If there is one thing that can be said about the cryptocurrency industry, it’s that it is filled with some of the most passionate, dedicated, and creative individuals around.
Although the industry was kickstarted more than a decade ago by the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto—a pseudonym used by the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, a number of visionaries have emerged in recent years to help lay the foundations to help the industry become what it is today, and set the stage for the growth it will see in the near future.
But it hasn’t always been easy.
Like a relationship, it took a whole of faith, commitment, and understanding to produce the vibrant, burgeoning cryptocurrency industry we see today.
As Valentine’s Day is approaching, we take a look at some of crypto’s biggest love stories and see how the right approach to cryptocurrencies can have unexpected results.
An Ode to Perseverance
In 2014, at a time when the cryptocurrency industry was still in its embryonic stages of development, many people believed that blockchain technology was only good for hosting decentralized currencies, like Bitcoin and Litecoin.
But the 20-year old Russian-Canadian programmer Vitalik Buterin and his team had other plans.
That same year, he and his team announced the development of Ethereum, a new blockchain that wasn’t built for payments but was instead designed to host decentralized applications (dApps)—essentially blockchain-based versions of regular applications that are distributed over potentially thousands of computers.
It was a radical concept that some believed could not be done. But the cryptocurrency community disagreed.
Buterin and the other Ethereum co-founders managed to raise a staggering $18 million in Bitcoin (BTC) through a type of crowdfunding system called an initial coin offering (ICO) and set about creating the first dApp-capable blockchain.
Fast forward seven years later, Buterin is the only co-founder still left working on Ethereum, and has had a major influence in developing it into the second most popular blockchain platform today—despite suffering some major bumps in the road.
Though Vitalik lost some people along the road, he eventually found partners that shared his vision. When times got tough, and the naysayers doubted Ethereum would ever accomplish its lofty ambitions, Vitalik kept grinding.
After all, it was a labor of love.
Already fabulously wealthy by this point, the perseverance of Vitalik Buterin and the other major developers paid off big time, and Ethereum eventually grew into a $100 billion blockchain behemoth that is now on the verge of a major overhaul with the impending launch of Ethereum 2.0.
Had Buterin quit when things got tough, the crypto industry would be a very different place today.
A Tragic Sacrifice
The cryptocurrency industry is still just a decade old, making those that enter today some of its earlier adopters.
But while there are early adopters, there was only one earliest adopter and his name was Hal Finney.
Not only was Hal Finney the very first person to respond to Satoshi Nakamoto when Bitcoin was first announced, but he also became both one of the first individuals to contribute towards its development and helped to secure the network by becoming a Bitcoin miner—which entailed running a computer that helped validate Bitcoin transactions.
Finney would go on to become one of Bitcoin’s most prolific early advocates, and helped shape the cryptocurrency and the industry in its earliest days.
Some even believe that Hal Finney and Satoshi Nakamoto are the very same person, due to a number of incredible coincidences.
But what makes Finney’s story so inspiring, is that he helped develop Bitcoin and associated technologies even though he knew he might not live to see what they might become.
Because Finney was battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—also known as motor neurone disease (MND)—a progressive condition that slowly robbed him of his mobility. In 2014, five years after his diagnosis, ALS had claimed his life.
An early quote by Hal Finney perfectly sums up the kind of man he was: « the computer can be used to liberate and protect people, rather than control them.”
Contrary to what many people believe, Hal Finney dedicated himself to Bitcoin at a time when the risk was greatest. After all, who could have predicted what Bitcoin would become? He showed a passion for something he believed was bigger than himself, and won’t soon be forgotten for it.
When Commitment Pays Off
It isn’t just the early builders that have demonstrated what it takes to prosper in the industry.
The investors are also partly responsible—after all, they need to believe in what is being developed and stake their money on its success.
Take Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss as an example. The two Harvard graduates, who received a $65 million payout after suing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2008, opted to take a good chunk of this money (an $11 million chunk!) and pour it into Bitcoin in 2013—which at the time was worth just $120.
Since then, Bitcoin has exploded in value, turning the Winklevoss twins into billionaires and one of the biggest success stories in crypto. But to get to this point, the Winklevosses had to hold through some rather significant price dumps, losing almost 50% of their portfolio just months after making their investment, to losing a staggering 85% of it between 2017 and 2019—before it climbed to its highest ever value in 2021.
Now, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss operate one of the most reputable exchanges around (Gemini), helping people experience cryptocurrencies with fewer hurdles.
Oh, and they still haven’t sold their Bitcoin!
After all, when you believe Bitcoin will soar to $500,000 within the next decade as the Winklevosses do, why sell now.
Despite its ups and downs, the Winklevosses’ long-term commitment to Bitcoin has been one of the best gambles in history and it’s still ongoing!
In Love With Technology
What do Vitalik Buterin, Hal Finney, and the Winklevosses have in common?
Understanding, faith, and commitment.
They understood the potential of cryptocurrencies and took a risk by investing their time and money into it, they had faith that the technology would eventually disrupt the financial world, and they were committed to its long term growth—no matter what obstacles they faced.
Much like a relationship, they keep on pushing when others would have given up, they fought for what they believe in—and the cryptocurrency industry is stronger for it.
This Valentine’s Day, consider what cryptocurrencies mean to you.
As an early adopter of what could become an era-defining technology, what you do now will become part of its story. Will your chapter be a tale of tragedy or of triumph?