Orange Green Beret Veteran – Bitcoin Magazine
This is an opinion editorial by Green Beret and West Point graduate Adam R. Gebner.
The opinions expressed throughout this article are my own and in no way reflect the official policies or opinions of the United States Army or the United States Department of Defense. Although I am by no means a writer, I hope that by posting this, more service members consider working in the bitcoin industry and that bitcoin companies consider expanding their efforts to hire veterans. Plus, I’m still learning more about Bitcoin, how it works, and the potential value it can bring to our world. Please let me know where I am off base, thanks!
Early in my life, I knew I wanted to be a Green Beret officer. Fighting to liberate oppressed people by working by, with and through local people was at the heart of my motivations for choosing this path. I viewed the Special Forces mission as a cost-effective and efficient way to prevent large-scale conflict while allowing people to defend themselves and secure their own freedom. After graduating from West Point in 2014 and serving with the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) for three years, I finally earned my Green Beret and the opportunity to lead a detachment of select American soldiers. Now that I have accomplished what I set out to do in my military career by commanding an “A-Team” for two years, I look forward to the next mission in my professional life: to contribute to the adoption and integration of the best freedom-protecting innovation in modern history – Bitcoin.
Like so many others, I had a few touchpoints with Bitcoin before seriously considering the validity of the technology. In 2010, during my freshman year at West Point, I overheard a few computer science majors discussing this “internet money” and foolishly dismissed it without trying to learn anything else. Then in 2013 when I started learning about investing and economics, I came across bitcoin again. I read a little more, but not enough to understand how it could replace gold as a sound monetary system (thanks Peter Schiff…).
Finally, in the summer of 2017 when I was deployed to the Republic of Georgia, the “surge in numbers” piqued my curiosity and I made my first attempt at buying bitcoins. Unfortunately for me, the exchange I used, Coinbase, did not accept my orders because although I had a US driver’s license and a US passport, I had an Italian phone number and I was in the Republic of Georgia, which apparently was suspicious. I completely missed this bull run, but I finally started to learn more about bitcoin and the potential of this innovation.
The concepts I learned while reading about Austrian economics, personal investing, and American history clicked soon after. My perspective on some of the most persistent problems in the world has shifted to the realization that our global monetary system is corrupt, price signals are severely skewed, and national and global debt is unsustainable. Since then, I’ve continued to learn more about the economy, bitcoin, and the growing industry around it, while stacking the sats as often as possible.
This year, I finished my time in command and I had to make a career decision: to continue serving in the army or to transition. Service members, especially those who choose to serve for the standard 20-year career, have my deepest respect. Military life is not easy, it requires giving up a wide range of freedoms, giving one’s life to protect national interests and persisting in deep uncertainty. The military profession can offer an honorable career, but for various personal and professional reasons, I am called to do something else. I am inspired and encouraged to find work that contributes to a free and prosperous world, work that creates value for others, work that solves systemic problems. For me, that means bringing my experience to leading diverse and cross-functional teams in the market with the goal of contributing to Bitcoin’s continued success and expansion.
For any service member or veteran reading this, if you want to develop technical skills, take advantage of the Career Skillbridge program. I’m about to enroll in a Vet Tec program, a Veterans Affairs program to train transitioning military members in a variety of in-demand technical skills, like computer programming and data processing. My experience building models while studying mechanical engineering helped me with the learning curve, as did I have some experience taking courses on Code Academy. But anyone with a sincere desire to learn will succeed. Not every veteran or member of the bitcoin industry needs to have these technical skills, however, for those who want to work in product development or management, I believe having some software engineering background , in computer science or programming is almost essential and will make you much more marketable to bitcoin-focused businesses.
Other industry vets have been incredibly helpful. Often, a cold message on LinkedIn results in an enthusiastic response and a phone call. Veterans currently working with Bitcoin know that when the military leaves, they want to continue serving in a principled organization, and Bitcoin is arguably the most freedom-respecting industry in which to work. For departing military, find people who have already made the switch. They are excellent sounding boards for your ideas and potential career plans. You will only leave the military once (hopefully), talk to as many people as possible who have done it before you and are now working in your target industry.
For me, and for many other veterans, serving in an industry with an inspiring and impactful mission is an essential requirement for a post-military career. Of all the options, I believe working in the bitcoin industry and helping spread bitcoin adoption is a great choice for dedicated, driven, team-oriented veterans looking for their next opportunity to contribute to the society. To bitcoin companies, talk and hire veterans. There are many ways to offer transitioning veterans trials with your company at no cost to you. I think you will find veterans to be capable members of your team who will remain dedicated to your mission and to their colleagues.
I see the potential for a civilian career working with Bitcoin as an incredible opportunity to pursue after a very rewarding period of military service ends. I am excited to help grow the network and drive technology adoption. Despite FUD and recent global instability, I am optimistic about our future. As a Green Beret who was trained to foment revolutions in pursuit of expanding human freedoms, I have high hopes for what Bitcoiners can do for humanity.
This is a guest post by Adam R. Gebner. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.