Sinterklaas: On Belief, Chocolate Coinage, and Grownups Still Asleep

Well, well, well. It’s that time of year again in the Netherlands. Not just to celebrate the second Bitcoin Conference in Amsterdam, but also the arrival by steamboat of our red caped Saint, the Holy Man himself, patron of boats, sailors, and little children: Sinterklaas. Yes, he’s the bringer of gifts in the shoes of Dutch kids and swaps a carrot or drawing for a gold ribboned package of your deepest desire. He’s the original boss, Santa’s precursor (too bad Murica), and my red pill incarnate.

Back at primary school, when I still ‘believed’, it was Micky, a kid from class, who burst my magical bubble. He was a funny boy and used to play tricks on everybody. For instance, he’d ask you coke or sprite, and whatever your response, he’d twist your wrist so badly you’d experience the ‘fizz’. Playing marbles with him was also a bad idea as the rules would change (in his favor) whilst playing, subsequently losing all my pretty beads. Of course it was Micky who’d break the magic spell I was under. I must not have been the only one, for he probably red pilled the entire class, but that day I understood: Sinterklaas was a scam. And I came down from my psychosis in which a bearded old Catholic pushed free gifts through my chimney as he traveled our gabled roofs at night by horse.

Frankly, I didn’t take it well. I felt dumb and disappointed by my parents. How could they lie to me? What had I done? I thought I was a nice boy? Anyhow, I didn’t tell them I wasn’t a believer in Sinterklaas anymore, as I didn’t want to shame them. Also, it was nice to be on the right side of the information asymmetry, so I shut up about it. Big mistake. That year my parents rented a Sinterklaas and helpers who came knocking at our front door. I had to let them in and play along. Too late to confess. Decades later I have to listen to my parents saying how wonderful it was that I still ‘believed’ that year. So embarrassing! Damn Saint.

But how real He had been, how I had believed the nonsense, and how painful the final reveal. What a cheat! I should have trusted my gut feelings around the anomalies, so Micky wouldn’t have to embarrass me so badly. Sigh.

Fortunately, I have made peace again with my Holy Man. In this demythologized world, I’m grateful the pagan tradition has survived and that every autumn the old bearded red fellow still rides the roofs and cobblestone streets, chucking candy at the youngsters. He’s a trickster god, a benevolent humbug, who explains his scheme and shows the secret, to teach you a valuable lesson for adulthood with its many fake constructs grownups blindly believe. Unfortunately, in adult land, there’s nobody to wake you up. And so we keep on dreaming. Yes, Sinterklaas was very nice indeed, wasn’t he? He’s the tutorial. A free introductory course into the mechanisms of belief, deceit, and psychosis that deceive the eyes. Make no mistake, for that’s Sinterklaas’ greatest gift.

Vanishingly few!

But most grownups have forgotten his teachings. So certain are they. Hear they nothing what he says? With coco futures soaring to all time highs, even the Sinterklaas’ chocolate coins have become a better store of value compared to the euro, pound, or dollar. And yet we keep on believing; patting ourselves on the back for not trusting in myth, fairytale, or Saint, whilst blindly confiding in the world’s greatest paper fantasy. But, you must feel the scam around you. Here, between you, me, the chocolate coin, the peso, everywhere. Yes…even between the land and the steamboat.

Hence the Sinterklaas experience is not just a local tradition but a metaphor for the global initiation into Bitcoin. All fiat freaks are still children in that sense. But without a trickster guardian, who’s going to teach them? How will they wake up? When will they realize it is spawned out of thin air? Painful it is to admit one has been fooled. But the most agonizing thing is to be orphaned from the system. Especially when you have never been rugged, this abandonment can be too much to handle, persuading people to remain asleep.

This is why I celebrate my Saint. And I feel sorrow for the ones who have forgotten, where he’s been erased from existence. But my trickster survived. He rugged me early, so I could see the rug later. And find my way…to the real.

So in October, do the man a pleasure when you’re flying over to Amsterdam. Whether you’re a fiat fanatic, alt bag holder, or got your burlap sack already filled to the rim with sats; go buy some chocolate frogs, a sweet Sinterklaas effigy, or some carrot-cake flavored peppernuts at the Albert Heijn supermarket. Export his chocolate coins all over the world and inflate your sweet fiat friends till the sugar decays the enamel of their pristine white teeth. Praise the Man. Honor the Saint, the patron of gifts, tricks, and rugpulls. He wants to return.

I believe in him. And am grateful to have been an early initiate.