all other social media accounts in favor of this blossoming decentralized alternative. My slow exodus away from centralized social media started over ten years ago, but the formation of a functional substitute was the final nail in the coffin. Making the jump at such an early stage may have been premature, but after two months using both nostr and Twitter I chose to make the transition permanent. I’ve written this article to explain my reasoning and provide an assessment of the nostr network as I understand it today.

Nobody is in charge of nostr, I have no one to ask if NOSTR should be capitalized or lowercase. I also have not reached a definitive conclusion regarding how it should be pronounced. Frankly it wouldn’t matter if anyone had an opinion about either of those things. Nostr is what the users and developers make it. Nostr is not a website and it is not a company. Nostr does not rely on a blockchain to function and there are no central servers dictating who can participate in the network. With the exception of shared interest and lightning ‘zap’ integration, it is independent from Bitcoin. Those who already understand Bitcoin seem to have an easier time wrapping their head around the importance of nostr, but I have also met several non-bitcoiners who are passionate about what is being built.

Nostr is a protocol which is designed to have applications built on top of it, or rather to interface with it. Users are free to choose from dozens of applications (clients) to access the protocol. The client they choose determines the nature of the user experience. The name NOSTR is an acronym for Notes and Other Stuff Transmitted by Relay. The functionality of the protocol is in the name, but I will not be diving into the technicalities here. I also will not be discussing the pros and cons of the various clients used to access nostr. Though that would be a helpful resource if someone would like to write that up!

As a non-technical enthusiast of freedom focused technology, I attended Nostrasia in November of 2023 with one primary question in mind; “What applications can’t be replicated on nostr?” At this point there are too many unknowns to answer this conclusively, but my understanding of nostr and its potential applications expanded dramatically during my time in Tokyo. The conference included talks on decentralized versions of nearly every application you can imagine. Twitter, Twitch, Youtube, Reddit, Spotify, Maps, Amazon, GitHub, Goodreads and others. None of these decentralized alternatives are carbon copies of those services. In many ways they seem to have the potential to become even better versions due to lightning integration and open-source user input.

At times I have wondered if what is being built will ultimately become a new decentralized version of the entire internet. As far as current limitations are concerned, the primary challenge I heard being discussed at nostrasia is that of creating a nostr equivalent for signal or telegram. Private encrypted chat may be more addressable by something like SimpleX. At this time it is unclear if the applications in development will be successful or scalable, but given the progress I have witnessed in the space since joining, I am feeling enthusiastic.

Optimism aside, it is hypothetically possible that nostr will not survive long enough to accomplish any of the bold objectives that are currently being proposed. There are many financial and technical challenges ahead. It is possible that I made a mistake in putting all my nostrich eggs in one basket. That choice is not for everyone and I fully appreciate that. However, having waited for a decentralized and open-source alternative to social media for many years, I am willing to take the risk associated with adopting this technology early. I would rather experience the unpolished user interface and potentially wade through a lot of frustration than continue putting my energy into a system I see as obsolete.

Every choice carries risk. When it comes to asset management, the risk of poorly allocating financial capital has drastic and permanent implications. In the case of social media, the risk of poorly allocating social capital is noticeable, but much less dramatic. The truth is that by using a centralized social media platform you have already sacrificed control over any social capital you have expended. At any moment, that site could shift its policies in a way that negatively affects you or they can delete your account at their own discretion. All the connections and content you have developed on those platforms is hanging at the whim of mega-corporations and government intervention. Personally, I have more faith in open-source code than I do in human institutions.

When creating an identity on nostr, a cryptographic signature is fashioned for you by open-source internet magic (as far as my pleb mind can ascertain). This signature has a private and public key, referred to as the nsec and npub respectively. An npub looks like the one below and can be used to find other users:

npub1jfn4ghffz7uq7urllk6y4rle0yvz26800w4qfmn4dv0sr48rdz9qyzt047 (add me 🧡🫂💜)

The npub is a novel form of online identification which is not required to be linked to your meatspace identity in any way. The nsec is used to sign in to new clients and to prove that you are the owner of the account; similar to bitcoin private keys. This key pair can be used anywhere in the nostrverse to prove that you are a particular individual or account. Follows, followers, and posted content are associated with a npub through the relays that npub is using. This means that if you are interested in trying out a new client or migrating away from the one you are using you may do this without any loss of connections or content.

This novel approach to online identity and data storage creates a much more competitive space for the developers creating applications, but also enables interoperability. Two critical factors which are altogether missing in today’s existing social media landscape. Current social media behemoths rely on the fact that it is challenging to leave and difficult to communicate between platforms. I deleted my Facebook years ago and for many months received emails about ‘So-and-so misses you! Look at what they posted recently.’ Naturally, I would be forced to log back in to view the content. The blatant and desperate emotional manipulation was too much to stomach. Nostr has the potential to obliterate the walled garden model where your digital life is held hostage for ad revenue and data collection.

In addition to the structural issues with legacy social media, it is clear that online censorship is on a steep increase. However you may feel about censorship when it is happening to someone you disagree with, you won’t like it when the censors turn on you. Some people appreciate censorship because there is a lot of content they would rather not see. Personally, I would like to make that choice myself rather than have some faceless corporation without a customer service line make it for me.

Ultimately the social media giants have been placed in an impossible position. Legislators will not stop pushing them to maintain the Overton window in their favor. Whether a social media provider wishes to be a propaganda tool or not, the nature of any centralized platform will ensure that it becomes one. Centralized dissemination of what is ‘appropriate content’ and what is considered ‘misinformation’ will inevitably narrow the scope of human understanding to a point where self-censorship is the norm. To a large extent this has already happened.

Some believe that misinformation is the most dangerous aspect of the internet. Allowing people to communicate freely in an open marketplace of ideas is too much to bear for these people. They feel the need to control what people say and by extension control what people think. This fear based need for control over the population does not align with my values. Despite the inevitable failure of such approaches in the age of the internet, we will likely see an increase in attempts to KYC (know-your-customer) everyone on centralized networks. The social credit system in China has provided the world with a case study to be weary of. When your bank card gets declined at the grocery store for a meme you re-posted on Xitter don’t say I didn’t warn you. Have I already become a toxic nostr maxi?… Maybe. 🧡🫂💜

Michel Foucault’s writings on disciplinary power outline a methodology towards an essentially non-violent oppression of the masses. Looking at his conceptualization and the current state of affairs in the social media landscape, I have a difficult time telling them apart. The final result of such a system is a society in which authentic connection and genuine behavior become impossible. Physical prisons are only one form of enslavement. The true prison of the dystopian future manifests inside the mind of the individual. Bitcoiners who have watched their personal time preference expand understand this intuitively.

There are people in the bitcoin community who see nostr as a distraction and there are people in the nostr community who see bitcoin as an impediment to adoption. All I see is a massive synergistic upward spiral between the orange badger and the purple ostrich. These two protocols feed each other and enable new use cases which culminate in something much greater than the two independent parts. Bitcoin is essential for shifting the world away from debt slavery into proof of work. Nostr is essential for shifting the world away from top down dissemination of information to a free market of content. In this way the two technologies are ideologically aligned with volunteerism and personal liberty.

Most bitcoiners would agree that financial freedom is essential in maintaining one’s personal agency. However, without the ability to communicate freely the new found financial liberation is handicapped. The ability to reliably coordinate commerce and correspond in a peer-to-peer fashion is much more essential than many seem to acknowledge at this moment. Additionally, the reason the fiat system is so potent in its deception is not exclusively a result of the accountants and politicians engaged in the fraud. The real strength of the fiat leviathan is a function of global propaganda efforts to maintain the perpetual delusion. If hyperbitcoinization occurs and the propaganda apparatus remains in place, most people are unlikely to benefit from its liberating qualities. In order for the full impact of bitcoin to take root on this planet we will also need a means of sharing information openly and efficiently.

All of this rhetoric is a bit grandiose for the moment given that the estimates I have received regarding daily active users ranges around 10,000. It could be that this article and the protocol itself will age poorly, but many of the concepts in this article will remain relevant to the importance of a decentralized method of mass communication. If nostr fails, something will take its place. Given the development I have witnessed so far, I would be surprised to see nostr fall flat. The protocol is drawing in talent and checking off bounties at an exponential rate. As the bitcoin price increases I anticipate this trend to continue. Those who believe that bitcoin is a distraction to nostr underestimate the electromagnetism of the bull market. Those who believe that nostr is a distraction from bitcoin didn’t meet the former ethereum dev at nostrasia who became a bitcoiner because of nostr. The purple pill helps the orange pill go down.

On a more subjective level, I have noticed a dramatically better user experience on nostr than I did in the legacy system. The effect is so pronounced that I can say that my mental health has noticeably improved since I got off of Twitter. There are several variables I could attribute to that improvement. The lack of enraging algorithms, the general size of the community I am interacting with, the shared interest of that community, or the conscious understanding that I am free to say whatever I want. Whatever it is, I am not the only one who has noticed a much better vibe on the nostr.


I have noticed that some of the popular Twitter accounts have not been quite as popular on nostr and some lesser known accounts have gained traction. I currently have more followers than I ever did on Twitter (a whopping 1400). Some of the larger accounts on Twitter are sharing on a more personal level on nostr than they do in the larger forum. These effects may not stay this way as the network grows, but at the moment it feels as though some of my favorite people are more accessible and more comfortable to share openly with the nostr community.

Earlier in my bitcoin journey I was of the opinion that the greater diversity of viewpoints I could interact with, the more comprehensive my understanding of the world would become. I was cautious of ending up in a filter bubble or an echo chamber of certain niche opinions. As time went on I made a point to exclusively follow people on twitter who were outspokenly ‘Bitcoin Only’. This provided a simple heuristic for me to narrow my field of interactions to people who had put in enough work to jump the hurdle out of the clown coin casino. I remain realistic about the possibility that I have intentionally manufactured confirmation bias in my online experience, but with the impending AI boom it will become increasingly difficult to remain in an unfiltered social pool.

By narrowing my online interactions to a specific group I run the risk of missing out on unique opinions, but so far this pruning has continuously increased the signal in my feed while reducing the noise. The scope of nuanced perspectives between bitcoiners on nostr has provided me with plenty to consider and learn from. In any case I still get a daily dose of intellectual debris to sort through from the normies I talk to in meatspace. When it comes to my online life, I concluded I would rather spend time getting to know this merry band of internet pioneers than stay connected to the rest of the traditional social media system.

Some have suggested that by leaving legacy social media I might be surrendering to irrelevance and obscurity. Personally I see the exodus of bitcoiners from Xitter gradually culminating in that network fading into irrelevance. I give credit to those of you who remain in the fray to fight the good fight, but my days engaging in that digital mosh pit are over. While my own learning process was accelerated by debates on Twitter, nine times out of ten I don’t see productive outcomes from online arguments. What I have found productive and rewarding has been interacting with people who are passionate enough about freedom to roll the dice on this new protocol.

It is very likely that every person early in this movement will be doxxed. However, in the long run we are supporting a technology that will enable future generations the freedom to choose how much privacy they maintain and how much information they share with the world. We are enabling a future where people have the freedom to be as authentic as they want without artificial limitations on the scope of human expression.

Being on nostr in 2023 feels a lot like pre-gaming the greatest internet party the world has ever seen. The sound system has some bugs, the decorations are still in process, and nobody knows for sure if anybody else will show up, but spirits are high. I’ve often equated sites like Xitter and F-book with a crappy dive bar that everybody goes to exclusively because everybody goes there. The more that they kick people out, water down the drinks, and raise prices; the more they will chase their customers off. I didn’t write this article to shame anyone or to pressure them into joining nostr, but if it ignited a spark in you to learn more, my objective was accomplished. There’s no rush, but when you decide you’re fed up with the status quo we will be waiting for you with open arms.

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

Bitcoin: The World’s First Decentralized Organization

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/bitcoin-the-worlds-first-decentralized-organization

Comparisons between the market capitalization of Bitcoin and publicly traded companies used to make me wince in frustration. Trying to contrast the world’s first successful digitally native currency to a single industry is narrow minded, let alone a single company. However, as I continuously surrender to the process of meeting people where they are on their bitcoin journey, I realized I can use this comparison to illustrate Bitcoin’s strengths in a different way.

Rather than trying to conceptually pull Bitcoin up to the level of global currencies, I suggest conceptually pulling global currencies down to the level of publicly traded companies. This temporarily negates the necessity of delving into the history of monetary theory when trying to explain Bitcoin.

A Note to Investors:

In order to accomplish this, imagine that USD and BTC are tickers on a stock market. Each is a company with employees, management policies, price performance history, legal obligations, and publicly traded shares. Now that we are operating at the same conceptual level, let’s take a look at the status of these two companies.

The board of USD has a long history of diluting its shares and more recently has been issuing new shares at a very alarming rate. Much of the dilution is benefiting the board while the employees are working their tails off for reduced pay. On the other hand, BTC does not have a board of directors. It is employee run and the employees maintain a collective agreement that the shares will be issued at a fixed, predictable, and declining rate with a maximum supply of 21 million. In order to work at the company you are required to adopt the steady issuance policy.

Company USD is clearly strong arming competition around the globe and forcing people to conform to their standards. They have been top dog for decades and have swallowed up most of the global market share. As a result, they hold tremendous leverage over their competition, but they’ve grown complacent and are losing their edge. Expenses to maintain overheads are growing more cumbersome by the day and debt loads are far past responsible levels. The price performance for investors holding USD stock is in the red approximately 90% since 1971 and is showing no signs of a serious rebound.

Company BTC is managing a grass-roots marketing campaign which is gradually gaining traction, but it has yet to go fully viral online. BTC is a disruptive tech company with fourteen years of volatile, but steady growth in value and adoption. Their share of the global market is extremely small in comparison to the incumbent; creating dramatic upside potential. The management structure is lean and overhead costs are shared by the employees while the organization itself holds zero debt. Price performance for investors holding BTC stock is in the green approximately 200,000% since 2013 and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Rational investors may bet on both horses, but weigh their allocation based on current events. Market conditions are transforming quickly as a new startup called BRICS is making pre-launch announcements. BRICS seems to be interested in stealing market share from USD. This will have a profound effect on USD as their business model relies on them being the sole provider of their service.

BTC investors tend to hold the stock tightly. Approximately 70% of the stock has not changed hands over the last two years despite tremendous volatility. There are some large stockholders in BTC who may be triggered to sell off their shares for one reason or another, but many of the smaller investors are passionately scooping up those discounted shares at every opportunity. Due to the entrenched nature of USD, it has some cards up its sleeve to attract new investors and slow competitor growth, but its days of true market innovation are in the past.

On the other hand, BTC is innovating at a consistent rate and is on track to continue taking market share regardless of competition. Their product has fundamental qualities which the competition won’t be able to match. Ultimately, of the three companies, BTC is the only one which is digitally native. USD is running a hybrid brick-and-mortar/online system, but is not optimized for a strictly online model. BRICS does not have a working prototype yet, but its digital presence is unavoidable. Legacy customers will make more sober comparisons between the available options once they realize all global commerce will be migrating to a digital format.

A Note to Employees:

Defined simply, every individual who adds value to the network could be considered a BTC employee. Under this definition, every investor is also an employee. As are miners, developers, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs who involve themselves with bitcoin software or hardware. Vendors accepting bitcoin for goods or services also add value to the network commensurate with the value of those goods and services. Investors who purchase bitcoin are in competition with each other, while also benefiting each other. Investor holdings add value to the network by reducing the circulating supply.

The resulting condition is one in which each participant in the network is working for every other participant in the network. Rewards are distributed relative to investor holdings. BTC is owned and operated by the employees. Examining the bitcoin circular economy through this lens; every bitcoin user is simultaneously an investor, an employee, and a business owner. Each user chooses their own level of involvement and all roles are accepted or rejected on a voluntary basis.

Cohesive teams outperform teams which struggle to reach consensus. Fortunately, the bitcoin community was constructed around a mathematical consensus machine. Despite continuous disagreement within the community, we are ultimately forced to reach a collective agreement every ten minutes. Each of us have taken unique paths to understanding the importance of bitcoin and we all support the network in a specialized way. Even those who attempt to attack bitcoin provide their own form of value. We can thank them for helping to educate us and to point out potential vulnerabilities in the protocol.

The Latin root of the word ‘compete’ is competere to “strive in common, strive after something in company with or together”. As we compete we can all grow stronger together. To ignore the collective nature of Bitcoin would be to ignore the facts of reality. Millions of individuals are currently acting as a decentralized collective in order to run the bitcoin network based exclusively on the incentives of the protocol. Without them I would have nothing to write about.

Groups do not exist without individuals and individuals do not exist without groups. If we so choose, we can strive to live with compassion for other living beings. However, this is far from a prerequisite for employment by the Bitcoin network. Coercing anyone to behave ethically or compassionately completely negates the value of these virtues. Under this new paradigm there are no obligations, only offerings.

Conclusion:

We all make choices regarding how we deploy capital and allocate our personal energy. Putting faith into the bankrupt fiat behemoth rather than taking a meeting with the fresh challenger in the market is a much greater risk than most realize. Luckily, Bitcoin will never have layoffs or a hiring freeze.

Viewing Bitcoin through this lens sets aside the ideological and moral arguments in favor of a sober look at the network in comparison to its competition. This approach may simplify the conversation or it may stifle a call to action, but not everyone is ready to face the atrocities of the fiat system. Some invest primarily with rationality; working to maximize profit above all else. Some invest more with their hearts; avoiding investments which don’t align with them morally. Unfortunately in the fiat system, it is not possible to do both. Invest wisely.

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

The Art Of The Orange Pill: Lessons On Pitching Bitcoin From A Third-Generation Salesman

https://bitcoinmagazine.com/culture/how-to-pitch-bitcoin-like-a-salesman

A former sales account manager describes pitching Bitcoin with a focus on influencing perspectives while maintaining honesty and integrity.


This is an opinion editorial by Source Node, a former sales account manager with a background in training and industrial-organizational psychology.

When I pitch Bitcoin to a relative, to a friend or to a complete stranger in the bathroom stall next to me, they will inevitably ask, “How is this benefiting you? Are you going to make money from me buying bitcoin?”

In one sense, the honest answer is yes, but my main objective is actually to alleviate suffering.

Will any single investor buying bitcoin make my bitcoin increase in value? Not unless I’m convincing a hyper-rich communist sympathizer like Charlie Munger to hop onboard. The average investor buying $1,000-worth of BTC is not going to change the price of bitcoin. In fact, even a very wealthy investor allocating $100 million may not significantly change the price of bitcoin. In that sense, I am not benefiting directly from convincing individuals to buy bitcoin at all.

However, given the early stage of adoption that we are currently experiencing, the asymmetric upside of investing in bitcoin today has the potential to turn a relatively-small investment into life-changing financial security. For this reason, the motivation to pitch Bitcoin to people I care about is greater now than it will be in the future. The potential future which Bitcoin enables for myself and for society is the primary driving force behind my participation in the network. The prospect of living in a world of abundance, voluntary behavior and geopolitical cooperation is becoming more achievable by the block. I wish to benefit from the transition to that world and I wish for those whom I love (as well as random strangers I encounter) to benefit from it as well.

I know I am not the only one who holds this view. It seems to be a natural inclination for nearly every Bitcoiner to compulsively pitch Bitcoin to their friends, relatives and acquaintances. Unfortunately, I have seen many people become exhausted with these pitches. This exhaustion seems to slow down adoption more than support it, which indicates to me that some of what I have to share regarding sales may be helpful.

Every Bitcoiner who crosses the threshold into this decentralized organization brings with them a unique profile of knowledge, skills and interests. I have always had a passion for the discipline of sales. But as a third-generation salesman on my father’s side, I am frequently disgraced by the state of the trade. The word “salesman” often conjures up visions of a pushy vacuum peddler on your doorstep, a slippery used car dealer or an overpaid executive who is better at golf than he is at demonstrating the product that his company manufactures. This is not the vision I have of sales as a vocation or as an art.

Illustrated broadly, everyone is engaged in sales. Most sales people know this. There is nothing invasive about representing oneself in a conscious manner, sharing a vision and educating in a way that caters to individual differences. Sales is about influencing the perspectives of others to motivate behavioral change. Nowhere in that process does a salesperson have to sacrifice honesty, integrity or reputation.

Throughout this article, I will refer to anyone we might be pitching Bitcoin to as a “customer.” This isn’t meant to be cold and impersonal, but rather an illustrative metaphor. There are tools which can assist us in developing an effective approach to discussing Bitcoin with prospective customers.

The following information is a summary of what I have found to be effective in pitching Bitcoin and my best attempt at describing the attitudes which have supported the greatest success stories.

The Outer Strategy

The Bitcoin sales cycle is long. Bitcoin isn’t just sold once, it’s sold continuously every moment that a person chooses to hold it. Bitcoin is conceptualized and utilized differently by each participant in the network based on their unique needs and lifestyle choices. Due to the longevity and complexity of a proper Bitcoin pitch, I have found that “The Challenger Sale” model is especially well suited for selling Bitcoin.

“The Challenger Sale” by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson outlines research on sales performance across many industries and outlines five basic types of salespeople. The salespeople who consistently outperformed their counterparts, during strong as well as weak economic conditions, fell under the category that the book is named after. These sales people had certain traits in common and in my observation, many Bitcoiners exemplify these traits as well. I will touch on the research findings briefly, but if you want a deeper dive into nuances of the topic, I would recommend picking up a copy of the book.

“Challengers,” as they are differentiated from their counterparts, frequently hold a unique view of the world, they love to debate, they are not afraid to push the customer and they have a deep understanding of the customer’s business. From my interactions with Bitcoiners over the years, I see these qualities very frequently. Challengers also tend to find themselves in teaching roles, which is reflected through the many books and podcasts created as Bitcoin educational tools.

The challenger is well read on every aspect of the sale and can preempt arguments against their points of view. Achieving this degree of intellectual karate may lead you toward reading about economics, engineering, psychology, history, philosophy, spirituality, physics and ecology. In order to approach a topic holistically, one must understand the foundations, the arguments and the counterarguments. Be ready not just to agree or disagree, but to provide a detailed explanation of your reasoning if required.

Every person you interact with will have a different path to understanding Bitcoin. Certain key pieces of information will ignite a fire of interest in one person and have no effect on another. Learn to find these key areas of interest through practice and repetition. As a general tip, I have found that pitching Bitcoin to people close to my own age is more effective than trying to sell across generational gaps. Studying integral theory is helpful with the process of understanding customer value systems as well.

There is a critical balance to be achieved regarding debate and pushing the customer. When you are pushing the customer, keep the conversation friendly. It is possible to chip away at someone’s defenses with humor and creativity rather than by annoying or humiliating them. Emotional intelligence is required to find the right balance between pushing, pulling and resting.

It’s important to be up front about bitcoin’s performance over the short term and the long term. It is your job to carefully gauge the customer’s risk tolerance and conviction in the face of volatility. If you get the impression that someone is buying just because they trust what you are saying, tread carefully. Unless the person you are speaking with understands how to responsibly self custody and to avoid trading on leverage, you may want to dissuade them from buying in large amounts. If your customer bites off more than they can chew and gets burned, it will take them even longer to benefit from Bitcoin.

Customers who walk away from a conversation having learned something valuable are much more likely to pick up the phone and call that salesperson back. However, there is a difference between being a source of knowledge and being a firehouse of unsolicited opinions. Sometimes, the best way to start a teaching discussion is to ask some questions. Effective teaching is not a forceful process. It is your job to pique the interest of whoever you are speaking with so that they begin to request further information. Try to avoid going on extensive monologues and maintain engagement from whoever you are speaking with.

Tailoring a pitch to a grocery store cashier or to a hedge-fund manager will be very different discussions. These approaches are unique for each individual, but there are two primary categories: One approach is bottom up (related to price inflation) and the other is top down (related to central banking and market forces). Both begin with a discussion around the dollar and how it functions. Most people will dismiss Bitcoin as pointless until they understand the problem it is solving. When discussing the fiat problem, I have found that speaking rationally about poorly-aligned incentives is generally more effective than launching into a verbal summary of “The Creature From Jekyll Island.”

The corporate media has been fairly effective at turning the word “Bitcoin” into something scary. Most of the time, I don’t even say the word “Bitcoin” until I get a clear sign of engagement. Open-ended questions are an effective way to gauge the level of understanding you’re cooperating with. For example,“How much do you know about Bitcoin?” or, “If I provided you with infinite funds, describe how you would attack the Bitcoin network or stop people from using it.” Leave room for the customer to disagree with you and take their disagreement as a positive step in the debate process.

The ability to transcend political discussions makes controlling the direction of the conversation much easier. Money supersedes politics and the discussion can always be returned to the banking system. I continuously maintain that whatever political issue may be irritating the customer, it will only get worse until the money is fixed. Any effort to fix a societal problem without fixing the money is like using a bucket to throw water out of a ship without addressing the hole causing the ship to sink.

Remember to be measured in your approach. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone. Don’t forget what is most important to you and don’t get caught up in the desire to be right or to prove someone else wrong. When you’re laying on your deathbed, you won’t be kicking yourself for failing to orange pill a relative at Thanksgiving, but you might regret burning a bridge with someone you love over an unnecessary argument.

The Inner Game

Book smarts and creative problem solving are important tools, but when it comes to sales, the most critical skill to develop is emotional attunement. An effective salesperson will accurately read the emotional tone of the conversation in real time and adjust their approach as needed. There are a number of skills involved in this form of emotional intelligence, the most important of which is learning to accurately read and interpret nonverbal communication.

In my experience, the primary impediment to emotional attunement is egotistical dysfunction on the part of the salesperson. The ego is critical to human functioning and is not to be vilified, but it should not be running the show either. The degree to which a salesperson can relate to a prospective customer is a question of spiritual development more than business acumen. Nothing is more attractive or conducive to building trust than authenticity and honesty. In order to live with authenticity, we are required to face discomfort and integrate the aspects of ourselves that we reject. Without understanding your own intentions, you cannot understand the intentions of others.

Present yourself in the most transparent way possible. Deceitful action and hypocrisy are repulsive to the human spirit. The fiat system has a way of holding us hostage in situations which pressure us to compromise our values. As a result, we find ourselves alienated from our true intentions and separated from authentic relationships. Bitcoin enables us to liberate ourselves from these discouraging moral concessions, if we wish to do so.

Regardless of the behavior of those struggling to maintain a broken system, Bitcoiners can choose to persevere in equanimity. This temperament can only serve to vaporize phony criticisms of Bitcoin with the light of truth. Maintaining the higher ground will depend on a certain degree of personal and collective purification. Admit your faults and shortcomings without any reservation as soon as you perceive them. Striving to prove others wrong is a silly game which benefits no one. Striving to be effective in achieving your goals is a worthwhile undertaking.

If you let your ego enter the Bitcoin sales pitch, you are more likely to take criticisms personally and the conversation will drift into alienation. If you approach the discussion honestly and compassionately, you will create an ally rather than an enemy. I have often encountered a tremendous amount of resistance in conversations about Bitcoin and returned to that person months later to find that they have internalized much of what I said.

If the conversation remains respectful, you can walk away and let the orange marinade do its work. This is especially true as bank failures and inflation continue to draw attention to the issue at hand. Very few people are ready to change their minds in a single conversation. In fact, my recommendation would be to forego the intent to change anyone’s mind, but rather to provide information so that your acquaintance can reach their own conclusion.

When anger enters a discussion about Bitcoin, your customer will fail to see the countless hours of research you have applied to understanding the topic. If you get rattled by their questions or comments, they will only see fear, uncertainty and doubt. If you strike a condescending tone, you run the risk of pushing them away from Bitcoin rather than compelling them to learn more about it. If you feel animosity arising, take a step back and breathe.

Another common sales pitfall worth avoiding is “trash talking the competition.” It might be tempting to attack fiat currencies, stocks, bonds, altcoins or gold. Attacks like this exhibit weakness. Handling objections with grace develops confidence in the person you are speaking with. People are often very emotionally attached to their investments. Attacking them will cause the customer to double down and become much less open to hearing what you have to say. I do not denounce anyone for making certain investments, but I will gladly explain why bitcoin is likely to be superior in comparison to other assets.

“It is only against the big waves that (a surfer) is required to use all his skill, all his courage and concentration to overcome; only then can he realize the true limits of his capacities. At that point he often slips into a superconscious state and attains his peak. In other words, the more challenging the obstacle he faces, the greater the opportunity for the surfer to discover and extend his true potential. The potential may have always been within him, but until it is manifested in action, it remains a secret hidden from himself. The obstacles are a very necessary ingredient to this process of self-discovery. Note that the surfer in this example is not out to prove himself; he is not out to show himself or the world how great he is, but is simply involved in the exploration of his latent capacities. He directly and intimately experiences his own resources and thereby increases his self-knowledge.” 

–Timothy Gallwey, “The Inner Game Of Tennis

The above quote is no excuse for misleading unsuspecting financial refugees. Clown coins, vaporware and moral hazard should be dismissed resolutely. Those who support such misguided activities should be discredited mercilessly. However, all of this can be accomplished without losing your cool. Holding on to hate will not benefit you in any way. Always be ready for your detractors to switch to your side. There is no need to make it harder for them to do so by treating them in a cruel manner.

I have found it helpful to frame all forms of “altcoin” investing as gambling behavior. In this way, I can view these choices through the lens of addictive compulsion rather than stupidity or some other judgmental interpretation. I do not enable addictive behavior by accepting excuses, but I do not criticize it either. The road out of addiction is often barricaded by trauma and maladaptive assumptions. Harsh judgment does not assist in dissolving these barriers, but rather reinforces the separation between the real world and the addict.

The only reason I am able to write this article is because I have broken every suggestion in it at one point or another and witnessed the results. I may continue to break these recommendations in the future, but I maintain a continuous practice of humility, compassion and patience. Self judgment stifles growth more than it fosters it. If you punish yourself for behaving differently than you would like, your actions will become contrivances; like a child who is constantly afraid of their parent’s scorn. This will likely counteract any efforts you apply toward living with more authenticity.

Acting out of a genuine desire to enhance life will help you to root into a more authentic lifestyle. That type of authenticity is magnetic. Look inward at your reservations and intentions. If you are trying to orange pill others to convince yourself of Bitcoin’s value or to prove yourself to the world, you will be better served by reserving your opinions until you no longer have these insecurities. If you are beyond the need for approval, your rate of success will increase dramatically. Act on the truth that you know. Unlike Bitcoin, you don’t need consensus for validation.

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