I came to blockchain technology in about 2015/2016 through a network in London. There, the discussions revolved around how the technology could create a long-tail income for musicians and other creatives.
At the time, I worked in the health and social care sector and I thought that the same principles and models that were being discussed at the network could be applied, using blockchain technology, to address some of the challenges of late capitalism we face in the United Kingdom.
In the summer of 2016, I learned about Steem. I was interested in joining as a direct way of learning more about the new affordances that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies offered. A year later, I made it (t)here.
I've put my big social ideas to one side for now: the statutory regulation involved in funding public services and the extensive surveillance of charities in England (although England has one of the most advanced charity sectors in the world) meant that gaining any kind of traction was an uphill struggle. This has been exacerbated by Brexit and the massive unravelling of shared European legislation this will entail.
But to go back a little: I was born at a particularly propitious time with access to free healthcare and education systems, at the end of postwar austerity and before the proliferation of low nutritional value industrial, processed food and zero hours contracts. Like many other eldest children of working class families, I went to grammar school and that profoundly affected future choices.
For much of my life, in spite of the advantages of when I was born, I have felt financially insecure, a hangover from a childhood where I don't recall ever actually being hungry, but I felt it was a possibility. I've had a constant anxiety about whether there would be enough money when I was old and frail to live comfortably, and this was exacerbated by the 2008 financial crash.
I've also had an ambivalence, often accompanied by a sense of a lack of control, towards my personal financial and economic circumstances. At one stage, I was carrying an eye-watering level of personal debt although, in the end, I was able to repay this within twelve months. Later, I incurred a business debt which took nearly ten years to pay off but was cleared eventually.
I do still have personal debt, but it is much more considered and managed as part of a personal financial plan, and is for a daily living expense that I would have to cover in some way, anyway.
How has crypto affected this? I think I was becoming more confident over time about managing my personal finance anyway, but I would say that blockchain technology and crypto accelerated that exponentially.
The experience with Steem and then Hive increased my confidence to invest in crypto; and exposure to the tumult of so many ideas and financial and economic creativity through the blockchain has brought a sharper focus to how I manage all my personal finance, crypto and otherwise.
At the moment, crypto represents about 5% of my investments, with the two other major components being property and shares. I'm a Hive Orca, I expect to continue to grow my account organically and increasingly passively through supporting activity that I believe adds to the overall value of the blockchain and the Hive token. At the moment, my Hive-Engine wallet has about the same value as my Hive wallet.
I have set in place a savings and investment plan for 2021 to purchase Bitcoin. I'll use a cost averaging approach to buying, although, going by past experience, I will probably buy a bit more when I perceive the price to be low enough. This is about a hedge: the world is changing very rapidly, and I want to have a range of options. I expect crypto to increase to about 8% of my overall investments.
The impact of crypto and blockchain technology on my personal finance has been to ensure a pro-active approach to saving and investing. If my crypto investments increase in value over the next five to ten years, I shall enjoy the benefits. On the other hand, if they disappear down a drain, the cost of my crypto investment has been the price of entry to a fascinating world and has ensured that I have taken better care of my personal finance.
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