Direct and indirect earnings in crypto

The crypto space is a strange place to be in over a long period of time. Once the coins you bought for a few dollars start becoming a noticeable portion of your net worth, you may start thinking to yourself - "should I work a normal job, or should I work for the cryptocurrency"?

This mostly stems from the fact that you generally can't use a cryptocurrency without also being invested in it. I may hold $1000 in a credit card, but I don't own any shares in Visa or Mastercard. However, when I hold $1000 worth of bitcoins, I inevitably own a part of the Bitcoin economy. As its value rises and falls, so too do the coins in my wallet. While this also is true for real-world currencies, their market cap is so far beyond us mere mortals that we can't really hope to influence it in a significant way. Cryptos are still fledgling economies where each person could make an impact.

Some of the Bitcoin core developers are also early Bitcoin adopters. I would imagine a good number of them hold a significant amount of coins. Those that do don't need to expect a salary for developing the core technology behind Bitcoin if their work contributes to the increased price of Bitcoin. If you hold $1M worth of coins and the value increases by 10% in a year, you have indirectly earned $100k that year. This is essentially the same as working for equity, except you can cash out more freely.

The same goes to a lesser or greater extent to everyone else in the space. Anyone holding the coins stands to benefit from the coins increasing in value. While this can be benevolent, the same economic forces can encourage people to use their influence for personal gain at the expense of the much broader community. Because coins aren't stocks, you can cash out and change "allegiance" at a drop of a hat unfortunately.

Even when we're not talking about people that can influence the market, the endowment effect is very much real in the crypto community. You value and perceive the coins you own much more favourably than the ones you don't. If you don't own ethers you might have cheered when the network forked and belittle its rise in price in the more recent times. It's a similar mechanism behind the "hodl" mentality. Even though you may benefit from selling coins when the value is going down and buying when the value is going up, some people tend to prefer holding onto their coins going up and down rather than realising their gains or losses. "If the price is going up, my bitcoins will be worth more. If the price is going down, I'll be able to buy more bitcoins".

With the value of various coins going through the roof in recent months, more and more of us will have to face the dilemma of what to do in regards to our growing crypto stash. Whether we continue working our day jobs like nothing happened, retire to a possible life of luxury, or perhaps start working for our cryptos in hopes of contributing to the community and indirectly to the value of our coins. A single person's contribution might not be that large, but a large community working towards similar goals can be influential. Everyone owning a crypto has their skin in the game.

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