Photo by Matt Walsh

Reevaluating Incentives

Cas Piancey


It’s been a truly whirlwind six months.

I lost my mother, left the home I grew up in, saw the weird effects of COVID on society, and have gotten some recognition for writing.

For the last part, I have all of you to thank. So yeah, let’s start this off with a “Thank you. Thank you for the years of support. Years of support in the face of a ton of unnecessary hate.”

Okay, now that the mushy stuff is out of the way, let’s get down to business.

A friend posted this YouTube link of a Charlie Munger speech today and it really, really hit home. If you have an hour to kill, it’s worth a listen. If you don’t have an hour but are willing to read for a few minutes, hear me out.

Charlie is getting a lot of hate in the cryptocurrency community right now. There’s some reasonability to that backlash: Warren and Charlie hate everything blockchain and cryptocurrency. And, well, even as a skeptic, I’m just not so sure that’s the best take.

But that’s okay — Charlie addresses this in his speech. People get old. They lose touch with stuff. Biases are reenforced. And hey man, the reality is that most of crypto is a scam. They aren’t so wrong in that perception at all.

What they’re missing is the flip side of the old adage about forests and trees — they’re missing some glorious trees for a forest of disease.

Photo by Olena Sergienko

Charlie’s speech is about how easily people are misguided. Spoiler alert: quite easily. Usually, it isn’t even that we’re being misguided by others or by “a system.” Nope, it’s far simpler than that. Mostly we misguide ourselves. There’s a lot of ways this can be developed: over-reliance on authority figures, evolutionary tendencies, overconfidence, envy, inherent societal biases, etc, etc.

The point here being that we’re all guilty of misguiding ourselves — often. And one must acknowledge this if and when it’s recognized. Misguiding yourself isn’t a concept exclusive to finance, either. Hopefully this hits home other ways, too.

  • what will benefit you now and will it have consequences later
  • can you reflect on past good decisions and mistakes, decipher between the two, and alter future behavior
  • are you learning something

“Better to be roughly right than precisely wrong.” — Keynes

Unfortunately for people who are hoping this is me caving to pressure in light of the upcoming Coinbase listing for Tether, it’s quite the opposite.

Maybe you don’t follow me on Twitter (lucky you!), but over the past two weeks the CTO of Tether has openly ridiculed and asked to dox a good friend of mine.

This has forced me to reevaluate my incentives.

There won’t be many posts on Medium this year, and, hopefully, less time on Twitter. Instead, I’ll be working on finishing the book with BT, telling the story of Bitfinex and Tether, and working my ass off writing in-depth, interesting articles elsewhere.

Stay skeptical, friends.