Everyone knows the trope of the obnoxious bitcoin party guest. They corner you, drink in hand, and won’t let you escape until they’ve expounded exhaustively on bitcoin’s virtues. “Everyone has one annoying friend like that, and that’s me,” says Adriana Belotti, head of marketing at the technology consulting firm Prismatik in Sydney, Australia.
But Belotti doesn’t just evangelize about bitcoin at parties. While staying briefly at a friend’s father’s house (“the epitome of a boomer”), she almost convinced him to invest $100 worth of bitcoin for each of his grandchildren. “By the time they’re 18, they could each get a car with that,” she told him. She’s also been hosting meet-ups – one for bitcoin beginners, another for blockchain professionals – in Sydney since 2014.
“Bitcoin frees your mind,” says Belotti. In her bitcoin meet-up, Belotti seeks to convey how bitcoin equates to financial freedom – not just freedom from government-issued currency, but also freedom from financial norms. As she sees it, learning about bitcoin teaches you how money works, and how society tricks you into thinking that having debt and mortgages and buying goods you can’t afford with credit cards is the right way to go about spending. “You should not have a credit card,” Belotti says.
Belotti can still extol bitcoin’s virtues remotely while locked down in Australia. She’d hosted one virtual blockchain professionals meet-up by the time we caught up on April 3, and was thinking of hosting a bitcoin one soon, but she was concerned about people’s comfort with asking personal financial questions in an online forum. Small, private Zoom calls may be the way to go.
Meanwhile, Australia’s economy was already reeling from fires that raged throughout the country in January. The pandemic brings with it “another round of hits,” Belotti says. But with governments like hers printing money, “bitcoin might end up being the biggest store of value of our time, hands down.”
Blockchain technology may also have a role to play in mitigating the pandemic’s fallout in Australia. A group of blockchain business owners and experts there, including Belotti, are looking at various blockchain projects that are “either ready to go or would need minimal adaptation to help the government manage the pandemic,” Belotti says. This taskforce coming together has given her “hope for humankind.”
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