Living on a Knife-Edge: The 1337-Way

1337 is a language for internet users known for replacing letters with numbers or symbols. The term itself has gone on as a slang term for “extremely skilled (at gaming or computing)” or, more generally, “awesome.”

People who don’t know me from my past are often wondering how I ended up in cryptocurrencies and how to explain my compulsive pursuit to live on my own terms. While I can not do this 100% myself, I can tell you that almost half my life, my mission was to be ‘free’. Today, I am 29 years old. 14 years ago, in age of 15, I founded my first official business in Germany. One of the youngest Germans who ever did so. In this write up I just want to share some experiences I made a long the way. Lessons I have learned. Stories and anecdotes I can tell.

Press Picture; Article: ‘Das Geschäft mit dem großen G’, Lippische Landeszeitung

I was never very interested in school; never really liked to be there. One of those kids you would have called ‘a bit weird’. That I was also talented in sport helped, somehow. Early I started to think about ‘What am I gonna do when I am older’. I was 13/14 years old when I knew it: I have to build my own business, to be able to live independent and as free as possible. I was very curious how the internet & websites are working and I assumed that this industry would succeed. So I decided that this might be worth a shot.

All My Skills Were Self-Taught

After learning how this stuff works, starting with WYSIWYG-Website-Builders, followed by learning HTML & CSS, I started with building simple affiliate websites and a blog, called blogschrott.net (I sold the blog later, when I was in 9th grade, for 6,000 EUR; insane amount of money back then). But how to get traffic? I ended up looking for different methods. As I had no budget at all back then I was amazed when I found out about SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

The business cases were clear and simple: Affiliate projects + freelancing for other people/agencies in this industry. So I made two plans: First all skills I need to learn in order to a.) generate traffic through SEO for own projects and b.) later on also work for others and second a target-income. I remember how I set my goal to 1,000€ per month when I was with my family in the holidays.

Not even six months later, I reached it. I was working as a freelancer for a known player in the industry and my affiliate projects started to make some regular income. What really helped me on my way was a fast growing network; I travelled through Germany in a young age already, and met different people. Word travels fast when you are this teenager-wiz-kid, not gonna lie.

Lesson: Making plans with concrete goals is more than just important! With the consent of my parents (who do not have an academic or entrepreneurial background) and the local court, I registered my first business on 1 January 2008 and acquired full legal capacity as a minor.

I was aware about the fact that the SEO industry was pretty small in Germany back in the days. So I reached out to other, known pro’s, attended different events and built up a network which is useful till today. Contacts just hurt those who don’t have any!

How I Got Told About Bitcoin At $1 — And Ignored It

This way I also met Oliver Flaskämper, German serial entrepreneur and founder of Bitcoin.de earlier in my life. In fact, once we wanted to run a company together; while those plans were not realized in the end, the former shell of this company, ‘Seoventus GmbH’ is today the ‘Bitcoin Deutschland GmbH’ — I should have listened more closely to him at lunch, when he told me about his new Bitcoin venture & Bitcoin was trading for not even $1.

My business ran well. Too well. I was making more money than my teachers in some months. It was crazy, in comparison to my young age and it was hard for me to stay humble. I had an own office in Berlin mid-town when I was 17 years old. Problem: Slowly but surely I lost discipline. Missed client deadlines, payment request laters and warnings in the mailbox all the time. Had to pay back a lot of money at some point but still went out partying all day.

Lesson: Don’t do this. In my age it was clear somehow that this is a real danger but it still applies to anybody who gets money quickly; especially relevant for the crypto community.

Others Started University, I Started Bankruptcy

When I realized that I messed it up it was already too late. I ended up in big debt which I wasn’t able to pay, at all. The business failed and at some point it got so bad that the best solution for me was to go for personal bankruptcy; while friends just started going to university.

Lesson: You have to admit to yourself when the party is over. I lied to myself, a lot of times and could have easily avoided this. I started working as a regular employee in different online marketing agencies — never had to write an application. One mail and I had a job; thankfully — your network can secure you!

I slowly got back into working for smaller clients on the side, attended the evening school to get the german ‘Abitur’. Dropped out earlier with ‘Fachabitur’, but never went there to get the certificate, I didn’t care, just wanted to spend my time ‘useful’, away from the stress that I caused for myself.

All the time I knew that I won’t end up doing a 9–5 for my whole lifetime, just .. not possible for me. Not made for it. But I started working at a former employee (Online Marketing Agency, 40 Employees) regardless — shortly before I got into cryptocurrencies which changed my life back then.

Remember, I got told about Bitcoin very early but missed it. At first I simply ignored it. ‘Internet money eh’, I didn’t realize what it could mean. Long story short, I missed it for a lot of years. When I saw in early 2017 however that one Bitcoin equals almost one thousand bucks I got finally really curious. After some research it was clear: This is the goddamn future!

I was still in personal bankruptcy at this point which means in Germany: From the money you earn, you can just keep a small part that allows you to pay basic bills and other costs. Everything above goes to a third party ‘bankruptcy trustee’ who distributes the money to the creditors.

From $200 to Five-Figures Thanks to Altcoins

I started with just $200. Thanks to the altseason I was able to pay off the debt included in my bankruptcy just a few months later in 2017. What a feeling! I was hooked. I realized the potential after knowing Bitcoin all this time. And I started to make plans again.

‘Join Our Accelerator Bro!’

The next episode started with former business partners from Berlin (serial entrepreneurs, xxM€ net worth) which I was ‘friends’ with. Apparently they dipped their toes into this industry as well and founded a ‘blockchain accelerator’, called Catena Capital.

They invited me to Berlin — we spoke about everything — and I ended up getting a proposal to found a company with them together. Problem: They talked me into a dream world. I really thought I already had made it. Massive bullrun, connections like those, founding a comp with them.

So we did this. Problem: The proposal was shit. The accelerator was shit. The timing was shit. Markets turned, and it was the beginning of the end of this co-founded company. We went separate ways then.

While I was bound to the accelerator with my business, I co-founded ‘Coinmirror’. A dApp which was designed for pooled ICO investments to get better deals for retail investors. We had a great team, built the tech from scratch and had finally a working live version.When we went live, the ICO market was already dead..

Lesson: Industries like those are moving fast. You don’t know if the business case you have is worth anything in a year. Always have a Plan B.

Coinmirror was dead. My altcoin bags went further to the earths core and things got a bit hectic. Nevertheless I focused on increasing my network, trying new things, making new plans.

Next business I co-founded was shitcoingraveyard[.]com. As for Coinmirror, the team was great, again. The ideas we had were great, too. Shitcoingraveyard was supposed to be a ‘museum’ of dead altcoins. We figured that there are more and more dead projects, from simpe, ‘natural deaths’ to ‘full blown scams’.

We build up a huge database, basically all information that was available was ending up there. On the graveyard you would go around, through the tombstones representing the dead shitcoins and get more data for it when clicking on it.

Around this we developed different business cases — too many. We got caught up in developing new ideas instead of going with a rudimentary set to start with. Sometimes you have to make a hard cut then. I cancelled my commitment because I didn’t had the time to work for this while just investing but never making money.

Lesson: Cut your “losses”. When you have the gut feel that something isn’t worth the effort anymore, just stop it. It is not worth it. When you don’t believe in what you are doing, quit.

Since then I am rather working fully on my own — something that is also the better solution when you are living life as a digital crypto-nomad! As a marketing consultant for cryptocurrency projects and analyst (faventus.com) I am flexible with my schedule and can adapt to all changes.

The last 15 years were crazy — I am sure the next 15 years will even top that!

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digital nomad // #bitcoin, privacy coins & other crypto-assets // building @connectoDAO // marketing @navcoin & @MADmetaverse // advisor @gridzoneDAO

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Cryptonator1337

Cryptonator1337

digital nomad // #bitcoin, privacy coins & other crypto-assets // building @connectoDAO // marketing @navcoin & @MADmetaverse // advisor @gridzoneDAO

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