It all started on a late Tuesday afternoon, it was cold, dark, and beginning to rain. I was traveling home from my lackluster day job wondering what else life could present to make things more interesting. The year was 2009, it was October, and at the time $1.00 USD could buy you 1,309.03 BTC. Any versed bitcoin fanatic should be able to tell you that the first block in the bitcoin blockchain was mined on January 3rd, 2009 and from that moment forward — life for those of us who were in the know, would definitely become “more interesting.”
That very same day I found myself browsing around online looking for something completely unrelated to Bitcoin. At the time I had to quickly teach myself how to resolve entry level IT problems while I was working at one of my early jobs. I don’t quite remember how it came up as its been 9 years since this happened, but I found my way onto a forum page hosted by the P2P foundation. As any stalwart veteran in the blockchain space will tell you — this is where Satoshi Nakamoto first introduced his idea of a new open source P2P e-cash system, Bitcoin. Upon reading through this thread, I found myself immediately immersed in a sea of Firefox tabs going deeper, and deeper — eventually running out of memory on my piece of shit Dell laptop which was rocking a whole 2 gigs of ram (couldn’t afford anything better and frankly I was just happy to have a computer.)
As many of you, I’m sure, have experienced — I may as well had done a line of cocaine; I was addicted. What was an evening of debauchery, inevitably evolved into an obsession. I would share what I had discovered with all my friends and family members saying, “this is really cool shit man, it’s going to be big one day.” Only be to shit on and laughed at by many who just assumed I’d fell off the rocker a few too many times as a child.
Very shortly after stumbling down the rabbit hole I began mining bitcoin on whatever hardware I could get my hands on. I was mining hundreds of BTC every couple days on a Pentium 4 PC that I had slapped together with the spare cash I could scrounge up. Over the course of a few weeks I had amassed a large sum of BTC. Hooked and ready to move forward, armed with an HDD full of BTC — I was ready.
Fast forward to 2011, The very same HDD that had contained my precious BTC, died and along with it a part of my passion for crypto. It didn’t matter what I threw at it, recovery suites, recovery technicians, clean rooms, recovery voodoo-sacrificial-blood-majics — it was dead Jim. Frustrated and fed up with the lack of available options to recover my beloved coins and on the edge of bashing myself in the face with a spiked brick for not backing up my shit — I completely lost interest in Crypto — Hence the name CryptoRekt.
The year is now 2014 — The salt and hatred of Seagate drives had reached an apex. Bitcoin was now priced at around $447.00 a coin and earlier in the year Mt. GOX, one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges at the time, suspended withdrawals due to “technical issues” and shortly after — filed for bankruptcy — 744,000 BTC stolen in the process. I found myself reading the horror stories of people who had been affected by this on many online forums, there were several shitposts on /r/CryptoCurrency going on complete rampages about the incident — I found myself sharing in the sentiment of the majority, while I was not directly affected, I now had a group of people who knew what it felt like to lose it all.
Ironically enough, it was /r/CryptoCurrency, (one of the places that absolutely despises Verge) that originally got me interested in a little-known project called DogeCoinDark (DOGED). At the time DOGED had a small, almost non-existent community. The true O.G members of this project were all cooped up in an internet relay chat room (IRC) which was moderated by a guy whose screen name read “Sunerok”. (Soon™-er-ok | Not Sunny-rock)
Sunerok was the type of guy who you would run into at a bar and immediately know not to F*** with him, at least that’s how he came across at first. He trusted no one, did his own thing — and if you didn’t like it — you could sell your bag and find yourself banned from the DOGED IRC room. I don’t know why, but I respected him. I found his online presence to be interesting and I appreciated the viewpoint that he would share with those of us who spent hours, daily, hanging out in his little paradise. It was at this point I knew I would be a part of this project, whether he liked it or not.
Now, I’ll admit — when I first joined in the IRC room I was a bit of an asshole — I didn’t really show too many people respect, but that was quickly corrected by a couple people, namely: CoinCrazy66, BuZz, and a few other key people; but I digress.
While DOGED was a small project and had just over 120 active users in IRC (which is quite a lot for an IRC chat) we as a community wanted to see this project succeed. DOGED was created out of passion by Sunerok to potentially provide people with the means of being able to transact a P2P e-cash, privately. Those of us who are still around, the O.G’s, will tell you — all we wanted was to see our little project flourish and it was those of us who spent countless hours in that room who helped Sunerok to rebrand DOGED into something that could be taken a little more serious, something that we could actually get people to support and get behind — Queue the birth of Verge.
But in French it means…
Verge was marketed and pushed by a small facet of the original members in IRC. Those of us who gave a damn to see Sunerok succeed tried to go above and beyond (at least what we thought was above and beyond) and try to push Verge and its concept to as many people as we could reach. We had folks like Rick Stoner & Frank Dashwood who ran Radio Crypto — a radio show dedicated to sharing the latest happenings in crypto & hosted some of the biggest names in the space while simultaneously advertising for Verge. Those of us who didn’t participate in the radio show (maintain) actively “shilled” Verge on social media.
Verge never really made “waves” in the beginning — we had several years past the rebranding where the market value never really moved, and everything stayed the same despite our best efforts. For myself and the O.G’s though, this was ok. Several of our original members were fine with a level of ‘inclusivity’ that Verge provided. They felt like they had something special by being a part of an under-ground project. While it is sad to see some of the most beloved community members no longer show interest in Verge today given its popularity, it is important to note that Verge is around because of them and their support of the project in the very beginning.
Moving ahead to the year 2017, it was about May/June-ish when I said f*** it. Beings that Verge and its leader Sunerok had always strived to maintain an underground vibe, we never really had a team of people supporting it — hell we didn’t even have a whitepaper. Sunerok liked it this way, and I think deep down inside a part of him misses the old days — as do I. Having spoken to Sunerok for many years at this point I already knew he had no interest in having a corporate, defined structure or a team associated with Verge but I knew deep down inside that Verge could potentially be something that everyone, everywhere — could one day use for everyday things.
With this in mind — I set out to help Sunerok however I could. I started off by drafting and sending him the very first version of a whitepaper — which we call a blackpaper, because f*** it, why be like everyone else. The funny part about it is I don’t think he thought I was serious because I just straight told him I was going to do it, and two weeks later we had the BlackPaper Version 1.0.
To be completely honest — it was trash and I am not proud to have pushed it out there as fast as I did — but you know what? It was a start. Verge prides itself on being an open-source, community driven project and I like to think this was a good first step to encourage not only myself, but others to contribute as well.
Shortly after the first version of the BlackPaper I began forming a rag-tag team of people from around the world who wanted to see verge succeed. It took me countless hours, days, weeks & months (nearly a year to be completely honest) to weed out all the “bad eggs” and find people who were willing to donate their free time to our cause. Beings we had zero funding to afford the luxuries that ICO’s can afford (if they managed their money appropriately during the bear market) it was exceptionally difficult to find sane, like minded & talented individuals who were willing to donate their professional talents to our project. This group is now the Core Marketing team that supports Verge, daily, and has grown to about 40 people. (check them out here)
You may be asking at this point, Why Verge?
I decided that I wanted to help Sunerok in any way I possibly could to make sure that Verge, his baby, was getting the attention it deserved. Verge is truly something special, it is decentralized, it has a wonderful community around the world, and it has a team of passionate individuals who just want to see it succeed — all the required ingredients for a successful project.
Yes, we’ve had our pitfalls — but who hasn’t. We live and learn — such is life.
What does Verge mean to me?
Verge to me is the freedom to help create & shape something that can truly provide a means for people to be able to retain a bit of their personal lives and not have to worry about sacrificing a basic human right; privacy, any time they want to transact for goods & services.
Regardless of what other people say about Verge — The project, the people, Sunerok & the friends I have made along this journey will always hold a special place in my heart.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my story.