Bitcoin possesses a unique identity and qualities that are cemented on the foundation of decentralization. Almost everyone who is doing the work to understand Bitcoin will eventually run into the cold, hard fact that, at its core, Bitcoin is about freedom. To those who have enjoyed individual liberties for their entire lives, the concept of freedom may be watered down or under appreciated. For those who live without it, freedom and individual liberty become pursuits of great importance.
Many people who are diving into Bitcoin will find themselves at a crossroads, having to choose between the speculative “get-rich-quick” mania 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 furthering the cause of authentic Bitcoiners. She’ll tell you that when she first heard about Bitcoin, it did not initially grab her attention. Thankfully, Cavaleri eventually latched onto what Bitcoin offers and has significantly contributed to the Bitcoin space since.
With a background in artificial intelligence, higher education and policy, 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, board member for the sustainable bitcoin mining company CleanSpark and 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 that Cavaleri brings to the Bitcoin space is her authenticity and empathy. She openly talks 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 specifically drew you to it?
I first heard about Bitcoin from another entrepreneur in a shared office space in 2010. With very little life experience, I didn’t understand or appreciate the need for a peer-to-peer network and first understood it as something akin to loyalty points. It wasn’t part of my journey to understand right away and I didn’t buy in right away. Fortunately, the idea of the Bitcoin network never left me and I was gifted incredible interactions over the years.
During my entrepreneurial journey, I became obsessed with the notion of preserving and transferring wisdom across generations. Because we no longer live in multigenerational homes and ages are segregated by school, work and post-work, we aren’t naturally transferring lessons and traditions as we did when our species was more agrarian. An African proverb compares the death of an elder to a library burning to the ground. Each time someone dies, so does their unique insight and experience.
Wisdom is our most wasted natural resource — the lack of preservation and daily interaction with it deepens humanity’s historical doom loop of control, corruption and war. Mass reduction of time between generations has prevented younger generations from gaining a macro, long-term perspective. It is very possible that this disconnect between the ages is a substantial contributor to increase in suicide rates of younger generations and other mental health issues.
The idea of wisdom as a keystone to humanity’s evolution, especially as algorithms deepen beliefs, haunted me. Bridging the generations and leveraging technology to preserve and share wisdom is a path worth building. The piece that was missing was a wise network and value transfer system. A solution needs to be able to have an unalterable ledger (preserve the content), be decentralized (one entity can’t control narratives) 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 leverage technology to preserve and share insights from humanity — until Bitcoin.
This realization is how I came to believe both the Bitcoin network and bitcoin the commodity are essential to the evolution of humanity so that we may build upon insight, not have to relearn lessons. Bitcoin is that wise technology and bitcoin is that wise representation of value. I started going to meetups and learning more about the technology. My path there was anything but direct, and like many, I had to see the underbelly of crypto to come to these realizations.
For me it was important to see the good, bad and ugly before I could be sure the solution already exists and it has been in my orb for 13 years. This slow learner is grateful that Bitcoin didn’t give up on her, which is why I decided to work on the parts of Bitcoin that I could be most useful: mining and policy.
What is your opinion 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 angsty, middle-schooler phase. Many of us are divergent thinkers and have been gaslit by centralized entities to believe we are wrong. While we have every right to be angry, it is time to heal and not use the tools of shame, fear and guilt that these systems have used against many of us to justify our behavior. Most people I know from Bitcoin are brilliant, kind, courageous humans. These are the humans I want to fight alongside.
Bitcoin Twitter is not real. It’s an algorithm that feeds off of drama and negativity. Most of us aren’t clickbait-angry, post-algorithmic, manipulating attention seekers. Spend time on Nostr and see what we are really like. We’re philosophical, macro-oriented and generally bullish on humanity. Sometimes we’re even funny and fun.
While it is extremely important that we have faced and overcome our own pain, it is even more important that we show compassion to those who are pawns in broken systems. It is this breadth of experience and strength in personal growth that will allow us to build a future worthy of future generations.
I love seeing people go in and work on the one variable we can each control: ourselves. I’ve seen a lot of that in a physical and environmental sense as we become more connected to our food, many have ditched alcohol, we spend time in nature, etc. I look forward to more digging into the less tangible aspects of healing — emotional, spiritual, etc.
The longer in, the deeper the rabbit hole gets. For me, Satoshi’s anonymity is extremely humbling. We are fortunate to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
How do you typically respond to those who are dismissive of Bitcoin, especially those in your circle of friends/influence?
Arguing is low-vibe energy (for me). Largely, we get enough negativity in media, so I try to listen more than respond. Sometimes people just need to be heard and if they feel they’ve made up their mind at this point, there’s no point in debating until they’re ready again. We’re all on our journeys and for me the patient, hopeful Bitcoin teachers won me over.
One example I use often is of a bitcoin circular economy I visited in the mountains of Peru outside of Cusco. Motiv, a nonprofit working in South America, helped women artisans 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 by taking me to a local store to buy groceries for the week with bitcoin they just earned from my purchase and to their childrens’ school (where the teachers are paid in bitcoin). This technology has brought resources and hope to an impoverished rural town.
I want people to feel the optimism I feel with Bitcoin. That’s what I focus on — stories of hope that show how it is used throughout the world. Some call this approach positive attraction, which seems much more effective to me 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 indicating that millennial females will be the number-one adoption demographic over the next couple of years. It would be nice to welcome them warmly. That’s what I will keep doing because that’s what worked for me. Keep focusing on education, humility and patience. Treat others as if they are a family member because in a way we are a growing Bitcoin fam. We’re fortunate to have this layer of truth to guide our interactions.
The most important thing we can each do is go in. No one is going to do that work for you. It is scary — it is worth it. The inner proof of work by a majority of us will elevate what we build in the future. Now is the time to clean up so we can be strong, compassionate, 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.