I saw someone trade bitcoin for some pizza on the forums. It was awesome, but I didn’t really grasp what was happening. At that point, my commitment level was very casual. I remember thinking that if I got some bitcoins, they could maybe pay for a new computer in a couple of years I put on my hat, met the locals at the saloon and began working on the blockchain. I started panning for bitcoin gold via the default client. At the time, most people generated bitcoins by letting the v0.

I earned some coins and I loved it. I liked it so much that I spent huge amounts of time researching the mechanics of bitcoin. I immersed myself in understanding the computer science. This served me better in the long run than any of the mining.

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I get asked occasionally if I’m a ‘bitcoin millionaire’ because I was an early miner, but the answer is no. The early miners I knew traded thousands of coins for the value of a new video game. Most people I spoke with on IRC were mining, but few of the discussions were about the value of a bitcoin.

Gavin Andresen, the project’s first maintainer, went so far as to give tons of bitcoins away for free to spur the movement. Mining proved to be a dynamic system, with larger unknown actors who had the tools and resources to outpace me.

Even after realizing this, I decided that I would keep mining.