Want to Get Ahead With Crypto? Seek Knowledge Not Expertise

I get it. It’s crypto. You want somebody to tell you what’s going to happen next.

Just tell me whether the price will go up or down, Mark!

I can’t tell you that.

I can tell you what I’ll do when the price goes up or down. I can give you perspective on the market and the circumstances we find ourselves in. I can share the rationale behind my decisions and expectations.

Not good enough! 

Sure. Understood. You want somebody who knows everything, not somebody who tells you what they know.

Be careful what you wish for

The wider crypto community has such massive brainpower, you don’t need me to start throwing my intellectual weight around. Look hard enough and you’ll find people who have the answers you’re looking for.

From what I can tell, once you learn about crypto, you suddenly become an expert in geopolitics, macroeconomics, monetary policy, epidemiology, psychology, public health, US constitutional law, securities regulations, history, investing, criminal justice, logistics, computer science, international finance, and financial planning.

It happens seemingly instantly, all at once, and in proportion to how many followers you have on social media.

For an industry birthed out of frustration with the so-called experts who run the global financial system, it seems odd to place so much faith in so-called experts who only just learned about whatever they’re talking about.

Aren’t we supposed to be anti-authority?

I guess it’s true: cryptocurrency unlocks all of humanity’s potential.

What’s the problem with that?

Usually, the experts don’t agree with each other—and when they do, they often agree on the wrong outcome.

Are you sure that’s what you want?

Mark, you’re an expert, don’t be a hypocrite

Knowledge and expertise are different things.

I’m happy to share my knowledge. It’s the reason I started my newsletter and why I publish articles like this.

Sadly, I have no expertise in any of those fields I mentioned above. I spent my 20s working in Congressional politics and now I work for the US government bureaucracy. In college, I studied economics, history, and political science.

I know some topics better than others (and some not at all). I also don’t have a lot of followers on social media.

But I have something more powerful than followers and expertise: an opinion and a platform through which to share it.

So do you.

You know better

With the internet, you can say anything you want and as long as people listen, you’ll be heard. You don’t have to be an expert to have a valid opinion and a useful viewpoint.

Sometimes, it’s better that you’re not. Some of the best ideas seem foolish when first suggested. Some of the finest insights come from people who don’t know any better.

Some of the worst analysis comes from some of the best-known personalities.

When social media algorithms and the “right” endorsements decide who gets heard and who gets ignored, it’s easy for good insights to get buried beneath the fold.

Too soon to tell

In any event, how can you have expertise in a technology that has existed for barely more than a decade?

Looking for an expert in cryptocurrency in 2022 is like looking for an expert on electricity in 1842, an expert on flying in 1911, or an expert on the Internet in 1983. Better than doing it yourself, but it’s not like you’re going to find Master Yoda.

At best, you’re talking to somebody who has a few years of experience with a rapidly changing, experimental technology.

At worst, you’re dealing with a quack.

Does that mean you shouldn’t seek out knowledgeable people?

No, quite the opposite. Just recognize that you might know more than the people you’re following!

We’re all feeling ourselves out in this new world of crypto, in an environment where the regulations are not clear, the technology changes all the time, and some of the most basic concepts and principles have yet to be proven.

In crypto, as in the real world, everything can change in an instant.

The question is not what you know about it, but what will you do about it?

No expert can answer that question for you.

Mark Helfman publishes the Crypto is Easy newsletter. He is also the author of three books and a top bitcoin writer on Medium and Hacker Noon. Learn more about him in his bio.

Originally published on Cryptowriter.

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