#crypto

In its few years of existence Bitcoin has given birth to a renewed promised land, the new internet frontier, a contemporary El Dorado, a modern Wild West, a brave new world: #Crypto.

Just as any of its predecesors, its inhabitants are pioneers, miners, traders, prophets, priests, crafters, hunters, scammers, conquistadores, thieves, pirates, entrepreneurs... All of them engaged in a life changing journey.

Theirs is also a world rich in symbols and myths, tales of incredible fortunes and riches as well as nightmarish horror stories of total loss.

It doesn't really matter if their El Dorado exists or not. 

They and their brave new world deserve to be painted.

A People Who Knew Not Joseph, the {Told} Story of Charlie Shrem

oil on canvas

50cm x 73cm

(19.5in x 28.7in)

8,500

A lot has been said about the bitcoin pioneer, Charlie Shrem, his vision in the early days of bitcoin, the stories that unfolded later and his way to becoming the storyteller of bitcoin himself.

Stories throughout history of notable personalities tend to have a common thread that runs between them. Here´s Charlies story, told through the threads that connect him to his Jewish background and one of its most iconic figures, the Biblical Joseph.

Joseph is an important figure in the Bible's Book of Genesis. He was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, and rose to become vizier, the second most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh. Joseph is known for his ´coat of many colours´ and his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream of seven lean cows which devoured seven fat cows.

In Jewish tradition, every Saturday at synagogue, there is a traditional Sabbath Torah reading, the Parashah. Charlie´s birthday is on the 25th of November. Coincidently, this year (2020), the weekly Torah portion reading of that same week was Parashah Vayetze ( Genesis 28:10–32:3)– in which the birth of Joseph is told.

So this is a good place for our story to begin.. Lets dive in..

Joseph symbolizes a man that through his wisdom and belief, rises from hardships. Sages saw him as a righteous figure who overcomes instincts and does not avenge the injustices done to him. A visionary that got out of bad places various times and made the best of it until he became the next to the leader of Egypt. Charlies life story shows that he possesses these same traits and world view. A bitcoin pioneer, visionary and true leader in the blockchain industry. Like Joseph, he has dreams that create reality and reality that creates dreams.

Joseph becomes the second most powerful man in Eygpt. Charlie, through vision and entrepreneurship, creates businesses that promote and participate in the bitcoin economy, from its early days until today. His first ventures were co-founding BitInstant , being a founding member of the Bitcoin Foundation, and co-owning EVR, the first bar in NY to accept bitcoin as a form of payment.

Both Charlie and Joseph are not accepted by their families for choosing a path different than the accepted one. Joseph is sold as a slave by his brothers and goes to exile, while Charlie chooses to leave the restrictions of the community he was brought up in to go to an emotional and physical exile from his former life. Charlie talks about the impact on his life that this incredibly difficult decision has made. Following your heart at the cost of being alienated by your family.

Like every good story, this one also has victories and hardships. Joseph was born into a life of privilege but experienced a dramatic fall from grace. He lost everything he had – twice – he was sold to slavery by his family and then blamed for someone else’s greed and desires and thrown in jail. Common threads sew Charlie´s story here as well. Both characters endure this hardship and rise above it to great places.

Joseph´s story can be considered the first in the bible that deals with Economic theory. First and for most, the theory of trade cycles, seven years of plenty tend to be followed by seven years of hardship and all economic planning should factor in worst case scenerios. He created a radical new financial plan that would save Egypt from seven years of famine. It is a story of Soviet style central planning and Keynesian economics. Charlie's is a story of the Austrian school of thought and decentralization, but both took part in the development a revolutionary financial plan in their day.

Charlie´s latest venture is the podcast ‘Untold Stories’ s. A podcast about the history of bitcoin and the first ‘bitcoin generation’. In Charlies words - ‘How this movement truly came to be’. This podcast lets the new generations of bitcoiners and crypto enthusiasts hear the history of bitcoin and the people who were there in the beginning.

‘Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph.’ Exodus 1:8

For some considerable time after his death, the memory of the benefits conferred by Joseph upon Egypt had protected his kinsfolk. But, in the shifts and changes incident to politics, this condition of things had passed away. The "new king" felt under no obligation to him, perhaps was even ignorant of his name.

This passage has become a known expression in the modern Hebrew language used to describe a generation that is not in touch, doesn’t concern themselves or doesn’t know about their past, their ancestors, the people that came before them and how their doings affect the present day. So, in fact, Charlie is educating the crypto generation ´who knew not Joseph´.

And a few things about the painting..

Apis and the bitcoin bull. Apis was a sacred bull worshiped in ancient Egyptian religion. He serves as a symbol of ancient Egypt in the painting, as well as the modern bitcoin bull that has become a symbol in crypto.

The honey badger and bear. The honey badger became the internet's ultimate snake-eating, beehive busting badass after a January 2011 video on the animal went viral. "Honey badger don't care" is the video's catch phrase. This meme was applied to Bitcoin and today there are a lot of Bitcoin-badger related names, companies, and events in the industry. The bear.. well, we all know who those are..

And last but definitely not least..

I decided to paint Charlie as Joseph explaining bitcoin and its story to the Pharaoh and other people of his court. I felt that Courtney Shrem, Charlie´s wife, had to be in this painting. While reading and learning Charlie´s story, you can´t ignore the fact that Courtney is a vital part of it – her presence, support and part in Charlies life are a key to the story. They met in EVR, the New York bar owned by Charlie, so you can say that bitcoin had a small part in the beginning of their love story as well.

 

And this is where our story ends. Tune in to more bitcoin stories on Charlie´s podcast, 'Untold Stories'.

Portrait of a Crypto Miner

oil on canvas

55cm x 46cm

SOLD

´As the golden news spread ... from all over the planet they came…. They were farmers and merchants and sailors and slaves…. They were the pillars of their communities, and their communities’ dregs….'

H.W. Brands, The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream

'Chances are you hear the phrase “bitcoin mining” and your mind begins to wander to the Western fantasy of pickaxes, dirt, and striking it rich. As it turns out, that analogy isn’t too far off.' https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bitcoin-mining.asp

Long gone are the legendary days where tech savvy students from Oslo, Seoul or Seattle used college equipment to mine crypto. Today big mining corporations are at the very core of the industry and bitcoin geopolitics as well as centralization debates, shady market practices, the role of equipment manufacturers ... have apparently displaced solo basement crypto miners from the center of the arena. Or have they? This painting is a tribute to easily one of the most respected members of the community. A kind solo philosopher miner from deep into maple leaf land, industrious friend of Athene, moon bag player. @notsofast

ZE Tardigrades Chilling

oil on canvas

54cm x 73cm

SOLD

When Moon, Sir?

acrylic on canvas

54cm x 73cm

6,500

Probably one of the most popular meme phrases in the crypto sphere, used to mock newcomers, investors with little or no financial skills or simply frantic fellows dreaming to get rich overnight.

A question that brings many other questions relevant beyond crypto. Is it going to redistribute wealth in a massive scale as some say or, if crypto becomes a global store of value of some sort, will instead give birth to an extremely small new class of crypto tycoons?  Who and what can be trusted as a source of information?  Does universal and cheap access to a kingdom of influencers and a tsunami of realtime data give everybody the same chances to fullfil their dreams? 

@FatihSK87, crypto trader

oil on canvas

50 x 41 cm

7,500

Many of the most prominent and popular members of crypto are traders. As in other periods of great change in history, these modern day merchants are not only shaping the future but are central figures in a sort of global hall of fame where prestige, skills and charisma are on public display.

Few represent better this new class of merchants and traders than one of its most famous members, Fatih. A reminiscence almost from the 17th century. Tulips, Turkey and the Netherlands, vision, talent and hardwork forging new worlds, exotic assets and my beloved dutch painting masters... 21st century version.

Arise Chikun

oil on canvas

73 x 100 cm

SOLD

"... when the price started to explode, people got excited. I mean they were going off the walls bat-shit crazy, screaming random catch phrases and memes and quotes from random movies and television adapted into Litecoin puns. One such quote was, "Arise, chikun, chikun arise". Gristledorf, April 2017 https://www.reddit.com/r/litecoin/comments/6458bk/can_someone_please_explain_to_me_the_inside_ltc/

 © 2021 by Yonat Vaks. 

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