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How Jackson Went from a Punchable Punk to a Brazen Bitcoiner

09 August 2022

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How Jackson Went from a Punchable Punk to a Brazen Bitcoiner

Our lead copywriter takes you on his journey into the world of Bitcoin, and how it has made him a better person.

My name is Jackson Rickun, and I'm the lead copywriter at NOAH. I write everything from our blog posts to our brand voice (and a lot of words in between). I'm a writer with different forms of media flowing through my veins: I'm a screenwriter, copywriter, content writer—you name it. There's not much I won't write. Except maybe a love letter. I'm better with words, not feelings (red flag, sorry to my future husband). But I digress.

As a writer, I'm a sucker for a good story. And that's why I'm drawn to Bitcoin. I'm especially drawn to it because it's a story happening right now. It's a story unfolding before our eyes—a real-life drama with plenty of characters, conflict, and of course, a bit of comedy (most of it is pretty cringe, though). We're still in Act One of the story, but we've seen enough to know that it will be a pretty thrilling ride. So you can get to know me a little, I wanted to share my story.

In my mind, I got into Bitcoin because, growing up, I was a petulant little punk. As soon as I heard something I didn't like, I would debate it. Even if it were something I liked, I would debate it. I thought it was funny to get everyone—including my teachers—all worked up. And I was pretty good at it, but mostly I just pissed people off (it's an excellent quality, I know). It wasn't just contrarianism, though; I was genuinely interested in why people thought the way they did, why they defended things they knew nothing about, and why they were resistant to change. In other words, I was a little shit. But I had fun.

I misbehaved a lot as a kid. I wouldn't say I liked being told what to do. I hated rules and felt that most people put them in place to justify their desires, biases, and agendas. Rules always felt like arbitrary forces that often did more harm than good. Some laws protect people, but many are outdated and completely irrational.

As I grew older, I realized that some rules weren't just dumb but also potentially oppressive and destructive. And I'm not talking about speeding limits and curfew laws. I'm talking about the more important rules that define us as individuals and as a society. The norms guide us and determine what we label as acceptable and unacceptable. The more I dug into them, the more I realized everything was just...made up.

A prime example: being gay used to be classified as a mental disorder. It wasn't until 1973 that homosexuality was declassified as an illness. The same applies to marriage, the right to vote, slavery, and much more. For example, interracial marriage became legal in the United States only around 50 years ago. If you think about it, "norms" are created by individuals who think the best way to protect their identities is by denying others the same rights.

What does this have to do with Bitcoin? Well, I came across it in 2013 in college. I was in that wide-eyed fight-the-power headspace—you know, the cliche of the college freshman who just took his first critical theory class and thought he was the first person to speak out about injustice. Cliche, but still full of heart.

And that's when I realized the financial system doesn’t work for everyone.

The system is designed to favor those who are already in power. It's a system of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. Most people struggle to get by, while a select few have more money than they could ever possibly spend. Again, it's all about rules. Who creates the rules? The rich. Who benefits from the rules? The rich. Who suffers because of the rules? Everyone else.

But with Bitcoin, things are different. Bitcoin is a direct challenge to the status quo. It's a new way of thinking about money, value, and ownership. It's a decentralized system that doesn't rely on governments or financial institutions. And it's completely borderless, which means it can't be censored or controlled by anyone. It belongs to everyone. At its core, it doesn't have the rules and red tape that keep people disadvantaged.

In a world where nearly everything is centrally controlled, a world where a select few decide the rules of money, Bitcoin is a much-needed breath of fresh air. And that's why I'm drawn to it. It's a story of people taking back power from those who have abused it for far too long. It's a story of rebellion, of fighting back against an unjust system. I'm drawn to the story of Bitcoin because I hate rules. And Bitcoin breaks them.

I look back on the contrarian zealot I was when I first discovered Bitcoin in college, and I remember the looks I'd get. The looks people give when they think someone is out of their damn minds. I proselytized about Bitcoin, and people laughed at me. But I kept fighting for it because I knew it was necessary. And I still do to this day. Of course, it’s awesome to see Bitcoin go from an idea to a reality and thrive in the face of so much skepticism. Seeing this, I can't help but smile (I also love to be right—another red flag for my future husband).

But it's been almost ten years since I discovered Bitcoin, and a lot has changed. I'm no longer that wide-eyed college kid. I'm a battle-hardened veteran of the crypto wars, and I realize how much work we still have to do. Even though Bitcoin has come a long way, we're still in the early stages.

And if I'm being honest, I fear for Bitcoin. I fear it's been pigeonholed into a politically radical, anti-establishment corner. It's seen as a hyper-capitalist, climate-destroying tool used by drug lords and tax evaders. It needs a PR makeover. It needs one because it deserves one. There's so much good in Bitcoin, and I fear the public gets the wrong idea. Bitcoin is not inherently the right-wing, anarchist money system people make it out to be. It's incredibly progressive. It's a system that can help the poor and marginalized more than any other financial tool humanity has ever seen.

As a gay man, I'm passionate about fixing the injustices queer people face, especially in the banking system. Banks have discriminated against queer people for far too long. We've been denied loans, services, and the same financial opportunities as everyone else. More than one in five LGBT Americans are unbanked—60 percent more than straight Americans. That number is even higher for queer people of color. In addition, queer people are far more likely to be subject to predatory lending practices. We pay higher interest rates, are more likely to be denied loans, and are more likely to resort to harmful financial products like payday loans. This is all not just unjust; it's unacceptable.

No one gets to tell you what you can and can't do with your money, least of all a bank. No one gets to tell you how to spend it or save it. That's the beauty of Bitcoin. With Bitcoin, you're in control. Lack of access to traditional banking services is a reality for many marginalized people, and we need to be more proactive about getting more options. Bitcoin is a tool that can help us pave that path to financial inclusion.

Humanity is writing Bitcoin's story every day. It's a story of hope, of possibility, of liberation. It's a story of standing up against an unjust system. It's a story of a better world. And it's a story worth fighting for. But we can't let it become a story about extremism or greed. We can't let it be tarnished by those who would use it for less than noble purposes.

This story depends on who writes it. And as a writer, I want to write a story that shows how Bitcoin can be progressive, how it can help the poor and marginalized, and how it can give people back control of their money. That's the story I want to tell, and I'm thrilled to be doing that at NOAH, a place where we believe in giving everyone access to the best form of money ever created— regardless of who they are or where they come from.

Bitcoin changed my life, and I want people to see how it can change theirs.

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