Did you buy Bitcoin? Why not? Are you thinking about it now?
Of course, you are. Everyone is.
Do you know someone who did? Do you read the stories in the news each day and spend your waking and dreaming hours wondering why you didn’t?
Bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies in general, surged into the public awareness in 2017. Their appreciation in price, from single digits to $18,000 per coin, minted billionaires seemingly overnight. While traditional investment advisors stood by mutely, or made analogies to Tulip mania and the speculative “bubbles” of yesteryear, the number of cryptocurrencies — and their value — continued to rise. Old white guys kept buying gold, but millennials everywhere bought cryptocurrencies.
No matter how their value oscillates, or if the government tries to regulate them, the reality is that value transactions can occur relatively seamlessly outside of government supervision. And they will always be embraced by several large groups:
1. Criminals, who can now safely transfer large sums of money for illicit activities;
2. Wealthy tax avoiders, who have no desire to record transfers;
3. People in any country who don’t trust their governments, even at the smallest scale of wealth transactions;
4. Military, which can now pay off competing soldiers of fortune, rival town militias and entire armies without carrying bags of U.S. dollars.
The list goes on, but this is nothing new. The story went very public in 2010 with the Silk Road marketplace for drugs. Most people simply ignored the underlying power of the currency. Yet for all its now obvious negative roles, regrets about the cryptocurrency surge that you probably missed have penetrated the mind space.
Spending thousands of hours of wishing you had participated does nothing for society. Your regrets soak up your energy and stifle your creativity. Rather than asking, “Why didn’t I?” why not ask, “What could be next?”
Everyone who didn’t invest early on in Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook has the same regrets, though with less immediacy. Yet, few spend much time thinking about what they are missing today or what could be created for tomorrow. What seems clear is that we are transitioning into a world where the barriers to everything are falling: the friction in transactions, the slowness of the mail, the difficulty of buying groceries, cooking meals or making appointments. For every chore, a device or technology is smoothing the way. At some point, if not already, you will just think about something and it will occur. But what will you think?
If meditation is the emptying of the mind of all the daily distractions, with a focus on one’s breathing a tool to getting to that simple clarity, then what is the filling of the mind — the movement away from past problems and regrets and toward genuine idea creation?
If you want to be ahead of the next technology rage, take a mental leap into the future of seamless interactions and virtually create the world of peace, joy, creativity and prosperity — that hopefully is the goal of all humanity — then act on it.
Dr. Kevin R. Stone is an orthopedic surgeon at The Stone Clinic and chairman of the Stone Research Foundation in San Francisco.