Crypto Theses 2024: Predictions & Narratives from Redphone, the Crypto Storyteller

Crypto Theses 2024: Predictions & Narratives from Redphone, the Crypto Storyteller

Gm and welcome to Defire, your favorite crypto storytelling podcast. Today's guest is the perfect one to kick off this year because they're not only a master storyteller but also have dropped some very influential predictions over the years.

I’m talking about Redphone, aka @redphonecrypto on Twitter. If you're not living and breathing Crypto Twitter like some of us (and let's be honest, who has the time?), you might be scratching your head wondering, "Who's Redphone?"

Well, strap in, because you're about to find out. Redphone isn't just another anon Twitter account speculating about crypto markets. This person is a crypto philosopher, a master storyteller, and a bit of a mystery all rolled into one. They've got this knack for not just talking about crypto but doing it in a way that paints a vivid picture in your mind.

Every year, Redphone drops these wild crypto theses for the next year, and they're not just your run-of-the-mill predictions. They're a mix of deep thoughts, market savvy, and a sprinkle of what feels like reading a futuristic novel. It's not just about what they say, but how they say it, and trust me, it's something else.

In this episode, we're peeling back the layers of the Redphone enigma. We'll chat about how a trip to a pharmacy and a red telephone back in 2013 got them started on this crypto journey, their rollercoaster of experiences in the market, and their bold takes on what's coming up in 2024 .To preserve Redphone’s mystery, I have conducted this interview in written form and have used AI to narrate my questions and Redphone's answers. 

So, whether you're a hardcore crypto fan or just crypto-curious, this is one episode you won't want to miss. Get ready for a ride into the mind of one of the most fascinating characters in the crypto world. Without further ado, let’s jump into it.


You have an incredible talent for writing and storytelling and a way of building this character on twitter. How would you describe who redphone is to someone who doesn’t know you?

I’d call Redphone a crypto philosopher – one who believes this industry will impact every layer of society as it challenges money, power, collaboration, ownership and more. I took my Twitter name from my first bitcoin buy back in 2013. I had to go to a pharmacy and place a MoneyGram order on a red telephone – basically swapping cash for bitcoin, which arrived in my wallet two or three days later. I’ve been obsessed with all things crypto ever since. I use Twitter to share my hopes, fears, and dreams about the industry. 

My account’s stylized around a clown, which is a constant reminder for me to never take myself too seriously. The irony is Redphone often feels more real to me than my non-crypto social interactions. There’s something magical about going anon that lets you speak in ways you simply can’t when you’re doxxed. In effect, the mask falls away, and you’re able to feel your way closer to the truth.

If your crypto journey would ever be made into a blockbuster movie. What would be the opening scene?

Maybe it’d start with a car crash in 2008. I was living on the fringes then. I didn’t have enough money to eat and was going through some undiagnosed health problems and probably depression. Unsure what else to do, I’d asked family to take me in so I could get back on my feet. When they said yes, I packed up everything I owned in my two-door car to drive the more than 2,000 miles home. I made my first turn on the road, and some of my belongings fell out of the passenger seat and into my lap. I glanced down, and when I did, I drifted to the right… There was a steep embankment there, and next thing I knew, I’d slammed into a tree. A tree branch jammed into the headrest of the passenger seat. Climbing out of that car, I felt as hopeless as I’ve ever felt. I was in debt, starving, carless and thousands of miles from home. The experience set off this rage in me. Rage at this system where I had a college degree, I’d had “good” jobs, but I was barely making ends meet. This was around the time of the global financial crisis, so I wasn’t the only one feeling this rage. Bitcoin itself grew out of that anger. When I finally made it home, I resolved to turn my life around. The first piece of that was learning about money. I consumed everything I could about it. I drank books and podcasts. I started blogging about TradFi… I fell down a rabbit hole of stocks, interest rates, the Federal Reserve, inflation, gold, Forex, anything I could. And everything I discovered made me realize how the system helps those at the top and screws over those at the bottom. When I discovered crypto a few years later, it was like the clouds parted, and I realized humanity had hope again. So my transformation has been one from hopelessness and complete financial ineptitude, to one of hope and a belief that crypto can level the playing field.

Since I follow you, you are putting out these , you call them crypto theses, which are basically predictions for next year. Last year you put out 69 of them in this elaborate PDF. You underline the words with powerful, often slightly creepy and mysterious imagery kind of playing with this apocalyptic, satanic theme. What’s going on there?

On the surface, crypto is about money, efficiency, and self-sovereignty. Under the surface, it’s all about power. It’s the eternal struggle between freedom and control; between peasants and nobility; the individual v. the state.I frame the battle as biblical because it is. This tech wouldn’t exist if there weren’t people willing to fight for it… many of whom risked their freedom to build out these networks… many of whom live in hiding or are quite literally rotting in jail cells. Crypto uses code not as a weapon but as a gateway to freedom. And I think that’s becoming even more important as inflation and radical politics back young people into a corner. If you’re at the bottom of society’s ladder, it’s hard to climb higher. It’d be almost impossible without crypto. I want to remind people that this isn’t some game, but something much more important to humanity’s future than we give it credit for. If you’re in crypto, you’re on the frontlines of the battle between freedom and control whether you admit or not.

Now diving into the thesis itself. Last year you put  some powerful theses and what struck me were they are very diverse. Sometimes it’s a prediction like in 2023 we will see more DeFi or something like that, other times it’s more like a philosophy or wisdoms or even a mini story. Here’s one that I liked for instance. You wrote: There is no reality-distorting drug more powerful than wealth. I felt the tug of it during the last bull run, and tbh, part of me is thankful for the bear. Life is a never-ending series of losses. Only once you’ve mastered them can you truly handle wins. Tells us a bit about your wins and losses during your crypto career.

I started in crypto with about $250. That was all I could scrape together over a decade ago… and even getting that required me working a second job. I didn’t really take my first profits until 2017 when I sold some XRP in late December. This sounds nonsensical, but selling it was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. I’d held Ripple for four years at that point. The coins felt sacred to me, and selling felt like cutting myself with a knife. I had some real world expenses to take care of, though, so I sold a smallish bag, got a new air conditioner, and then watched the markets implode. That was my first four-year cycle. And my first real lesson in separating my emotions from the act of harvesting gains. Re losses: In 2021, I was up massively, and I set aside a big chunk of cash to pay my taxes. Unfortunately, I set them aside as stablecoins, which I dumped in Anchor. When UST depegged, I lost most of my tax money and was forced to sell off other tokens, too. It was a pretty dark time for me, but I can honestly say my conviction in the industry never really wavered. We sign up for risk when we trade here. And that means you have to be willing to lose it all.Being a good trader is about more than reading charts and doing analysis. It’s about mastering your emotions, and that’s what keeps me perpetually engaged. I’m not trading against others, I’m trading against myself – against my lesser instincts.

Which are the most important theses you got wrong last year?

Even though I knew prices would be bad in 2023, I didn't think all activity would fall off a cliff across every single sector in crypto. I said that we'd onboard more users than we ever had before, and I'm not sure that's true. I said we'd see lots of corporate adoption. We've gotten far less than I expected. I'd said we'd see radical expansion in use-cases and financialization of NFTs, and I thought the Telegram ecosystem would explode around The Open Network (TON). Lots of these predictions were early. And I could probably just copy and paste the same theses in 2024. 

Which ones you got right?

On the plus side, I said we'd bottom in 2023 and get an opportunity for violent gains. I said some of the horsemen would fall (i.e. Silvergate, Binance and Grayscale). And I said the most prolific crypto users in the future won't be human but AI. That's feeling more and more consensus now, but a year ago, it wasn't nearly as clear. AI + crypto are purpose-built for one another. And they will resculpt finance, art and culture in unimaginable ways.

I went through all of your theses and I didn’t find a single mention of one of 2023 top performers Solana. How come?

I’m honestly pretty stunned by how strong the Solana community is. I thought it was too closely tied to FTX and SBF to continue thriving. The community’s ability to keep their heads down and keep building it is incredible. All their efforts are paying off.

Theses 62 Having met many of the anon avatars I see on Twitter, I’ve realized how big the gap can be between my assumptions about them (good and bad) and reality. Question every post and every intention behind every post - even this one. Please elaborate.

When you first start out in crypto or more broadly in investing, you tend to find a guru or two and you put an enormous amount of weight on their words, ideas and powers of prognostication. They mention a ticker and you buy it. They trash a project and you sell it. Over time, I’ve realized that there is no one guru or voice I can follow. Instead, we have to listen to a range of voices. Then, you lay the voices on top of each other like cheesecloths. Patterns of overlap and holes emerge.You get a front seat to this when you push content out into the world. Some of the reactions or interpretations of my theses in the past have been wildly different than what I intended to say. It doesn’t frustrate me. I love it. I love how communication is a two-way street. Readers bring their lives to every sentence, and their takeaways are different than yours or mine.Ultimately, though, what I think I was saying with that thesis is you’ve got to question not just the words someone is saying, but their motivations behind their words. If they’re invested in a project, they’re obviously going to give you a slanted view. Find other views that conflict. Lay down all those views like cheesecloth and come to your own conclusions.

Let’s now unpack some of the 2024 theses. From what I have seen from you on Twitter you are very bullish for 2024.

I’m beyond bullish for 2024. We’re going to get spot ETFs (not just for bitcoin but other tokens, too), and that’ll be the final middle finger to everyone who calls bitcoin and crypto a scam or ponzi. Inflation seems to be rolling over. And that means looser monetary policy. So crypto will be getting this sort of stamp of approval via ETFs at the same time that people are moving further out on the risk curve. More than that, though, the tech is getting incredibly good and it’s getting better at an ever-faster rate. Things truly are going exponential. The buying and selling experience on, for example, shows just how far we’ve come with UX. We’re standing at this moment, where adoption feels like it will go vertical – where even everyday people will be buying NFTs, throwing funds into yield farms via mobile wallets and swapping on L2 prediction markets. Corporations will begin to adopt crypto, and there’s even a chance banks and governments will this cycle, too. We’ve built the house, and in 2024, we’ll begin moving the masses into it.

Why do you see a spot Bitcoin ETF as a big bullish deal for Bitcoin, especially when crypto was meant to buck the TradFi system? Isn't there a risk that, instead of TradFi adapting to crypto, we're seeing crypto morph into just another paper-traded asset in the traditional markets, kind of like what happened with gold and commodities?

A spot ETF forces the ETF managers to buy/sell actual bitcoin… not paper bitcoin like say futures ETFs. That means that if TradFi gets bullish on bitcoin, the ETFs will generate demand for bitcoin that could dwarf anything we see on crypto-native exchanges today. There is a bit of hypocrisy, though. We’re celebrating adoption by the very system we’re trying to disrupt. But I see it as a single step in a multi-decade journey. This industry will eventually swallow 100% of finance, and increasingly larger chunks of culture – from gaming to art to metaverse. Everything that can be tokenized will be tokenized, including stocks. Ultimately, I think the spot ETF is like a governmental stamp of approval on crypto as a new asset class. It’s recognition that this tech is real and world-changing. And it opens up an avenue for anyone who has a retirement account to get crypto exposure. And they will. I imagine 10 years from now, every portfolio on earth will own some amount of crypto… from individuals to corporations to central banks.

What other views or predictions do you have for the coming year?

I’m excited about lots of things in 2024…. Some of my favorites are bitcoin ordinals (and more broadly bitcoin + DeFi), institutionalization with fintech using things like Chainlink’s CCIP to issue real-world assets, gaming/metaverse, gamblefi, etc. But I’m probably most bullish on crypto + AI. If you buy my argument that crypto is the battleground for freedom vs. control, control over AI will be one of the most important battles humanity ever fights. We must decentralize it if we’re ever going to be truly free. It might take another cycle before we figure out the best models for decentralized AI, but I see the two industries merging into one. Crypto must exist for AI to reach its full potential, and the fates of the two industries will be intertwined from here on out.

If you could only spend half an hour every day on crypto. This involves investing, researching, talking or reading up on new projects. How would you spend your 30 minutes for maximum impact?

I’d listen to podcasts, and I’d listen to them on 2x so you could turn that 30 minutes into 60 minutes. Then, whatever you learn from podcasts, I’d use as a stepping stone to research specific tickers on Twitter, Coingecko and DeFiLlama. Bankless and The Break Down with NLW are two very solid podcasts for people who can’t be plugged into the industry non-stop. Podcasts changed my life. They can do the same for you, too.

Where can readers / listeners get your theses for 2024?

Follow @redphonecrypto on Twitter and turn on notifications to be among the first to read my crypto theses for 2024.

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