I was pursuing computer science and systems engineering. Honestly, I wanted to mesmerize people around me with my knowledge of something that my fellow students and professors didn’t know. You know, I wanted to be the talking guy in the coffee cup conversations.
I tried hacking. I installed a dual boot on my Windows machine with Kali Linux. I was a renegade who’d let his computer break down. That Sony Vaio laptop I got was gold to me at that time. But who cares. I tried everything that I could do on that laptop, who cares in the end anyway.
But I was stupid, trying those funny YouTube hacking videos day and night and was unable to hack my own wifi router. It sucked, what kind of hacker can’t even hack his own wifi router?
I read excessively about everything that came my way. One day, millions of Bitcoins were seized when the FBI shut down Silk Road, I read, four years ago. Bitcoin? What is it? Who cares, anyway? Maybe I should try and build something like Silk Road. Not for facilitating geeky drug peddlers though. But to understand if I can build such a thing in the Tor network.
Like I failed hacking nothing with Kali Linux, I too did fail at building that fancy, super-secretive site on the dark web. What’s next? Huh, Bitcoin. Let’s see what that fancy thing is.
Then, the term ‘Bitcoin’ threw a ripple effect. I couldn’t sleep until I knew what it was. Eventually, my pursuit of knowledge and the zeal to impress my fellow students and professors led me to read the original Bitcoin paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto — the name felt like Japanese mishmash.
It was something crazy. Nobody can control it. Felt like Bitcoin was something I should own and save it. When the central banks around the world would screw it all, I’d be safe. Yeah, I’m skeptical about central banks: whose interests are they serving, why do they stimulate the economy without letting it flourish on its own, and why the US dollar is the most powerful currency on the planet, and why RBI — the central bank of India — maintains foreign reserves and tethers its value to the foreign currencies.
Of course, trade between countries is essential. But why in a specific currency like USD, GBP, or Euro, which central banks can print without practical limits. And the purchasing power of these fiat currencies — especially Indian Rupee — goes down by an average of 6%.
For all the folks who say Bitcoin transaction fees are high, do you know merchants bear a 2% transaction fee whenever you swipe your fancy MasterCard or Visa credit card. If merchants are absorbing these transaction costs and letting it affect their bottom line, don’t you think they will include that cost in what they’re selling?
Okay, for all the folks who say Bitcoin is harming the world by consuming hours and hours of electricity for doing mining, do you have a better alternative — that is a more fair mechanism than Bitcoin — for everyone around the globe?
You see, when you get a disease, you don’t kill yourself, you try to cure yourself. By the way, pharma is big business; that’s for another story. Do you have a solution that can cure the huge resource wastage — which is your thinking totally — that can support the Bitcoin ecosystem? What, you don’t? Can you please shut up?
That’s where everything started. But after my graduation, I almost forgot about it; knowing nothing I can do with the knowledge I have acquired. And that knowledge dispersing didn't get me anywhere other than some buzz for me around the batchmates.
I was never a programmer. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t do it. Maybe hours and hours of tweaking and rewriting the code all day staring at a computer screen wasn’t for me. I know you programmers, some of you are so much more efficient and are enjoying programming, but my DNA is different.
After my graduation, I was desperate to get a job. I got an offer as associate QA analyst; I jumped into the bandwagon without giving it a second thought. Yeah, the title’s fancy, and it’s boring; I didn't know why the heck I was pushing some buttons and writing some manual test cases for the sake of some money. The writing part felt good, though.
I was an avid reader of Medium and Hacker Noon. Three years back, most of the content was about writing and personal development. Reading those articles for hours propelled me to take action and become a writer.
I started developing some writing skills, not so serious. Just putting my troubled thoughts on the screen. And that felt good and helped me move forward when a million questions were drowning me down. One fine day, when nothing was happening for me, I thought I should do some freelance writing. I looked for clients on UpWork. Could not crack it as I created a generic writer profile with no sample writings to show.
A couple months after, I gave it a thought. And made my writing profile specific to Bitcoin, blockchain, and crypto. Lucky for me, a client from Israel signed me up for a paid assignment. He wanted to see my ability before giving regular work.
I couldn’t forget that. It took me one day to research and understand Ripple (XRP) and to deliver that 300-word article. The Israeli client liked the work; after dealing with a lot of crappy writing, my quality of work — which isn’t earth-shattering — was good enough to do the job for him.
That’s how my journey of exploring Bitcoin and blockchain tech began.