Travelling the world with 50+ and investing in Bitcoin – Interview with a Senior Bitcoin Nomad

For those who don’t know you, can you introduce yourself?

I am called Benedikt and I consider myself being a lifestyle artist. Pursuing this art, I was thrilled to learn many different things. Some of them to expertise, others only as far as it suited my needs. Things add up in over 50 years.
I worked a lot, but never had a “job”. This earned me quite some money, without ever paying income tax. Which was made possible by diversifying assets in different countries and never become resident in one of them. For over 20 years.
A long time ago, I thought the asphalt under my motorcycle would make me free. Later it turned out that the internet was the road that actually led me to freedom.

What was your way into Bitcoin?

I was introduced to world of digital currencies by Christoph Heuermann during a Staatenlos Seminar in November 2016. It took me three hours to halfway grasp the underlying technology, but I immediately understood the enormous potential of digital money. Thrilled, I opened a XAPO account in the middle of the seminar and once funds cleared, bought my first BTC at roughly $700 each. Even after the crash this is still my best investment.


You often use the hashtag #seniornomad, many people
above 50 aren’t into travelling anymore, why do you think is that?


Imagine yourself doing the same things over and over again for, let’s say, 20 or 25 years. You will believe, that these habits have pretty much become part of your being. It becomes very hard to imagine being away from “home” for any longer timespan than those 14 days you have always gone on “holiday”.

Talking of which, most people do have an occupation which simply won’t allow them to be lead an international lifestyle. Even when running their own business, they can’t just leave it in the hands of employees for months, because most businesses have been designed to fully depend on the “boss”. Independent professionals like architects, lawyers or doctors run their practices locally, a three month escape could pretty much ruin it. Last but not least, employees have only 30 free days per year.
Even it this wasn’t an issue, family and social obligations are equally in the way. Spouses and life partners would be required to have the same liberty, which mostly they don’t. Most over 50 are so much entangled in their local ambience, that they do not want to leave it behind.

Sadly enough, quite many in my generation are no longer healthy people. An insane lifestyle takes its toll and causes a plethora of chronic diseases. Doctor appointments and treatment routines do further limit their freedom to live where they like. Most of them will furthermore deeply mistrust any non-European medical system. As if medicine was rocket science with German doctors being the only scientists.
All in all, we “Boomers” usually have a life which is (hopefully) some kind of a proven success model. It is much harder to abandon what you have built in decades, than to start building something from scratch. Most people would rather chose to die than making any radical changes.

On your blog iovivo you write about the nomad lifestyle
and investments, who is your target audience?

I aim to offer help and encouragement to anyone who is unhappy with his current situation and truly wanting to make changes. Unlike many other nomad blogs, I am not focusing on how to build a business and generate wealth, but rather on how to preserve and make the most of it. I am as well dealing with healthcare issues and developing ideas for alternative retirement facilities. Not really topics for Millennials. Therefore my main audience is the German language 45+ generation.

Many people of the boomer generation or older are
ignorant about Bitcoin, what reasons do they have?

I have been watching the same effect over 20 years ago, when the internet started to take off. Whenever I told friends about the unbelievable opportunities connected with this new technology, they would just give me an incredulous smile and keep on buying real estate and Volkswagen shares. We lost sight of each other because the internet enabled me to generate tax-free income and live a location independent life, while they are still stuck in Germany.


Now, I am telling different people in sunny places about the huge opportunities in the crypto sphere and again I am getting these looks. With the sole difference that these people are rich already and simply don’t want to take the efforts to get involved in a risky market. Let us not forget: Quite some of us boomers have already acquired a very solid level of wealth. They have been profiting from the last decade of soaring stock and real estate markets and thus see no reason to look at alternative investments. If ever, you may tempt them with gold, but not with its digital version.
This is mainly due to the blatant misinformation by the established press. Whenever I mention Bitcoin to people my age, they will connect it with online drug deals and big scale money laundering. Of course, none of them has ever gone through the KYC procedures of major exchanges like Bitfinex or Coinbase. None of them knows, how bad an idea it is to have illegal activities stored on the blockchain. All they do, is repeat what they have heard or read from equally ill-informed journalists.

Most of the valuable information on the crypto universe is published in English, which adds yet another barrier. The matter is new, highly complex and, to make things worse, it is explained in a foreign language. This is why I mostly write and speak in German. Furthermore my generation has still grown up with the belief that anyone wearing a suit is to be trusted. Politicians, CEOs and Bankers wear suits. So anything promoted by a bunch of
anarchist computer nerds has to be distrusted. It is way out of their thinking, that anything could ever be able to replace government money handled by the banking system.
Future will tell…

 

You have internationalised your life, what future do you see for the nation state?
The Ancient Greek “Polis” was not supposed not be much larger than the territory that could be overlooked from the temple hill. So much for Nation States. This is how democracy could work, entities were small enough get their citizens directly
involved in the decision making process. They were even obliged to incorporate official functions in the polis. Anyone eligible had to take his turn. There were no “career” politicians and the formation of political parties was punishable as “conspiracy”. Just imagine!
I would very much wish for the formation of similar societies. Where free citizens can take their fates in their own hands instead of having a bunch of mediocre figures following the commandments of industrial lobbies. Blockchain and smart contracts could even make that happen on a much larger scale than this was possible in the ancient times.
Unfortunately the exact opposite is happening throughout the world. Behemoths like China, the USA and an ever tightening European Union are grabbing for more and more power, crippling civil rights with a tide of regulations.
In opposition to this, we are seeing nationalist movements arising in almost any European country. It is yet to be seen whether they will gain more traction, despite of the established parties and media efforts to demonise them. Currently there is chasm in society, even within families, between conservative nationalists and international socialists. Who ever wins this battle, one outcome is for sure: We will have to live with Nation States for much longer and they will have more power over their citizens than ever before.
One more argument for internationalizing ones lives. Go where you are treated best.

 

Besides Bitcoin, what kind of investments do you like?
Like any libertarian I am a big fan of precious metals and I am holding gold. Some small “carry-on” quantity to help out just in case the current system fails. And some more stored in, what I hope to be safe, Singapore vaults. I know, gold is not an investment because it does not yield interests. But what does nowadays? The value of gold however has increased four times since the Year 2000. Not too bad for not being an investment. LOL!
Likewise I have been collecting vintage wristwatches for decades. Some of these pieces have seen enormous appreciation. Most unfortunately I sold most of them years ago and
started buying into the market again recently. You must however know what you are doing there, successful investing requires quite some knowledge.
So far I never went into real estate, which is a bit of a shame. On the other hand, I do deeply distrust European governments. In case the shit ever hits the fan, real estate owners are sitting ducks that will get plucked. I am however planning to invest in Colombia. It is a striving country that has just gained some political stability and it is a great place where I can imagine to live. Also, you pay Colombian real estate prices, but rent out at US rates over AirBnB. Tempting!

 

What do you expect to happen in 2020?
Unfortunately I still don’t have a crystal ball. I am reading a lot on the internet instead and there is much talking about the big crash happening next year. I don’t believe it. Governments will still find new ways to avoid the moment of truth by maintaining the zero interest policies and keep printing fresh money. As long as there are institutions they can oblige to buy the bonds backing that money, the fragile balance can be maintained for yet another year or two, or more? Talking Bitcoin, there is much anticipation about the next reward halving. Some people see the next rally upcoming, because it did at any halving, others say that the event is already baked in the current price.
I believe that there is not much to happen until Bitcoin reaches a much wider adoption. But if we succeed in creating a big hype about May 2020 and generate some serious FOMO, fresh money could be floating into that midget of a market it currently is.
What else? The sun will rise in the mornings and go down in the evenings. That we can be sure of.

What is the top reason to learn about Bitcoin?
It has been the first of its kind and it is maybe the most easy to understand principle. It is the IP-packet transfer of money and adds the long missing payment layer to the internet. Understanding its basics is helpful, although anyone uses a mobile phone without understanding the underlying technologies.

Anything you’d love to talk about?
Leading a happy life is an art. It is way too complex to approach it by simply defining goals, making plans and sticking to them. Yet this is exactly the bullshit most “lifestyle coaches” keep feeding us. How can I know, if reaching my “goals” will ever result in happiness?
Here comes my story: Decades ago, I had the goal to become a fighter pilot in the German Luftwaffe. At this time I was already serving in the German Army in an international unit, but I was far away from accomplishing the fitness requirements to obtain the required “Sportabzeichen”. Some sort of official medal.
I had always been the wise-ass, reading kid and hated sports to my guts. Despite this, I now started running 5K in the mornings, working out and training athletics. Running in the
cold was fine, but swimming 200m in less than 6:30 minutes came really hard. I still can’t imagine any more disgusting place than an indoor pool!
In the end I made it, passed the physical exams, intelligence test and the assessment
center, just in order to fail in the psychological test. Months of effort in vain…
Well…. Had I succeeded achieving my goal I would now be a retired officer with a ruined health (oh yes, pilots do age quickly). Living off a rather small pension in a semi detached house somewhere in cold and gray Germany.
Having failed, I came to lead an exciting life being my own boss. I think my next “goal” was driving a Porsche. On this one I succeeded and I am now writing this in a hotel suite high above Bangkok, anticipating weeks of travel with two of my sons.
What remained of my “failure”? A good health! I still hate sports to my guts, but I stuck to the habit of keeping in shape. Earning a multiple of a pilot’s pension, I can even afford personal trainers to kick my lazy b*** So much for goals. There are no straight lines in life, but everything is interconnected in a deeply intrinsic way. No effort is truly in vain, it may just have a very different outcome than you first thought.

PS:
Sold my last Porsche 12 years ago and don’t own a car anymore…