Small Adventures in Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
Back in 2014, I began to read about Bitcoin, a new type of currency. I had no idea what it was or how it worked. But I had seen the price rising. At the time 1 Bitcoin was already worth about $566, having started at essentially zero 6 years before.
I decided I wanted to learn more about Bitcoin and the technology behind it. I was afraid I’d already missed the boat, so I only wanted to dabble and not “bet the farm”. I signed up for an account on Coinbase (disclosure: I get a small reward if you sign up using that link), already an established Bitcoin marketplace. I bought 1/5 of a Bitcoin for around $114 as a way to keep the concept in front of me. I didn’t actively trade, just watched as it meandered in value and then, suddenly began to take off. As of today, my investment is worth over $2000.
Unfortunately, as you can tell from that, I am not a crypto millionaire. But I really didn’t set out with that goal. I’m much too cautious for that. Still, I have made more than enough to pay for my new iPhone X. I just need to figure out when to pull the trigger and cash out enough to cover that cost. Should I hold? Should I take some of my gains now? (BTW, whenever I do, I will have to pay taxes on them).
In the meantime, my dabbling has kept me interested in the whole cryptocurrency field and the underlying technology called Blockchain. This included following the incredible story of Silk Road that used Bitcoin to trade in drugs and other nefarious goods and services. What the hell had I invested in?
But Silk Road was brought down and the dark reputation of Bitcoin was slowly rehabilitated. Some business started taking Bitcoin as payment. Cryptocurrency broke into multiple variants, like Ethereum, LiteCoin, and many others. In fact, at one point Coinbase split my Bitcoin holding in two, so suddenly I was the owner of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. It’s all still quite muddled, but also exciting to watch.
And the buzz around the possibilities of Blockchain and how it may affect our lives well beyond Cryptocurrency is even more interesting. Some have claimed Blockchain will prove more revolutionary than the advent of the Internet itself. Others are not so enthusiastic.
It’s difficult to separate the hype from reality at this stage. But if you want to get just a basic idea of what a blockchain is without getting a headache, I suggest watching this: