There are mornings when I find my email spam inbox full of advertisements, phishing attempts and, obviously fake, requests for help from Sierra Leone, but this morning, in typical bold letters in the inbox, it said: “JOIN THE BITCOIN MOVEMENT – live the life you’ve always dreamed of now!”.
When reading the subject of that email, like in a Tarantino movie, I retraced the 8 years passed since I met Bitcoin and its world, in a flash, I remembered how my story with Bitcoin started.
A story that I would like to share with readers of The Cryptonomist.
It was the summer of 2012. Sitting quietly in a deckchair by the sea, I received a phone call from a friend who told me:
“have you heard about the currency that makes you rich? Just buy some and you can make millions without doing anything!!!! It’s called #à#@#coin!”.
I had already received several of these phone calls during my career as a Senior Investor, but this one particularly excited me. When I got back to the city, I started googling information about this… #à#@#coin? What was it called? In the midst of other things, I forgot about it for a while.
I just couldn’t remember the name I heard on the phone, well it didn’t matter, all I needed to do was google “coin” and “make rich”, and it would have been quite easy to find what I was looking for. Onecoin? Or maybe Bitcoin?
I immediately realized that the information I was reading and collecting on Onecoin led to only one result: scam.
The Ponzi scheme was pretty clear. You had to deposit a contribution, then find other “investors” who paid their share, and so on and so forth.
For a few years, the Ponzi scheme was a reflection of what was happening to the “…coin” movement, collecting substantial capital too, but the outcome was unavoidable.
In contrast, Bitcoin did not seem to be a scam at all, quite the contrary. Perhaps the idea of totally replacing fiat currencies was presumptuous, but it attracted me and other crypto “idealists”.
We saw Bitcoin as the only alternative to the devaluation of national currencies, printed by Central Banks around the globe, and as an alternative to the centralization of power and capital. Able to guarantee freedom of expression wherever censorship strikes hard.
The Bitcoin Movement of Early Adopters
And so I started to study the topic in-depth, joining the Italian “Early Adopters” on Bitcointalk forum, with some of them we are still in contact, buying the first BTC at the price of 65$/BTC when the day before they were trading at 36$/BTC – You’re crazy! someone told me –
On the Internet, there were already graphs that reproduced the trend of the value against the dollar since its birth, a beautiful curve that invited to stay away from BTC. Phase 2 of the following graph was still a long way off:
The belief that times were changing, made me support the idea of creating a network of disseminators and trading hubs in the country – hence the name ParmaBTC. At that time, the most complicated thing was to buy Bitcoin, which was often done in person from complete strangers, so third parties were needed to ensure that the exchange took place safely and reliably, people that could be trusted: the Escrow. I was later lucky enough to be one of the 20 founders, in that bar in Bologna, of Bitcoin Foundation Italia.
To conclude this brief flashback, I’d like to suggest to those who receive emails like these: “Ride the Bitcoin Wave and earn…” not to be fooled by these would-be wizards of fintech, because to this day, most of those I’ve known since the beginning of the ParmaBit story, don’t make thousands of dollars daily, and/or dizzying monthly figures, but live the life they’ve always dreamed of thanks to “Bitcoin”, while those who have been tempted… well, I’ll let you figure it out.