This is the first article in a series about the evolution of digital currencies. @stan has posted a most excellent and thorough series on the Origin of BitShares, which I highly recommend. However, this series is different, not only because Stan and I have different perspectives in general, but also because our roles in the project were very different. The majority of my career as a software engineer was focused on technical problems, whereas Stan’s role in the BitShares project was more on business operations.
I will begin by focusing on BitShares 0.X.X during its initial launch in 2014 prior to Graphene, which is when I decided to get involved with BitShares. Although I first learned about Bitcoin through James Corbett and Stefan Molyneux in 2013, their podcasts didn’t inspire me or stir my passion to dig deeper the way Michael W. Dean and Daniel Larimer did. I listened to Dean’s Freedom Feens show with great interest as he explored DNS and dot bit addresses, and explained the role Namecoin and MeowBit played as an alternative to DNS.
Starting with Namecoin
I first ventured into the land of digital currencies in April of 2014 via a miniscule investment in NMC. Derrick (pictured above), is a software developer and friend of Michael Dean. He sold me $10 worth of Namecoin using paypal so I could register some .bit domains and get familiar with Namecoin. As I began the steep ascent on the learning curve of blockchain technology, I noticed Michael Dean becoming frustrated with the direction of the Namecoin project. By the time Dean interviewed Larimer it was pretty clear Dean was done with NMC. It was at this point I stumbled onto this video by Daniel Larimer talking about the Keyhotee project. I was highly impressed with the scope of that rather comprehensive project, which also included plans to create a blockchain-based alternative to the DNS.
Keyhotee Peaks my Interest
After watching the Keyhotee video I began to lurk on the bitsharestalk.org website and read about Keyhotee and BitShares. By September I decided it was time to register on the bitsharestalk forum and jump in with both feet. After discussing several options for obtaining BitShares with several forum users I decided to use CashToCrypto.
My experience with CashToCrypto was very good and it was also fast. I sent the cash packaged in an old disk drive with the platters removed and shipped it inside the original box the drive came in. I had the BTC in my own wallet 3 days from the day I sent the cash. There were very few holders of BitShares that were willing to sell them without a high premium, so I used an exchange to purchase them. My timing was poor, as this was after the official release of the first BitShares wallet and startup of the BitShares network in July when the price of BitShares was quite high. If I recall correctly the price of BTSX at that time was $0.08
So that is how I became involved with digital currencies. In my next article I will discuss the intended target audience of the BitShares ecosystem and the problems it solves. As you will see, it was far from a well defined demographic. Marketing has never been a strength of BitShares, though to be fair it’s a very difficult thing to do for any digital currency project.
Thank you for reading.