Bought my first bitcoin!
Then in the summer of 2015 for some reason that I can’t remember, I started thinking about Bitcoin again. I wondered what was going on with it. Had it gone away? To my surprise it still existed, and the price had dropped all the way down to $250! I got curious again, only this time I started researching to find out what Bitcoin and Blockchain was all about.
My research surprised me. I learned that Bitcoin could potentially become a new form of currency that could supplant the banks and the US dollar. To be honest, I kinda got excited about that idea because my faith in the banking system and the US dollar was pretty much non-existent. I painfully watched my partner’s 401-k lose 50% of its value in the housing market crash of 2008–2010; and the account never recovered all its losses. Thirty years of hard work and saving for retirement, then POOF, half of it was gone overnight!
So, I started reading blogs and books and watching YouTube videos. Gradually, I began to truly understand the life changing implications of Bitcoin and its blockchain. I got more and more excited about the anarchists’ ideas of shutting down the banks and creating a free, open, decentralized economy that would allow individuals to transact business with each other directly, effectively cutting out the middlemen (banks) that charge exorbitant fees for using debit & credit cards. That’s when I decided to get involved. It was about June 2015 and I wanted to try an experiment. I wanted to buy something with bitcoin and experience firsthand how this system works.
But first I would need to buy some bitcoin. While searching Google for “how to buy bitcoin” I found Coinbase. I learned they were based in the United States and were trying to follow the government’s rules and regulations around cryptocurrencies. I liked what I read about them and with my confidence growing, I opened an account. The process was a little strange to me at first. I had read about KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti Money Laundering) rules for opening a bitcoin account, which quite frankly seemed a little scary at the time, and sure enough, I was required to send images of my driver’s license, my signature, and a photo of myself (without glasses or hats). I didn’t want to share that information with Coinbase, but I really wanted to participate and play in the crypto space, which meant I had to follow the rules.
Once I uploaded my personal information, I was able to connect my bank account to my Coinbase wallet/account. It was really easy. The process was like connecting a bank account in QuickBooks Online. I then purchased 2 bitcoins for about $500 total. A few days later I bought one more bitcoin for another $250. Again, this was around June 2015. To me this was just an experiment. I didn’t think of bitcoin as an investment, I was thinking of it as money; a medium of exchange. At the time I couldn’t understand how this digital invention could ever be an investment. I didn’t understand how the Winklevoss twins got rich when the price of bitcoin shot up to $1,100. What’s interesting is, I did understand how to make and/or lose money in the stock market because I’d been a trend trader since 2000, but that didn’t help me understand bitcoin. Not yet anyway!
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…to be continued (see part 3)