Bitcoin has a unique identity and qualities that are cemented on the basis of decentralization. Almost anyone who puts in the work to understand Bitcoin will eventually come up against the cold, hard fact that, at its core, Bitcoin is about freedom. For those who have enjoyed individual freedoms all their lives, the concept of freedom may be watered down or underestimated. For those who live without it, freedom and individual freedom become pursuits of great importance.
Many people 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-builder mentality that Bitcoin offers.
Amanda Cavaleri embodies the latter. Humble, empathetic, and generous with his knowledge, Cavaleri spends his time advancing the cause of genuine Bitcoiners. She will tell you that when she first heard about Bitcoin, it didn’t initially catch her eye. Luckily, Cavaleri eventually latched onto what Bitcoin offers and has been a big contributor to the Bitcoin space ever since.
With a background in artificial intelligence, higher education, and politics, Cavaleri has what it takes to drive the ball in Bitcoin education. She is the chairman of the board of directors of Bitcoin Coalition Todaymember of the board of directors of 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 to create a reflective space for Bitcoiners to philosophize and have greater impact in their respective areas of expertise.
One of the many talents Cavaleri brings to the Bitcoin space is his authenticity and empathy. She talks openly 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 hear about Bitcoin and specifically attracted you?
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 into it right away. Luckily, the idea of the Bitcoin network never left me and I have been gifted with amazing interactions over the years.
During my entrepreneurial journey, I became obsessed with the notion of preserving and passing on wisdom from one generation to the next. Because we no longer live in multi-generational homes and the ages are separated by school, work, and after-work, we don’t naturally transfer lessons and traditions as we did when our species was more agrarian. An African proverb compares the death of an elder to the burning of a library. Whenever someone dies, their unique insight and experience also disappears.
Wisdom is our most wasted natural resource – the lack of preservation and daily interaction with it deepens humanity’s historical loop of control, corruption and war. The massive reduction in time between generations has prevented younger generations from gaining a macro and long-term perspective. It is very possible that this disconnect between the ages contributes substantially to the increase in rates of suicide among younger generations and other mental health problems.
The idea of wisdom as the key to the evolution of humanity, especially as algorithms deepen beliefs, haunted me. Bringing generations together and leveraging technology to preserve and share wisdom is a path worth building. The missing piece was a savvy network and value transfer system. A solution must be able to have an immutable ledger (preserve content), be decentralized (one entity cannot control narratives), and have a mechanism for transferring value in a way that promotes freedom and equality (a system beyond fiat). There was no way to authentically harness technology to preserve and share humanity’s knowledge – until Bitcoin.
This realization is why I have come to believe that the bitcoin network and bitcoin, the commodity, are essential to the evolution of humanity so that we can leverage what we know, without having to relearn lessons. Bitcoin is that shrewd technology and bitcoin is that shrewd representation of value. I started going to meetups and learning more about technology. My path there was anything but straightforward, and like many, I had to see the undersides of crypto to arrive at these accomplishments.
For me, it was important to see the good, the bad and the ugly before I could be sure that the solution already exists and has been in my orb for 13 years. This slow learner is grateful that Bitcoin hasn’t let her down, which is why I decided to work on the parts of Bitcoin that could be most useful: mining and politics.
What is your opinion on Bitcoin culture? What do you think should be the first step to making Bitcoin culture (in the US) more inclusive?
Bitcoin culture is in the agonizing middle school phase. Many of us are divergent thinkers and have been tricked by centralized entities into believing we were wrong. While we have every right to be angry, it’s time to heal and not use the tools of shame, fear, and guilt that these systems have used against so many of us to justify our behavior. Most Bitcoin people I know are bright, kind, and brave humans. These are the humans I want to fight alongside.
Bitcoin Twitter is not real. It’s an algorithm that thrives on drama and negativity. Most of us aren’t mad at attention-seeking, post-algorithmic, manipulative clickbait. Hang out on Nostr and see what we’re really like. We are philosophical, macro-oriented and generally optimistic about humanity. Sometimes we are 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 wealth of experience and this strength of personal growth that will allow us to build a future worthy of future generations.
I love seeing people come in and work on the one variable we can each control: ourselves. I’ve seen a lot of this in a physical and environmental sense as we become more connected to our food, many have given up on alcohol, we spend time in nature, etc. I look forward to digging deeper into the less tangible aspects of healing – emotional, spiritual, etc.
The longer, the deeper the rabbit hole becomes. For me, Satoshi’s anonymity is extremely humbling. We are lucky to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
How do you generally respond to bitcoin scorners, especially those in your circle of friends/influence?
Arguing is low vibrational energy (to me). For the most part, we get enough negativity from the media, so I try to listen more than respond. Sometimes people just need to be heard and if they feel like they’ve made up their minds at this point, there’s no point in debating until they’re ready again. We are all on a journey and for me, the patient and hopeful teachers of Bitcoin won me over.
An example I use often is of a bitcoin circular economy I visited in the mountains of Peru outside of Cusco. Motiv, a non-profit organization working in South America, has helped craftswomen of all ages sell traditional scarves and accessories to earn an income, often for the first time. Since there is no banking option, bitcoin was the easiest payment method to accept. Not only did these women prefer me to pay them in bitcoin, but they told me how bitcoin had changed their lives. They then showed me by taking me to a local store to buy groceries for the week with the bitcoin they had just earned from my purchase and their children’s 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 that I feel with Bitcoin. That’s what I focus on – stories of hope that show how it’s being used around the world. Some call this approach positive attraction, which seems to me far more effective 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 women will be the primary adoption demographic within the next couple of years. It would be nice to welcome them warmly. That’s what I’m going to keep doing because that’s what worked for me. Continue to focus on education, humility and patience. Treat others like family because, in a way, we are a growing Bitcoin family. We are blessed with this layer of truth to guide our interactions.
The most important thing we can each do is go for it. No one will do this work for you. It’s scary – it’s worth it. The inner proof of the work of 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, and visionary leaders during the bull chaos.
This is a guest post by Becca Bratcher. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.