10 Years in Bitcoin : 2012 - 2022
On 3 April 2012 my life changed; it was just an ordinary spring sunny day in London (like today) and I came across an article in the London Times about bitcoin.
That was my Eureka! moment about the potential future of money - decentralized, under the control of no-one, with no trusted central authority. Bitcoin is on a decentralized ledger called a Blockchain.
The link above to the Times article is also on the header of my twitter account which I changed to this handle - @BitcoinByte on the same day, when I jumped into action, securing a domain and creating my first blog post on the following day:
Prior to Bitcoin and the world of digital currencies I had devoted my career to finance and innovation (e.g. Dubai) and loved technology. Having a deep understanding of how the global banking system operates my ‘a-ha’ moment came suddenly with Bitcoin. I very quickly became something of a bitcoin ‘aficionado’ to anyone who would listen and built up quite a following; from there onwards it was a fascinating ride and a lot of fun. I made friends, traveled the world to present at conferences (Cards & Payments) both in South Africa (Johannesburg) and Singapore and continued to learn a great deal.
In 2012, the London Bitcoin scene was not yet on the mainstream radar and was a melting pot of intellectuals, futurists and open-minded disruptors hoping to bring about positive change to the current legacy banking, money and financial system. Meetups were a fun place to be, full of hope and excitement. I was welcomed by this community and seem to stand out somewhat as an older ex-establishment figure. People were often surprised that an ex-banker, someone with international experience in London, Dubai and Moscow should have embraced this amazing new scene. But far from being held at arm's length, I was supported, pushed even towards speaking out more and helping spread the word as for example in this Forbes piece on Bitcoin by Jon Matonis in 2012.
Before long I was being asked to make presentations about Bitcoin to a major UK clearing bank in July 2012 at their Canary Wharf HQ, then again late that year to their credit card HQ in Northampton. In 2013 I was called to present to senior UK civil servants at the Future of Money event held at the Department for Business Information and Skills in Victoria. This was picked up and reported in the Financial Times:
I did other follow-up work including leading a Cabinet Office round table event, a successful and positive meeting with HMRC regarding VAT on Bitcoin - link https://www.coindesk.com/markets/2013/12/06/uk-tax-authority-hmrc-rethinks-stance-on-bitcoin/ and HM Treasury
A year after I started, I gave this interview with System D media highlighting the FT front page article on Bitcoin https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/1cw251/system_d_media_interview_michael_parsons_about/?utm_source=amp&utm_medium=
Next came media interest. With Bitcoin surging to $1000+ in 2013 a British national broadcaster, ITV, did a news segment on Bitcoin. ITV presented this as something of a novelty piece, I can be seen buying, on TV, the first ever pint of Beer using bitcoin (for £3.00 / 0.0474 BTC – now about £1,650!). Looking back now I am proud to have been able to bring this tech to life for skeptics. ITV have since taken down the clip, but you can still see it on the wayback machine. https://web.archive.org/web/20130629200720/https://www.itv.com/news/london/topic/bitcoin/
As time went on I made more friends in the space and met many of the bitcoin pioneers and thought leaders. International crypto innovators, disruptors and travelers stayed at my house. I visited many of the key active players of the time at squats and underground events. Memorable ‘pre-fame’ interactions with Vitalik Buterin, Roger Ver, Andreas Antonopolous, Nic Carey, Erik Voorhees, Amir Taaki, Mike Hearn, (etc, etc). In those days, crypto in-fighting was minimal, Bitcoin was a unifying force and Satoshi was a wonderful mystery.
Like many others, particularly after Ethereum launched, I strayed away from Bitcoin, keeping an open mind to innovation and becoming frustrated with some of its shortfalls.
Peer–to-Peer, censorship resistant, electronic cash was still my main interest but the tantalising disruptive prospect of smart contracts was a strong siren song. But even during those years I never lost sight of where it had all begun and the key role of Bitcoin at the centre of the crypto universe.
I continued (and will continue) to make appearances on the BBC, Sky and Al-Jazeera news channels promoting and discussing Bitcoin e.g.
BBC News - Bitcoin / CSW https://youtu.be/m-S1rCHefLU
BBC News - Bitcoin / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFfGbDtiEio
Al Jazeera Arabic channel - Bitcoin
Al Jazeera - Arabic channel -Bitcoin
BBC R4 Report: Bitcoin -
BBC Radio 5 Live - no link
Bit-Talk with BitcoinByte - http://www.iamsatoshi.com/bit-talk-bitcoin-byte/
Some years ago some of my time was spent offering occasional consultancy (as a member of 3 expert networks) through my company: I have made telephone and personal presentations about bitcoin/blockchain/crypto to very well-known global companies, including merchant banks, tech stocks and global hedge funds.
Although this article is about my own discovery of, and my 10 year bitcoin journey, – outside of bitcoin, I would mention that many of the early adopters whom I know in the blockchain/token/crypto space have gone on from bitcoin to achieve success and recognition with further innovations and development.
My predictions for the next ten years? With Bitcoin, Crypto and Blockchain now having entered the mainstream since late 2017, innovation is continuing to accelerate at an almost exponential rate, compared to the early days prior to 2015 when Ethereum (ETH) was the main additional crypto token launched. Bitcoin and Ethereum continue to be the market leaders with innovations continuing with the development of many other useful Tokens, Stablecoins, De-Fi (Decentralized Finance) and of course NFT’s (Non Fungible Tokens).
My thanks and cheers to:
I have also built up significant and useful networks on both on both Twitter:
(@BitcoinByte & @Bitc01n)
(http://linkedin.com/in/michaelparsons ), being connected and well-known to many of the important names in the bitcoin/crypto/blockchain space.
As at 28 March 2022: “Good job @BitcoinByte, you are 84 on #CryptoLeaders the toplist of Crypto & Bitcoin Influencers.”
It has been a very interesting and exciting 10 years and I wish everyone success in whatever they choose to do in the future in this fast moving, dynamic and engaging space.