The Lyft Driver Who Reminded of the Sad Reality of People's Finances
Money is either liberty or trap.
Photo credit: Viktor Bystrov (Unsplash)
My friend’s birthday was this past Friday. At around midnight (or about the time I start to snooze) I ordered a Lyft ride.
The Lyft driver arrived almost immediately. He was warm, chatty and from Iran. He told me about a wonderful Iranian singer (Ebi), how much he loves to dance and how happiness is created in the mind. Safe to say, we developed a sweet friendship over our 20 minute ride together.
(Here’s the song we listened to in our ride that I really enjoyed.)
About 2 minutes away from my house, he asked what I do for a living. I answered “I work for a crypto trading platform.” He replied: “bitcoin? Ah, yes, bitcoin! I have some bitcoin. Please, my friend, is bitcoin a good idea?”
Oh, my dear, sweet, newfound friend, yes. Yes, it is.
“I think it is the best idea.”
The Sad Reality of People’s Financial Situation
When we finally arrived at my house, he asked if he could please just have a few moments of my time to get some advice. “Of course, I can try my best but I don’t have the answers.”
He proceeded to log into his crypto.com account to show me his investments. He’d invested $1,000 into bitcoin. “Is this ok?”
With the biggest smile, I said “yes, I think it’s ok.” Then he asked “what more I should buy?”
(Uuufff, ok. This is the question I dread from everyone. Friends, family, even Lyft drivers.)
He continued: “please, I work 13 hours a day or more to make money. It is so hard to save and live in this city. What crypto is good, please?”
Then it dawned on me… the reality of bitcoin as a“way out” for the COUNTLESS people struggling to have a decent savings account.
I think I’ve become accustomed to my echo chamber of bitcoiners who are full of conviction that I sometimes forget to zoom out. Much of the bitcoin conversations can feel either technical or hypothetical but not here in the flesh.
Out here in the real-world, it was a life raft.
For him, and for plenty of others, life is hard. Inflation keeps rising, interest rates are insane, plus it’s nearly impossible for a lot of people to buy a house. The world is a very different place when you’re broke. And my Lyft driver was trying with all his might to stitch it all together.
I knew he understood how punishing it was to chase the dollar. It required him to work painfully long hours to afford rent and food. He knew he could not save enough for his future let alone to buy a house or to have the biggest luxury of all: living in your own terms. No matter how hard he tried, it was going to be nearly impossible.
In his eyes, in his voice, in his body I felt the burden billions of people worldwide who are trying their damn best JUST to be OK.
I was reminded how in today’s world it simply is not enough to work hard because the system benefits from people breaking their backs working. It benefits from people being stuck in a cycle of debt, poverty and lack of education.
Add to that the layers of race, gender, disability and well, it all gets very murky and sad. The only way out is to exit altogether.
This great migration is already happening thanks to bitcoin.
Money is Either Liberty or Trap
As I sit here writing, I realize people live in two worlds. Some were born with the opportunities, a helping hand and ladder. They can afford to follow their curiosity and “pursue their passions.” This is stuff of the privileged.
For others, their days are made up of long hours, blood and sweat. They try to shake the world off their shoulders but the laugh’s on them.
A lot of my family have left South America in the pursuit of a better life. My aunt works 18 hour-days sometimes seven days a week. My uncle works 10-12 hour days six days per week. Money is always tight. They’re nothing but tired.
They work hard because they have hope for a much better life. Hope allows them to get up every morning and endure what they must endure… but hope is a fragile thing.
Now the cards I've drawn's a rough hand, darling
I straighten the back and I'm working on a dream
I'm working on a dream
I'm working on a dream
Though sometimes it feels so far away
I'm working on a dream
And I know it will be mine someday
Money is either liberty or a trap, rarely is it both.
Being Careful with How We Speak About Crypto
Ok, back to the reason why I dread the question “which crypto should I buy?” It’s because the crypto world is still the wild, wild west. It is unchartered territory.
While I think bitcoin is a great asset I know I still have to be careful with how I present it… especially to those who need it most. As much as I try to speak of the wonders and promises of bitcoin, I also know the space is still rough, new and tainted with some very unfortunate events that haunt it.
On top of that, I believe that the wiser we are, the less likely we are to say things are black and white. We understand that we live in the grey zone.
So my mindset is simple.
Equip people with as much information as possible. Then allow them to arrive at that lightbulb moment on their own. Do not shove shit down their throat and suffocate them… especially if they are not ready for bitcoin. That’s just going to push them further away.
Instead, I try to say:
“There is no way of fully knowing. We are creating it as we go. You have to do your own research. Keep learning and ask yourself if you believe in the mission enough to invest in it. Only then do you invest with an amount that is comfortable for you without jeopardizing your quality of life.”
You know what happens when I say that? People’s guards comes down.
The truth is, when you present two sides of an argument people are more willing to trust you and respect your ideas. They don’t feel like they’re being sold as much as they feel supported.
They are likely to inch closer to their life raft, bitcoin.
Doing this is critical. The world has never been this vulnerable and in more need of bitcoin as my Lyft driver reminded me. We must share information and have conversations about bitcoin/crypto with deep ethics because people’s lives are literally on the line.
Here are some helpful articles you can share with loved ones wanting to grow their wealth. I hope it’s of help!