“It’s just another crisis in my mind. I’m still buying bitcoins,” said Pau Ninja, a Spanish internet entrepreneur and podcaster. Cryptocurrency prices have been falling since early spring and are now slumbering in a crypto winter, the equivalent of a bear market. The price of a bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency, has dropped to levels not seen since 2018, and lesser-known crypto coins and tokens have fallen even more. Cryptocurrency investors are vacillating somewhere between caution and fear. But other investors are displaying a certain serenity that highlights a schism in the crypto world: Bitcoin is different.
Pau Ninja considers himself a “Bitcoin maximalist” – he only invests in Bitcoin and ignores all the others. “Cryptocurrencies are a bubble, or rather, many bubbles,” said the 31-year-old entrepreneur, who goes by his stage name. “This is like the dotcom crisis on steroids. When the dotcom bubble burst, the whole sector didn’t collapse, and the internet didn’t disappear. Three or four or five companies survived.” This is what he expects will happen with Bitcoin. Its performance isn’t affected, he says, by all the speculation of “crypto bro” hucksters.
“A Bitcoin maximalist is someone who is very knowledgeable about cryptocurrency and understands Bitcoin,” says Cristian Via, co-founder of the YouTube podcast and channel Hablando Crypto (Talking Crypto). “Crypto bros, on the other hand, are looking for a ‘gem’ that will make them rich. They say stuff in crypto lingo like, ‘this gem has a 100x or 1,000x potential.’ I’ve talked to a lot of crypto bros and they’re all looking to get rich quick.”
Pau Ninja says his maximalism comes from having studied cryptocurrency. “I didn’t have a crypto speculation stage, I just dipped my toe in the pool, and then jumped into Bitcoin when the pandemic hit,” he said. “What helped me was taking a bird’s eye view and looking at it from the outside. I read a lot of studies, but common sense always guides me. It’s clear to me that Bitcoin is the long-term winner.”
Bitcoin maximalists say that they invest based on savings potential, not speculation. They have even coined a word for this approach – “hodl.” The word comes from a long-forgotten typo of “hold,” meaning to keep. “Without hodl, a maximalist would turn into a crypto bro with bitcoins. Without hodl you lose the long-term fundamental perspective,” said Pau Ninja. “The current volatility is temporary. If you’re a maximalist, who cares? I’m looking 10 years ahead. I don’t pay attention to the current noise.”
Another characteristic of Bitcoin maximalists is their disdain for other cryptocurrencies, says Raul Marcos, founder of Carbono, a crypto-focused fund. “Bitcoin maximalists strongly believe that Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that makes sense and has any value. They often call all the others “shitcoins,” including Ethereum. They react very aggressively against any perceived attack on Bitcoin and are quite resistant to change,” said Marcos.
Pau Ninja has eight employees who help him with the podcast (which has a paid community and about three million downloads of 400 episodes), his YouTube channel and various ecommerce projects. He made a lot of money a few years ago with affiliate marketing sites that review products and direct traffic to Amazon for a sales commission. The success of an affiliate marketing site depends on whether they are at the top of the Google search results for a particular product.
Pau Ninja pumps all of his savings into Bitcoin, and insists that his preferred cryptocurrency is not a pyramid scheme like some critics say. “Pension funds and the current monetary system are the real pyramid schemes. Of course, the value of a bitcoin increases as more people buy in, just like the internet. It’s the network effect. But there is no one at the top getting rich at the expense of newcomers,” he said.
Nothing about Bitcoin worries Pau Ninja, except for one small detail – that someday, a person at the top will be revealed. Bitcoin was created by an anonymous person or entity named Satoshi Nakamoto. Supposedly, Satoshi has a Bitcoin wallet worth hundreds of millions that has remained intact since Bitcoin was created. Pau Ninja’s fear is that the bitcoins in that wallet will suddenly be sold or transferred, which would unleash a global frenzy to find out who is really behind Bitcoin. “Just one small movement in that wallet would mean that something has happened to cause that movement. We value neutrality, that there is no visible face behind Bitcoin,” he said.
A da Vinci-like polymath
Along with his instinctive common sense, Pau Ninja reads studies to guide his investments and other financial decisions like making his permanent residence in Estonia to pay less tax. But he also spends time thinking about diets and exercise, how to flirt, sunbathing and watching porn. This is because of his “multi-potential,” he says. “Lots of people don’t recognize their multi-potential until you define it for them. Society ingrains in us from a young age that we have to specialize. It makes perfect sense. But there are other people, like me, who have changed interests 1,000 times over. It’s not because of indecision, but because you want to do everything at once. It’s a French concept I discovered – the opposite of being a specialist. I can go full throttle on Bitcoin for three months, and then wake up one day with an interest in health or psychology,” said Pau Ninja.
The ultimate goal of a multi-potential person is to become a polymath, he says. “A polymath has mastered several disciplines. Leonardo da Vinci mastered a lot of things. I may want to become a polymath in areas that interest me, but that’s not for you to decide.”
This ability to absorb and adopt theories from very specialized disciplines may be related to the confidence that the crypto world exudes, a characteristic displayed by both maximalists and crypto bros. “Maybe there is a certain type of person that is drawn to anti-establishment pursuits,” said Cristian Via. “Once you really understand cryptocurrency and what kinds of problems it can solve, you can recognize the ignorance and misinformation in some media outlets that have taken things out of context. It’s critical thinking,” said Via.
The combination of subversion, the internet and rediscovery of the world leads some people to a more sociological vision of the crypto world. “They are united by an urge to buck the system,” said Raúl Marcos. “Maximalists and crypto bros alike talk about financial freedom, that crypto isn’t controlled by governments, that with crypto you can live freely wherever you want. Libertarians still dominate the crypto world despite the influx of people with other philosophies as crypto has grown over the years.”
Some of Pau Ninja’s recent podcast topics reveal his diverse interests and beliefs: “You’re addicted to porn (and you know it)”; “Eleusinian mysteries: the Bible (did not) lie... it was misinterpreted”; “The value of a man is determined by his values”; “Men with style: dressing well doesn’t always mean being fashionable”; “Suffering on purpose: why live in search of pain?”; “DIY ways to increase testosterone.” And these were just a few episodes from August and September – there is much more.
“Because I’m interested in so many things, I try to be efficient and find hacks for each area of interest. If I’m interested in nutrition, I don’t try to read every single nutrition book because I know I’ll lose interest later on. You try to find the seeds, the keys to the topic, not all the general information. That involves sifting through a lot of information and a lot of experimentation. I maintained a vegetarian diet for six years, but later realized that they don’t work,” he said. Now he argues that eating meat is best.
Pau Ninja’s podcast audience is mostly male, as is the crypto world. There are hardly any crypto sisters. “I’m starting to focus my content on men because for hundreds of episodes, my podcast audience has been male. It’s natural because we have a different hormonal balance. Saying you don’t believe in the effects of testosterone is like saying you don’t believe in the effects of insulin.”
He knows that people have unjustly accused him of having certain ideologies or biases, but he doesn’t hesitate to argue that men today are under threat. “I’m not at all afraid that people will think I’m some kind of anti-feminist. Men are very much under attack. That’s the advantage of having a platform like mine for expressing my views. It demonstrates that I’ve reached my own conclusions,” he said. Pau Ninja recently bought masculinidad.com (“the blog to be more masculine”) for $1,000. The cryptocurrency expert and Bitcoin maximalist appears to have a head start in exploiting this male-oriented niche.