Some people ask me why I love Bitcoin so much, given that I (at the time of this writing) don’t have very much. I wear Bitcoin shirts, talk about it way too much, and have convinced dozens of businesses to adopt it–I even got a Bitcoin tattoo on my left shoulder, paid for in BTC. No wonder they ask.
Usually, I just shrug it off (the question, not the tattoo), and say that I hate the government. That is fairly correct, but it’s not the real reason I’m so passionate about cryptocurrency. While Bitcoin certainly is able to fix some of our world’s biggest problems, and I’d like to think my motivations are as logical as that, the deeper reasons are more personal. Let me tell you the story of how I got into the scene.
When I first learned about Bitcoin, I wasn’t doing much with my life beyond the Meet Up groups I was organizing, and part-time tutoring work. Having done poorly at school for health and other reasons, I was unable to get a decent job in technology or writing, despite a predilection. It was almost out of frustration that I enjoyed the unregulated ease of buying and selling cryptocurrency: exchanges like BTC-e require little more than the capital to trade with, no stringest ID requirements or legal complexity.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have much capital to invest at the time. Somewhere around $80, however, I decided to take a chance and introduce Bitcoin to my daily life. I didn’t have any connections in the cryptocurrency industry, so I did what anyone who grew up on the Internet would do: I posted on a forum that I planned to make some event venues accept Bitcoin.
Adam Soltys answered almost immediately. His LinkedIn described his occupation as “Techno Hippy,” and he claimed to have around 1000 bitcoins. He said Bitcoin needed people who could sign up merchants, regardless of their background, and suggested I join a cooperative he was cofounding. He promised to provide all the funding and expertise necessary, and that it might lead to career opportunities for me.
We didn’t wait for the incorporation to be completed, or even for us to figure out how we wanted to do it. We took to the streets, and I signed up several more brick & mortar merchants, eventually arriving at Waves Coffee House. Despite being the youngest member of the Co-op at the time, I was made a director, and I was so proud–I was given the chance to really do something, and be appreciated for it.
Things were looking up, but I ran into problems in my personal life. I didn’t really have my own circle of friends here in Vancouver, but felt I had too much going on to leave. I had little other choice to but throw myself into what I was doing, and as I began to spend more and more time with my fellow Bitcoiners, I realized how passionate and dedicated they all were. People value a job well done in this community, sometimes as its own reward, and it’s evident when I watch them pour over GitHub and various wikis.
People began to notice my obsession, and to everyone who knew me before, I became Bitcoin Guy. I developed projects of my own, fueled by the support of friends at local (now international) exchanges like QuadrigaCX and CoinTrader. I gradually let go of my other responsibilities, until I was doing crypto full-time. Despite the long hours, I don’t feel too lonely, because almost everyone around me makes a good friend. I can talk about all of my favorite subjects, and people will actually pay attention. It’s a community for people who love logic but hate rules, and the easiest place I’ve found to be myself.
I probably won’t be so obsessed with Bitcoin forever, but even if I move onto other things, I’ll never regret my Bitcoin tattoo. It will be the stepping stone that got me there, and even if a new cryptocoin takes over, it will be all thanks to Bitcoin. I have a lot to thank Satoshi for, and I feel honored every day to be able to write for Bitcoin Magazine.
Do you love Bitcoin, too? Tell the world why in a video at http://lovebitcoin.co/, and you might win some BTC! The prize pool is currently over 5 bitcoins.
Andrew is one of the primary organizers of the Vancouver Bitcoin Meet Up, and the Director of Public Relations for the Bitcoin Cooperative. He spearheaded merchant adoption in Vancouver, having signed up the world’s first Indian restaurant, the Waves that houses the world’s first ATM, Vancouver’s first nightclub, and more! He is also the founder and lead coordinator of CoinFest, the first “decentralized” decentralized currency convention.