My Bitcoin Rollercoaster Ride
It’s been 9 years since my first tentative experiments with Bitcoin and the ride is just as exhilarating as ever, even more so as the price has begun skyrocketing once again. After reading about the technology way back in 2013 and setting up my old windows computer with software to mine coins, realizing my hard drive was too small to store the blockchain ledger and my computer too slow and clunky to process transactions, I gave up before receiving any coins. But I realized that it was something important and I needed to learn everything I could about it and understand how it worked and more importantly, how to participate.
Cut to mid 2019, almost 2 years after the crazy December 17, 2017 peak of USD $19,783.21 per coin and the following February 7, 2019 swan dive to a low of USD $3,399. I’ve been ‘HODLing‘ for a few years, buying during the slumps and reading various stories of a possible million dollar Bitcoin. Fascinating and enticing.
So why am I so optimistic? Well, I seem to have an uncanny ability to recognize and embrace technologies far earlier than most. Back in 1993 I connected to the Internet using my old PC via dialup modem, sharing a single T1 line at Wimsey Information Services, the first commercial ISP in Canada. I struggled through the installation and use of Winsock, Pine, Lynx (to be quickly replaced by Mosaic and shortly after by Netscape) and other strange software. Even though I had no idea how much it would change the world I knew it was important. I even tried to convince the then head of IT at The Vancouver Sun and The Province IT to consider creating websites for each paper and catching the wave. He had no real understanding, no vision and so I had no luck convincing him before being unceremoniously escorted from his office by an assistant. It’s comforting to know I was right and he was very wrong.
I embraced file sharing via FTP, UseNet, P2P (Napster, File Shark et al) and BitTorrent. I used Pretty Good Privacy to encrypt my email and files. I ran Linux and Windows NT using shuttle drives on my towering PC to change operating systems at will. I created my first website shortly after connecting to the Internet in the early 90’s and started an Internet consulting business with my brother aptly called ‘The Net Brothers Internet Service’ which helped home users and businesses connect to the Internet using the limited software and connection speeds of the time. Our tag line was ‘Intenet @ Home’, which was a rarity in those early days. It did well but cut into my life and regular job so much I had to eventually abandon the business but not before appearing on CNKW with Bill Good and CBC with Ceceila Walters and the lovely Marg Meikle to discuss this new thing called the Internet.
I embraced MP3 files in the mid 90’s, downloading and storing on expensive hard drives (which I eventually replaced with an Infrant ReadyNAS NV), playing them at parties on my PC connected to my stereo system (most didn’t understand where the music was coming from) and searching for a small player to listen to my growing file collection while while running and driving. I purchased various players as they were developed and became available but finally found what I was looking for in the first generation Apple iPod. It did what I felt an MP3 player needed to do.
The same curiosity and fascination followed as I searched for digital media players to display downloaded video files on my TV without using my computer. This seemed a natural progression once I discovered quality video files but I had to purchase various sketchy players before the discovering the Boxee Box, still what I consider the best media player ever invented and sadly abandoned by it’s manufacturer. Roku players have since replaced my Boxees but I still have two connected to tackle some of the file formats the Rokus still can’t display.
Those are just a few of my early recognition and adoption stories but I mention them to prove a point to you, dear reader, and also myself. From the moment I read about Bitcoin, learned how it worked and the effect it would eventually have on individuals around the world, governments and banks, it just felt like something I had to embrace. I’m not saying I foresaw the crazy price increases and ensuing wave of hype and publicity that would follow, but I realized that the technology was important and would change my life in one way or another. I experimented with mining, how to safely buy and store my coins and other aspects of the technology I felt intuitively that were needed at the time but, much like everything else, I had to wait for solutions to catch up to my needs. In 2016 I shared my knowledge of cryptocurrencies with a select group at work, a few taking my advice by buying and storing as per my instructions, a few of those selling shortly after but three people still hold their Bitcoin and are happy they bought in those years ago. You’re welcome
So here’s the bottom line…buy Bitcoin. Buy whatever you can and as often as you can, keep your purchases offline using a Ledger Nano or other suitable hardware wallet, and simply wait. I have no idea how long or what the future holds but if my instincts are as dependable as they have been in the past, good things will come to those who take my advice.
Take some time to read about what Bitcoin is and how it works. Watch a documentary or a Youtube video to educate yourself. But more importantly, embrace it. It’s here to stay and only the future will prove me wrong. Or very, very right. Again.