Long time listener, first time caller here..
It was around this time last year that I dove face first into bitcoin. I’ve heard the term in passing while watching YouTube videos on the inevitable collapse of the US dollar and the subsequent implementation of marshal law. Every time I would watch these oh so light hearted presentations, along with impending doom, I remember always having the same mixed feelings. I was constantly torn between a compulsion to combat the tyranny of the Federal Reserve’s big banking system or surrender to the herd mentality, which most of us live by. What was a lowly peasant like myself to do? Well, after reading "the" white paper, and a few thousand videos later, I slowly began comprehend what bitcoin was all about. Finally, even though minute in scale, there was a way the average schmuck could finger the Fed, without actually ending up in prison.
So I started with coinbase(since it was a little cheaper than Mt.Gox), jumped through all the flaming hoops of verification, and started purchasing small amounts of Bitcoin. After that, I indulged my curiosity in cloud mining with CEX.io and even purchased some cryptostocks from the site of the same name. Albeit, these were some expensive lessons to learn. In hindsight, more research was in order, however the active participation morphed into a fix. I began reading as much as I could, studying charts, I even the I posted a few nooby questions and ideas on Bitcoin discussion forum. Most of my comments and questions were met with technocratic arrogance, which is fine. A couple things that new users should keep in mind:
1.Never let anyone discourage your search for knowledge and truth, because guess what, this technology is so new that anyone who acts like they know it all, are typically full of poo.
2.Ask questions, make suggestions, help each other out. The more people that get involved can only make this community stronger. Lets face it, this is not designed to be an elitist social club. More widespread adoption and understanding adds value to the network.
So much for keeping this short…but in closing I just want to touch upon what researching bitcoin has done for me and will hopefully happen for others. We are talking about, philosophy, mathematics, economics, cryptology, computer science, and that’s just the surface. Once I got passed the frustration of not having a PhD in these fields and just soaked in as much as I could, at my own pace, I noticed that my mind started exploding with ideas and possible applications. For example, one of the first things I realized was that information could be time stamped in the blockchain. Being an advocate of free speech, this fact is monumental for me. Moreover, since the mainstream media is so controlled anymore, I believe that peer to peer connections are the way to truly stay informed these days and the next to come. Substantiated or not, I already get my news from my facebook feed and similar sites.
Furthermore, it’s not just about the paradigm shift of power. I don’t really like the term de-centralized. We are not simply moving away from something that is centered, and on to it’s polar opposite. This is something totally new. I’m akin to words that sound more proactive and fresh, because this stuff really is so very new and fresh gentlemens. The fact that anyone in the universe can participate makes it more than just de-centralized. For me, it makes it universalized.
I hope someone likes my little story. I am obviously not the most academic or technical person, so there was some trepidation that led to hesitation on my part for posting anything on reddit. But I’m glad to be over that now and I aspire to share more. Maybe some folks will be encouraged to do the same. The more voices and ideas the better.