Bitcoin possesses a unique identity and qualities that are cemented in the foundation of decentralization. Almost everyone who is doing the work to understand Bitcoin will eventually be faced with the cold, hard fact that, at its core, Bitcoin is about freedom. For those who have enjoyed individual freedoms all their lives, the concept of freedom may be weakened or undervalued. For those who live without it, freedom and individual liberty become pursuits of great importance.
Many people diving into Bitcoin will find themselves at a crossroads, forced to choose between the speculative get-rich-quick craze of some crypto subcultures and the self-sovereign, owner-and-builder mentality that Bitcoin offers.
Amanda Cavaleri embodies the latter. Humble, empathetic and generous with her knowledge, Cavaleri spends her time advancing the cause of authentic Bitcoiners. She will tell you that when she first heard about Bitcoin, it didn’t grab her attention at first. Thankfully, Cavaleri eventually latched onto what Bitcoin had to offer and has since contributed significantly to the Bitcoin space.
With a background in artificial intelligence, higher education and politics, Cavaleri has what it takes to move the ball forward when it comes to Bitcoin education. She is the board chair of the Bitcoin Today Coalition, a board member for the sustainable bitcoin mining company CleanSpark, and the co-author of Bitcoin And The American Dream. Cavaleri also hosts the annual Bitcoin Ski Summit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in order to create a thought-provoking space for Bitcoiners to philosophize and have greater impact in their respective areas of expertise.
One of the many talents Cavaleri brings to the Bitcoin space is her authenticity and empathy. She talks openly about her past and how everything is layered in life. Her work is truly special and it was an honor to discuss these topics with her.
How did you first learn about Bitcoin and what? positively attracted you to it?
I first heard about Bitcoin from another entrepreneur in a shared office space in 2010. With very little life experience, I did not understand or appreciate the need for a peer-to-peer network and initially thought of it as something similar to loyalty points. It wasn’t part of my journey to understand right away and I didn’t buy right away. Fortunately, the idea of the Bitcoin network never left me and I was gifted with incredible interactions over the years.
During my entrepreneurial journey, I became obsessed with the notion of preserving and passing down wisdom across generations. Because we no longer live in multigenerational homes and the ages are separated by school, work, and post-work, we are not naturally passing on lessons and traditions as we did when our species was more agrarian. An African proverb compares the death of an old man to a library burning to the ground. Whenever someone dies, so does their unique knowledge and experience.
Wisdom is our most depleted natural resource – the lack of conservation and daily interaction with it deepens humanity’s historically destructive cycle of control, corruption and war. The massive reduction in time between generations has prevented younger generations from gaining a macro and long-term perspective. It’s quite possible that this age disconnect is a major contributor to the rise in younger generations’ suicide rates and other mental health issues.
The idea of wisdom as a cornerstone of human evolution, especially when algorithms deepen beliefs, haunted me. Connecting generations and using technology to preserve and share wisdom is a path worth building. The missing piece was a smart grid and value transfer system. A solution must be able to have an immutable ledger (store content), be decentralized (one entity cannot control the stories), and have a mechanism to transfer value in a way that promotes freedom and equality (a system beyond fiat). There was no way to authentically use technology to store and share knowledge from humanity – until Bitcoin.
This realization is how I came to believe that both the Bitcoin network and the bitcoin commodity are essential to the evolution of humanity so that we can build upon knowledge and not need to relearn lessons. Bitcoin is that smart technology and bitcoin is that smart representation of value. I started going to meetings and learning more about technology. My path there was anything but straightforward, and like many others, I had to see the underside of crypto to come to these realizations.
For me it was important to see the good, the bad and the ugly before I was sure that the solution already exists and it has been in my orbit for 13 years. This slow learner is grateful that Bitcoin didn’t give up on her, so I decided to work on the parts of Bitcoin where I can be most useful: mining and politics.
What are your thoughts on Bitcoin culture? What would you say should be the first step in making Bitcoin culture (in the United States) more inclusive?
Bitcoin culture is in the angst, high school stage. Many of us are divergent thinkers and have been conditioned by centralized entities to believe that we are wrong. While we have every right to be angry, it is time to heal and stop using the tools of shame, fear and guilt that these systems have used against many of us to justify our behavior. Most of the people I know from Bitcoin are great, kind and brave people. These are the people I want to fight.
Bitcoin Twitter is not real. It’s an algorithm that feeds on drama and negativity. Most of us are not angry, post-algorithmic, manipulative attention-seekers. Spend time at Nostr and see what we’re really like. We are philosophical, macro-oriented, and generally philanthropic. Sometimes we are even funny and entertaining.
While it is extremely important that we face and overcome our pain, it is even more important that we show compassion to those who are held hostage to broken systems. It is this breadth of experience and strength in personal growth that will allow us to build a worthy future for generations to come.
I love seeing people come in and work on the one variable we can each control: ourselves. I’ve seen a lot of this in the physical and environmental sense as we become more connected to our food, many have given up alcohol, spend time in nature, etc. I look forward to delving more into the less tangible aspects of healing – emotional, spiritual, etc.
The longer in, the deeper the rabbit hole gets. To me, Satoshi’s anonymity is extremely humbling. We are lucky to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
How do you usually react to Bitcoin snubs, especially those in your circle of friends/influence?
Debate is low energy (for me). Mostly, we get a lot of negativity in the media, so I try to listen more than respond. Sometimes people just need to be heard, and if they think they’ve made up their mind at this point, there’s no point arguing until they’re ready again. We are all on our own journeys and for me the patient, hopeful teachers of Bitcoin won me over.
An example I use often is of a circular bitcoin economy I visited in the mountains of Peru outside of Cusco. Motiv, a non-profit organization working in South America, helped artisan women of all ages sell traditional scarves and accessories to earn an income, many for the first time. Because there is no banking option, bitcoin was the easiest form of payment to accept. Not only did these women prefer that I pay them in bitcoin, but they told me how much bitcoin changed their lives. They then showed me taking me to a local store to buy groceries for the week with the bitcoin they just earned from my purchase and to their children’s school (where the teachers are paid in bitcoin). This technology has brought resources and hope to a poor rural town.
I want people to feel the optimism that I feel with Bitcoin. That’s what I focus on – stories of hope that show how it’s being used around the world. Some call this approach positive attraction, which I find much more effective than fear, greed, etc.
In your opinion, why is it important to close the gender gap in Bitcoin interest and adoption?
There are marketing reports showing that female millennials will be the number one adopter demographic over the next two years. It would be nice to give them a warm welcome. This is what I will continue to do because this is what worked for me. Continue to focus on education, humility and patience. Treat others as if they are a member of the family, because in a way we are a rising Bitcoin celebrity. We are lucky to have this layer of truth to guide our interactions.
The most important thing we can each do is enter. No one will do that work for you. It’s scary – it’s worth it. The inner proof of work by most of us will elevate what we build in the future. Now is the time to clear so we can be strong, compassionate and visionary leaders during the chaos of the bull.
This is a guest post by Becca Bratcher. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.