Bitcoin Bush Bash

Here’s Why Aussie Bitcoiners Congregated in the Middle of Nowhere This Past Weekend

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On the weekend, Aussie Bitcoiners from all corners of the country congregated at the Bitcoin Bush Bash – a weekend for like-minded Bitcoiners to meet in the middle of nowhere to connect, socialise and discuss all things Bitcoin. The event wasn’t just a success, it was a home run – and this is the story of why.

The most recent rendition of what’s become an Aussie Bitcoiner rite of passage, took place in Murrurundi, a charming country town of 900 residents some four hours from Sydney, New South Wales.

The event met and exceeded expectations on all fronts, from the number of attendees to the quality of presentations and ideas on display. But this isn’t a story about who attended or what the weekend’s presentations were all about. For that, you’d need to put in the proof-of-work and go and see for yourself. Instead, this is a story about Bitcoin’s culture. 

What compels people to travel from all parts of the country, quite literally thousands of kilometres, to a small regional town to hang out – in many instances –with a bunch of complete strangers? 

Are Bitcoiners, as one group of “experts” argued, psychopaths prone to the “dark tetrad”, a group of four unsavoury traits made up of narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy and sadism? Or could it be that the self-anointed “experts” have failed to engage with Bitcoiners in an intellectually honest manner to uncover what genuinely makes them tick? In my view, undoubtedly the latter. 

For those that enjoy engaging in and observing social interactions, Murra’ 2022 served up a veritable feast. I happen to be one such person, and when you throw Bitcoin into the mix, I found myself walking on sunshine. 

On the 9-hour drive back home, I had ample time to reflect on what I saw and what I learnt. 

What follows are some thoughts on Bitcoin’s culture and core underlying principles embodied in each of the attendees who put in the proof-of-work to get to Murra’. 

Unifying themes from the Bitcoin Bush Bash

First off, there is no single type of Bitcoiner. Obviously. 

Sure, they may be wearing a cap with a Bitcoin logo or a t-shirt saying “FTX Risk Management”, but beyond that, you couldn’t pick them apart from anyone else.

St Pauls Church in Murra played host to the daily sessions.

Bitcoiners are simply everyday people – men, women, singletons and families of different ages, demographics and backgrounds from different parts of the country. 

They aren’t interested in a person’s immutable characteristics as much as the content of their character and the quality of their ideas. And nowhere was this more clearly displayed than in Murra’. 

Pursuit of truth

In discussions with Bitcoiners, it was evident that we all had different ways of seeing the world. But somehow there was an unspoken, undeniable bond unifying the community. And that is the relentless pursuit of truth.  

And that’s hardly surprising since deception is baked into fiat currency, as Jeff Booth says. Whether it’s in relation to money, health or political systems, it was clear that Bitcoiners are inherently independent thinkers, resistant to mainstream narratives. 

Instead, they typically think for themselves from first principles, and rely little on the anointed “expert class” for guidance on how to run their lives. They don’t care about a person’s words as much as their actions. They prioritise form over substance. Marketing, narratives and buzzwords mean nothing. All that matters is the truth. No doubt this explains Bitcoiners’ distain for crypto, a sector heavily reliant on marketing narratives such as ‘decentralisation‘, which at best is empirically untrue, and at worst misleading.

Truth requires honest introspection and a level of analysis that goes beyond scratching the surface. It involves digging deeper and going down the rabbit hole. And then digging even deeper. Knowledge and understanding requires work, and Bitcoiners demonstrated in spades their level of commitment to uncovering what was true. 

Some would call it borderline “obsessive”, and others would say “intellectually curious”. The bottomline though is that it was obvious to all and sundry that when Bitcoiners get into something, they give it absolute horns. For me, it’s reading, fitness, nature and my obsession with mixed martial arts. 

For others, it was lifestyle, food choices, family, business, you name it. Whatever the pursuit, the thirst for knowledge and truth was genuinely undeniable. 

Where is our food really coming from and what is in it? What’s the best way to live a healthy, balanced life? How do you raise children and teach them the value of being connected with the earth in a hyper-digitised world? These are just some of the questions I overheard Bitcoiners talking about in their relentless pursuit for the truth.     

Of course, none of this is to say that Bitcoiners purport to have all the answers. Quite the contrary. 

Thoughtful disagreement and first principles thinking 

Over the past few years, mainstream media appears to have persuaded vast swathes of the populace that we’re divided as ever. It’s red versus blue. Liberals versus labour. Insert one religion, race, gender against another. This is despite the fact that the overwhelming evidence suggests that humanity has never been more prosperous.

There’s something magic that happens when you engage with people in real-life who are intellectually honest, and genuinely want to see where you’re coming from. What I found was that within such context, you’re capable of having discussions – even more interesting ones – when done in the spirit of sincere intellectual curiosity and good faith. 

Aside from the manner in which discussions were conducted, it was the type of thinking on display that truly shone. Reasoning from first principles, logical consistency and linking a series of premises to a conclusion. In particular, it was amazing to see the recognition that there are no solutions, only trade-offs.  

For someone with a background in philosophy that struggles with the ad-hominem attacks, surface-level thinking and sloganeering in mainstream politics, it was absolute music to my ears. And to meet people whose views were grounded in reality and logical coherence, hallelujah!

How positively refreshing and nourishing for the soul, particularly for those who spend inordinate amounts of time on social media in front of our screens living in clown world. 

Personal responsibility 

In and among the plentiful conversations, personal responsibility emerged as a common denominator, whether knowingly or not. The idea is quite simple, yet uncommon in modern society. 

Irrespective of individual beliefs, the overall sentiment was that in the end, the only way to live is to take full responsibility for your life. You can complain and blame others – government, colleagues, spouses, “the system”, you name it. Or you could actually get on with it and control the only thing that is solely within your domain of influence, you.

It’s a philosophy that dates back to the Stoics who argued that it’s not what happens to you, but how you respond that determines the trajectory of your life. 

“No one is going to step in and save you, you’ve got to step in and save you.”

American Hodl

Freedom 

Given Bitcoin’s origins and raison d’etre, it’s hardly surprising that freedom was one of the big themes during the weekend’s discussions. Again, much like personal responsibility, it’s a simple philosophy that is often completely lost on modern society – “live and let live”.  

To be sure, those in attending the Bitcoin Bush Bash had strong views (surprise, surprise), but I didn’t see any evidence of individuals attempting to thrust their opinions or beliefs upon society at large. They certainly had a sense of what was right or wrong or moral or unjust, but the notion of unilaterally imposing those views on others is antithetical to Bitcoin’s ethos.

Low time preference and proof-of-work

In a world of instant gratification and pervasive high time preference thinking, virtually everyone I spoke to at the Bitcoin Bush Bash discussed having a long-term view – not just of Bitcoin, but in relation to everything. 

Nobody was talking about Bitcoin’s price, trading strategies or how to earn yield. For many, they stopped thinking in fiat currency and switched to a Bitcoin standard years ago. From an investment perspective, the message was simple – stay humble, stack sats. And of course, avoid leverage unless you want to get rekt. Having a low time preference isn’t just about buying the world’s best money ever seen and sitting on your hands. 

It’s an implicit acknowledgement that nothing worthwhile is easy. You have to put in the work. There are no shortcuts to anything  – whether it’s in relation to wealth creation, losing weight, making friends or progressing in one’s career. Easy come easy go. 

Irrespective of their individual pursuits, those at Murra’ shared the common values of thinking and planning for the future, sacrificing, and putting in the requisite work to achieve long-term success.  

Real conversations 

Even though many had just met, I was struck by how quick conversations dived into substantive matters beyond the regular chit-chat you’d expect at a casual meet-and-greet. 

It’s almost like there was an unspoken bond based on a set of shared values or idea, just by virtue of attending the conference. I overheard people sharing personal stories about their struggles – from family to mental health to social isolation over the last few years.

A bunch of us went walking up Burning Mountain after the day’s sessions. Burning Mountain Nature Reserve

It’s strange to say, but in some cases it was like talking to friends you never knew you had. 

Closing thoughts on the Bitcoin Bush Bash

Murra’ 22’ proved to be one of the most exceptional and invigorating experiences I’ve had in years. I left a day early and the FOMO kicked in hard on the drive back home where I already started thinking about the next Bush Bash. It rejuvenated me from the inside out and left me feeling more optimistic and connected than ever.  I loved ever bit of it, from the presentations to the casual discussions, to walking up Burning Mountain to having a cold soak in the river before dinner.   

If you’re a Bitcoiner in Australia, I highly recommend the Bitcoin Bush Bash. The proof-of-work is worth it. All signal, no noise

Sincere thanks to the organisers @hodloncomrades and @BTCSchellingPt. Like Bitcoin, this is grassroots movement that’s just getting started.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

And to those in attendance, thank you all for an incredible experience. I salute you all and can’t wait for the next one.