When I First Heard Of Bitcoin by@penworth

When I First Heard Of Bitcoin

Bitcoin was the “digital money” demanded by the South African kidnappers as a ransom but it had to be paid electronically behind an invisible wall and away from the peering eyes of the police. Bitcoin is, at the risk of villianizing it, the sum of money converted from a fiat currency into a digital form, and stored digitally in an electronic wallet. Despite its sophistication, Bitcoin can be deemed a threat because it facilitates the exchange of value between peers across a labyrinth of computer networks.
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Olayimika Oyebanji  HackerNoon profile picture

Olayimika Oyebanji

A seasoned blockchain writer with a keen interest in crypto education, DAO, NFT, Defi and Web3.

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Today’s article is inspired by a rather interesting question someone asked me recently, and it is exactly about what its topic says. At any rate, I was asked to share my experience in crypto and the question I was bluntly asked came down to “ when was the first time you heard of Bitcoin?”.


A question as simple and as smooth sailing as this could refer not only to the time of the year that I first came across Bitcoin but also to the mode by which I came to know of it in its entirety. After all, the starting point for most people is reading some eye-catching headlines about Bitcoin in the newspaper or on the internet.


Without further ado, I will now proceed to answer this question in prose rather than in a few uninspiring sentences to help the reader gain a better insight into the subject and what it particularly means to me.


Everyone has a first-time experience. It is either one’s first time boarding a plane or one’s first swimming experience. First times are unique and they go on to stick in our memories so that when we remember them, we are pleasured by the eidetic scenes we consciously reenact. But not everyone has a good first time. First-time offenders know this to be true when they are put behind bars or heavily fined for driving against the traffic.


For the unpleasant memories that my first time seeing the word “Bitcoin” invokes, I am intentional about extolling the sophistication and the virtue of what is now the most valuable digital currency in the world, and my story does serve to moralise and not villianise it.


The First Time

Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency whose inventor’s identity is either unknown or unknowable, was beginning to slip into mass consciousness when I first heard of it. The year 2018 was the first time that I ever saw the word B-I-T-C-O-I-N on the page of one of Nigeria’s leading newspapers.


I think it was Punch newspaper judging by its wide coverage and attention-grabbing headlines. In those days you had to duff your hat for the literary excellence that Punch often displayed on its pages.


As of the time of writing, it is not a final conclusion that Punch reported the event which made Bitcoin a rather interesting story on its page. But it was an indubitable fact that a Nigerian newspaper with wide coverage reported that some South African kidnappers demanded Bitcoin in payment for a ransom in 2018. In other words, it was likely that Punch reported that some kidnappers in South Africa requested to be paid in Bitcoin (a digital currency)before they could set their victims free.


“What is Bitcoin?’” I was dead curious and I began to search for clues as to its meaning, its uses and its origin. No sooner had I tried to figure these out on my own than I lost interest in keeping up with the enthusiasm it had already sparked in me.


Bitcoin was the “digital money” demanded by the South African kidnappers as a ransom but it had to be paid electronically behind an invisible wall and away from the peering eyes of the police. Blockchain, its technology, was the agent that was to facilitate a seamless peer-to-peer transaction between the kidnappers and their victim’s sponsors. In point of fact, Bitcoin was the illegal money that was to be paid to the kidnappers at a break neck speed on the internet through its host technology.


The reason for the kidnappers’ choice of Bitcoin was simple enough. It promised to be an untraceable stash with its reliance on blockchain technology! It is, at the risk of villianizing it, the sum of money converted from a fiat currency into a digital form, and stored digitally in an electronic wallet that is designed to synchronise with blockchain protocols.


But Bitcoin or money itself, is not the root of all evil. Homo homoni lupus! Man is wolf to man. Money or Bitcoin, as the case may be, can do no inherent wrong as long as the tendency exists for men of the criminal underworld to devise it for selfish ends which ultimately undermine the virtue that money can promote in society.


The South African “bitcoin-ransom” story of 2018 was about how Bitcoin provided a “safe haven “online for a kidnapping gang, and it accentuated the potential risks in the freedom that comes with legalising cryptocurrencies today. Despite its sophistication Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies can be deemed a national threat — not because it facilitates the exchange of value between peers across a labyrinth of computer networks — but because criminals everywhere are beginning to hijack it for the perpetration of financial crimes.


However, as I savoured every moment of walking down memory lane in this article, the thematic preoccupation of my Bitcoin story is that “a dog does not deserve a bad name…” and it is aimed at a simple exposition of Bitcoin and its underlying technology. Its gospel is that instead of giving Bitcoin a bad name for the plethora of crypto scams in the crypto world , the genius of Satoshi Nakamoto, its mysterious inventor,deserves to be commemorated — village by village, town by town, city by city, and country by country.

Bitcoin and Our Future

Bitcoin has had its own dark history no thanks to South Africa’s kidnappers and no thanks to the shameful rise in crypto scams dotting its landscape today.


In point of fact, all the Terra Lunas of the crypto world have created a dark catalogue of crypto crimes perpetrated on the internet, and have left Bitcoin with a mixed reputation of good and evil in more ways than one.


However, Bitcoin, its underlying technology, and the empire of 300 million people it has made, are sufficient evidence that it was designed for the progressive development of mankind, and judging by its overall tendency to onboard the mass of mankind to the era of decentralisation, it is destined to rule the financial world someday.


Conclusion

When I finally figured out that Bitcoin means money, I was literally intrigued by how possible it was to spend money electronically without a bank. What was all the more intriguing was the fact that Bitcoin spelt B-I-T-C-O-I-N gave no clue as to what it is except that I had to glean from the kidnapper’s story that it was another form of money that can be paid as a ransom.


Nowadays, Bitcoin is what usually comes to mind when people talk about the rise in crypto scams,and blockchain, its underlying technology, despite being the most cost-effective solution for cyber security we have today, is no longer the most reliable assurance of cyber safety, and it is no more than a database of information and an interface for the exchange of value based on zero trust.


In retrospect, I should have known that a genius invention such as Bitcoin and blockchain technology are not immune from the dark corner of the web — since evil men can also be a participant in the vast network it creates. And I should have particularly known that the anonymity Bitcoin provides can also be a wrapped tendency for the perpetration of all manners of financial crimes that are now ruining its shining reputation as the most significant technological disruption in history.

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Olayimika Oyebanji  HackerNoon profile picture
by Olayimika Oyebanji @penworth.A seasoned blockchain writer with a keen interest in crypto education, DAO, NFT, Defi and Web3.
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