The smell of latex and hand sanitizer penetrated my nose. The bright light pierced like a thousand daggers as the cold air hit my lungs with the fierceness of a brutal January blizzard in Minnesota. Why! Why did I have to leave the comfort of my Mother’s womb?…….Nah! Just kidding.
Flash forward 28 years or so. It is the spring of 2015. I have never been the type of gambler that blows their whole paycheck at the casino, but was longing for the days of blowing $20 dollars in online Texas Hold’em. The government had all but shut down these sites and squashed all online gambling in general here in the United States. I had a few beers that night while reminiscing about all of the money I had lost on Poker Stars. So, began my search for an alternative poker fix. It only took a few minutes to discover multiple options. There was a major catch however. All of these sites were using this mystery currency called Bitcoin to gamble. Not really wanting to be lumped in with the drug dealers and human traffickers I had associated with Bitcoin, I decided to keep searching. After a few more beers and no luck, I decided to try out a site called “Nitrogen Sports”. Not only did this site have Texas Hold’em, but also the glorious world of sports gambling, which I had only experienced in my couple trips to Las Vegas. Now all I needed is to purchase Bitcoin, and I’ll be gambling to my little heart’s content. I did a little more research using the Google machine, and quickly realized Bitcoin was much more than some digital play currency for pimps and dealers. One problem still…..how do I purchase this stuff. It seems like any exchange that exists are scams waiting to steal your money(Mt. Gox, I’m looking at you), or some shady Chinese company looking to steal your bank account info. I did come across this relatively new exchange that was gaining tons of popularity and had all the makings of a legit company. My gut was still telling me not to give this company my bank account information, but 8 Budweisers were telling me to give Coinbase all my money. The Coinbase app made purchasing Bitcoin really quick, painless, and easy(didn’t have KYC yet, so no I.D. required). Unfortunately, I never got to play Texas Hold’em or bet on sports that night, as I had to wait what felt like an eternity for my bank account to get approved and my Bitcoin to be deposited. About 7 days later, I had my nearly 0.5 Bitcoin that I had purchased for $100 and was primed to get my gamble on. I transferred the funds to Nitrogen Sports, which was way easier than I presumed it was going to be. I brought my Bitcoin to the virtual poker room with all the giddiness of a 6-year-old boy unwrapping a Nintendo on Christmas, just to have my dreams crushed. The poker room was dead. I got socks for Christmas. Well, I could always bet on sports. One problem. I bet most of my Bitcoin on Minnesota sports teams(if you follow Minnesota sports, you would realize how foolish this was). A few bets on the Twins, future bets on the Timberwolves, Twins, and Vikings to win their respective championships, and my Bitcoin was gone(well mostly gone and this will be relevant later in my story). My gambling career was over.
Gambling may never work out for me, but I found this thing called Bitcoin, which kind of mixed gambling, investing, and freedom in one nutty little experiment. I decided to contribute $50 dollars a month to this experiment, partially as a speculative investment and partially as a middle finger to Fiat(oh, all of the fun lingo I’ve learned). I became emotionally invested in the Bitcoin Scaling debate(I chose the side of the r/Bitcoin gang on Reddit). I began studying Ethereum and was intrigued by smart contracts and Dapps. The whole time I continued putting $50 a month into Bitcoin. Eventually, I had 3.5 bitcoin to my name and had only invested about $800. This is now the spring of 2016 and my wife and I decided that we would start saving to purchase a home. That meant no more internet play money would be bought. That summer was spent saving all of our fiat for a house and enjoying my son play baseball. Bitcoin was no longer on my mind and I was taking a break, beside the intermittent checking of Coin Market Cap. If you think I’m about to tell you that I hodled(lingo) and sold my Bitcoin at its peak, or I found Digibyte one warm Summer’s night, you would be greatly underestimating the path of this winding crypto journey. By the middle of summer 2016, I was experiencing my first pump(lingo). Bitcoin’s price had shot all the way to over $700. After telling my wife with pure joy and excitement that my play money had tripled in value, she had convinced me to sell so we could help cover moving costs. I sold that 3.5 Bitcoin, for $2500(Over 3x what I had initially invested), and I sold right at Bitcoin’s peak. I’m a genius! Bitcoin dumped(lingo). It retreated almost instantly back into the $500’s and I was feeling great about my decision. That’s right boys and girls, I sold at Bitcoin’s peak, if you would like to sign up for trading classes and tutorials, you are looking at crypto Warren Buffet. We used our money to help with moving costs and moved into our new townhouse, complete with a pool table in the mancave.
While watching the Vikings stomp their opponents in the mancave surrounded by Minnesota sports memorabilia, I remembered I could throw away more money at these worthless Minnesota teams. Fired up the old Nitrogen Sports app and found that measly 25 cents that I had left in my account had ballooned to over $1. I purchased $50 dollars worth of Bitcoin on Coinbase, but while I was waiting, I decided to make some crazy parlay(gambling lingo) with that remaining Bitcoin. I made a 15 game parlay on that weeks NFL games, betting the spreads and money lines, concluding with Sunday night’s match of Green Bay vs. New York Giants. If you think I am about to tell you I hit every game of the parlay……you are right. After watching the first 14 games of the parlay play out exactly has I predicted, it all came down to that Sunday night matchup. For those that do not know how a parlay works, you bet on multiple outcomes, you either hit everyone exactly correct and you win a huge payout, or you miss just 1 outcome and you lose your bet. So, even if I hit on the first 14 games, but lose this last one, I win NOTHING! I bet the Giants to cover +7.5 meaning a Giants win, or a Giants loss by 7 points or less and I win over $500 worth of Bitcoin. 4th quarter and the Giants are down 23-9. Giants have the ball with under 3 minutes remaining and Eli Manning finds Odell Beckham Jr. in the back of the end zone(And I mean the back. The play had to be reviewed as there was only a half blade of grass between his toes and the white line). Odell ran to the sideline and hugged the kickers net that he assaulted the previous week(google it). I also was hugging inanimate objects with pure joy. The Packers ended up running out the clock and the Giants lost by exactly 7 points. This time I was going to invest my earnings and get back into the crypto game.
To be honest, my wife felt really bad about convincing me to sell my initial Bitcoin investment for the house, and she had urged me to buy some more crypto. I followed her advice, but this time Bitcoin was off my radar. I wanted to put this money in some other projects that had promise in my eyes. I went on Coin Market Cap and studied the top 20 coins or so. As far as I could tell Bitcoin was still king, but 2 projects really caught my attention. Litecoin and Ethereum. Litecoin was a fork off the Bitcoin blockchain and by my estimation was 4x better in every category. 4x faster(2.5 minute blocks), 4x supply(great for price adoption), and only 1/4 the price of Bitcoin(lies). Litecoin was superior in my eyes and based on supply should be 1/4 Bitcoin’s price, but was closer to 1/200 Bitcoin’s price. Mentions of segwit and atomic swaps confirmed this notion and I could not believe how undervalued Litecoin was(and still is). I could potentially swap my Litecoin for Bitcoin in the future using a decentralized smart contract, in my basic knowledge of the cryptosphere, it only seemed logical Litecoin’s price would eventually catch up to Bitcoin’s. The creator of Litecoin was also a huge plus for me. He was a current employee at Coinbase(yes, I heard the rumors of it being added to Coinbase), he was outspoken, smart, funny, and witty. Some people really seemed to hate Charlie Lee, but I found him charming and a breath of fresh air in the mostly dull crypto space. I decided to buy an even 100 Litecoin for less than $400 dollars, and with the rest I decided to buy an even 10 Ethereum for just over $100. Ethereum was intriguing because of smart contracts, Dapps, and there strange, yet charming founder(Vitalik Buterin). Again, I stepped away from crypto for quite some time. Settled into the new house, and by next summer I was again watching my son’s baseball team. I hadn’t even been checking prices and was just enjoying life outside of crypto. I had heard the news that Litecoin was added to Coinbase a while back, but figured there wouldn’t be that much price movement. Boy, was I wrong. My 100 Litecoin were now worth over $4,000 and my 10 Ethereum were now worth over$3,000. That $500 was now worth over $7,000 in less than a year. I again started checking prices daily.
Thanksgiving 2017, I am eating dinner with my wife’s family and telling anybody who would listen about Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum, and all I received back were blank stares and looks of confusion. I tried explaining how crypto was going to the change the world and was met with not only skepticism, but they were convinced I was caught up in a Ponzi scheme or some new virtual, internet cult. I proudly showed them my gains I was making and the next day showed them how those insane gains had gone up another 50% over night, which I think only made them more skeptical. That next couple of weeks were very strange. I started dreaming about Lambos, Moons, and Chickun. I really started to think it could put me on the Forbes list, or at least a list of nicest cars on my block. I watched in disbelief as my portfolio mooned to over $10,000. I told myself if Litecoin hits $200 dollars I was selling at least half my stack. For a guy like me, who mostly lives paycheck to paycheck, this is life changing money already. It didn’t take long. December 11th I was habitually checking Coin Market Cap every 5 minutes, which had become customary over that 2 weeks, when I watched as Litecoin spiked above $200. I seriously considered faking sickness so I could leave work early to cash out. I resisted, but once 5 o’clock hit, I was out that door like Usain Bolt at the sound of the starting gun. I called my wife to tell her the good news, she was mildly excited, but reminded me my 11-year-old son had a choir concert at 6:30. I would not have enough time to transfer the funds from my ledger to Coinbase and make it to the concert. I begrudgingly went to the concert( I love my son, but man was that a tough decision). Got home rather late, sleepy from the excitement of a choir full of 11 year olds, and found the laptop dead. After the choir concert, most my excitement had vanished and I was feeling YOLO. F*ck It! Let it ride. HODL til the day I die! I hardly slept a wink that night and woke up tired for work. Again checking the price every 30 seconds this time, because the price was just accelerating. I’d check the price and then 30 seconds later, Litecoin would be up another $10. By the time I arrived home Litecoin was over $300. I quickly dug my ledger out of safe keeping, and started incrementally transferring funds to Coinbase and transferring to my bank account. I ended up selling half my stack(50 Litecoin and 5 Ethereum), totalling almost $20,000 at the time of sale. I decided to HODL the other half. This…..was life changing money. I paid off my wife’s car, 2 credit cards, and some small misc. bills(I know not very exciting, no Lambo, but the proud owner of a 2012 Kia Sportage). I watched in dismay as the bulls ended in January, but I still had money in the game and was looking to further my understanding of ALL crypto.
After I watched those insane gains come plummeting back to earth from the moon and leaving a crater in my soul, I decided it was time to find the next Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum. This time I was going to investigate ALL projects. I brought up Coin Market Cap again and started with the top 50 coins, then the top 100, then the top 200, and I even dabbled in the 200-300 range. Researched all of the ICO’s(really liked BAT), read numerous white papers(boring and full of BS), explored the communities on Twitter, Reddit, Telegram, etc.(mostly angry and disgruntled), but only 1 I kept coming back to. You guessed it…….Ripple. Well….actually the opposite of everything Ripple stands for….Digibyte. Thats right, the little coin nobody ever really looks at. Everything about the coin, is originally why I fell in love with crypto in the first place. Can I use it o gamble with…Check. Can I purchase a cup of coffee for very low fees and extremely fast…..check. Is it decentralized….check. Is it safe……check. But there was even more. The creator and developer of Digibyte is still very active in the community and still actively developing and growing Digibyte. The other members of the community are just as passionate as Jared Tate about the project and very, very rarely angry or disgruntled. Price matters, but is about 10th on the list of worries or focus of the community. The positivity of the community was such a breath of fresh Minnesota air after sludging through the cess pool of other communities. The goals are clear: Remain decentralized, remain open source, continue the growth of the blockchain, focus on security and privacy, and most of all stay passionate. I decided to put most of my remaining portfolio into Digibyte. Through the ups and downs(mostly downs in terms of price) of 2018, I myself stayed focused on development and learning. Price just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. I try to stay active on Reddit, Twitter, and Telegram, mostly just trying to spread the good news of developments to Digibyte. To be honest I could really care less if Digibyte drops to $0.000001 or not. I am in this project until the end. This community is intelligent, fun, passionate, and friendly.
I’ve decided my way of contributing to this cause, is to write some boring blogs that may or may not interest anybody in the crypto community. I want to write about my experiences and also write about upcoming developments in the space and share some knowledge. I hope you enjoyed my first post and if you made it all the way to end….Congratulations! Please comment on the post and I will send you 25 DGB.
P.S. The picture used for this post and my profile pic was created by my talented mother. This was a special Birthday commission 🙂 I found a picture on Google and she drew and painted it for me(freehand).