Bitcoin is currently one of the hottest topics in the world. What started off as a little-known online experiment with the idea of currency, has now become one of the most puzzling and exciting technological avenues that mankind looks set to venture down. All over the world, people watch on as Bitcoin’s value continues to grow, with no end in sight. The Bitcoin ride so far has been a crazy one – with winners and losers; those who’ve been extremely lucky and others who really, really haven’t. We’ve collected some of the most interesting stories involving Bitcoin here, for your reading pleasure.
#1 The Bitcoin Bet
What would you have done, age 12, if your grandma had given you $1000? Invested it in a volatile and semi-experimental online currency, right? No, me either. But that’s exactly what Erik Finman of Idaho did. After a tip-off from his older Brother, Erik bought $1000 worth of Bitcoin in 2011. A few years later – after dropping out of high school and getting home-schooled – he made a bet with his parents that if he made a million dollars before his 18th birthday, they wouldn’t make him go to college, and in June last year, when the value of his original investment had increased by more than 100-fold, Erik declared the bet won.
#2 Bitcoin Buried Treasure
James Howells is an IT worker from Great Britain who started mining Bitcoin all the way back in 2009 and managed to accumulate 7500 before storing them all on a hard drive – today those Bitcoin are worth over $120 million. Pretty sweet for James Howells, right? Well, it would be, if the hard drive wasn’t buried under thousands of tonnes of landfill. James mistakenly threw away the hard drive in 2013 and once he realized his mistake, he contacted the local council, to see if there’s any way he could get it back, but due to the potential environmental hazards of digging up that much old waste, the council have so far declined his requests.
#3 Vibin’ with Bitcoin
Porn site Cam Soda recently launched a service called Bitcast, which is interactive and connects with one of a special line of sex toys, made by the company Lovense. Vibrator or whatever your choice of toy, sync it up to Bitcast and the intensity of its vibrations will fluctuate in real-time coordination with Bitcoin’s value. Nuff said.
#4 The Mt Gox Heist
Those newer to the world of Bitcoin may not remember Mt. Gox. Once the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, Mt. Gox’s story rocked the cryptocurrency world and caused a major setback for the digital currency industry. Having been the biggest exchange for most of Bitcoin’s life, Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy in 2014, after months of tech issues. Not only that, it was reported that at some point, 744,000 Bitcoins had been stolen from the company – without anybody even realizing. With only around 12.4 million Bitcoin in circulation, this theft accounted for almost 6% of the total amount of Bitcoin available.
#5 The Most Expensive Pizza of all time?
What’s the best pizza you’ve ever eaten? How much would you have paid for it? How about 10,000 BTC? In 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz of Florida wrote himself into the history books, when he became the first person to exchange Bitcoin for real goods. Via Reddit, Hanyecz made a deal with a guy over in England – Laszlo would send him 10,000 Bitcoin – at the time a more-or-less worthless online-currency – if the Englishman would order him a pizza from his local Papa John’s. At time of writing, that amount of Bitcoin is worth approximately $159 million – we hope it was a very, very nice pizza.
Source: Business Insider
#6 The Mystery Behind Bitcoin
We know who to thank for the vast majority of the technological advances and inventions that our society has seen over the last few decades. Thanks Tim Berners Lee, this internet thing is pretty rockin’! Oh, and thanks Mark Zuckerberg, how would I know what my weird cousin thinks about Colin Kapernick, without Facebook! But even now, 10 years on, we still don’t know much about the person behind Bitcoin. What we do know is that in 2008, someone under the name “Satoshi Nakamoto” uploaded a whitepaper to a cryptology mailing list entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. The rest, as they say, is history!
#7 The Bitcoin Sheriff
Up until not that long ago, the majority of us might have only thought of bitcoin as something to purchase illicit materials with. Drugs, guns, or perhaps an assassin to show that kid who used to push you around in 8th grade who’s boss now! Just me? Well anyway, you probably wouldn’t have thought of it as something that the police Sheriff of a tiny hamlet in Kentucky would be all that interested in, but you’d be wrong! Way back in 2013, Tony Vaughn requested that he receive his wages in Bitcoin, and the city obliged. Back then BTC was worth around £1200, so if Mr. Vaughn put any of his wages away back then, he probably doesn’t have to do much working anymore.
#8 The Holy War on Bitcoin
Though Bitcoin is now surging massively in popularity – even my Grandma has now heard of it – not everyone is getting behind crypto-currencies quite yet. Case in point, Egypt’s most highly regarded religious cleric started 2018 by issuing a strongly-worded fatwa (religious edict) against Bitcoin, citing Australian researchers, who’ve monitored Bitcoin for years and found that more than 50% of transactions using it are in some way illegal. It’s not clear though, whether the fatwa has had the desired effect, because it has been reported that there has been a surge in interest in the currency since – specifically among those who until the fatwa had never heard of it. Oops!
Source: Times of Israel
#9 Living the Dream
Picture it; you’ve just spent 10 days in 5-star paradise on a tropical island being waited on hand and foot, now you’re sipping $500 per glass cognac in the VIP first-class lounge, waiting for your flight to Milan. The man next to you admires your watch and says “you must make a fortune, what do you do?” You reply, with a single word, “Bitcoin”. OK, so it’s not you, but it could have been, if you’d got in on crypto real-early, like Mr. Smith, profiled in last year in Forbes magazine. The anonymous now-millionaire dropped $3000 on Bitcoin back in 2010 – when the going rate was approx. $0.15 per Bitcoin. Years later, his entire life is spent traveling the world off the back of that initial $3,000 investment. Oh well, we can dream!
#10 Just transfer the Bitcoin and nobody gets hurt
Unfortunately, anything that has value comes with a little risk – as we’ve already discussed, with Mt Gox. But sometimes that risk can be real-world too, as one 28-year old Brooklynite found out the hard way in 2015, after arranging to trade Bitcoin over Craigslist. The deal was set up and agreed fine, but when the man went to meet his would-be traders, he was led to a car, supposedly to “finalize the deal”. Once inside, someone on the backseat pulled a gun, and ordered him to (metaphorically) handover an amount of Bitcoin which at the time was worth $1100. If karma exists, these robbers cashed their crypto-loot in straight away, and haven’t managed to cash in on the recent explosion in Bitcoin’s value.
#11 Long Island Iced Blockchain
In the world of mainstream finance and business, people are only now really starting to catch on to the idea of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. In fact, people are going kind of crazy for it, sometimes without even fully understanding why. One interesting move, by the company formerly known as Long Island Iced Tea, was to tactically change the name of their company to “Long Island Blockchain”. The company will still be making iced tea and other juices and are only in the early stages of looking at possible investments in the crypto-industry, but already the move has proved to be effective – their stocks rose 200% in the wake of the name-change!
#12 Extra million dollars with your mansion, Sir?
As if buying a new home wasn’t exciting enough, one lucky purchaser who happened to choose Bitcoin to carry out the transaction managed to net an extra $1.4 million on a $4 million-dollar house. As described by Bitpay’s Sonny Singh to Bloomberg, the man began the purchase of the property when Bitcoin’s value was around $750, but with the currency being so ascendant, by the time the transaction was complete, its value was more than $1,000!
#13 Get Rich or Die Tryin’
Rapper 50 Cent has had some tough financial issues in recent years, but that looks to be all in the past thanks to Bitcoin. It turns out that 50 Cent earned about 700 BTC from accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment for a previous album. Today his holdings are worth somewhere between 7 to 9 million dollars.