How I learned to stop worrying and love the FUD
Most people hate FUD. Not me. I love FUD. Why do I love FUD? Because, at the end of the day, it was the FUD that gave me bitcoin.
Say what? I can hear you asking.
Well, let me tell you a story. In the early days of making television (ie our People and Power series on Aljazeera English and then the Oracle on BBC World), we featured many precious metals experts (aka ‘gold bugs’), libertarians and ‘End the Fed’ style guests. This is because we have always been about ‘markets, finance, scandal’ in one way or other, reporting on how the establishment were ‘screwing you over.’ And so, naturally, gold and ‘End the Fed’ were the two anti-establishment options available pre-2009/2010 to fight this screwing over. Gold, silver, end the fed.
Then there was bitcoin.
Yes, bitcoin entered the scene. And, while there were plenty of cypherpunks, podcasters and bloggers who got there first, we were certainly the very earliest international news program to explore the emerging gamechanging technology.
Here is our first episode of Keiser Report dedicated to bitcoin (skip ahead to 12.45 to see interview with Jon Matonis):
We soon followed that episode with another feeaturing an interview with Amir Taaki, an early bitcoin adopter (he was mining it at 25 cents, according to an eyewitness) and contributed to core code:
The response to our coverage to bitcoin was very negative. And, in hindsight, highly amusing. Here’s a selection taken from just these two episodes and bear in mind that the price of bitcoin fluctuated between $3 and $14 at this time:
NicosMind used to write something like this almost every episode for a few years. Then he disappeared. I reckon he blew his brains out soon after bitcoin first hit $500.
But the FUD was so intense whenever we talked about bitcoin, or ‘shitcoin’ as it was then popularly known, that it actually encouraged me to investigate bitcoin further than I might have done otherwise. What was causing SO much hate? SO much passion? It must be powerful to cause such a reaction? Much of the negative reaction was due to the fact that our audience were used to hearing exclusively about precious metals and that’s what they wanted to hear, to have their bias confirmed. If you weren’t involved in the space back then, it’s hard to imagine, but there used to be much more hostility toward bitcoin from the gold community than there is now. Peter Schiff and Jim Rickards are the two last men standing in this regard but back in 2011/12 there was a whole lot of hating going on.
So what about the End the Fed crowd? Yes, there was also the End the Fed or the Audit the Fed crowd. That’s where Bill Still comes into this story. He made a movie called the Money Masters which was quite big and we had interviewed him about this on Keiser Report. This crowd were not anti-bitcoin in the way that the gold bugs were, but they were still suspicious of who this Satoshi Nakamoto character was and there was a lot of suspicion back then that bitcoin was some sort of NSA/NWO trap. That’s why when Bill Still released a video saying that he had gone crazy not for bitcoin, but Quark, we were very interested in talking to him. Quark, you ask? LOL. Yes, there was a coin named Quark. So, while there had been Namecoin and Litecoin before it, the altcoin space was very tiny back then. Yes, believe it or not, there used to be fewer than a dozen or so. And Bill Still had discovered Quark. We hadn’t heard of it until he mentioned it. And here is the interview:
It’s a fascinating historical document from the crypto story and I steem this here because someone in the comments fudded hard the other day in the comments. His FUD alleged that somehow the interview with Bill Still (and I 100% encourage you to watch the interview in its entirety so you can form your own opinion, it’s ALWAYS the best option always no matter the venue in life, but you can, instead, choose to embrace the FUD and end your own curiosity with their words - the choice is YOURS) was a ‘pump and dump.’ First of all, we never bought or held any Quark (or any other altcoin other than START which we discussed, including Litecoin, though I may buy that for the portfolio I'm going to post here soon) and you can see (if you watch the interview) that Max was quite skeptical of Quark. Most importantly, we were interested in understanding our guest's journey to the point where he jumped into crypto. That's what journalism is really.
But, secondly, and most importantly, FUD is meant to stop YOU from learning and understanding on your own. FUD wanted us to STOP covering bitcoin, stop exploring and explaining and FUD will try hard to convince you to do the same. Every day FUD will tell you that you should relinquish your sovereignty, whether in knowledge or liberty; that you should listen to their hostile opinion and that should then be YOUR opinion and so you should stop googling about the topic. Just STOP and listen to the FUD, the fudders will tell you.
I might have stopped at all the FUD above and said to myself, "OMG, these amazing anonymous people in the comments section sound oh so clever, oh so awesome, I MUST listen to them! And stop reporting on bitcoin." Or I could have stayed on the path of discovery. Obviously, I chose the latter.
So if you meet FUD on the side of the road, kill it. And you do that by keep moving forward in sharing, exploring, learning, knowing. Don't let the FUD get you down. Instead, let it inspire you to move FORWARD in your life.