How to Turn Code Into Gold

Something significant happened last week: SEC Chair Gary Gensler likened bitcoin to gold.

After weeks of hemming and hawing about how the Securities and Exchange Commission would regulate crypto, the House Financial Services Committee brought Chairman Gensler in for questioning.

“Bitcoin … is a highly speculative asset,” he testified, “but it is a store of value that people wish to invest in, as some would invest in gold.”

A few weeks earlier, he referred to other crypto assets as “money,” saying, “I don’t think there’s long-term viability for five or six thousand private forms of money.”

“Gold.” “Money.” In other words, real value.

We blockchain believers have been saying this for years, of course, but now the head of the SEC believes it, too: crypto is not just code. It’s not just a flash in the pan. It has real value.

When your bitcoin-skeptical friends ask you, “But why does it have any value?” (and I still get this question all the time), you can just quote Gary Gensler. You can share the Gar.

Granted, Gensler also calls digital assets “poker chips” (his favorite analogy), but remember that even poker chips can be redeemed for real money at a casino. (Don’t forget to tip your dealer.)

There’s a magic moment, a tipping point where an idea goes from fringe to mainstream, where the outsider becomes the insider. With Gensler’s remarks before the House, I believe the idea of “bitcoin as digital gold” just reached that tipping point.

I am fascinated by how this happens: the moment where the crowd consensus locks into an idea, and a new reality snaps into place. It’s more psychological than anything. It’s in our minds.

Remember, nothing has changed about bitcoin: same crypto, same code. But now that the head of the SEC has likened it to gold, people will think of it like gold.

How does code turn into gold? That, my friends, is modern-day alchemy.

What is Alchemy?

You’ve probably heard of the alchemists of the Middle Ages, who sought to purify and refine base metals (like lead) into the “noble metals” (like gold). They developed elaborate laboratories, techniques, and symbols to document their experiments: they were the forerunners of modern chemistry.

But there were two elements to alchemy: the inner and the outer.

The outer (or “exoteric”) aspect was extracting, heating, filtering, and crystallizing various plants and metals using the early equivalent of Bunsen burners and test tubes.

The inner (or “esoteric”) aspect was equally important: it was purifying one’s mind, approaching the Work (capital W) with a kind of awe and reverence.

The ultimate goal of alchemy was the Philosopher’s Stone, a substance that would turn mercury into gold, grant immortal life, and make a great Harry Potter novel. (Note: J.K. Rowling turned paper books into gold with that one.)

Alchemy required long and tireless work, both inner and outer. Alchemists were not just purifying metals, they were purifying themselves.

Today, we are not turning lead into gold, we are turning code into gold. That’s alchemy. That’s creating something out of nothing, money out of thin air.

But it’s not enough to just create another token and call it gold. As we all know, the vast majority of crypto assets really are worthless, because something else is needed.

I believe this mysterious “something else” is the mental attitude, the inner work of the ancient alchemists. It’s not as simple as “believe that your crypto token is gold, and it will be gold.” It’s a slow and gradual process, a purifying and refining of our minds. That was the inner work of the ancient alchemists, and that’s our inner work today.

To be a successful investor, we have to think like a successful investor. That doesn’t come naturally, if you’re not yet a successful investor. But the mind can be developed, bit by bit … and as you change your mind, you change your life. By building the mindset of a successful investor, little by little, you become a successful investor.

That’s why we’re creating the new Investor Mindset MP3 series. These are downloadable sound files (think of them like guided meditations) that you can use as a daily exercise to retrain your brain. Based on the scientific research in my book Mind Hacking, they will gradually change your mind … for good.

They’re available to paid newsletter subscribers:

Reality is malleable. Code becomes gold. Even Gary Gensler believes it.

John Hargrave is the author of Blockchain for Everyone: How I Learned the Secrets of the New Millionaire Class, the bible of blockchain investing.

Author of Mind Hacking ( CEO of Media Shower ( Making things better.