Listening to the final days of Dave Kleiman recounted for a Miami federal courtroom was life-changing for me: the gruesome details of his weeping bed sores, uncontrollable staph infection, brittle limbs, and his depression were very upsetting. Dave left the VA hospital after a stay that bridged three calendar years at the end of his life because he just wanted to be home.
But about a month after leaving, Dave was found dead and decomposing in his apartment, surrounded by wheelchair tracks made in blood and feces. There was a bullet hole in the mattress and a loaded gun next to his corpse, but no casings at the scene and the official cause of death was deemed to be a heart attack due to uncontrollable MRSA.
Doing nightly livestreams for special coverage was a highlight of my time in Miami, but the day we listened about Dave’s last days was tough on the jury and everyone else in the room.
That night, I closed the stream with a reminder to “be good to each other.”
We get tangled up in the competitive nature of Bitcoin: the politics, the splits, the personalities. So many things seem like the end of the world as we debate them. Whether it’s the “back to genesis problem” or something like “0 satoshi tokens” or whether or not Bitcoin was ever meant to scale on-chain at all, so many people perceive themselves as a hero in a fight for all time but are we really willing to die on a hill based on the definition of a “node?” Do we really want the sum total of our reputations to be remembered for calling each other boomers, idiots, scammers, cucks, Nazis, or worse?
I sure hope not. Because if we have to sell our souls to win small games in Bitcoin, then we will lose the real battle: to free the money, fix the protocol, and free the world.
Dave’s best friend
Craig Wright wasn’t Dave’s best friend. Dave was Craig’s best friend. There’s an important distinction in this, and it teaches an important lesson.
Dave admired Craig, sought his approval, and clearly loved working with him. Proximity to Craig Wright and his work was a highlight in Dave’s career. But Craig’s world was so big that he didn’t have time to commit to being the close friend that Dave needed in the final stages of his life.
He did love Dave, though.
Dave’s best friend was a man named Kimon Andreou. During those last years when Dave was trapped at the VA hospital, Kimon would visit most days of the week for several years. Kimon held back tears on the stand in Miami, recalling his jokes with Dave, how he brought food and snacks and how they would talk or watch shows. We got to see a great information dump of their personal text messages between each other, and they were as hilarious as any texts would be between two close friends. They picked on each other, and they encouraged each other. They were self-deprecating and brutally honest. They were as light as they were heavy and riddled with inside jokes and the hallmarks of two dear friends.
Those two had a beautiful friendship, and for Kimon, it was an incredibly sacrificial one. He had a full-time career, a daily commute, and his own responsibilities. But instead of going straight home after work, he would visit Dave essentially every day to spend a few hours giving Dave relief from his medical monotony. We should all pray to have a friend in our lives like Kimon Andreou, someone who embodies the sacrifice necessary to “be good to each other,” not just when it’s convenient or profitable, but to indeed be good to each other when it’s really damn hard.
So, I think about the scars we’ve sustained amid the Bitcoin civil war that never seems to end. I think of the sharp words I’ve been told by people I’ve formerly called friends. I think of the people I have had to kick out of my own life with tears in my eyes and regret in my heart. I think of the giant scar up the center of Craig’s face and wonder who gave it to him and why. I think of the fear and frustration that Dave lived through in his last days as he likely wondered why life could be so awfully unfair.
I also think about people who have the gift of compassion, like Kimon Andreou or my dear wife, or someone like Ramona Watts, who dedicated her life to standing arm-in-arm with Craig Wright through all of this tumult. I also think of the people who send me kind notes or encouragement when they see me being ridiculed, and I’m reminded that amid all the bad things in bitcoin, there are kind, good, and beautiful people that make it all worth it.
When the dust settles, when the winds change, and when we look back on our life’s work, I intend to be remembered for being good to people. That’s why I’ve increasingly adopted “be good to each other” as a closing thought in my shows and appearances. The only way to win in bitcoin is to get so good at cooperating and to be such a sincere leader that people become leaders themselves due to the example of goodness that emanates from our behavior.
So I challenge you: “be good to each other.”
Check out all of the CoinGeek special reports on the Kleiman v Wright YouTube playlist.
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