A Bitcoin Journey – My Return To First Principles

What is my purpose as a human being? Sitting in my tiny London apartment, nearing the end of 2016, this was a question I was seriously asking myself.

I didn’t really find any straightforward answers but settled on the following: Death gives Life meaning and Love is the only true motivator.

The moment we enter this realm we are bombarded with lies, distractions and distortions which, if left unquestioned, becomes our truth. This happens from an individual perspective (relationships, identity, purpose) and on a societal scale (nationalism, religion, politics, consumerism).

By ignoring all the (ultimately) inconsequential aspects of life, such as money, ego, social standing, material possessions, I was able to find some of my own truth. This was my initial return to first principles: I will die and I want to fill the moments in between with as much Love as possible. The realisation, unfortunately, does not remove any of life’s pitfalls and constant effort is required to remember the truths to which we choose to ascribe.

That Nagging Sensation

– My First Bits (Oct 2016: $615/BTC)

Bitcoin had always been this mysterious topic that kept buzzing in my ear like a bloodthirsty mosquito, until finally you can’t ignore it any longer. I can’t say exactly what was stopping me from exploring Bitcoin earlier; laziness, apathy or just NAFI-ness as my mother likes to accuse me of (NAFI = NO AMBITION FUCKALL INTEREST).

It was time to take a leap; time to buy some Bitcoins.

What Have I Done?

– Buyer’s ignorance (Dec 2016: $952/BTC)

One of the best things I learned from my undergrad was to solve from first principles. Over time we develop formulae and smart shortcuts for solving all kinds of real world problems but, if we lack the fundamental understanding of where those shortcuts come from then we are bound to mess up.

And so, when it came to owning Bitcoin, I realised that my understanding of money, computers, the internet, communications networks, language, value and much, much more was purely superficial.

I realised I had bought something I knew nothing about, and so began my soirée with infinity.

Satoshi’s Rabbit Hole

– Down we go (Jan 2017: $785)

On a flight from India to Dubai, I finally decided to read the Bitcoin whitepaper. Eight simple pages thrust open the entire universe. It was like reading scripture – hope sprung eternal. Feelings of despondency and disillusionment were replaced with vitality, opportunity and optimism. Staring back at me, behind the screen of my iPad, in black, white and neon, was a chance to live differently. The cypherpunk’s way.

Like the girl with dark black eyes and blood red lips, this felt like something worth pursuing.

It’s no surprise that many who have explored Bitcoin beyond the surface liken the experience to Alice falling down the Rabbit Hole.


Dipping My Toes

– Cryptoavli (Jan 2017)

Studying Bitcoin involves many diverse fields of expertise and is a unique natural phenomenon.

Mathematics, logic, computer science, game theory, sociology, economics, cryptography, language, physics, electricity. Everything I had ever learnt was suddenly relevant and applicable – and also sorely lacking. Bitcoin’s elegant network design had exposed how shallow my understanding of the world really was (and still is). I felt the intense urge to learn ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘where’ and ‘why’ Bitcoin, and to question everything.

It truly was an epiphanic experience.


I needed to organise my thoughts and to test if I had actually learnt anything, and so cryptoavli was born.

Jumping in the Deep End

– Going to Market (July 2017: $2,501/BTC)

The Bitcoin evolution was taking hold and quickly gaining momentum. An opportune moment presented itself; Block^Shift Services was launched.

Starting out as a very basic startup service, we progressed almost as rapidly as the Bitcoin price through to the end of the year. If you sift through some older posts you will see that reaching $10k/BTC completely dwarfed my most optimistic price estimates.

Planning Ahead, Reflecting Backwards, Arriving at the Present

– Spreading adoption (Jan 2018: $10,500/BTC)

Block^Shift has morphed into a capable brokerage we’ve added storage services, mining contracts, expanded into token management and arbitrage trading. We will continue to grow each of these services but recognise that it is all peripheral against the more important mission of spreading Bitcoin education.

Forthcoming posts will take a focused look at price analyses (throwing the bones), developments within Block^Shift, and more philosophical meanderings. Expect continuing themes of anarchism and personal sovereignty.

It always astounds me to admit how inferior my knowledge once was. Most likely, my future self will be saying the same thing not so long from now. It reminds me of the Louis Armstrong lyric, “They’ll learn much more, than I’ll never know”.

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