EP 166 | The Power of Bitcoin: How Decentralized Currency Can Empower Individuals | We're Talking Shift | Loree Bischoff

EP 166 | The Power of Bitcoin: How Decentralized Currency Can Empower Individuals | We're Talking Shift | Loree Bischoff
30 apr 2024 · 47 min. 36 sec.

What if I told you the money that you worked hard to earn and save is at risk? Right now, we’re facing financial struggle after struggle as the cost of...

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What if I told you the money that you worked hard to earn and save is at risk?

Right now, we’re facing financial struggle after struggle as the cost of living continues to rise. The money that we earn is often hardly enough to keep us afloat. Increasing prices, public corruption, and inflation push us to reevaluate our financial health and security.

In this latest episode of We’re Talking Shift, Natalie Brunell, podcast host and educator on financial literacy and Bitcoin, joins us for an exciting conversation about finances and Bitcoin. We talk about how so many of us don’t truly understand money and why we should start learning. Natalie shares her insight on the risks and weaknesses of our current financial system and how Bitcoin can be the solution to many of these issues. 

Tune in to the full episode and turn your focus on your financial health. It’s time to start learning about money and understanding the potential of Bitcoin as our key to financial sovereignty!

What Do You Know About Money?

Before becoming a Bitcoin-savvy educator, Natalie Brunell was an award-winning journalist and investigative reporter. For years, she reported on the symptoms of the financial problems people are facing all over the country and, like many others, blamed it on the big corporations and wealthy individuals. But then, Natalie had a big realization. “I did not know what money is,” she stated.

“It’s devastating, actually, to the economic health of a country for people to not understand how the financial system actually works,” says Natalie as she talks about the lack of financial literacy throughout the nation. Future generations face worse financial conditions despite being more educated and having better technology.

Bitcoin = Freedom: How You Can Have Financial Sovereignty


Where do you think the money you’ve deposited in the bank is? The truth is, it doesn’t actually physically exist. If everyone were to go to the bank and ask for their money, the bank wouldn’t be able to hand all of them over because it doesn’t exist and it isn’t actually your money. That is the truth we need to understand.

Now the question is, how can we own something that no one can take from us? Now, in this digital age, Bitcoin serves as a digital currency that you can carry with you at all times. Through learning how to self-custody, there is no intermediary between you and your money. In the face of bank runs and the collapsing value of money, you have financial security and control. As Natalie states, “Essentially if you do take self-custody, you are self-sovereign. That money is no one’s liability, it is no one’s property, except for yours.”

Common Misconceptions About Bitcoin
Misconception 1: You have to own an entire Bitcoin
The truth is, you can buy just a fraction of a Bitcoin. “I think it’s just important to just slowly accumulate and have that pattern and habit of saving money,” Natalie advises. She spends at least $5 to buy Bitcoin every day. Over the years, Bitcoin appreciates and small amounts average out to her dollar cost average.

Misconception 2: The energy component is a problem of Bitcoin
Energy is undeniably crucial for Bitcoin. Yet, there's abundant wasted energy globally, which Bitcoin miners can leverage to secure the network. This energy aspect of Bitcoin holds significant potential, fostering technological advancements in energy infrastructure, societal development, and creating opportunities. Moreover, a considerable portion of Bitcoin mining operates sustainably, with minimal emissions.

Misconception 3: Bitcoin is used for nefarious activities
The truth is, anything can be used for nefarious purposes! Even the dollar is more often used in illicit financial activities than any other currency.

The Fundamentals of Bitcoin: How it Works
Bitcoin, like cryptocurrency, relies on the technology of cryptography and encryption. However, unlike other cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin offers a decentralized system that gives you security. Natalie shares her amazement at its development saying, “I just find it so amazing that he took all these different technologies and innovations together and created a system that is so secure, so decentralized, and absolutely finite.”

Proof of Work

Proof of work is a consensus mechanism used by Bitcoin where everyone can come to a consensus on a block of transactions. “All of us in real-time have access to the same ledger. Not one person controls it. It was able to become distributed to the entire world because everyone can run a node and essentially contribute to securing the network,” Natalie explains.

A Bitcoin miner expends energy on computations. When there is a number that fits within the parameters of the code, they can mine the block of transactions and add this to the ledger.

Decentralization
Other cryptocurrencies after Bitcoin are developed by a small group of people who can control or change the ledger. They’re fallible to manipulation and influence and don’t have the proof of work mechanisms that allow fair distribution. 

“Bitcoin is the only one that has reached a sufficient amount of decentralization where that is extraordinarily difficult and cost-prohibitive,” Natalie shares. It would need incredible amounts of energy to even try to hack the Bitcoin blockchain. The currency grew organically from the bottom up and became sufficiently decentralized.

Proof of Stake and Difficulty Adjustment
Proof of stake mimics the current system of the more you have, the more power you have. This poses the risk of gaining enough power to influence the network. The decentralization and energy component of Bitcoin gives security against this risk.
 
Beyond that, there is also the mechanism of difficulty adjustment. This means that depending on the computing power of the Bitcoin network, the software regulates itself. Scarcity is guaranteed and the fixed supply can’t be changed or manipulated.

The Four-Year Halving System
“Bitcoin has a programmatic monetary policy. Everything is set in stone, it’s baked into the code and no one can change it because it’s decentralized,” Natalie states. This makes it nearly impossible to change anything. On the other hand, we are living in a system where people in charge can simply decide to change the system. 

While the inflationary system allows more units to be created, Bitcoin’s disinflationary system has a four-year halving system. Every four years, the amount of Bitcoin offered is cut in half. Despite this, 12 to 18 months later, Bitcoin would usually reach a new all-time high.

Bringing Women Into the Bitcoin Space
The Bitcoin space is largely made up of men. Natalie tells the story of how in her first Bitcoin conference, among 20,000 attendees, it was difficult to find another woman. In an industry that’s largely made up of male-dominated fields like computer science, finance, and engineering, there truly is a sad lack of representation for women in the space.

Natalie encourages women to learn and be a part of this movement for financial empowerment and independence. “It’s easy to learn and you can be a part of it. It’s extremely empowering and it’s something they don’t want to be behind on or come to the train late,” she encourages. As more women play a pivotal role in financial decision-making and take control of their wealth, it’s critical to learn about Bitcoin and its role in securing your future.

“Anyone can learn [Bitcoin], anyone can understand this technology. It is as powerful of a transformation in terms of the ability to create and transfer value as, I think, the internet was in a different way, in a communication avenue. I think that this is the future of money, the internet of money,” says Natalie at the end of the conversation. It’s time to work on your financial health and learn the fundamentals of money and Bitcoin.

Gaining financial freedom and sovereignty starts from learning about money and discovering the security and opportunities Bitcoin brings. It may be intimidating to begin your journey for financial health, however, it’s never too late to start. If you’re feeling a bit stuck or don’t know how to take the first step, listen to the full episode and Natalie’s easy-to-understand explanations on financial literacy and Bitcoin.


Making a shift in your financial health can mean learning more or discovering new solutions like Bitcoin. Listen to more episodes on the We’re Talking Shift Podcast to find out what other ways you can make a shift in all aspects of your health and life.
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