B&B002 with Dylan Viola | Winning the Lottery in Slow Motion w/ Mr. ERB
Link to the YouTube: https://youtu.be/39rUXmTXg3o
Dylan Viola: All right this is Episode 2 of Books and Bitcoin with Dylan, and today we’re joined with Mr. ERB whose blog is called Early Retirement BTC. ERB, how are you doing?
Mr. ERB: Thanks Dylan, it’s all good here. It’s raining [inaudible].
Dylan Viola: All right, man. I gotta know: so what inspired the blog? What got you started?
Mr. ERB: Yeah, so it I gotta say it was the early retirement sphere, or the community, and I was into this early retirement stuff before I even found Bitcoin. So I was reading the blogs like Mr. Money Mustache, who basically writes about how you can save in your everyday life and how you can invest it, how much it’s gonna rise in value with the compound interest, and when are you going to be in a situation where you can basically live off your interest and just keep growing the nest egg, or something that. So I was reading those, and then there’s this one Finnish blog actually, also, which I found, and he was keeping track of his fiat investments, and he was doing the regular early retirement stuff with the stocks, and every month he would post he would post the collection of all his fiat investments and total value and how it’s developing and what is his target, so I basically just combined those two. I got really into Bitcoin at some point and I found the early retirement stuff interesting and I thought that I had a really good chance hitting that goal with Bitcoin with a strict investment plan, and I just wanted to play it out to everybody who’s interested in this stuff so that they can follow how it’s developing month after month. It’s a slow progress at times, but over time it compounds. And I was very confident from the very beginning that at some point I’m going to be with a very nice stack and a very nice fiat value at the end, but it’s no use telling everybody what you did when it’s already done, so you gotta start before the actual goal is here.
Dylan Viola: I love it, dude. I love it, because one of the first things I’ve seen — I think it was Documenting Bitcoin that shared your post — it kind of went viral and then I went and looked at it and I was like, This dude — look at these charts! Look at these overlays! I mean it really is a beautiful little graphic when you just look at your most recent May post — maybe it was April — where you can see all those charts. And I wish I would have done that from the beginning, because I honestly had no idea what I’d bought — I just know what I have. I don’t know my cost basis. I don’t even know if I’m up or down — I just always buy more. But the thing I wanted to touch on was just going back to the very first post — your very first blog, it’s a reflections of 2017–2020, and I kind of want to know where you were 2017? What were you listening to? How did you hear about Bitcoin? How did you get into it? And then how did you continue to learn not to just sell when you made a hundred dollars of fiat profit?
Mr. ERB 4:33: Yeah, so I first heard — I was working a different job back then and we had a team meeting and then a co-worker basically gave us all the presentation about the blockchain. So he was talking about Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ethereum Classic, and he showed us some price charts and I just remember seeing the Bitcoin price in 2000 euros thinking I was too late and I just hoped that I found this thing when it was 1000 euros or something that so I could have made an easy 100% or something. So I was totally only interested in it price-wise at that point. And I was already into the early retirement sphere, so I was kind of greedy when I looked into Bitcoin more after that team meeting at work. And then I found some crazy price predictions like 30000 by next year and 100000 by next year by some people or some random news articles, and I just thought that I could make a lot of money with Bitcoin, like we all do maybe at some point. But then it was actually the Andreas Antonopoulos videos that got me going deeper, because I think that was the first time that I understood that there’s something more to Bitcoin than just the price, and it’s actually important for humanity, not just for making some quick bucks. That was definitely the gateway.
Dylan Viola 6:30: I really have to go down the Antonopoulos rabbit hole. I think I’ve seen a video or two, but I’ve heard so many people talk about him. I mean, he’s a legend in the space and somehow I’ve just never worked my way down and just went back and watched everything. He sounds like a really interesting guy who brought a really fresh perspective back then that wasn’t really talked about too much. I guess it was more a Libertarian, Austrian economics kind of point of view where a lot of people were just in it for the money back then.
Mr. ERB 7:04: Yeah and back then there wasn’t so many resources anyway, so I think he was one of the best at that time. But nowadays I wouldn’t actually maybe recommend it among the first ones because there are so many other good resources right now, but also I don’t like the way he continues to push some altcoin narratives even at this moment, and many, many other opinions of his I don’t agree with anymore, but he was for sure the valuable resource at the start of my journey, so yeah I recommend everybody to check him out, but just understand that the rabbit hole goes much deeper. So Andreas is not not the one or in any way special in relation to anybody else. So that was just the first one.
Dylan Viola 8:05: Yeah I kind of get the feeling he got cancelled, but I didn’t know why.
Mr. ERB: Yeah maybe it’s the altcoins. But after that I think I need to mention Trace Mayer. I think he was a super-good resource and I watched many videos — Trace talking about the seven network effects of Bitcoin. And he was the first one who mentioned a $1 million dollar Bitcoin price on some podcast, and that kind of blew my mind — I didn’t think that would be possible before, but after Trace mentioned it out loud it became like a possible future, and looking at it right now I think it’s only inevitable that it’s gonna hit that price and go beyond. So Trace was good, but then he disappeared — I don’t know what happened. Do you know Trace Mayer?
Dylan Viola 9:09: No, so I was going to say I find this very interesting that so far you brought up Trace Mayer and Andreas, and these are two people I’ve actually really never listened to. I’ve listened to Breedlove or read Breedlove, I’ve listened to Preston Pysh, and then a lot of the present-day people. Back in 2017 when I first heard about Bitcoin, in passing some random person said something, I go to Coinbase, I try to buy it, and I was like, I don’t trust this shady Internet website. So I try to use a credit card and they’re like, No dude, you gotta use debit. I was like, Okay, well I guess I’m just not buying Bitcoin. And it was like $2800 US dollars. It went on to go to $20k and then come back down to $9k and I just missed the whole thing. And then I remember I guess I got in around 2019 when it was $9,000 and I was just listening to Preston Pysh on The Investor’s Podcast.
Mr. ERB 10:07: Yeah, somehow I feel like Preston got into the scene right at the moment where Trace went quiet, so we got a switch over there. But they they are similar kind of guys, so I think you would find Trace Mayer’s content very interesting if you like Preston. And Preston is good — I like Preston.
Dylan Viola: I love Preston. Yeah, I’m definitely going to go back and listen to Trace. It’s cool because you’re a whole generation before me, you just have this whole other perspective from a forgotten past, essentially.
Mr. ERB 10:45: Yeah, there are the cycles, and I feel the same way when somebody is talking about the 2013 cycle, for example — I have no idea what they were listening back then or if there even was any Bitcoin resources. I think there was this — do you know Junseth? I think he had some kind of Bitcoin podcast where they were dissing altcoins. They were the best best resource back then, but that’s ancient history to me and I haven’t experienced that. I know just Andreas, Trace Mayer, and maybe Noded was also big in 2017–2018. And I don’t know if you identify as the 2020 group or what?
Dylan Viola: Might as well.
Mr. ERB 11:46: Yeah, so you have Breedlove, so he’s relatively new, and Preston also, and Michael Saylor.
Dylan Viola 11:56: Back in 2017 when you got into it and you were building your conviction and doing your research, you had Trace, and you had Andreas — were there some notable books back then that you would have read that built your conviction and kept you in?
Mr. ERB 12:15: Not really. The first book I read was Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas, but that came later. I’d say I started with Andreas YouTube videos, Trace Mayer YouTube videos, then the early podcasts like Noded by Pierre Rochard and Bitstein and Tales from the Crypt — I’ve listened from the very first episode.
Dylan Viola 12:49: That’s awesome, dude. I think if we were to pull it up it’s episode count 2500 or whatever, I’m not even sure.
Mr. ERB 13:00: Yeah, and there was one weird one where Andreas was one of the co-hosts — I can’t remember any anymore. Just Bitcoin of course back then, but I don’t think those guys are so good anymore because we have such good content nowadays, so then the least important ones keep dropping, and then you stay with the best ones. So yeah, you should just try to search everything and listen to them and you will curate your own content.
Dylan Viola 13:38: Will do.
Mr. ERB 13:45: Yeah but about the books: The Bitcoin Standard by Saife was maybe in 2018, so that’s n awesome book.
Dylan Viola 13:51: That’s gold right there. I gave that to my dad. I have it on Audible — I guess on audible you can just send books to people, so I sent it to him, I sent it to my mom, I sent it to my sister, I sent it to co-workers — I just send it all the time. That’s a great book — that’s what opened up my eyes. I mean I listened to Preston, but when I read that and then listened to it, I was like, This is a game-changer! It’s gonna change the world!
Mr. ERB 14:23: Yeah, and I had seen many quotes about the book before I read it so I thought I knew already everything about the content, like, Okay, I know what this book is about so I don’t need to read it but I’m just gonna order it for support. So that was why I bought it, but yeah it’s really good content and you learn a lot by reading it. And also you kind of think you know enough about Bitcoin at every point of the way, but even when I had been into Bitcoin for one year or something and I read the book, I probably didn’t understand too much and I should read the book again right now and maybe understand more about the book.
Dylan Viola 15:14: And that’s the thing, dude, the rabbit hole just keeps on going. And then it’s: This is not even a Bitcoin book, but it’s a Bitcoin book — it’s about Bitcoin! When Money Dies or The Fourth Turning — they were written 20–30 years before Bitcoin was even created, and yet they’re just right on the money. It is a Bitcoin book — I love it.
Mr. ERB: Yeah, and The Matrix.
Dylan Viola 15:44: The matrix, yeah.
Mr. ERB 15:49: Everything is about Bitcoin. It’s a universal idea.
Dylan Viola 15:57: That’s like my girlfriend — she’s always like, Will you just shut up about Bitcoin?
Mr. ERB 16:01: Yeah, whatever is the topic.
Dylan Viola: I feel a vegan — have I told you guys I’m a vegan? Oh man. All right, ERB, let’s get into the confessions — the altcoin-fessions. Walk us down your path with altcoins?
Mr. ERB 16:23: Yeah, well everybody gets interested about the altcoins because you want more gains, but during that time when I started in 2017, we had the Bcash attack against Bitcoin because Roger Ver’s website Bitcoin.com all of a sudden started to refer to Bcash as the real Bitcoin. There was a huge confusion at least among noobs like me about what’s going on, and they tried to make a hard fork, SegWit2x, which failed spectacularly. But anyway, Bcash stuff was ongoing, and there was a huge crash in the Bitcoin price that coincided with a huge pump in the Bcash price and a huge strain on Bitcoin hashrate coinciding with huge gain of Bcash hashrate, so it was really a scary moment, actually, to watch as a relatively new Bitcoiner. I’d been into the scene only one or two months at that point, and I was seeing my coin’s value getting slaughtered and another coin pumping. So while I did not panic sell at that point — probably because I also was away in the countryside so I couldn’t, but — I was wondering more that this would have been a great opportunity to sell my Bitcoin for this altcoin or this other coin which was pumping, and that I should have just sold that one to get more Bitcoin — as if it would have been that easy, first of all. But anyway, that’s what I thought, and it was the general bull market at that point, so we had every altcoin pumping next to me. So there was shitcoin after shitcoin — Stellar, Ripple, you name it, whatever, and it seemed like an obvious opportunity to get more Bitcoins to buy some altcoins. So I did — I put some percentage of my portfolio into these weird altcoins. I was in the Reddit /r/cryptocurrency watching what’s the hot new one, and I got some immense gains with some random coins, but only on paper — because that’s another thing with altcoins, that when you hit a successful altcoin, you don’t want to sell too early because if it keeps pumping to the next price and you sell at only 2x or something, you’re gonna feel really stupid, and you might even buy back at the top. So you just keep holding it and hoping it will keep pumping. And also I didn’t understand that all the altcoins are scams, so I didn’t expect it to come down at any point — I was basically thinking that I’m in this new blockchain revolution where I have just found these gems early, and instead of cashing out right now to get the Bitcoin gains, I should just hold on to these altcoins for many years to watch them mature and go into the market — the real world — and I will be like one of the early seed investors in a big company or something like that. So then it came as a total surprise when these altcoins crashed and all my gains drained away somehow when I was still early on — because I think the one coin which gave me the most gains was this one called COSS (Crypto One-Stop Solution) which doesn’t even exist anymore, it’s such a shitcoin with such a low volume, but on paper I got 40x or something with that in Bitcoin terms — I’m not sure exactly. But anyway, I didn’t sell and I watched it come down and then it hit me — the reality — that this is all just vaporware and delusional stuff, people who are losing their actual savings. So I hit the moment when I was back to my own, more or less, and then I sold every altcoin I had and put it into Bitcoin, and that was the moment where I became a Bitcoin maximalist, so to say, and for forgetting about the altcoin herd from now on and just concentrating on Bitcoin.
Dylan Viola 22:09: Me too, buddy. I did the altcoin, I did the shitcoin — however you want to refer to it — and I got lucky. I never had to learn the lesson the hard way. I started buying Bitcoin on Robinhood whenever I finally ended up buying , which is essentially a shitcoin in itself, but then I also bought some Doge and I bought some Ethereum, and I mean they were all so cheap back then. And I didn’t know — essentially I was just gambling. I didn’t even know enough about Bitcoin, I was just buying it just because. And eventually I sold them all and then just put those positions in Bitcoin and I might have 3x’ed Ethereum, but I only had $500 bucks worth or something, and then the Doge was 0.00005 cents at the time or whatever, but it was people like you and just every resource out there talking about these shitcoins like, Hey, they’re pump and dumps! They’re rugpulls! They’re this, they’re that. And I was like, Well, if everyone’s saying it, where’s smoke, there’s fire, and I don’t hear anybody saying that about Bitcoin, so I’m just gonna go all-in and I haven’t looked back, so thank you for going through this. I appreciate it.
Mr. ERB 23:38: No problem, man. Yeah, sometimes people need to experience their own losses to learn a lesson I have some friends that I have somewhat successfully gotten into Bitcoin, but then they go into the altcoins. No matter what I tell them, they think that they know better and they should diversify and get some more upside from these altcoins. But they get burned.
Dylan Viola 24:16: Yeah. So two of the guys in my life, my buddies that I have orange-pilled successfully, I still can’t even get them to sell their Ethereum. They’re like, Yeah, I’m mostly Bitcoin but I’ve got some Ethereum.
Mr. ERB 24:30: It’s only a matter of time to do it. Either it goes to zero on its own naturally or they sell it, so they’re gonna be maxis one day.
Dylan Viola 24:40: One day or another. You get it at the price you deserve. All right, well I think that’s a good segue into your post on how to lose your Bitcoins — trading, altcoins, leverage longs. Let’s just dig into that.
Mr. ERB 25:01: So it’s relatively new post a few months ago, and I was trying to get the complete resource because you always have these self-help books, what to do to be successful, and also in Bitcoin security you have guides on how to store your Bitcoin and what to do to be successful or something, so I wanted to make a complete guide for what you should not do so that it’s in a way actionable because you can just avoid every mistake and then you should be golden. But it’s meant to be a post that I keep updating that maybe in the future, one year from now or some day, I will actually have every bad decision imaginable, and if you are able to avoid all of those then you will be successful. But I also understand it’s not possible, but I tried to put the most common things on my mind that you could do that are not wise things to do, so you should avoid these.
Dylan Viola 26:32: Yeah so when I was reading it I was like, This is a pretty good list. I don’t want to go through the whole blog and not send people there, but one thing I think I would add is making sure there’s not a lack of education, or making sure you get your education, because I always think of — maybe it’s a parable and it’s just a story in the Bible or something — A fool and his money are easily parted. Without education, you’re gonna eventually do something stupid, but I mean your blog is an education resource so they’re there.
Mr. ERB 27:06: Yeah, it’s one way, the segue, to the education. That’s a good one, because I have a friend who maybe he’s the closest Bitcoin holder I have in a way because I don’t really have too many friends in my fiat circles who are interested in Bitcoin or holding Bitcoin, but there is this one guy who is holding relatively successfully but he’s not interested at all to learn about it. He doesn’t listen to any Bitcoin podcasts or read any Bitcoin books or even talk too much to me about Bitcoin — I don’t actually know why he’s holding. Maybe he’s only in it for the money, but yeah it would definitely do good for him to learn about it, and it would do good for anybody to learn about it, and I’m just always fearing for him that someday he’s gonna do something stupid because he hasn’t put in the work, but so far, so good. Let’s see how it goes with him.
Dylan Viola 28:15: Some of my buddies, I’m just like their go-to resource — Hey, what about this? What about that? What’s the price actually doing? I don’t know — I’m just gonna buy more! They’ll text me, You think now’s a good time to buy? 50/50, it could go up, could go down — it’s a long-term thing, dude. I don’t care. It could go to $5,000 tomorrow and I would probably just take out a personal loan to buy as much as I could. All right, so let’s touch on your post, Moon Math, because I think it’s probably something everybody struggles with. They always say, Man, I missed the boat. I’m too late. What if I had gotten in sooner? Because this is a very interesting perspective to look at. So if you want to kind of just talk us through the process of that blog post and what your thought process was?
Mr. ERB 29:10: Yeah, so I think I started writing that because sometimes — I think it was written in late 2020 and I had around 3 Bitcoin at that point. My portfolio was around maybe $30k. And I thought that when I started, $30k would have bought me around 10 Bitcoin or something like that. So that felt like a huge number. And then I just started wondering that, Okay, how much would I have if I started buying Bitcoin earlier? And of course this is also something that everybody thinks, because I remember hearing some early podcasts from maybe Dan Held or somebody who bought their first Bitcoin at $200 and even they were thinking they were late, so everybody thinks they’re late. And I for sure thought I was late in 2017. So at that point in 2020, I had been buying for three years, more or less. 36 months or something. So I started buying two months before the all-time high of 2017, so that was my point in time reference. And then I thought, What if I had started buying two months before the all-time high of 2013 with a similar plan? So I put the information in my spreadsheet — similar fiat purchases — and checked the historical prices and worked out that if I had started stacking a similar plan basically four years earlier, I would have 60-something Bitcoin. And yeah, that’s a shitload of Bitcoin and a huge amount, but also, at the end of that stacking, those 60 Bitcoin would have been worth around $30k dollars or euros — around the same that my situation back then was. So that was kind of fun to realize that even if I had found Bitcoin four years earlier and I had done the exact same thing of buying with conviction for three years, I would still only have this $30k dollars or euros. So it doesn’t sound like a big amount, but 60 Bitcoin does sound like a big amount, but that’s because we are in the future. But I think you can use that same mindset today at this moment: you might look at my blog and say that 4 Bitcoin is a huge amount that I’m never gonna be able to get and just leave it for [inaudible 32:45], but I could have felt that way with 60 Bitcoin and do nothing because I realized I’m never going to get 60. So here I am with 4 and I’m happy. So you could always think that if you start now and stack for four years, you might end up in a similar situation that I am right now, and even though you will not have 4 Bitcoin, probably, you will have the same fiat amount in four years. So the the journey might be very close to mine or to the ones who started stacking in 2013 and so on and so on. So in any way, you need to take your time stacking — there’s no shortcuts. That’s is the message.
Dylan Viola 33:44: You know what I freaking love? I love that at the end all your blog posts they’re all kind of slightly different and some are, Cut costs, stack sats, Don’t eat seed oils, or there’s always a little different message, and I think that’s pretty great because they’re little clever nuggets.
Mr. ERB 34:03: Yeah I’m writing now basically only once per month, so even though sometimes it was in a way a motto or a brand — Cut costs, stack sats or something, I tried to keep it similar, but it changes month after month, so it develops.
Dylan Viola 34:30: Yeah, and in one of your blog posts — I don’t even remember which one — I just wrote this little note that says, I don’t believe in get rich quick, I believe in get rich slowly, and I mean if that’s not the freaking motto of Bitcoin: just keep grinding.
Mr. ERB 34:48: Yeah there’s no get rich quick in Bitcoin. Somebody said it’s like winning the lottery in slow motion — that hit me.
Dylan Viola: Profound — winning the lottery in slow motion.
Mr. ERB: Yeah. But also I think it reflects your self-image or your how you behave yourself among others or something like that, because if I’m with somebody right now who has fiat riches or is very successful in his fiat life, I maybe used to feel inferior and kind of nervous or shy in that kind of company, but right now I feel like I’m the richest guy in the room because I already have the Bitcoin and it’s only a matter of time before — I don’t know if this sounds stupid, but — it’s only a matter of time before I’m at a maybe higher level, or somehow I’m already living in the future and these guys don’t know the future yet, so it has given me a lot of confidence, in a way.
Dylan Viola 36:07: I know that feeling — that’s what I think every day. I’m like, I just need a few more years and I’m just free as a bird. I just gotta wait for the future to catch up with my thesis. All right Mr. ERB, if you want to give them a little handoff and let them know where they can reach you and where they can find your blog?
Mr. ERB: Yeah, so my Twitter handle is @retireearlybtc. The website is er-bybitcoin.com. So “er” for early retirement. That’s a god-awful domain name.
Dylan Viola: Yeah but I think it gets the point across. I think that’s pretty straightforward. I mean you’re on the Books and Bitcoin Podcast!