The footballing Bitcoiner: Kieran Gibbs

Former Arsenal and England national team footballer Kieran Gibbs was recently interviewed by Saifedean Ammous on ??????The Bitcoin Standard Podcast?? ?????. In the podcast, the footballer talks about his football career, of course, but also about how Bitcoin has changed him and lowered his time preference.

Kieren Gibbs is an English footballer who often plays as a left back. From the age of fourteen he played for the London football club Arsenal. At the age of twenty-six he moved to West Bromwich Albion FC. He came into contact with Bitcoin in 2017 through his then teammate Hal Robson-Kanu.

Now, in the twilight of his career, he plays in sunny Miami at Inter Miami CF, where he is paid 50% of his salary in bitcoin.

Time preference and consumption

Time preference is discussed extensively in the podcast. Not entirely remarkable, because it is a crucial concept when you think more deeply about money and is central to Ammous’s books. But what does it actually mean? Time preference refers to the ratio in which people value the present versus the future. People naturally value consumption more now than in the future. After all, the future is uncertain and far away.

People with a low time preference postpone their consumption by saving now and consuming later. People with a high time preference consume now and may even advance their future consumption by borrowing money. To have or develop a low time preference, you need solid money. In other words: money that retains its value over time and therefore does not lose 13.6% on an annual basis in value (purchasing power). Solid money gives people an incentive to think about their future.

Time preference in football

But what does time preference have to do with football? When children start playing football, they simply want to score and nothing more, Ammous says in the podcast. They play with a high time preference: every child wants the ball and to score.

Lowering the child’s time preference helps him become a better football player. You simply have to convince him that instead of shooting himself every time, which is likely to result in few goals, he should pass the ball to a teammate who is in a better position and therefore invests in a better chance to score and win the match.

You also see teams with different time preferences in professional football, says Gibbs. During his time at West Bromwich Albion FC, his team played with a high time preference, as they were often the lesser and had few opportunities. They had to seize the opportunities they got.

At Arsenal it was exactly the other way around. There they were often the better team and they tried to completely destroy the opponent. Here Gibbs draws an analogy with the Bitcoin network.

With every pass we got better at Arsenal, just like Bitcoin gets stronger every day. Kieran Gibbs (professional soccer player)

Not only Gibbs makes connections between football and time preference. Kristalina Georgieva, the director of the IMF, also did so a few months ago in a panel discussion with central bankers. She said that central bankers sometimes act like eight-year-olds playing football. She implicitly says that central bankers do not look beyond their noses (read: have a high time preference) and are only concerned with preventing current crises (corona pandemic, gas crisis, etc.).

The Bitcoin Standard Podcast

Many more interesting topics will be discussed in the interview. Whether you’re a Bitcoiner or a football fan, the podcast with Kieran Gibbs is definitely worth listening to.

Read more about Bitcoin and football here. Would you rather listen to a Dutch-language podcast? Then listen to episode 235 B of the Cryptocast.

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