Living in a Material World
Greed Keeps Men Forever Poor?
PURA Vida everyone! Today we are back to a favorite topic in the world of crypto – greed – as the PURA team aims to provide a thorough examination of this subject from all possible angles. Enjoy part 1 of a 2-part series.
greed noun/ grēd/: a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than needed
We all benefit and suffer from greed. It’s human nature. Greed is defined as a selfish desire for more than is needed. But, what happens when you have satisfied those needs? Should you begin to focus on your “wants”? Is it wrong to want more than you need? Of course not. Although, we would presume that we want more than we need only once we have what we really need. Greed is human nature’s drive and passion to achieve great things. The question of greed is whether it will drive you to take or earn more?
Personal, professional, material, and monetary gains raise our standard of living which, in turn, raise that of our family, those within our circles, and sometimes an entire community. We may only need a job to live, but successfully running and owning your own company takes a desire to achieve. To desire is to “want,” but greed is to “want more.”
Risk vs. Complacency
Risk versus reward is defined by greed, setting a higher bar for ourselves and others. If greed still sounds like a bad thing, it can be if not managed. However, consider the contrary; complacency would seem a much greater sin.
You may have a car and not need a better car, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting one. Your home may be nice enough, but maybe you’d like to renovate, buy better furniture, or install a pool. While greed is wanting more, it should not be confused with gluttony.
It is how we manage greed that is key. Just having enough is thought of by many today as noble, but is it? If you’re willing to work harder for something, is that “something” an unnecessary indulgence? No, it’s a trade-off. Toil can be dull and irksome labor, so what drives us to do it? The reward. We all are guilty from time to time of indulging in guilty pleasures. Whether it’s chocolate, alcohol, or shopping, everyone has something that stimulates a sense of greed. For some people, it’s cryptocurrency.
Where’s My Lambo?
There is a desire for many in the crypto world to acquire as much wealth as they can, and the only way to accumulate Bitcoin or alternative currencies is to earn or trade them. Some are guilty of stealing crypto, and there are very public cases of this behavior. Was it greed that drove them to steal? Certainly, but greed is a thought and to steal is the act. An individual’s ethics and morals are the strains that manage greed. Those without ethics or morals possess a character already flawed.
A business that earns crypto is essentially the same as one that generates fiat. To earn more only relies on it to produce more. Trading crypto is different. While greed drives our desire to profit, those who trade crypto must study the market and be willing to take risks, and the results are not always those anticipated. This is where greed combined with intent, management, and character are key.
Individuals addicted to crypto-trading exhibit the same signs and behaviors as gambling addicts, and exchanges provide the same scenario as any casino open 24/7. Even good traders must manage the urge to mix and match digital assets, but the crypto market is currently one of the world’s most volatile, and even the best traders can experience drastic swings. The mismanaged greed that causes traders to chase losses can send them over the edge into a state of addiction.
“The high risk, fluctuating cryptocurrency market appeals to the problem gambler,” says Chris Burn, a gambling therapist at Scotland’s largest addiction treatment facility. “It provides excitement and an escape from reality. Bitcoin, for example, has been heavily traded and huge gains and losses were made. It’s a classic bubble situation.”
Josh Olszewicz, a popular crypto-trader, and price analyst agrees with the gambling analogy and says there are definite similarities between the two. Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, he stated, “Many of the newer market participants treat crypto like a giant casino and bet the farm on the equivalent of penny stocks only to lose all their money.” Olszewicz believes crypto trading is no different than a run-of-the-mill gambling addiction. “You have people risking their rent money or lunch money and then it spirals out of control very quickly.”
In stark contrast, professional crypto traders like Niko da Costa Gomez who have experienced substantial gains in their investments are not convinced that cryptocurrency addiction is widespread. Manav Singhal, CEO of blockchain startup Velix.ID, agrees that it’s all about managing one’s greed. “Regular losses are just a natural part of the investment process. Profits and losses are a part of trading, and no different than trading any other kind of securities. Gambling addicts are just that — addicts. They can choose any addiction they want, and it can be cryptocurrencies, but that doesn’t mean that a majority of cryptocurrency traders are addicts.”
The Creation of Wealth
Addiction is a complex topic, but greed is merely a symptom of addiction and not the other way around. Addicts don’t seek control or power – they lack it. And while the genesis of greed is the desire for both, greed combined with addiction almost always results in harm to oneself and others. For someone merely striving to obtain more power, it’s usually to improve their current conditions but to have “the most” is a common human endeavor.
Crypto-trader Chuck “Norris” A. Luna of Glodias put it best. “To be honest, I’ve never known anyone with too much of everything. They may have more than many, but there’s always someone, somewhere who has more than they do in one form or another.” In defense of wealth, Luna states, “Having more than others doesn’t hurt anyone, as wealth is not a zero-sum game, nor is it finite. Wealth is created. Unless you are the Queen, a ruler, the government, or a thief collecting or seizing another’s wealth, you most likely became rich by trading, investing, or selling something people bought from you willingly.”
Take Apple for instance; there was no such thing as a personal computer until Steve Jobs. The blood, sweat, and tears it took from the inside of Steve Jobs’ garage resulted in a product that people wanted and were willing to buy. Jobs was driven by passion, but it was greed that drove him to create “the best” personal computer he guaranteed would outperform and outsell his competition. Greed also caused him to nearly keep it to himself.
“I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard on something… None of us wanted to release it at the end. It was as though we knew that once it was out of our hands, it wouldn’t be ours anymore.”
The Race for Perfection
With Jobs and Apple, greed played just as much a role with them as it did with their consumers. Jobs, always wanting to outperform the competition, was famous for excessively working employees in order to unveil a new product first. Consumers, in the race to own it first, were willing to stand in line for hours. The continued desire to outdo the competition and increase corporate profits created a perpetual obsession that drove Jobs to innovate, improve, and grow his line of product and services that lured newcomers to spend and fans to continue to spend more.
The obsession was mutual. Consumers who couldn’t get enough of it would do just about anything to get it. It was misplaced greed that drove Jobs to aim too high, missing the mark and costing the company much-needed revenue. And, it was greed that caused him to quit (or be fired), venturing out to create his own failed line of personal computers. But, when Apple’s complacent leaders nearly fumbled the company into the arms of Job’s fiercest rival, Jobs was willing to do whatever it took to ensure that didn’t happen.
“My position, coming back to Apple, was that our industry was in a coma. It reminded me of Detroit in the 70s, when American cars were boats on wheels.”
Second Bite of the Apple
When Jobs returned to Apple it was to exhibit a level of greed no one could fathom, secretly selling his shares to tank the stock and force investors to send nearly every executive packing. Jobs went from Acting CEO to CEO, and his disdain for complacency catapulted Apple to become the world’s richest company. And yet, all that wealth made no one poorer. On the contrary, it benefited both Apple and the consumer in ways and on a scale once unimaginable.
So, what does Apple and Steve Jobs have to do with Bitcoin and the blockchain? Nothing, but it is the most common comparison by Bitcoin enthusiasts today. Depending on your definition, there may be no “Steve Jobs” of cryptocurrency. What there will be are CEOs that continue to innovate in the blockchain space, crypto investors that provide better than average returns, and an unending supply of new cryptocurrencies. Someday, someone may reign king. Until then, it’s going to take a person or group with the drive and desire to break away from the pack in an endeavor to achieve more, become more, get on top, and then stay there.
All of which will probably require a certain level of greed.