Cryptocurrency

Opinion: I wish I had realized cryptocurrency wasn’t a fluke – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Summary

Totten is an opinion editor and producer at The San Diego Union-Tribune. She lives in North Park.

In 2013, I started a new job as a reporter at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

My beloved alt-weekly, CityLife, had just folded and the editor of the R-J was kind enough to let me interview for a new beat: transportation or technology.

The choice was obvious. Las Vegas was experiencing a tech boom at the time. The late Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh had descended on downtown with a plan to…….

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Totten is an opinion editor and producer at The San Diego Union-Tribune. She lives in North Park.

In 2013, I started a new job as a reporter at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

My beloved alt-weekly, CityLife, had just folded and the editor of the R-J was kind enough to let me interview for a new beat: transportation or technology.

The choice was obvious. Las Vegas was experiencing a tech boom at the time. The late Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh had descended on downtown with a plan to buy real estate, seed startups and build community. Starry-eyed aspiring Zuckerbergs had flocked to the city’s once-decrepit core, bringing with them online services you never knew you needed and insatiable appetites for networking and booze.

Every night there was a meetup of some kind or another, which is where I found my first story.

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At the time, Bitcoin was about 4 years old. People had heard of it, but few were familiar. It was an unregulated so-called cryptocurrency, not affiliated with any country, and from what most people knew from the FBI crackdown on Silk Road, it was a covert way to buy drugs or hire hit men on the internet.

But it was becoming more than that, flirting with legitimacy as the Winklevoss twins — the literal tech bros who claimed Facebook was their idea — had filed to create a company that would trade Bitcoin like stocks.

I went looking for a local enthusiast to explain this world to me, and I found Julian Tosh. Tosh had gotten interested in crypto to teach his daughters about investing, and ran a website that listed brick-and-mortar businesses that took Bitcoin. We met at a kabob place across from the airport, where he helped me set up a Coinbase wallet and traded me $10 cash for a fraction of a coin. Although a few IRL businesses in town accepted it — you could get your car fixed, or your teeth cleaned, or buy a chicken shawarma gyro, like I did that day, for the equivalent of $7 — it felt more gimmicky than anything. It could be used to buy things, but its real value was the ability to send money instantly, to anyone anywhere in the world, without exchanging currency or paying bank fees or letting a government tell you how to do it.

But it was also sketchy, or at least a lot less user friendly, at that time. You couldn’t just cash out your Bitcoin in your bank account — you had to find a person to sell it to, either in person, like I did with Tosh, or to a stranger online you hoped would carry out their end of …….

Source: https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/story/2021-11-17/bitcoin-crypto-las-vegas-tech