This is an opinion editorial by Enza Coin, a Bitcoin-focused investor and content creator.
The other day I was looking through my closet and found a pair of my old FitFlops. Does anyone remember these? FitFlops sold for some $100 and promised to work your legs into shape just by walking. Seeing them made me recall the time I spent traveling across Asia from around 2008 onward.
In those years and into the early 2010s, I was busy managing a company based in Hong Kong while accompanying my then boyfriend/fiancé around Asia. He worked on various finance projects with governments in the region, flashing his MBA, two master’s degrees and finance background while I occupied my days, and some nights, with corporate matters and adding to my investment portfolio. In those days, that meant investing in various equities, some Asian venture capital funds and an occasional seed funding opportunity.
Apart from that, I also did some modeling for advertisements and through this I earned my “play” money. And, what did I intend to do with my “play” money? I wanted to invest in bitcoin.
My First Steps
In 2010, with Bitcoin’s genesis block having been mined just one year prior, I came across some stories about this wonder-currency. I was intrigued and interested in investing. I struggled trying to find enough information and to sort through the comments for and against it. The challenges were massive. It seemed easier just to forget about it and go drink another espresso.
How could I invest? How could I sort through the many technical aspects? I felt like I needed to have a degree in programming. Moreover, I had concerns that if I did figure out where to buy it and how to hold it, then was I going to get some virus on my PC as a result or be pursued by someone from the dark side after I did? Could I be subjected to the many scams or hacks that I was reading about?
It is sad to think, however, that even 14 years since the genesis block, some of these impediments remain for many people, stifling greater Bitcoin adoption.
Asking The ‘Expert’
As I mentioned earlier, my then boyfriend/fiancé was apparently a financial expert. I mean, he was advising governments on their finances and economic development. He had been investing in stock markets since he was a teenager. So, why not ask him for help and his thoughts?
One weekend while in Singapore, I sprung the news and my questions. I recall that day so vividly. I mentioned Bitcoin and my desire to buy $100 worth and sell it after it grew to $1,000 worth. I thought it was fine to gamble a small amount because, even if I lost it all, I would somehow survive the loss… perhaps with only a few hours spent at a therapist.
Anyway, this is what I heard:
“What? Bitcoin? That’s just for use by scammers and prostitutes.”
OK, I forgot to ask how he knew that but, anyway, the discussion continued. I chalked his abrupt comment up to the fact that he had just finished drinking a double-shot, tall cappuccino with one pump of hazelnut syrup and was hyped full of caffeine and sugar.
I replied that I have researched it and understood that it is a token for the gaming sector, an industry that was growing fast. It can increase in value, I added. It can maybe reach $10 someday! I then also reminded him that he promised to buy me a gift — yes, the elusive FitFlops — when next in Singapore. I said that, rather than buying me those magic shoes, I will just use the money to buy bitcoin instead. Now, I could have easily bought bitcoin with my own money, but I wanted to do this as a mutual decision, for the future. And I was not a financial expert, so I thought it still best to seek his input. The discussion continued and I finally got him to agree to research Bitcoin further with me.
Over the next few days, we both tried to find more information on Bitcoin and possible on-ramps. I found one small and seemingly-elusive Bitcoin group in Singapore. It seemed at that time that to buy some bitcoin, you had to know the right people.
I felt that, at least since this group was in Singapore, a highly-policed and -regulated state, that I would not be subject to the many scam sales and post-purchase hacks to steal the coins that existed back then.
I wondered how to get in touch with the group and even if I did, how could I know that they were for real? Nonetheless, I was willing to take a chance since I would only put in around $100, just my FitFlop money. My boyfriend/fiancé/expert had a different view. He was old-style, a conservative investor. He was one who followed the Warren Buffett approach. Remember, Warren Buffett didn’t invest in any technology stocks until relatively late. The potential to lose $100 sent him into a panic, even if the upside could turn that into $1,000!
Wearing Bitcoin On My Feet
After finally breaking down my Warren Buffett protégé/panicked boyfriend into agreeing to consider Bitcoin, I tried to reach the elusive Bitcoin group. No email replies, no phone numbers, no address to visit. It seemed that the only outcome of my Singaporean Bitcoin adventure would be to own a pair of FitFlops. My outreach and research continued over the next few days but to no avail. It appeared that Bitcoin, and the potential to make big returns, would have to be saved for a select few techies or traditional wealthy insiders. I left Singapore wearing what should have been my bitcoin on my feet.
My First Bitcoin And My Last FitFlops
The years passed. I tried to occasionally catch an article or other news about Bitcoin. Even as I learned more about how to buy and hold it, I was busy working and traveling and found it impossible to find any trustworthy Bitcoin sources to invest in across developing Asia. The region was not the best place to do such research. Even after the founding of some crypto exchanges, they did not serve customers outside the U.S.
The start of my Bitcoin journey had to wait until around 2019. While I missed out on the early days of Bitcoin, I can at least take solace that my feet have been happy and comfortable over the decade.
Finally, you might now ask what happened to my then boyfriend-slash-fiancé? Well, that’s for another article…
This is a guest post by Enza Coin. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.