This isn’t an advertisement for Bitcoin. It’s just one person’s perspective on it. However, if you read this and decide you want to join in on the revolution… click here to do it using this link, and it will give you and me both $10.00 in free Bitcoin for using this link. Is this a pyramid scheme? Wish it were… that would be easy. Instead: the hard reality that this little $10.00 could be worth $100,000 in the future.
I am not a so-called “finance person”. I’ve never had a 401K. Never had an IRA. (Making independent documentary films is essentially a first class ticket to the poor house. There is zero profits in making independent documentary films). I played with the stock market once, and lost 50% of what I invested. I have never in a million years thought I’d bother to place any money into any investment until this came along.
Since I invested in bitcoin and some of the other “tokens”, friends and family have been asking me about it, which made me want to write this blog entry. I hope it is helpful.
It all started here.
So it was the summer of 2011, I was at the home of a wealthy Persian family who lived in Beverly Hills. This family had made their fortune creating Shopzilla.com and then selling their creation for $500 million dollars.
They had seen my first documentary “Burzynski” and requested I come to their home for lunch. They had a couple of family members with cancer who were interested in being treated by Burzynski. It was right after the big Mercola.com launch of the movie where it was viewed by millions around the world. We were invited by a friend Ali, who was their private chef. (Ali just opened her own restaurant, if you are in the downtown LA area – check it out).
We talked about a little bit of everything, with a big focus on all the things that are wrong with the world. We talked about the economy and how corrupt banks and the entire system of profiting off of others is super unhealthy – that type of thing. At the end of the conversation he said, “You ever heard of Bitcoin?” I, like many, had no clue what Bitcoin was.
“Just buy it, it’s going to be worth a fortune one day.”
“What it is?”
“It’s digital currency. It’s decentralized. The banks can’t own it. It’s revolutionary. It could change the entire thing, and could fix many of the things we were talking about today.”
I remained confused. But said,
“Ok, sure, I will look into it.”
When someone worth $500 million tells you an inside track idea like “buy this, it’s going to be worth a fortune”, I listen. I went home that night and all I could find on Bitcoin was this video from March, 2011:
We exchanged a few emails after that regarding Dr. Burzynski, but we never spoke of Bitcoin again.
After watching that video, I then googled “buy Bitcoin”. Nothing. I then just started googling anything “Bitcoin”. There was stuff out there, people were mining it on their laptops, whatever that meant. But there was literally no place to buy it back then. After nearly an entire weekend of this, I gave up. (Why I didn’t just ask the guy, “dude, how do I buy this bitcoin thing again?” I have no idea.) I remained interested, as anything new and innovative is right up my alley. Especially when that new innovation can subvert the current status quo. If you have seen any of my documentaries, you will know what I am talking about.
I did find a Reddit post where someone in May of 2010 offered 10,000 Bitcoins to anyone that would buy him two pizzas. Those pizzas today are worth about $130 million.
Years went by. I’d heard about it in the news, but didn’t pay attention. Some of my friends would mention Bitcoin on occasion. One friend of mine (I will call “Jay”, as I don’t want to reveal to the world other people’s financials) got in touch with me after not seeing him for a half a year. This was around October 10, 2017. The conversation went like this:
“Hey Jay, long time, how you been?”
“Amazing! I quit my job and doing my own thing now.”
Wow! Congrats! How did this happen?
“Wow! How much is it worth right now?”
“How many do you have?”
So, I started doing that math. Wow, $160,000, not bad! (Of course, at the time of this writing, that $160,000 on October 10th, is now over $400,000. Not bad for about 8 weeks of time passing).
“That’s not all, there is this other thing called “Ethereum”, it’s like Bitcoin but different. I got it at $.30, bought $100.00 worth. I forgot about it for a while, just $100.00 investment. It’s over $300 now! Crazy right?”
Of course Ethereum is pushing $500 now. Jay’s Ethereum investment of $100 (one hundred) turned into profits went from $100,000 to $160,000 in the 2 months he told me all of this.
I don’t think much more than 24 hours passed before I was at Jay’s home with my laptop wanting to soak up any and everything I could about all of this.
I have been utterly obsessed with this entire crypto currency world every since. But this is more than an “investment” or a “currency”. This is a total revolution of finance. Much how the internet revolutionized publishing, and how we digest our content. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the entire crypto world is poised to change the fabric of our lives, unlike anything any of us can fathom. Just like the internet itself.
It’s so big… that I don’t think any of us… even those on the front lines… realize how big.
Was Bitcoin’s release in 2009 right after the banks failed and destroyed people’s retirement accounts, foreclosed people’s homes — was that a coincidence? Nope. While no one knows who really invented Bitcoin—whoever did, they invented more than this “digital money”. They invented something called “The Blockchain”. It’s hard to explain. Imagine trying to explain the internet to grandma, before the internet really took hold. But “grandma” is 99% of the population right now. No one knows what the f*ck bitcoin is.
Remember these days, below? This is what we are living through right now in regards to blockchain and crypto currency:
Here is a quick overview of blockchain, and how Bitcoin was the first utilization of this:
What is most fascinating about this entire thing, is that all this blockchain technology has become a source of currency in and of itself. Today, there are over 3,000 “tokens” of crypto currency. Full list here, ranked in market cap.
If you are a follower of my work, you will know I call out the mainstream media for their propaganda in support of our “establishment” (just like the name, it has been established, and the establishment must protect itself). This will explain why so much of the news is downplaying bitcoin and trying to marginalize it. They have done this to Dr. Burzynski and the subjects of all my films. If you still actually watch the mainstream TV news, you have likely had the daylights scared out of you in regards to bitcoin.
All I can tell you is: ignore the mainstream news if you are interested in this. This entire thing threatens the banking system itself. Why would any of us need a bank when all of our money is in our little digital wallets? I use this one, myself.
If you think this is a passing fad, or just too crazy to digest, that’s fine. I’m telling you it isn’t a fad, and it’s easy to digest. And, how many times in your life did you say, “shoudda, wouldda, couldda”? You are here. We are in the 1st inning of this monster. The “shoudda” phase hasn’t passed. The boat’s construction hasn’t been completed yet, much less sailed.
If you think the dollar is indestructible and couldn’t be threatened by something like “Bitcoin”, ask yourself why Venezuela just decided to create a crypto. Ask yourself why Zimbabwe has adopted it. Hell, even Japan has officially declared bitcoin a legal currency.
Whether you like it or not… this is our future. Even if you hated the internet when it came out, or hate it today – doesn’t change that its here now and not going anywhere. Bitcoin (or another crypto that might replace bitcoin) is the future of finance – crypto currency and blockchain is here to stay. Love it or hate it. In 10 years will it be bitcoin? Who knows. Will it be Ethereum? Maybe. But, either way, they are all forms of crypto currencies attached to blockchain technology. (Don’t even get me started on the “smart contracts” Ethereum offers where you don’t need any middle person to create a legally bounding financial contract – that’s another post).
A recent study showed that 1 in 4 millennials have simply opted to avoid banks altogether, and use only bitcoin.
I’ve heard all the naysayers excuses. “Bitcoin is used to commit crimes and launder money”. This one kills me. The US dollar has been used to commit more crimes and launder more money than any other currency. That one doesn’t fly. “It’s very volatile, can crash at any moment.” Yes, it’s volatile. “Crash at any moment?” Well if you call a “price correction” a crash, I can see how you can think that. Bitcoin is like a little zodiac boat next to the cruise ship of the dollar in the ocean. That little zodiac is going to bounce around a little bit.
I’m not trying to offer financial advice. I am a documentary filmmaker, not a financial person. All I am saying is: why not throw like $100.00 at it and see what I’m talking about? You can be one of those to say, “I got in before it went to $20,000…”
I mean, what stock, what savings account, what anything investment-wise goes up this much?
Bitcoin over 1 year:
Ethereum after 1 year:
Litecoin after 1 year.
If you want to do it, this is the process, step-by-step (if you do not own a smart phone, forget it, you are’t going to be able to do this unless you want to use cash to buy bitcoin to some one locally):
2. It will ask you to upload a photo of your driver’s license. Don’t panic. Use your phone to take photos, email them to yourself, whatever. This is called “KYC” or “know your customer”. Coinbase is doing things by the rules, and by the rules, it means getting your identification in case the IRS decides to track down everyone who ever bought a bitcoin. Recently, the IRS tried to gain access to all of Coinbase’s accounts. They lost, sort of. They managed to get permission to access anyone who made a $20,000 transaction or bigger. (Sort of like how your bank will report a $10,000 deposit or bigger).
3. If you use a commercial bank account, Coinbase can literally link to your bank. You will see your bank login box right there on Coinbase. Do not panic, this is normal. If you use a credit union, it takes longer. You have to verify various deposits that Coinbase makes to verify you. Big criminal commercial banks are the easiest way to buy bitcoin. At least they are good for something. I still use Wells Fargo, even though they created fake bank accounts to increase their overall worth. Don’t worry, banks will not be around much longer anyway- unless they start offering to store your bitcoin.
(You can always buy bitcoin in cash locally, but you need to know what you are doing, while using a “Trezor” or similar hard wallet. This blog post is for the newbie. Buying them in cash is not for a newbie).
4. Until you verify everything, Coinbase limits you greatly on how much you can buy. Even when you do verify everything, your limit the first day is $7500.00 to buy via your bank. Coinbase charges 1.5% commission, and marks up the price slightly. But, if you are like me that got in between $5500 and $7000 in October – those little mark ups and fees are past history. You can also use a debit or credit card, but you are limited to around $1250 on your first day, and the fee is 2.5%.
Using a debit card makes the BTC show up in Coinbase immediately. Using your bank, Coinbase locks in the price, but your BTC will not arrive for another week. By then, you will have maybe gained 20% on your purchase… pretty fun. Or it could go down. Hard to know.
*Download a “2-step-authenticator” to your phone. I use “Google Authenticator”. It randomizes a set of numbers that is linked to your Coinbase. It’s like when you get a text with a verification code to proceed, but better.
5. For the hardcore investor, and for those who think they can manage to take this process up a notch: GDAX.com. GDAX is owned by Coinbase. When you are logged into Coinbase, you are also logged into GDAX automatically. The difference? GDAX allows you to “limit buy” and “limit sell”. It also doesn’t charge you a fee at all for buying and selling if you are the “maker” of that trade. I will save this process for my next blog post.
6. What to buy? Well, BTC is a monster. It has gone up 1600% in a year. however, Ethereum has gone up 6000%, and Litecoin 3000%. They are all good bets. If unsure, split it 33/33/33%.
7. Something else that’s cool: The SHIFT debit card. However, I personally wish to hold my BTC until it hits 1 million dollars a coin – not spend a single decimal point. (Yes, it’s been predicted).
Some like my friend Jay who has literally abandoned the dollar and the banking system and uses bitcoin to buy his food, pay his rent, whatever – uses a SHIFT debit card. It costs $10.00, and charges you zero transaction fees. Links right to your Coinbase account. You can even go to an ATM and get cash using your SHIFT card, anywhere in the world. Costs 2.5-3.5% for cash withdrawals.
* You want to eventually take your BTC off of Coinbase and store it long term on a Trezor. But, this thing, is totally decentralized. Storing it on your Trezor and losing the Trezor doesn’t matter. If you have the keys to unlock your bitcoin, it’s always there on the “bitcoin ledger”. Your BTC exists in the “ledger”.
Please comment if you wish to see me expand this blog series. If so, I will write the next one about GDAX, and the next one about getting a hardware wallet to safely store your BTC, ETH, LTC etc.
This was my first purchase of bitcoin, below. 0.04 Bitcoin for $250.00 at $5,552.44. That’s $535.70 today. I have doubled my first purchase of bitcoin in 8 weeks.
This blog could be a book into this world. I’m happy to add anything to it, based on comments below.
Oh, and lastly, if you manage to open a Coinbase account and wish to donate some bitcoin to me, here is my public bitcoin address (bitcoin only): 12kk6rMi9FkeEMVQdSePbept2VRKfTRbWR
Sit back and enjoy this insane ride… it’s just getting started.
~ Eric Merola
Addendum: this talk, “Five Stages of Grief by Andreas M. Antonopoulos” was from 2015 – so much has happened since, but the premise remains.