For the last several years, I have been a vocal supporter of the technology and decentralization behind crypto, but simultaneously a vocal critic of the hype and speculation that characterizes so much of the crypto ecosystem. Until recently, there didn’t seem to be a compelling reason to exit the traditional banking system and embrace crypto as an alternative, given how few merchants accept crypto compared to the numbers that accept dollars / fiat.
Over the last three weeks, all that has radically changed.
First, the Canadian government ordered the seizure of the banking accounts of private citizens who did nothing wrong and violated no laws. Without warning, their bank funds were looted by the government, with the banks gladly complying the entire time. This proved to the world that banks can no longer be trusted as custodians of your money. All your deposits can be stolen at any time, for any reason, with no due process or recourse.
The banks have become the bank robbers.
Secondly, the severe economic sanctions being leveled against Russia (and all things Russian-related, it seems) have shattered the illusions of banking “reserves” and the SWIFT-based money transfer system. Now, you can be de-platformed from SWIFT, and all your banking reserves can be seized by governments. This means banking reserves are not “reserves” and apparently count for nothing.
Visa, Mastercard, Google Pay and Apple Pay have followed suit, shutting off all Russian citizens from their financial infrastructure, including Russians who are actually protesting the war and want nothing to do with Putin’s actions. The lesson here? Even if you are located in the same country as someone else who isn’t liked by the western financial system, you can be completely de-platformed from all financial infrastructure without warning, due to no fault of your own.
You do not control your own money if it’s in the banks.
This has left countless Russian citizens unable to buy groceries, make loan payments to foreign creditors, receive payments for product exports, and so on. People’s lives are being destroyed, and the banks are complicit in the destruction.
Importantly, everything the banksters are doing to the Russians, they plan to do to YOU. If you refuse to comply with anything — such as vaccines — you can be cut off from the entire financial system without warning.
The weaponization of the banks had made a compelling argument for ditching them altogether and moving to crypto
Given these radical changes in the world over the last several weeks, I have made what I believe to be an honest reassessment of the role of crypto in our modern (risky) world. It’s the following:
Yes, crypto is risky. But banks are now even riskier.
In other words, the traditional banking system is now your enemy and can be turned against you at any time to deliberately steal your assets. With crypto, the risks are more in the realm of price fluctuation risks, with some security risks present as well. Yet crypto, when properly pursued, makes your crypto wallets impossible for governments to seize.
That’s the nature of decentralization. No single authority can decide to take everything from you.
I remain convinced that the ultimate asset storage is physical things: Gold, silver, land, ammunition, fuel, used vehicles, etc. But for assets that need to be held in near-liquid forms, crypto storage now makes far more sense than bank accounts.
Suddenly, the perfect use case for crypto has emerged. The decentralized nature of it becomes an essential tool for financial survival. A few years ago, nobody imagined banks would be weaponized against innocent, peaceful citizens, but now that governments has crossed that Rubicon, crypto is the only sensible place to store assets that require near-liquidity.
By “near-liquidity,” I mean funds that you or your business need to access in order to pay day-to-day expenses such as payroll, utility bills, groceries, etc. Since it’s difficult to pay for those using physical gold or silver, you need to ultimately make payments in fiat currency such as dollars. But you don’t want to store those dollars in a bank that could steal your money. So instead, you can store dollars in some crypto coin of your choosing, then convert it back into fiat only when you need to pay the bills. When you’re not paying bills, you can keep it stored in crypto, where governments cannot easily steal it from you.
This does not eliminate the price fluctuation risk of crypto coins, but it does eliminate the risk of having all your banking funds looted by a corrupt, criminal government.
For the record, I completely disagree with the characterization that “Bitcoin is digital gold.” Only gold is gold. Physical gold. No crypto is gold, and crypto will never replace physical metals in your hands. But crypto can accomplish a lot of other things that gold can’t match, such as rapid, global transactions and transfers. (The perfect crypto, in my view, is a gold-backed or silver-backed crypto. I’m still researching a few candidates in that area…)
Every person needs to become proficient in cryptocurrency basics
Because of these changing dynamics, it is now abundantly clear to me that every person needs to become proficient in cryptocurrency use as a financial survival tool. We are living in an era of criminal government. They have no qualms about seizing your bank accounts, stealing your checking account, and wrecking your life even if you have done nothing wrong whatsoever.
From this day forward, all banks regulated by governments cannot be trusted. They have shattered the social contract of what it means to be a bank. If they can’t do the one simple thing they’re supposed to do — protect your deposits and not allow them to be stolen — then they don’t deserve your business.
The crypto world has been building an alternative, decentralized transactional infrastructure for the last decade or more. It’s not a perfect system — it has been plagued by stolen wallets, absurd marketing hype and some cases of total fraud — but it has also brought us significant advances in security and usability that make it readily viable right now, in 2022.
As of yesterday, I purchased cryptocurrency for the first time in many years. I’m not going to tell you what currency I bought because this isn’t about promoting a coin. This is about getting out of the banking system and making sure we are all proficient in using crypto as a survival mechanism.
Here’s my homework assignment for anyone who isn’t already into crypto:
Step 1: Download and install the Exodus wallet.
Exodus.com. It’s free. It can run on a desktop computer or a mobile phone. This is a crypto storage wallet on your local device. It does not know who you are and needs no ID verification. Make sure you write down your 12-word recovery pass phrase so that you can restore your wallet on another device if your current wallet gets destroyed (via a computer crash, lost mobile phone, etc.).
Once you have this installed, if you have a friend who uses crypto, ask them to transfer a few dollars worth of crypto into your Exodus wallet, just to show you how that works. They will usually be happy to show you how to do that.
Step 2: Join an online exchange such as Gemini
Gemini.com is an online exchange that allows you to connect an online wallet with your bank account. This will require your social security number, your name and identification documents. Once approved, you can purchase crypto with your bank account, effectively transferring from fiat into crypto. Which crypto should you buy? That’s too much to cover here. I’m a fan of certain stablecoins, but not a fan of Tether. I’ll cover more on that later, but beware of silly meme coins and coins that are heavily promoted to the ignorant masses by celebrities.
Understand that crypto in your Gemini wallet can theoretically be frozen by a criminal government, because they know your identity. So you don’t want to keep funds in Gemini. Just think of Gemini as an on ramp and off ramp to your fiat banking account.
Step 3: Move some crypto from Gemini to your Exodus wallet
Transfer some crypto to your Exodus wallet. Search online how-to videos if you need a tutorial. At this point, the crypto funds are in your Exodus wallet and your cryptography keyes are stored on your local device. Nobody really knows you have this wallet, and the wallet isn’t tied to your identity. This is non-cloud storage of your crypto, but it’s not “cold” storage yet. For cold storage, you would need to disconnect your computer from the internet, or purchase a cold storage hardware locker device such as a Trezor.
TIP: You might also consider buying a standalone laptop computer for a few hundred dollars. Set up a VPN on that computer. Use the VPN to do everything, and never use that laptop for anything other than running crypto. Download and install the Exodus wallet here. Only connect the laptop to the internet when you are actively using the wallet. When you aren’t using it, physically disconnect the machine from the internet (ethernet cable, typically). Turn off wi-fi. Consider this laptop to be a dedicated wallet, capable of cold storage. All these steps will protect you from hackers and cyber criminals.
Step 4: Spend some crypto online, so that you know how to make a purchase with crypto
I want you to make one online purchase using crypto. Botach.com sells survival gear and accepts crypto. The Health Ranger Store also accepts crypto, and there are probably hundreds of thousands of other merchants who do as well. Find a merchant and buy something, even something small. I want you to go through this process and get used to seeing how it works.
Once you have completed this process, you understand the basics of crypto.
Understand risk and decide what’s best for you
Now that you have a crypto wallet and an online exchange, you have new options you didn’t have before. If you wish, you can save assets in your crypto wallet. Although I don’t recommend it, you can also speculate on crypto coins and try to outsmart the other crypto players (but in my opinion this is a fool’s game because the whales rig the markets). You can also spend crypto away from the prying eyes of government surveillance and bank monitoring (you can have some privacy, in other words).
Look at the privacy coins like Zcash. Learn what “privacy coins” really are. “Z” means “Zero knowledge.” That’s what you want for maximum privacy. (Disclaimer: I currently do not hold any zcash, but I probably will at some point.)
Also, remember the downside to all this. All crypto becomes useless in a grid down collapse. Then again, so do banks. So remember to use crypto get into physical things such as physical gold and silver.
The Treasure Island precious metals company (which sponsors my podcast) accepts crypto payments for physical gold and silver. A few other metals dealers accept crypto as well. You may also find an individual who wants to sell you precious metals in a private deal.
Be smart. Be cautious. Don’t get suckered into any get rich quick nonsense. You should be looking for stability and security, not speculation and absurdly high promises of returns. I do not recommend “investing” in crypto and hoping for a return. My recommendation is purely on using the crypto infrastructure to store or transfer funds, thereby avoiding the weaponized banking system.
Ultimately, as I’ve said all along, what really counts is what’s in your hands: Gold, silver, ammo, land, housing, food, emergency medicine, etc. But in the process of getting to that, it now seems obvious that it’s safer to use crypto than banks.
Banks are your enemy. Crypto doesn’t know who you are and doesn’t care. (Crypto is reputation agnostic.)
Banks are not merely obsolete, they are now weaponized against you. And the dollar is going to zero anyway, which is one reason why I don’t recommend stablecoins pegged to the dollar. As the dollar loses value, so do dollar-tied stablecoins.
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