I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about this question and trying to decipher the best way to tell the story of how I found Steem and how it radically changed my entire life. I’ve dedicated the last 4+ years of my life to the crypto space and 3 of those years have specifically been focused on Steem. There are a myriad of ways in which I could tackle this story and take you through my journey of finding Steem and spending so much of my time here, so let’s start from the beginning.
My first stint with crypto was a LONG time ago. It was probably somewhere around 2011 or 2012. I was only 14 or so at the time and I was an avid gamer. My youth mainly consisted of spending way too much time playing games like World of Warcraft, but my ambition in games like WoW was always to make as much gold (the in-game currency) as possible.
My goal was less about playing the game as intended and more about playing in my own little virtual financial game. I still have countless spreadsheets that I created as a kid outlining all sorts of in-game arbitrages that were solely aimed at making more gold — like tracking auction house activity to identify the best gems to cut with the jewelcrafting profession or collecting data on the hundreds of thousands of listings in the auction house to find underpriced armor that I could quickly buy and flip for a few gold.
While most people (especially my parents) looked at the 12+ hours a day I spent playing video games as a waste of my childhood, I remember those hours fondly as the very bricks with which I built the foundation of who I am today. Without those experiences, I wouldn’t be me and I sure as shit wouldn’t have ended up here on Steem.
As any gamer knows, I spent a disproportionate amount of time learning about random stuff on the internet. One day, I came across something called Bitcoin. I was young at the time, but I saw that it could be a real-life money generator (not just something that could make me rich in a video game). I went down some rabbit holes and decided that I could get rich by mining BTC.
Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have any IRL cash (also known as fiat money). Without it, I wasn’t able to afford the mining equipment that I wanted to get and so, I gave up on the idea of mining Bitcoin. I let that idea fade away like many others that I had at the time and decided to just keep playing my video games and learning about other stuff.
Shortly after all the BTC stuff went down, I started high school and I also started learning and trading binary options on the stock market. This is the time when finance and investing took a firm grasp on my life and never let go. Since then, I have never stopped thinking about investing in one form or another. I still trade options to this day, although, to a lesser degree than in my prime years. Now it’s more about having fun than anything else. Long-term investing and building has become my primary focus.
After graduating high school in 2016, I reluctantly went on to college. If it were up to me, I would have never went past high school and I would have simply continued to learn about the financial world and found my own way to navigate it. I had been making money since I was 14 as a trader, but it wasn’t nearly stable enough to earn the label of a full-time job.
Around this time is when I re-discovered Bitcoin. Bitcoin had recently made some news and I was instantly returned to my place deep in the crypto rabbit hole that I had left about 4 years before that time. This time was much different, however. This time I had a lot more resources and a hell of a lot more knowledge. I wasn’t going to let the same opportunity pass me by twice in a lifetime and so, I jumped head first into buying Bitcoin.
It didn’t take long for me to discover this “new” thing called Ethereum. When I found Ethereum, it was as if all the right switches got flipped in my brain… “A global supercomputer”… now that’s something that I was going to be a part of.
I got to work investing in Ethereum and even picked up some odd jobs just to get extra capital to throw at my crypto investments. I spent countless hours learning about blockchain and all it had to offer the world.. especially in relation to this idea of smart contracts.
As I was researching Ethereum, I kept finding articles on this site called Steemit. After having a few touch points with Steemit I saw the $ next to posts and realized that people were earning a different kind of cryptocurrency for blogging… this was fascinating to me.
This had caught my attention to a higher degree than anything else because I was already blogging about cryptocurrencies and options trading on my personal website. I had never earned a penny for doing my blog posts before but I had created hundreds of them for fun and the potential of future monetization.
Anyone who has ever spent hundreds or even thousands of hours writing content and trying to make money as a blogger online knows the struggle of starting out.. I was at it for over a year and wasn’t making a dime as a blogger. I was making money from actual investments and that was it.
So when I saw something like Steemit, I instantly recognized the opportunity… I realized that if you merge the incredible technology of instantaneous micro-payments on the web with a social system for bloggers, you could make some real magic happen.
I put in a request for a Steem account and I was ready to tackle it head on. Then I realized that you had to wait for your account to get approved. To this day, the account creation barrier is one of the main issues for the Steem blockchain, but the amount of solutions that have come about are an incredible testament to the power of this community. At the time, there was only Steemit (and maybe block trades) creating accounts for people. Today, there are dozens of solutions.
It took at least a few weeks (maybe even a month) until I actually got a Steem account and logged into it. Back then, Steem was nothing like it is now. There was really only one “dApp” on Steem and it was Steemit.com. It was primitive and the knowledge base for trying to learn stuff about Steem was also very limited.
Deep Into the Steem Rabbit Hole You Go
It didn’t take long for me to fall so deep in the Steem rabbit hole that my interest in Ethereum and Bitcoin quickly faded into the background. Steem became my central focus in life and when I say everything took a backseat, I mean EVERYTHING. My entire life went into Steem right before the bull run of 2017.
- I stopped partying with friends
- I stopped researching other topics
- I stopped nearly all other hobbies (except fitness - that’s my one core pillar in life)
- And here’s the big one — I dropped out of college.
Yeah. That’s how deep I was in the Steem rabbit hole. I literally gave up on everything else in life and focused my laser directly on Steem and didn’t waiver in the slightest. I still participate in some other projects but to a very small degree compared to the time I spend on Steem.
From Blogger to Accumulator
Around October of 2017 I was investing all the time and money I could into the Steem blockchain. I was stacking up Steem like nobody’s business and I didn’t realize it yet, but a huge bull run was around the corner.
Seemingly over night, SBD and STEEM started to skyrocket and they brought my net worth along for the ride. Take a 19 year old kid who had been trading for the past 5 years and making thousands of dollars a year and then hand him the ability to make thousands of dollars a week and see what happens.
Let’s just say, I had a fun 2 months.
The bull run ended for me as quickly as it started. Luckily, I was smart and managed to take a bunch of the money I had put in and diversify it a bit. I put a little here and a little there. Built a nice little rainy day fund for myself and was on my merry way.
I enjoyed the bull run and I was devastated when it was over. Even though I had made a lot of money, I felt the emotional disdain that comes with reaching peak euphoria as a massive group of people and then slowly losing that momentum over the course of months.
Steem started to quiet down. Users were leaving and people were less excited about earning a few STEEM for their blog posts as the value of STEEM and SBD dropped like a boulder in the ocean.
I continued to blog. Continued to invest. Continued to find more and more ways to get my hands on more STEEM. In my mind, the next bull run has been around the corner since the beginning of 2018. I’ve been playing the accumulation game since then.
Today, I have at least 30x as much STEEM as I did back then, but I’ve had to work and invest for it tirelessly for the past 2 years of my life. Funny enough, the USD value of the STEEM I have today is almost the same as what I had back then. Let that math sink in for a moment 🙂
The apps and development on Steem always kept me lighthearted. Yeah the price fell and yeah I watched Steemit, Inc. stumble.. but I never lost hope and I still haven’t. I have spent countless hours in the crypto space and I can tell you from experience that Steem is a one of a kind community. There’s nothing else like it.
Let’s fast forward out of the accumulation phase of my Steem journey and go into one of the most important things I have ever done: Steemleo.
When Steem-Engine launched, I reserved a token and called it LEO. I had some ideas for what I could do with this token and I started developing one of them. It was an initiative to teach people about Steem and try to get more people blogging on the blockchain that I loved so much.
Then, tribes were launched. I think it took less than a week for me to reach out to Aggy and tell him to get me a tribe set up with all the bells and whistles that were possible.
A couple days later, https://steemleo.com was launched. It looked a lot more basic back then than it does now, but you get the idea. This was something on the order of 7 or 8 months ago.
Steemleo was an instant success as it was one of the first 3 or 4 tribes that launched on the Steem blockchain. People loved using it and I loved the idea of building a massive community of like-minded people on Steem and leveraging it to achieve one of my primary goals — get more people on Steem.
Steemleo has evolved from a simple community into a project with a stupendous amount of man power behind it. There are several developers from around the world who continually add on to the project. There is an incredible team of curators helping me find and reward content on Steemleo and there are hundreds of passionate Steemians out there who have joined our community and continually share their awesome thoughts on the financial space.
With their help, Steemleo has morphed from a simple blogging interface created 7 months ago into a suite of web apps and a thriving discord community with over 500 people in it. The things we have done with our condenser interface, the Leodex interface, the upcoming Leoshop marketplace and more have blown my mind. If this journey were written in a book and shown to me, I would’ve called it Sci-Fi.
Without Steem, Where the Hell Would I Be?
Steem is what made this all possible. Without Steem, I honestly don’t know where I would be today. My peers are all in their senior years of college. So perhaps I would be on the verge of graduation and getting a “normal” job.
Or perhaps I would’ve latched onto Ethereum and built something over there. I always knew that I wanted to run something like Steemleo, but I never really understood what it would take to get from A to Z.
All those developers and curators and community members that are working on Steemleo? I met them all on Steem. Steem made that connection possible and with Steem I am able to instantly connect with talented people from all walks of life.
STEEM began as an investment for me, but it has grown into something more meaningful than a simple investment. They say you’re not supposed to get emotional about your investments and I agree with that in certain cases. Steem is not one of them.
It is strange to feel emotional about a “thing”.. but I can tell you with full honesty that Steem makes me emotional. Just thinking about it gives me the tingly feelings behind my eyes that we all get when we think about someone that we love or something that we hold dear in our hearts.
Steem is that for me. It’s my digital home. I have known this for a long time, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever written it down: I’ll be here on Steem until the chain stops. Until there are no witnesses left willing to run a node. With that said, I think I’ll be on Steem for a long-time. Far longer than I have already been here.
I came for the money, but I’ve stayed for the community.