July 22nd, 2021

My friend Jon and I mined a Bitcoin in our Queens apartment in 2011. Back in those days you could hook some software up to your graphics card and after a few days, voila, you'd have a Bitcoin. I think by the end we had close to 10 of them. But in those days there wasn't much you could do with Bitcoin nor were there particularly safe ways to store them. Several big hacks later, we had lost them all and didn't really think much about it. Or at least, we try not to think about what could have been.

As a writer who covers technology and web culture, I was always, of course, aware of the world of cryptocurrency that existed just off the periphery of the mainstream internet. But convincing editors to let you write about crypto stories is difficult. It's an incredibly dense world with its own culture and history and, up until recently, not a ton of crossover interest from readers. So I basically ignored crypto for a decade. But then, at the beginning of this year, my retired dad revealed that he had been putting his savings into Robinhood Bitcoin purchases. I decided it was probably time to dive back in.

In the months since, I've got him using Coinbase Pro instead of Robinhood — so he actually owns the coins he's buying — and got him a portfolio tracker so he can actually tell what's going on. I've also started reporting crypto-related stories. And through the course of that reporting I've had the chance to talk to some really smart people in the crypto world like Neeraj Agrawal, Alex Gladstein, and Meltem Demirors.