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Warning: If You Choose A Career In Bitcoin You Might Die Poor And Alone

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:46 PM
Justin OConnell
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:46 PM

As I walked by a podcast interview at a recent Bitcoin conference, I was made to laugh. “People say Bitcoin mining isn’t profitable. Well, if you mine Bitcoin now, and if the price goes up, doesn’t that mean Bitcoin was profitable?” 

The key word there being “if.” That “if” makes the above-stated proposition nothing more than speculation, but leave it to a Bitcoiner to turn speculation on a nascent technology into a workable business model that people – especially young bitcoiners – can depend upon.

The reality in Bitcoin is the general pay for most people is around $10 per hour or less. People starting their own companies complain to me all the time about how they can’t find developers to work on their projects because the developers are too busy working on their “pet projects” – likely doing some in-the-trenches coding for new Bitcoin apps more exciting than the musings of non-developers or hobbyist miners with a bit of cash saved up. Those people working on the “pet projects” spend all of their waking hours working for pennies.

If you’re a non-developing entrepreneur in the Bitcoin space and you can’t find any developers, I am willing to bet there is a really good reason for that: you don’t pay well. If you’re a Bitcoin developer or content creator working too many hours for very little, there is a really good reason for that: Bitcoin doesn’t pay well…yet, at least.

Over and over again I come across people in the space who are willing to pay poverty wages for work in a space they insist is “going to change the world.” That’s why, if you’re a young entrepreneur with little experience who gets into Bitcoin, people will love you.

I was recently offered seven cents per word on a long-form ghostwriting work about Bitcoin. Seven. Cents. Per. Word. Anyone out there with ghostwriting experience will know that that’s. really. fucking. cheap. The average is like 20 cents to a dollar we’ll say, which is clear with cursory research into the topic. I think seven cents a word for research intensive work works out to like $3 per hour. But, hey, if that’s what Bitcoiners want to offer for pay on their highly niche, sophisticated and nascent technology, that’s their right, right? Plus, that $3 per hour might be paid in Bitcoin! (Woohoo!) Then one gets to stomach the sometimes gut-wrenching daily price movements.

That kind of approach to labor only makes Bitcoiners look bad. It only ensures that the brightest minds are going to other growth industries. Marijuana. Beer. Arts. Sports. Cultural News. These are all things that pay way better than Bitcoin does in my experience. For instance, I can get drunk for free (excuse me, taste beers for free), then get paid at least 20 cents per word for a story about beer. That’s more than double what some “rich” Bitcoiners are looking to pay for research intensive, longform reports. At this point, because the Bitcoin velocity is actually quite slow, I can’t even get a free Bitcoin bag at a conference. But maybe a sticker advertisement.

That’s why the top minds in technology and philosophy are not defecting to Bitcoin en masse. And when they do enter the space, they might tiptoe right back out of it, like a Bitcoin donate button disappearing from the WordPress website, and wait for the ecosystem to mature and for there to be more opportunities before going “all-in.”

As for the alone part? Well, ain’t no one talking about “Bitcoin diggers.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.