Satoshi Nakamoto originally invented Bitcoin in 2009 as an alternative to traditional financial systems; Like most of us, he1 had seen firsthand the disastrous effects corrupt centralized institutions could have on the world during the 2008 financial crisis. Nakamoto saw the need for a better system, one that could break away from centralized powers and form the backbone of a truly free economy. He also understood that such a digital system shouldn’t rely on anyone, not even the Creator / Founder, to keep going.
Bitcoin was eventually created as a solution: an indiscriminate and decentralized digital asset that relied on a distributed network of miners rather than a centralized party. The Bitcoin network proposed a new economy where individuals could trade at will without oversight, surveillance, or tracking. Bitcoin was also the first practical application of blockchain technology, which started a decentralized revolution that continues to this day and slowly freed the technology of our world from centralization.
When Bitcoin was first released, it primarily attracted the cypherpunk community, which was a collection of hackers and hobbyists interested in cryptography and private transactions without government censorship. After being tested by this community of programmers, Bitcoin was initially little more than an anonymous currency and was widely used to aid illegal transactions for drugs and other paraphernalia. In fact, one of the first uses of Bitcoin was Silk Road, a website that allowed users to purchase a wide variety of illegal products using the currency.
Over time, however, Satoshi’s true vision was slowly becoming a reality. Bitcoin was slowly becoming the center of a new decentralized economy, attracting many people who were simply fed up with the world’s economic condition. “Bitcoin holders,” as they are known today, were divided into two categories: those who viewed Bitcoin as an investment and those who truly believed in a decentralized future. While the former certainly helped make Bitcoin mainstream, it was the latter that made Bitcoin more than just a digital currency. This article aims to provide several personal accounts of the ultimate insight that comes with looking at bitcoin as an investment and looking at bitcoin as a lifestyle.
I first heard of Bitcoin on a snowy Christmas Eve about four years ago. My family wanted to go on an annual road trip to visit some relatives, and I stopped at the local library to pick up a few books to entertain myself along the way. This was right after the famous “blessing” of 2017, when Bitcoin and other digital assets first caught mainstream attention due to massive price gains. As a high school student interested in both technology and economics, I have always been excited about the concept of a fully online monetary and financial ecosystem. With a six hour road trip ahead of me, I decided to take the risk and picked up several books on Bitcoin and its potential to disrupt the economy.
These books covered a variety of topics and viewpoints: some derided Bitcoin as nothing more than a scam to be avoided, others praised Bitcoin for providing the ability to freely transact without permission or supervision, and one went deep into it the representation of Bitcoin as one of the last hopes for independence in a world that is more and more populated by surveillance states. This attitude caught my attention in particular: I became increasingly aware of the semi-authoritarian stance both governments and large corporations had taken towards the average person, and although I hardly knew it at the time, I felt that Bitcoin was part of a broader cryptographic movement called the protected the average person from constant surveillance and control.
As I delved deeper and deeper into Bitcoin’s rabbit hole, I slowly began to learn more about its history. I learned more about the philosophies of Satoshi, Hal Finney, and others who were part of the early Bitcoin ecosystem. I also started interacting more with the broader blockchain community and met some of the friendliest, smartest, most welcoming people in the world. After personally winning some prizes at the MIT Bitcoin Expo Hackathon 2021, I decided to work full-time on the blockchain and eventually had the pleasure of becoming part of the network of contributors to Bitcoin Magazine. Here I finally understood that Bitcoin is more than just software; It was a culture, a community of like-minded people who believed in Bitcoin’s potential to make the world a better place to live.
While interacting with the Bitcoin community, I had the pleasure of meeting Sam Cargo, a contributor to Bitcoin Magazine and a strong advocate of his potential to bring freedom into the lives of many. What follows is an abridged version of Sam’s personal story about getting started with Bitcoin and the lessons he learned from it:
In the summer months between semesters, I did an internship at an engineering company that offered me two significant life-changing opportunities: the first I was blind and missed, the second I saw and created. That first opportunity was to invest in Bitcoin and start with a smarter intern who introduced me to the blockchain spectrum in 2014. I thought he was an idiot and couldn’t understand how a computer mines magical internet money.
Sure enough, provided you do your homework, Bitcoin’s value proposition becomes common sense and crystal clear. The second opportunity came many years later; After finally realizing the mystique of Bitcoin, I decided to put the skin in the game and diverted income into Bitcoin. Even though I felt too late for the party, I tried to dedicate myself fully to Bitcoin’s mission and recreate the opportunity that I regrettably missed. Ironically, maybe my primary focus is on the mining industry and how I can apply my current engineering career to making that sweet, sweet, magical internet money.
When I missed this first opportunity, I was forced to reflect on personal biases and question the status quo of the current currency regime. Given our indoctrination in Fiat as the norm, I find it perfectly reasonable to be skeptical of Bitcoin, as it violates the rule of thumb “too good to be true” when filtering out Bullcrap products. Bitcoin is truly a virtual elixir for many of today’s socio-economic diseases, which in fact is hard to imagine, let alone believe.
When studying Bitcoin, one tends to get excited about doing anything to participate in the Bitcoin community; whether it’s development, mining, writing, learning … I came to Bitcoin initially for the money but stayed because of the peaceful protest and the community. We are fortunate to witness the introduction of a revolutionary monetary system, dictated entirely by an apolitical protocol and bound by an immutable natural law.
Bitcoin is ultimately a family made up of people like Sam who believe in a decentralized future. It’s more than just a currency or software; it is an economic movement, a kind of “protest”, as Sam mentioned, against the abuse that centralized powers have exercised against the common man for generations. In the past few years the Bitcoin family has certainly grown, with more and more people embracing the belief that what was once a project largely backed by a group of thrown together coders and cryptographers will one day actually be at the heart of a . could be a decentralized economy.
This is a guest post by Archie Chaudhury. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.
1. The name suggests that Nakamoto was male, although it could be anyone or even a collection of people.