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What Goes Down Must Come Up

3 min read

This is a story of exploration, at the ragged limit of control...

Before the Bitcoin Rally

Promises are easily made, but you have to make good on those promises if you really meant what you said. When I found myself without any money or support to build the startup that would set my conscience straight, for my involvement in the Credit Crunch, and help me back to health & wealth after separation from my wife, I had to think creatively.

I sank every penny I had, plus everything I could borrow from the banks and other commercial lenders (which was a lot... I am extremely creditworthy) into Bitcoin, in August 2013. This turned out to be a rather shrewd investment. Only one friend, Cameron, was wise enough to back me, and I think the return on his capital is likely to have exceeded a lifetime of Governement-backed tax free saving.

Another friend, Will, decided to copy my investment strategy, and had me to manage the purchase and sale of his Bitcoin Miner to maximise his profit. However, he decided to hold and try to run his profits on his Bitcoins, when I was cashing out in December 2013. The losses he sustained from that mark-to-market point, have been pretty eye-watering. Oh well; he's still suckling at the teet of Investment Banking, so he doesn't need the money.

Selling my house, dividing up all my posessions and trying to move what I could to London, as well as divorce paperwork and general breakup unpleasantness, plus having to risk everything just to keep my hopes & dreams alive, was the very last distraction I needed. Doing a startup is hard at the best of times. Moving is stressful. Leaving everything you've built and worked for is heart-wrenching. Doing it when you are unwell... it's enough to finish a person off.

And so, in the first half of 2014 I had to invest in myself. All my profit was re-invested in my health. I parked my dreams of building a social enterprise - a not-for-profit built to salve an aching conscience - built with knowledge gleaned from my obscenely rich masters.

Exactly how rich did I make my masters? Well, software I designed and delivered was responsible for the confirmation of $1,160,000,000,000,000 in Credit Default Swaps contracts in 2008. That's $165,714 for every man, woman and child on the planet. That's f**ked up.

A guy I worked with resigned in moral protest... but he was really just looking after himself: he bought gold at $550 a troy Oz and a chicken farm in New Zealand. I was disturbed by what we were doing, but I'm just a frustrated coder... I knew I could deliver the project for the bank... I didn't know how to say "no".

Double Hashpower

Scarcity, collatteral, securitisation: the basis for the non-insane version of capitalism (September 2013)