Estimated reading time: 7 minutes, 10 seconds
If you are reading this, then you have stumbled across a goldmine of information about blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies. (If you’re interested in more information, head over to our crypto page!) In this series, I will tell my personal story–my cryptocurrency trading adventure–of how I went down the crypto rabbit hole and have no plans to look back!
***This is NOT meant to be financial advice, just my story***
I’m currently sitting here running an Ethereum node on my Mac. There is more than $8,000 accessible in one account, with another $8,000 locked away in an account to which I no longer have access (talk about scream-worthy!). Additionally, I have $4,000 in alt coins on my mobile light client–plus, an ounce of gold. After a year-and-a-half, I’ve come a long way and had a helluva time. Back in January 2016, I had a tablet and mobile, but no laptop. But, by the time February 2016 rolled around, I took $600 dollars, made a plan, and I got a new laptop. My crypto knowledge has truly allowed me to successfully play the (crypto) game!
The start of it all
Back in 2013 I met T, who would end up being my best friend. Never in a million years, though, would I have guessed where we’d be in 2017. We met through a couple mutual friends, and ended up closer then with the people who introduced us. We would hang out on Mondays and have beers, and discuss different subjects, where we often had opposite perspectives. We’d argue, discuss, and then argue some more. But, for some odd reason, we ended up agreeing somehow, someway. And I’m not talking about agreeing to disagree. Instead, T and I left the conversation on the same page, with an understanding for that other person’s perspective. It was definitely weird, but oddly exciting.
While on a sabbatical from work, T came across this new technology called Bitcoin. He told me about this imaginary magic internet money. I’ll admit I was intrigued, but definitely wasn’t a believer. T ended traveling a bit with his time off, going to different Bitcoin conventions and meet ups, learning more and more. Over time, I noticed that our Monday talks had turned from a controlled chaos of conversations to more of a futuristic, idealistic vibes. He was engulfed in this cryptocurrency thing called Bitcoin. He would tell me about all the capabilities and possibilities of this new, oncoming technological wave. Again, I was interested, but not even remotely sold.
T then took a leap of faith and went full on Bitcoin. Mining, trading, traveling, it was all bitcoin, bitcoin, bitcoin! He constantly told me to do independent research and invest. But, again, cryptocurrency hadn’t sold me, yet. T eventually left for weeks at a time. He lived and breathed crypto… and it was starting to pay off. He met a group of like-minded individuals, who acknowledged the awesomeness of Bitcoin. However, they also pointed out its limitations. One day, T told me he was moving overseas for a while. It was sad, but it was kind of awesome knowing I had a friend out in the world living his life and doing what he wants!
My transition had begun
In the meantime, I was picking up random jobs here and there to build and maintain a financial nest egg. In the end, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do. Shortly thereafter, I got an opportunity to manage a property and rent it as Airbnb. I was hesitant at first, but then jumped at the opportunity. At the same time, I kept hearing more and more about Bitcoin. Topics were good and bad, ranging from the Silk Road to remittance.
I heard from T whenever he popped in town. We’d catch up and he’d tell me about this crazy project he was working on. Little did I know, though, the full magnitude of what he was doing. He was a friend. I wanted to know how he was doing, not so much WHAT he was doing. But again, we would talk Bitcoin, where I thought I’d become well versed. Well, then came T, dumping on me! He was off Bitcoin and on this new thing called Ethereum.
It sucked because I felt I was just getting on his wavelength, and then here he goes, going above and beyond. But I will admit, the conversations were something like I’d never had before. We ended up discussing governance, the downfalls of centralization, the different economic theories…WTF did I get myself into?
The “Big” Leap
I like to think of myself as an opportunistic person. In February 2016, my personal story began. I had grown tired of sitting on the sidelines, reading up on cryptocurrencies, and all of their wondrous possibilities. Topics were so interesting, ranging from Mt. Gox, China “banning” Bitcoin, to discovering Ethereum, and crowdsourced projects. After doing my final push in research, I decided to buy a cheap laptop, hook up to the Ethereum network, and throw some money at it. But just like all the subreddits posts said, I did not invest more than I was willing to lose.
So, I figured, between the money coming in from the property management and my outgoing bills, if I were to “lose” my wallet with $200 dollars, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Replacing my cards and IDs would make me more pissed. While T was out creating the new internet, I was investing my measly $200 on this whimsical magical, internet money.
Luckily, I had a friend named Jeffe, who had made $700 off of this meme tip coin he had heard of on reddit called Dogecoin. I thought I was in it to win it! Jeffe and I took what little money we could spare, and went to a Bitcoin ATM. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to see the purchase, so I feel I missed the conception of my trading/hodler persona. (A trader is someone who trades crypto, while a “hodler” is someone who holds onto it. You can be both!) But, we bought in at $2.37 and that was the entry point of my adventure.
The Digital Wild Wild West
After buying in, I worked my way around the community. Once I found subreddits (shoutout to r/ethereum & r/ethtrader), set up my Google alerts, and got my blogroll tight, I felt I’d finally taken a leap of faith. I wanted to contribute to the cause, but I wasn’t a developer, angel investor, or anything along those lines. I was just an average guy who knew and believed in the tech.
The more I read, the more I felt blindsided. How and the hell had I not heard of blockchain and different types of crypto coins? There were merchants, exchanges, and financial institutions doing R&D on blockchain, and actually implementing it for business use. It felt like I’d discovered a planet with only a few members. I had a chance to stake claim in this new world.
So I ran my P.O.S. laptop at least 16 hours a day the first half of 2016. I figured if I couldn’t trade, mine, or code, I could at least contribute to the network by running an Ethereum node. I knew it wasn’t much, but between staying up to date on the current Ethereum news, watching my investment grow, and having my node up and connected, I felt I was part of the community.
Human beings strive for a sense of belonging, ranging from sports, to gangs, to sororities and so on, and so forth. But, I felt a sense of community with strangers online for the first time outside of social media. I’d keep an eye out for certain developer and trader news on the daily–I’d incorporated into my everyday life. I finally understood how T felt, and why he did a belly flop into cryptocurrencies. There were and still are so many possibilities with this technological wave.
Blockchains are certainly not limited to finance. They seem to benefit the most monetarily from this tech. But, blockchain tech (BCT) is so much more than finance. It had a real chance not to just disrupt businesses and marketplaces, but business models, as well! Again, I was dumbfounded. I really felt I had stumbled into the digital wild, wild west. And right on cue, just as I had found the “digital gold rush,” a robbery happens, and not just any old robbery, but The DAO.
Stay tuned for more Tales from a Trader!