Living In The Crypto Space And Not Just Off It

Photo by yatharth roy vibhakar on Unsplash

Since starting this trek to become a smart contract developer and recognized voice in the crypto space. One of the things I’ve noticed we do in the community, especially the early adopters is tell stories on how we first encountered the cryptocurrency space. Most new comers aka newbies or noobs (I’m not sure why, but I’m not a fan of that last one) don’t get the references or jokes made beyond a certain year. That is where the line is drawn between the new and old way of thinking. Well at least, that’s how I see it. There is a shift taking place in the ideology and mentality of the newer folks joining the community. But that is for another article on another day.

For those of us who became aware in the early days before altcoins was a thing. Bitcoin (BTC) was the first coin, hell it was the only coin at the time. I’m not looking to give every detail on how I came to the space and everyday after. That would ruin our future conversation and me having something to say, lol. However, the condensed version goes as follows.

In 2011 I lived in New York at the time and as a geek in my own right. I listened to a talk radio show called Off the Hook, on 99.5 WBAI. I don’t remember the detail of that show, but I remember them talking about mining and the future of money, and this thing called Bitcoin. The bug was in my ear. Like most, I didn’t pay too much attention, and sometime had past until I did. By 2013 I was in Maryland and was getting ready for my first deployment. That’s when I met sergeant Weiner. He was the only other person I knew who knew about BTC and actually owned some. I don’t remember how we started talking about it. But meeting him got me back on the crypto trail.

I bought my first BTC at an ATM. I got into the space with something like $20. In writing this article I realized that I deleted that wallet and have no way to recover it. That was a few phones back and before that option was available. I was able to get more BTC and soon started getting into Ethereum. In 2015, I found out about crypto MeetUps. I remember when there were only 2 Bitcoin groups. One in DC and the other in Baltimore. The more active and bigger was in DC.

Gamer Changer

Veri was my first utility token. In 2014 or 2015, I saw an interview on the Max Keiser Show with a man named Reggie Middleton. He talked about making a platform called Veritaseum. I didn’t appreciate the full scope of the project at the time or understand how it was using blockchain or smart contract technology. I understood that he was on to something big and it was going to be the game changer.

Come 2017, after my second deployment now there are multiple groups in both DC and Baltimore. Most major cities had a few groups and I had graduated to staking in ICOs. I learned about cryptos like most, from watching hours of YouTube and searching the internet. I look back now and laugh at myself. Because for all the information that was out there. I had only scratched the surface of it. There was a glass ceiling and I didn’t even know it was there to begin with. I like the ideology and morality of the crypto space or at least how it was being explained when I first got in by people like Andreas Antonoplous and Max Kaiser. But I was still limited in understanding the technology itself. I was still used to staying in my comfort zone of just being a HODLer (the crypto word for investor). Not really exploring the space and the possibilities of what could be done or what role I could play to help the community grow. I was stuck at just seeing the blockchain through the one-use case of cryptocurrency.

Then came Mike Boutwell. Even though I was starting to mature and get more into the technology. Mike was the one who really took the blinders off for me. He mentioned looking into becoming a blockchain auditor. Running down that rabbit hole was in part, what got me to leave my job and start the trek of becoming a blockchain developer/auditor. I can look back now and see the difference from when I first became aware, got into cryptos as a HODLer, and now being an educator of the technology. It has been a continual learning process for me. Over the last 6 months, I have learned more than in the last 4 years.

The real turning point was making the transition of living in the space and not off it. There is a fine line that most people in the crypto community don’t see. Much like the glass ceiling. This is something I recently started to learn about while going to different city crypto MeetUps. Generally, when someone says, “I’m in cryptos…”, it means they are a HODLer, a miner, a trader, or more than one of the mentioned. But there is another meaning, which is the small minority in the community. I have noticed that as much as the community is growing. There aren’t that many of us who actually live in the space. Most people do cryptos as a side thing. They keep the 9 to 5 and do this on the weekend, or something in their free time as a way of getting some extra money.

Once again this is where you find the real believers/enthusiasts. Those willing to cross that line and make a living in the space. To be clear, I’m not looking to take anything away from those who keep their traditional jobs and do something crypto related. The community is a collection of various people with an array of interest’s levels in the space. But for those of us living in the space, a bear run means something very different. Compared to someone who still has a steady paycheck. Case in point events like Mt Gox or the recent Bitconnect scam. Some lives were ruined, especially if you were living in the space. The litigation for Bitconnect is ongoing. An influencer like Trevon James was the perfect example of living in the space. But how he did it was totally wrong, in my opinion. March’s bear run had BTC under $8k and that is in part to the custodian of the Mt Gox estate selling of loads of BTC cheap.

Now imagine, you work in the space and get paid in cryptos. This could be a potential nightmare if you don’t have good money management skills. In all honesty, jumping into the space at this time is not the most rational thing to do. But that is just what I did. I jumped two feet in, head first. I will admit this life is not for everyone. I have to think and budget things out before taking action. Promoting my knowledge and services is a constant thing, finding clients is a must. There is a fair amount of leg work involved in making sure you can make it day to day. I am constantly inspired by people like Ken Bosak, who also lives in the space and really made a name for himself in a relative short amount of time.

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

I say all of this to say. I hope that I can be the example for people looking to make the transition from not just living off the space, but really living in it. It also must be said, it is much easier to live in the space now compared to 2013 or 2016. I see 2018 as a big year for General Purpose Persons (GPPs). There are more services that accept cryptos now. Not to mention there are innovative platforms that are coming to market that will streamline the process of getting into cryptos and working with the blockchain. The only thing I see as holding most GPPs back from getting into the crypto space is focusing on the price value. It is understandable, when just getting in. But with time and experience most will grow beyond that like I did.

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