All good shitshows must come to an end.
Recently, it's been announced that the annual flagship bitcoin conference has succumbed to bear market soul-searching and moved on from its soulmate in Miami. Come 2024, the conference will find itself in Nashville.
So, my dear friends, it is time for a send-off. This won't be an eulogy in which we remember all the good parts because let's face it — there are no good parts. Miami is where you go to act a fool. It's the free trial of hell and the eternal subscription will come due one of these days.
Instead, this is an opportunity to remember the characters we became there and atone while we still have the chance. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let the fumes of rented Lambos and cheap cologne take you in. Let's go meet the neighbors.
The true anarchist
"That’s got seed oils in it, you stupid fuck."
You're walking down Collins Avenue eating a white chocolate, macadamia nut cookie from the hotel when the anarchist slaps it out of your hand. It rolls into the road.
Few people have ever spotted the true anarchist in the flesh and lived to tell the tale. He looks just like Bigfoot if only sasquatches slept on the beach. His bitcoin neck tattoo bulges with the rapid blood flow of too many energy drinks. His laser eyes pierce through the back of your skull as he gazes into your political past and how little you actually read of The Sovereign Individual.
"Listen to me," he commands you. "The time has come to become ungovernable."
You're taken aback at first but there's something mesmerizing about the deranged, unfiltered being in front of you. Unbeknownst to you, the anarchist wants to eat your soul and everything else about you.
"O wise one," you say. "How do I do such a thing? How does one become ungovernable? Show me the way."
The anarchist strokes his freeform, honeycomb beard. He could red-pill you on some Mencius Moldbug, walk you through all the ancestor worship he has in mind for his descendants, or tell you to get a ghost gunner. So much fringe, so little time. Instead, he speaks softly with earthen clarity.
"The answer is simple, my friend," he begins. "To become ungovernable, you must first discard all knowledge you have obtained to date. Then, you must begin again from first principles and challenge every assumption you've made about your life. And finally, there's the most important part."
He pauses for effect.
"What's that?" you beg him.
"You must believe everything you read on the internet."
Suddenly, your mind hits the ejector seat. Your consciousness spirals through the stratosphere and checks in on the sun for a moment. Meanwhile, back on Earth, you pass out because when you emptied your mental recycle bin, you forgot how to breathe.
When you come to, the anarchist is gone. It seems he wandered into the road without looking and got hit by a Lambo. Some beasts can't be tamed, but they can still be run over. C'est la vie.
Well, that was weird, you tell yourself. It's probably a good idea to get off of the streets where anything can happen. You spot a Cuban-themed bar that's decently crowded, so you go in for a mojito.
The mojitos at the bar are far too large to be considered drinks. They're personal punch bowls with enough bottom-shelf rum they should have prevented the pandemic. You notice the man next to you has one, too.
The miner needs a stiff drink. Anything to calm his nerves. The ASICs are still buzzing in his brain even though they're thousands of miles away back at the compound. The years spent mining off-grid have left him starved for human contact, and now, he's surrounded by dipshits who will never understand him. These fuckers wouldn't know a semiconductor if it minted Shiba Inu.
He's just happy to be in a nice hotel with creature comforts. The continental breakfast beats eating a baggie of smashed trail mix in a repurposed shipping container any day of the week.
"Don't get into mining," he tells anyone who will listen. "Imagine a large vacuum cleaner in the middle of your living room. I only do it because I can't do anything else."
He says that not because of his skills or a chosen path but because the circuitry in his mind has been rewired. There's no getting ahead in bitcoin mining, only tasting it. As fate would have it, he was born amidst the best macro opportunity in human history only to find himself in the one sector destined to be commoditized.
He thinks not in bitcoin but in hashes. The mojito you're drinking could have been hashes. His child support payment could have been hashes. Those two squares of toilet paper could have been hashes.
And it's in the restroom where you encounter our friend. You're washing your hands when the miner emerges from the bathroom stall.
"You and me right now," he says. "We're going to mine a bitcoin."
You look at him and your surroundings. Not today, you think to yourself. You may not know why you came to Miami, but low-down bathroom sex is not on the menu.
But the miner immediately perceives your doubts. Telepathy is real after all. He gets out what looks like the fattest blunt you've ever seen.
"What is this?" you ask.
The miner shrugs. "It's a difficulty adjustment," he says. He lights it in his hand and gets it going. All the while, you wonder why there never seem to be smoke detectors in public restrooms. The miner hands the blunt to you, and you take a rip like you ain't no bitch.
"I'm thinking of a number between one and infinity," the miner says. "What is it?"
You hesitate at first. The fluorescent lights gaze into your soul with their sterile presence. Every nook and cranny of your skin is visible to the naked eye. This is judgment day, and you don't have a snowball's chance in hell.
"Eighty-six million," you guess.
The miner listens closely. When you don't say anything else, he leans forward. "And?" he bleats.
You stammer for some more digits. "Two hundred thousand...four hundred and fifty-six."
The miner does a calculation in his head. "Wrong," he snaps.
"Well, of course it is," you reply.
But the miner has none of it. "I'm going to have to ask you to leave," he declares. "You're of no use to me. You don't have the gift."
As he tells you this, your stomach feels queasy. Uh oh. The room starts to tilt sideways and change colors. At first, you think it's an out-of-body experience, but you step out of that, too. You're looking down at yourself looking down at yourself from somewhere in the astral plane. Shit balls. You're a plastic dinosaur in the sky.
"Oh shit," you say. "That wasn't weed, was it?"
The miner gives you a Cheshire cat grin and laughs. "Enjoy the ride, motherfucker." And with that, he shoves you through the bathroom door.
Stumbling around the bar, you bump into some Aztec figurine. Beside it, you find the philosopher standing alone. He's smoking out of a corncob pipe and drinking some dignified Scotch.
Right away, you're intimidated by the philosopher. He's well-read, highly-minded, and only slightly unemployed.
"Howdy do, my dear chap?" the philosopher opens, handing you the pipe. "Care for a puff?"
"Indubitably," you reply. You take a drag. Not bad. You've now smoked mystery substances with two unknown persons. Off to a good start. At least this smoke is better. It tastes like oatmeal.
"I declare bitcoin is the manifestation of all that is good and just in the universe,” the philosopher says. “Would you agree?”
“I dunno," you reply. "What is bitcoin? What is money? What is anything?”
"Let's not get post-modern with it, shall we?" the philosopher says. "Plenty of learned men have weighed in on the subject. Breedlove once surmised that bitcoin is the number zero. Farrington articulated it is Venice. And Quittem poignantly argued that bitcoin is mycelium. Fancy that — there's a fungus among us. But I digress. I conclude that these chaps, however distinguished and well-reasoned their arguments may be, are confusing the issue."
“Alright then. What do you think the answer is?”
The philosopher grins. “I was hoping you would ask,” he beams. “I think bitcoin is the large intenstine of an orangutan native to Indonesia.”
“Really? How does that work?” You ask.
“Well, my dear fellow, you have to begin from first principles.”
“First principles, you say?”
You step forward to listen and the world around you freezes. Everything but the philosopher's tongue is in suspended motion. His eyes gleam with the haste of a madman and the unjustified heft of an academic.
As he speaks, your head careens from side to side. Indeed, it's a tale told with sound and fury. The words dance through your skull like little Smurf babies. And in the moment, it all makes sense.
When the philosopher finally finishes speaking his piece, you just stand there for a second processing everything you just heard. It takes a breath to get your bearings. But you remember you're still in Miami. Still sweating your ass off. You snap out of the intellectual stupor.
Three hours have gone by. You’ve accomplished nothing. And now, your brain is so fried you can't even spell bitcoin, let alone buy one.
Meanwhile, the philosopher seems satisfied with himself. He bids you adieu with a bow and begins his search for another brain to feed upon. His curiosity is insatiable as it is his need for attention. No audience will ever be enough, for his is the takiest of the takes.
The significant other
As you recover from your bullshit-induced haze, you decide to go up to the bar. There, you encounter a friendly, attractive woman. Amazingly, there are no simps nearby. For a while, it's nice to chat with someone who is just as confused as you are.
"How long have you been interested in bitcoin?" you ask.
"Oh, I'm not interested in bitcoin," she says. "I don't understand it at all. I'm just here with my boyfriend. He's over there."
You look at her boyfriend on the other side of the bar. He's dressed head-to-toe in bitcoin regalia and talking all things hard money with other bitcoin plebs with a smile that could only be religious.
"So what have you been up to?" you ask the woman.
"You know, exploring the city, shopping, hitting the spa," she says. "I couldn't pass up a trip to Miami. I just wish we had more time with just the two of us."
"He hasn't taken you out?"
"We've eaten at some nice places, but he keeps striking up conversations with everyone but me — waiters, bartenders, other patrons — and he only talks about bitcoin. I mean, last night, he was lecturing some poor Uber driver on the Byzantine general's problem. It's insufferable."
As you chat with her, you notice she keeps looking over at her boyfriend. She frowns when he smiles and smiles when he frowns.
"How much money do you think he's spent on bitcoin?" she asks you, but you can tell she's just thinking out loud.
"Oh, I'm sure it's within reason," you lie. It never is.
"I've been talking with you for probably 15 minutes, and he hasn't once looked over here."
Right then, it dawns on you why she's so on edge. It's not that bitcoin has driven a wedge in their relationship. It's nothing so obvious as that. No, she's been replaced. The way her beau talks and brags about bitcoin is the way he used to talk about her. She's the old plaything and she can't help but feel jealous.
"Would it help if I offered to buy you a drink?" you ask.
She looks at her boyfriend and back at you and shakes her head. "I'm easy but I'm not that easy," she says. "Besides, he's the only one here who can afford me."
A couple hours later, you're in the elevator of a hotel you've never been before. Also in the elevator with you are a mermaid, a sumo wrestler, a crypto trader, a rapper, and a housekeeper who knows this is surely the worst timeline.
Everyone gets off at the rooftop bar, and you're happy to revel in the depth of experience. But first you need a drink, so you get in line.
In front of you stands the influencer. It's disorienting when you first lay eyes on him. Everyone is taller than you imagine because no one ever pictures a Twitter avatar attached to a warm body walking around. As far as you were concerned, these people were cartoon characters. It's almost like we're human beings or something. Fuck that.
The influencer has no personality, nothing. His is a hollow manifestation of the internet, another test from the Matrix. But still, you can’t help but stand in awe of his presence. He shakes your hand and waits for you to stroke his ego.
Your mind stalls. Think of something clever to say, think, think. Fuck it. You’ll have to improvise.
“Hey, so that tweet you sent,” you say. “It was awesome.”
”Thanks,” the influencer says. He doesn’t ask you to clarify, doesn't give a fuck. You look at the ground in shame. He moves onto the next fan who makes him laugh immediately.
In a rush, you wave your hand in to interrupt. “Can I get a picture with you?” you ask.
The influencer looks back at you. “Nah, I’m good,” he says.
You back away devastated. Your heart sinks as the reality hits: you’ve been blown off by the most niche of niche celebrities: the winner of the most popular dweeb contest. Loserrr.
Suddenly, it dawns on you. The anarchist was right. It’s time to become ungovernable.
You wait for the influencer to finish basking in the afterglow of social media IRL. Finally, he wanders off in search of more adoration. Once you see he’s gone, you whip out your phone and unfollow him.
The honey trap
With that awkwardness behind you, you decide to step closer to the balcony for some fresh air. You won't get it in Miami, but you might as well try. Sure enough, you make your way to the edge and there it is: decadence in the moonlight.
Say what you will about Miami Beach, but she's just like any woman that vapes all over you. It's warm and thick, and if you keep going at this rate, you'll need Dawn soap to get it off your skin back at the hotel.
There you are, soaking in the night air, and this is where the honey trap finds you. She emerges from behind a plastic tree, makes eye contact, and politely grabs you by the balls.
Nothing about her is voluntary. She looks like Marjorie Taylor Greene's bedraggled cousin with lashes as false as the day is long. Stroking you by the arm, she repeats a half-remembered pitch her pimp gave her.
"You should come with me," she says. "I know Michael Saylor. I went to high school with him."
You politely decline. You have no interest in meeting her goons. But she's insistent.
"No, really. We should meet up later. We're all going on Michael's yacht."
"I have plans later."
"What's your number, anyway?"
You start reciting your number but you change a few digits at the end so she'll never find you.
She leaves you and somewhere, probably in Russia or North Korea, a scammer calls up a cell phone carrier. They convince the carrier to port the number you gave to their phone. And they're sad to find out no Coinbase account exists.
Okay, that's enough partying for one night. You decide to head back to your hotel by way of the beachwalk. And for a while, you listen to the waves crash at night. You think about the evening's encounters and wonder what it all means. Why are we here? Why Miami? What does this shit even have to do with bitcoin?
Up ahead in the palm trees, you spot a happy-looking dude just chilling in a hammock. He waves at you and you hop in the other end. For a while, the two of you just sway.
At first glance, you think he's a trust fund baby but trust fund babies shower. Everything that touches the OG glows. He's a walking Fabio in Birkenstocks who flew into Miami fresh off his arctic plunge/pilot course/naked safari and he's glad to be among friends again.
The OG has so much money he doesn't even know what to do with himself anymore. He just schlepps around from bitcoin conference to bitcoin conference doing sweet fuck-all. Yup, three months have passed. Time to see what the boys are up to.
"Yeah, I got in when bitcoin was $100," he says.
"Don't you wish you bought more?"
"Not really," he says. "I had a friend who did. He went balls-to-the-wall. Hookers every day. Nonstop cocaine. He was doing a line on some stripper's back in Thailand when..." He snapped his fingers. "The bastard's heart gave out."
"That bad, huh?"
"Too much too fast. I'm just happy to be alive."
For a while, the two of you talk about life. You try to entertain him with the philosopher's story about bitcoin being something about an orangutan, but the OG is unimpressed. Let's face it: this schmuck's lost his lust for life.
"Yeah, thinkbois and their metaphors," he says. "I don't fuck with that mental shit. Bitcoin is better than fiat. That's all you really need to know. As for me, I got enough on my plate with my keto diet."
While something about the simplicity charms you, you want the true insight that only an early adopter can give. "But what happens when bitcoin wins?" you ask. "What about hyperbitcoinization?"
The OG giggles and leans back in the hammock. He pulls a little baggy out from his pocket. In it are a handful of little orange pills.
"These kind of conversations are when I like to microdose shrooms," he says. "It keeps things exciting. You want one?"
"Nah, I'm okay," you say. Mixed toxicity is a thing, and you don't even know what you had. You can't risk forgetting this upcoming intel.
"Suit yourself," the OG says. He pops a pill in his mouth and washes it down with some fruity umbrella drink. "But yeah, I'll tell you if you really want to know. What will it mean when the bitcoin is the world's reserve currency?"
He waits to make sure he has your undivided attention. Finally, he says something. "It won't mean dick," he says. "Bitcoin is better than fiat and one day, bitcoin is gonna be fiat. You live in America, right?"
"Something like that."
"You pay your taxes, right?"
"Well guess what? The tax man — it don't matter if he's American, Russian, or Chinese — he's gonna get his cut. He's got the guns and you don't. Uncle Sam always gets his dollar and the unit of account is just a nominal change.
"Even if the government doesn't confiscate the bitcoin, they can hang onto their tax receipts, plop them in Fort Knox right next to the gold, and convert it all into fiat. They'll thank you for the bitcoin from your income withholdings and give you back your refund in some Biden bucks.
"Now, we can all jerk off to the idea that the world's falling apart and we're headed for a post-nation-state era. But nothing is gonna stop humans from coalescing into groups, groups from coalescing into states, and states from sucking up all the capital. Yeah, buddy. We'll be back to government paper in no time. At least this time, it'll be orange."
You hear a big wave crash in the background. Nope, that wasn't the answer you were hoping for.
The OG knows all too well how his monologue landed. He's been here before. "You okay, bud? Cat got your tongue?"
"Yeah, I guess I was looking for something a little more—"
"You were hoping for enlightenment?"
You shrug and nod. You wanted a pep talk but sometimes a talk is all you get.
"Welcome to the club, man. Enlightenment's a drag. Oh well. It is what it is. God is dead. Let's party."
A few minutes go by and you just chill. You and the OG vibe to the waves in the background and continue making pleasantries but even they don't last. He falls asleep in the hammock. You don't feel like napping so you head on back home.
The next morning, you wake up and it's a gorgeous day. You weren't ready for it. Not another chance at redemption. Some hangovers you can't sleep off.
In the end, there is only the bag. Not the one you pack on the way out, but the one you carry in your heart. You take it home to the people you love, and you hope they see it, too. And maybe one day, we won't have to carry it anymore, and wouldn't that be nice?
Money didn't have to exist. We believed and there it was. Same goes for the internet. Minds around the world arrive at the same abstraction every day. It's half science and half mysticism, and one day, it'll all seem inevitable.
Bitcoin Miami was the essence of a dream. It was a cultural melting pot and the first time we lunatics got out during COVID. It was a time and place where anything was possible, even if most of it was bad. Becoming a memory is the only way we can be decentralized, and a casual observer is all you can ever hope to be.
The plane takes off and you watch through the window. Below, the Miami coastline fades into the horizon. So long, zeitgeist. Bitcoin will be back and so will you.
The content of this article is published for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial, legal, or tax advice. Please consult a qualified professional before proceeding with any investment decision.
Cover photo: Urip Dunker
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