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Bitcoins, Brothers, and Bread

This is a true story.

John Anthony and I became brothers while suffering together side by side, tethered to headsets and computer screens owned by one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies.

This was where the human spirit went to die.

It was around Thanksgiving 2012. John - maybe just a little bit more than a smidgen heavy - was complaining he’d gained too much weight. He was now trying to beat another stout guy in a bet. This was a bet about who’d be the first to lose 35 pounds.

As a former navy pilot trained more towards action than words, when I overheard these two men discussing their weight loss competition, of course I had to put in my two cents.

“John, it’s time to stop talking and start doing! In fact, can I ask you a question… do you even own a scale to weigh yourself and keep track of your weight loss?”

Of course he didn’t.

“John, here’s twenty dollars. Go to Walmart and buy yourself a scale to weigh yourself each day, so you can lose the weight and win the bet.”

So John replied, “Bill, know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna take your twenty dollars and buy myself a digital scale - and then I’m gonna buy you some digital crypto-currency - a bitcoin - for twenty dollars… okay? Bill, it’s either we go with that or no deal.”

“Yeah, go ahead and do that, John.” I replied. “But I have no idea what the hell a bitcoin is and frankly I don’t care. And please don’t give it to me until I can go to Walmart and use it to buy a loaf of bread… okay? Because money – real money - is something you can buy something tangible with, like food, like bread.”

What I didn’t know then was that in 2010 a bitcoin was worth less than one U.S. penny. What I also didn’t know was that the bitcoin John bought me in 2012 was the first bitcoin he ever bought. And, by purchasing it, he developed enough confidence to purchase many more bitcoins later on. In time, he became an expert in digital crypto-currency.

Now let’s fast forward five years.

Neither John nor I work at that company anymore. We haven’t seen each other in quite a while.

My cell phone rings.

“Hello, Bill… it’s John. I think you can go to Walmart now and buy a loaf of bread with that bitcoin I bought you. In fact, you can probably buy about 10,000 loaves with it… depending, of course, on the kind of bread you like.”

Yes, folks, it’s unbelievable, but it’s true - there are still people out there in the world like this – people who honor their word and do what they say they are going to do. Some of them – let’s call them brothers – let’s call them saints - even vehemently insist upon it.

But John says he’s not ready to be referred to as Saint John. Why? Because he feels it was by being motivated and cajoled into taking the first step of actually buying a bitcoin that his life was changed forever – and clearly for the better.

A few days after John first called me, he cashed out his first bitcoin – my bitcoin - and he presented me with a check. A large check.

And I’m happy to report that - immediately after depositing it in my bank account - I went to Walmart and purchased a nice loaf of New York rye bread.

And I still have enough money left over to buy approximately 9,999 more loaves in the future.

Brother, thanks to John and bitcoins - that’s a lot of bread.


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