he year was 2012. I was working at a company in the River Market area basically answering phones as tech support for small businesses. The man in the cube next to me was supposed to be doing the same thing. However, he spent most of his time constructing computers that looked like they were spare parts from R2-D2. One day, I finally went over and asked him what he was doing.
“I’m building Bitcoin rigs,” he said. I understood most of those words, but that one in the middle was foreign to me. He explained how Bitcoin was the currency of the future and how it was designed to take over the world.
“That’s cool. Can I see one?” I asked.
“No. You see. They’re electronic. Completely electronic money.”
“Oh. Like a Debit Card then.”
“Well, not exactly.”
He further explained that a Bitcoin was only worth a few cents. And you’d need thousands of Bitcoins to pay for anything. He told me the story of one man a few years before paying for a pizza with 10,000 Bitcoin.
“Wow. That’s not much, then. Why are you doing this again?”
“Well, the price is expected to go up.”
You likely know some of the rest of the story. Over the past 15 years, Bitcoin’s value did, indeed, go up. One Bitcoin is now worth just under $60,000 US Dollars. That means that the pizza that man purchased in March, 2010 is worth approximately $626 million dollars.
I lost touch with my buddy from the cube next to me. No idea if he mined enough Bitcoin to buy a planet or something. Heck, he might be dining with Elon Musk and Bill Gates for all I know. And, although I’m pretty technical, I still don’t know why a completely electronic currency is worth 60,000 of my pieces of paper in my pocket. I know that criminals like to use cryptocurrency because it’s harder to track. But, then again, criminals use paper money, too. I know that cryptocurrency is “in” right now. Just this week, firms like PayPal and Chase announced that they’d start allowing some forms of crypto to be used for payment and JP Morgan announced a crypto IRA.
Value is defined as whatever someone says value is. If you offer me $.25 for my left shoe, then the value of my left shoe is a quarter. If you say my right shoe is worth $2 million, then you’ve got yourself a deal. There are a ton of videos out on the YouTube that explain Bitcoin and the blockchain and cryptocurrencies. I’ve watched several dozen of them. That brings me no closer to understanding what it is and how I can buy a pizza for just under $625 million dollars.
I’ll tell you this, though. If I do get my hands on a few Bitcoins, I’m going to buy a time machine and go back to the moment when my buddy offered me 200 Bitcoins to help carry some crap out to his car. That would only be worth $11.8 million bucks today.
(Get crypto talk and more from Chris Kamler on Twitter, where he is known as the infamous @TheFakeNed)