Most bitcoiners have their own, much different definition of what it means to orange pill a person. I’ve seen mentions of getting a taxi driver to download a lightning wallet and sending the payment in sats to them. Is that truly orange-pilling? Hmm… no. It is a great first step, but what makes you believe that that person won’t go on to shitcoins after learning about the ease of using cryptocurrency?
So, let’s define what that is in the terms of this guide.
To orange pill someone means to get them to take the first step into learning about bitcoin, money, self-custody, being sovereign, and to teach them to start questioning the world of lies we’ve been fed our entire lives.
Too poetic? Okay, here’s a more specific one:
To orange pill someone means showing them how to send and receive a bitcoin transaction, explain to them the importance of keeping their seed words safe, and showing them more articles, books and guides so they can go further down the rabbit hole.
I think that’s better, don’t you?
No matter what your definition of orange-pilling is, let’s discuss a few things first.
Orange-pilling comes from the scene in the Matrix where Morpheus offers the blue and the red pill to Neo.
This your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I’m offering is the truth. Nothing more.Morpheus
The fact that the terms comes from the Matrix is absolutely perfect, because the Matrix is based on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Everybody knows the Matrix so let’s talk about the Cave. Inside the cave, people are chained up, in the dark. The only thing they can do is talk to each other and stare forward, where there’s a dim light on the cave’s wall. Someone is moving around objects, throwing shadows on the wall. The people can never see the three-dimensional object, they can only see a shadow, a projection of it, so their world is limited by that knowledge.
Someday a group of people manage to break out of the Cave. They go out into the light, their eyes hurt, the world is massive, they get a panic attack by the lack of a rock ceiling on top of them. It’s vast, it’s too much to bear. And they run back into the cave and tell everyone what they saw, that it’s too bright, too open, too much everything. Objects are real, there’s light everywhere and colours. So many colours, not just the flame, the rock and the shadow.
And they don’t believe them. Maybe they even get angry at them and attack them. Who are these fools to claim that the world is not what they think it is? Who are they to suggest that we’ve all been lied to all our lives?
And that’s the first thing you need to keep in mind when trying to orange pill someone.
Why do some people find it so hard to believe in bitcoin?
The answer is simple. It’s because understanding bitcoin requires acknowledging you’ve been tricked your entire life.
The culture shock is real, I’ve been through it. The stages are as follows:
- What is money?
- You start to learn what money really is, and how fundamentally flawed the Keynesian system has become. You see that the only way forward is by a hard money standard, whether that’s gold or bitcoin. Then you realise that in a world of information, the only logical step is bitcoin.
- Then why bitcoin?
- You start to read about it’s properties. It’s antifragile, decentralised. Why is that important? Nobody can control, it great. Why is it like gold that can be attached to an email?
- Then there’s the anger and disbelief. We’ve been fooled.
- Why doesn’t everybody see this? You read everything about bitcoin, you listen to podcasts, talk on bitcoin twitter and nostr with other plebs. Nobody seems to have all the answers but they make far more sense than the lies of the mainstream media. You talk to your friends and family, you come off as crazy at best.
As I said, you have to acknowledge the trauma the other person is going through. It’s a culture shock, and not many want to go through with it. Think of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, people who got out into the world went back and told everyone that there’s more to life than the shadows on the wall. Or, the same allegory being told by the Matrix, with Cypher wanting to go back, to forget.
We call that Bitcoin Derangement Syndrome, BDS. It’s hilarious but it’s so real. Many early bitcoiners, people who have spend years of their lives either advocating for it or working on it, some making or losing fortunes in the process, go back to the fiat world, shift gears completely, rant and rave against bitcoin and dive back in the Matrix, the Cave, taking the blue pill. They want to be fiat rich, they lie and delude themselves that everything is okay in the world and if they get just enough money they’d be okay.
But they won’t. This is real, and no matter how many lies they tell themselves things will not change unless we change them ourselves. Babies are dying, that’s true. In wars, in artificially induced poverty, in carrying on with the Keynesian ways of thinking of endless imperial expansion and exploitation.
I’ll be honest, bitcoin rewires your brain.
Do you really wanna force that on people?
Then let’s read on.
Why is it sometimes so hard to explain, persuade or convince people about bitcoin?
Here’s a harsh truth. It’s because you’re the counterparty risk.
When your car breaks down, you go to a mechanic, you seek expert knowledge. He tells you what’s wrong and you generally accept it. Why? Because unless you’re an expert on cars, you don’t have pre-existing knowledge about this specific situation. Nature abhors a vacuum. The mechanic’s knowledge and expertise fills up that vacuum of knowledge.
Why is it different with bitcoin, then?
Because most people believe they already understand money. There’s no vacuum for their knowledge to fill. Like a woman going to a male gynecologist thinking she knows better because she’s the one with the female body, a nocoiner believes they know better because, see? They have been handling and making money all their lives! Who are you to claim things aren’t how they used to think they are?
Yes, sure. You’re the one with the female body, you’re the one with the wallet. But have you actually taken the time to study it? Have you invested the necessary six years in medical school or the 100 hours it takes to grasp bitcoin?
But they don’t accept that. When you make statements about bitcoin, it collides with their pre-existing frame of reference. When that happens, their mind reflexively casts doubts on the new information, actively fights it and rejects it, because it doesn’t conform to what they know. Their mind is the bearer asset, you are the counterparty risk.
Okay, great. How do you overcome this, then?
By taking the time with them. You can’t force someone to get orange-pilled, it’s not shoving knowledge down their throats. They have to do it themselves, so you start small. Plant a seed. Make them question what they know. That tiny seed, just like in Inception, will grow and push aside the other propaganda in their minds, leaving some space for new information to fill the void.
“Why did they stop having money backed by gold?”
That’s one seed.
“Who prints all these new billions?”
Another. Take your pick, it depends on the person you’re talking to.
A good question makes the nocoiner access their accepted knowledge. They usually think they have the answer and you should listen to it, not shutting it down. Ask them to research it further, to back their claims, to look things up. If they don’t have the knowledge, a new vacuum is created and their curiosity will want to fill it up.
Nocoiner: Bitcoin isn’t backed by anything.
You: Okay. Then what would make good money in its place?
Make them talk by asking questions. As they talk, they’ll realise they have massive gaps in their knowledge. You can help them then, but they themselves have to fill up those gaps by asking more questions and getting them to talk more. Why? Because if someone tells something to themselves they will believe it much easier than having you say it to them. Try and lead them to conclusion, a revelation.
When persuading someone, the person talking the most is the one really getting persuaded. Why? Because when you talk you engrave those words into your brain as facts.
Nocoiner: Bitcoin wastes too much energy.
You: How do you determine how much is too much energy to use?
You will never change their minds, they have to change it themselves. You can only help show them the way, they’re the ones that have to do it. Questions are the key to that process.
Tell them less, ask more.
What questions make people curious about bitcoin?
You never know, it depends on what ails the person. Think about their pain. If they’re living in Turkey or Argentina, for example, their pain is massive inflation. You might say, “You’re already using USD to protect your monetary value against inflation, right? How about adding BTC to the mix?”
People in those countries generally grasp this concept a lot quicker. The local lira is the crap kind of money, they spend it often. The USD is the good kind of money, they save it, spending it only when absolutely necessary. And gold is the best kind, keeping it hidden in safes and mattresses. Only to be spent in an emergency. They don’t have the financial privilege to insulate them from the need for bitcoin, they already get these layers of hardness in their money, so bitcoin is a lot easier for them.
“What is money?” is another good question. Most people will answer it, and of course it will be flawed and all over the place. Then you might say, “It’s the promise of future value,” and then discuss how bitcoin has a monetary policy that’s planned out for the next 120 years and how nodes and miners facilitate that design. And especially point out how hard it is to change.
“What happened in 1971?” That’s a good one. Get them to look up the fiat monetary system and figure out how it’s not backed by anything. Get them angry at the Keynesian economists, how they’ve ruined entire countries. 2008 money crisis? Inevitable, under the fiat standard. Forget about bitcoin, point your finger towards the rot. It’s all historical fact, they can’t call you a conspiracy theorist. Most people still think that money is backed by gold. Get them to tell it to other people, see their reactions.