How banks orange pilled me
Warning: long post
This article is dedicated to the other Bitcoiners out there. I know we are excited to share what we know and to teach others, but most of us struggle on where to begin. Do you even remember how you started in the Bitcoin world?
I never thought about this before, until I read a great article about orange pilling. The author points out that most Bitcoin maxis don't remember what their mindset was before the orange pill. Nor can they point out the exact a-ha! moment they flipped. The article continues examining how most Bitcoiners try to convince others to invest in crypto by explaining how good new technology is or about the flaws present in our current system, and never really get their point across. This is because the listener does not have, see or understand the problem in the first place. Why would you look for a solution when you don't have a problem?
This led me onto a path of searching for my most impactful moment that locked me into becoming a Bitcoin maxi.
I haven't been in the crypto space for very long. I get into it right at the beginning of 2022, crypto winter. My brother in law tells me he invested in some crypto, so I start investigating what this is. I think, partly, because I am a software engineer, this technological innovation hooks me almost immediately. So I decide to buy a small amount of btc and some other cryptos so it is easier for me to keep track of this subject on a daily basis, and it works. For more than a year now, I have been reading up on news about politics, economy and the crypto space, topics I have never been interested in before. And in a short couple of months, I learn more about these subjects than I did in my previous nocoiner life.
In 2022, I move away from crypto and more into a Bitcoin only mindset because of what is going on around the world. One of the biggest events that leads me to this, is the economical warfare between the West and the East. The ability to remove a country from the global payment rails (SWIFT) with just a push of a button is just crazy. What's even more mental, is that there are no other good alternatives to this tool created in the 70s which is under centralised control, that is also slow, expensive, doesn't always work well, and is almost a complete monopoly.
As 2022 comes closer to 2023, more bankruptcies start to happen, multiple frauds are revealed, bad actors exposed, and of course, the price of crypto-everything is going down. All these events can easily push away anyone who just got into the field, but for me it was different. Instead of cashing out and running away from all this "risky crypto speculation" I start forming my own opinion. I still see the potential value of some crypto projects and industry disrupting technologies that are being built, however it's still too early to tell which projects are going to survive, which ones are run by bad actors, and which are the ones that are going to provide significant value when scaled up.
In parallel to forming this opinion, I start developing an understanding of why Bitcoin is different. I am not going to discuss everything I learned here, because that's not the point of this article, but I will say, even though the price of it went below 40000, then below 30000 and finally below 20000, I kept stacking more. But why?
After going back, I can pinpoint the exact moment I got orange pilled, and it was when I tried to buy my first crypto. After researching all the possible exchanges I can find, I am ready to buy, and conclude that Binance is the best option for me. It is the biggest exchange in the world, widely used everywhere, and that's where my brother in law bought it, so it makes sense to dip my toe in there first. I register, get all my KYC checks done, and in less than a week I am ready to buy. I enter my credit card details, select the amount I want to purchase, click buy, my heart stops for a bit as I am excited and nervous at the same time to be a new crypto owner aaaaand...error processing payment. Maybe I entered the details wrong, so I repeat the steps, and I get another error. After a couple more tries, I conclude that my bank is blocking the transaction for safety reasons, understandable, after all it is the first time I am using this website. I contact my bank and after some investigation done by their customer support, the reply from them is: It seems you are trying to buy crypto currency, and since we are regulated by the central bank which does not allow buying crypto currencies, your transactions to Binance are blocked.
At this point, I am very confused. It doesn't make sense that my brother in law is able to buy crypto through Binance and I am not (we live in the same country by the way). Maybe the law has changed recently? I do more research, but can’t find anything about the crypto ban in the country I live in, so I contact the central bank. I explain that my transactions are being blocked because of the regulation they have imposed (according to my bank). They reply back saying crypto purchasing is not illegal nor prohibited, but their position is that it has high risks associated with it. I have a short temper, so this makes me furious. I simply can’t understand how my bank can block me from using my money and lie about why they did it? This emotional response I have is what I credit as one of the biggest impacts of me becoming a Bitcoin maxi. When you start studying crypto as a normie, a lot of the stuff that people in the space say just sound like conspiracy theories. “Decentralised this”, “permissionless that”, why do I need fancy solutions if I never have problems with my bank payments… until now.
So how did my brother in law manage to buy his? He used a different bank. Ok phew, I have an account with that bank as well. Maybe my main bank is messed up and doesn’t allow me to use my money, but at least I have an alternative. Easy peasy. I transfer some money into the other bank account, pay some handsome fees, type in the new card details in Binance and with relief, click buy, because finally, after a few weeks of trying, I am going to get my crypto (fingers crossed). But no, Payment Failed. Again. There must be a mistake, this bank does allow my brother in law to buy, so I must have typed in some digit wrong. So I re-enter the details again. Payment Failed. I contact customer support of this other bank. A very nice customer service agent confirms my identity, checks all the transaction details and says she doesn’t see a problem, that it must have been a communication error, so I can try again. So I do just that, and to no one's surprise, I get the same outcome. The agent does not know what the issue is so she says is going to check with her colleagues. And this is the response I get after a couple of hours: "The transaction cannot be completed because it is not allowed due to an operations and security issue since these types of transactions hold high risk, like virtual casinos and online betting".
As I said before, I have a short temper. So I am fuming at this point, for the second time, a bank is refusing to let me spend my hard earned money on whatever I want (and that is 100% legal in the country). Ok, maybe I am overreacting. My brother in law used this bank, so they are probably just afraid of some legal consequences if I were to lose my money trying to invest in crypto. So I contact them again, saying I acknowledge the risks and ask kindly if they can lift this restriction from my account. Their reply: “Not possible”.
That strong, emotional connection to this specific situation is what made me realise there is a problem, and the key factor that led me to study it to try and understand it better. Other people's experiences, explanations, difficulties and solutions will have little to no impact on their own, but since I have experienced something related to it, I now have a very strong drive to keep learning more about this innovation, which excites me. Which is why I am now truly grateful to these two banks for giving me an orange pill.