Our Bitcoin Story – A Treasure Hunt for Charity

Good morning John. So around the time when a single Bitcoin started to be worth, like, thousands of dollars You started emailing me every once in a while saying you’re pretty sure that sometime in the distant past Somebody sent us a Bitcoin. And I told you that that was ridiculous and impossible and to stop having weird dreams. And then the price of a Bitcoin jumped up to ten thousand dollars And you email me again, and you’re like “Hank, I’m pretty sure somebody gave us a Bitcoin.” And I told you that you were wrong and, if anything, somebody sent us a Dogecoin Which isn’t worth a lot. And then a single Bitcoin became worth fifteen thousand dollars, And you stopped bothering with me And instead did a systematic search of every email we had received since the beginning of Bitcoin. And then, John, you found that a nice person named Sean had in 2014 sent us a Bitcoin, Almost an entire Bitcoin. We had to recreate an old email address to get access to that Bitcoin. It was a bit of a to-do, but at the end of the process I logged into Coinbase And there was $15,000 that we didn’t know we had. And then we sold it immediately and then donated the proceeds to Partners in Health. So thank you Sean. This is very strange and there’s a lot to cover when it comes to Bitcoin, And while the technology of Bitcoin is super amazing, And we made a Scishow video about it and you can watch it, I want to talk about one of the more boring mundane aspects of Bitcoin, Which is how something that cost Sean a hundred dollars Became worth fifteen thousand dollars. Where did that value – that actual literal money – come from? All the times in our minds when we talk about financial markets We imagine them as being like either Magic or like invisible hand-ish things are happening. Like our Bitcoin became worth fifteen thousand dollars because the value of Bitcoin increased. But of course that’s gibberish. Basically like saying it rained more because more water came out of the sky. My Bitcoin became worth fifteen thousand dollars the moment Someone else bought another Bitcoin on the open market for fifteen thousand dollars. And not only mine – everyone’s. And when I sold my Bitcoin I sold it to someone who bought it with money. A lot of money! When they paid for it, they set the price for every Bitcoin in that moment. And of course the same thing goes on the way down. If suddenly there are more people selling Bitcoin than buying Bitcoin People start selling their Bitcoin at lower prices and suddenly Every Bitcoin that exists is worth less money. This is the way that financial markets work, and it’s pretty weird. The only thing that decides how much a share in Google is worth is the most recent purchase of Google stock. If suddenly no one in the world would buy a share in Google for more than a dollar, Google shares would be worth a dollar. It’s just humans deciding whether to buy or sell to other humans. But the value of Google stock is based on Google’s ability to make money, which has some consistency to it. To some extent it’s additionally based on people’s belief That it will be able to make more money in the future. A Bitcoin’s value on the other hand is Mostly based on an uncertain prediction that at some point in the future Lots of people will use Bitcoins as currency. And that’s a bet on a future that no one can accurately predict, And also that I can’t really even advocate for. But Partners in Health I know is adding value to the world So I’d rather them have my Bitcoin because Partners in Health Does amazing work with passion and intelligence. And if you want a wonderful way to spend a half an hour or so I’ve linked to an amazing article about Partners in Health in the description. John, thank you for sharing that article with me. It’s changed the way I think about a lot of stuff And thank you for finding our Bitcoin. I still cannot believe that you were right. I’ll see you on Tuesday. Hey everybody two things. First – I did the Nerdfighteria census analysis, It’s over on Hanks Channel. It’s quite long and very interesting. And number two – until the end of January you can join DFTBA’s new pin subscription, The DFTBA Pin Pals. This is the first pin. Shipping is free everywhere in the world. The second one hasn’t been printed yet But it looks like this and the third one I’ve been working on – it’s Mars Pathfinder, Which the first rover on Mars – an extremely important object in my life. There’s a limited number of openings in the subscription club So that we don’t make too many or too few pins, so go sign up! Links in the description.

100 thoughts on “Our Bitcoin Story – A Treasure Hunt for Charity”

  1. The best part of this is that now John can, for the rest of time, tell me how he was right and I was wrong. I have a hard time imagining that he will ever let me live this down.

    Partners in health Article: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/12/18/ophelia-dahls-national-health-service
    DFTBA Pin Pals: https://store.dftba.com/products/dftba-pin-pals
    Census Analysis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9fS7vUP-yw&feature=youtu.be

    I say in this video that I can't even actually endorse bitcoin because I see a shadow of a lot of familiar foolishness in it. It's very easy to see the flaws in our existing financial systems. It's too hard to move money around, big institutions take a cut when they don't deserve one, and it gives governments too much control over what people do with their money.

    But it's easy to misunderstand or even be completely ignorant of the problems new systems will create. It's proven very easy to steal bitcoin from people, and once it's stolen the privacy of bitcoin makes that theft impossible to investigate. Transaction fees actually have started to rise, and already governments are placing the exact restrictions on bitcoin that they have on other money because people are using it to buy illegal things, avoid taxes, and launder money from illegal activity. Additionally, the skyrocketing value of bitcoin has meant that it is worthwhile for people to dedicate a huge amount of computers to mining bitcoin, which has become a significant power load. Bitcoin, while being entirely digital, is somehow also surprisingly detrimental to the environment.

    Whether or not I thought it was a good currency or store of value, I would not want to be be involved with any of that. But, nonetheless, I am very thankful for Sean's bitcoin and am very happy we were able to give its value to Partners in Health.

  2. So this has that classic Vlogbrothers trade, that if I didn't know how to freeze-frame at the right time (or use , and . to reach the right frame), I wouldn't know how misinformed I could've been

  3. Economics law of supply and demand. In the 2008 financial crisis it got easier to get credit to own homes. Scarcity went up and so prices went up. But then people started defaulting and so scarcity went down. People tried to sell off their homes as quickly as possible before prices plummeted too much which only made prices fall even more.
    With Bitcoin it's only a matter of demand going up and more people using the currency.

  4. just read the article and i am first of all definitely recommending it to my friends, but what struck me most about it apart from the ground level beautiful work that PIH does, was how mindboggling this kind of drive and commitment is to me, a person of highly unstable mental health with motivational issues that stop me from even taking charge in my own life (i am working on this!), much less to go to a place and do a fucking census, because there isn't one and then never stopping. it is really awe inspiring.

  5. The hackerspace that I am a member of had a very similar experience. It used to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment for membership dues and donations. At some point when Bitcoin wasn't worth much, someone did so. Once the value skyrocketed, the treasurerer looked up the account and brought the news to the board members of the educational non-profit. It was immediately decided to sell the Bitcoin and the windfall was slated for buying tool improvements for the shop. Being a non-profit organization, the hackerspace is effectively its own built in charity, so it didn't need to look far for a beneficiary.

  6. If I was that person, I would be so blown away that my few hundred became thousands that went to charity! Amazing! Also, signing up to the pin club is the best thing I've done all month especially now that one pin is PATHFINDER!! <3

  7. Bitcoin will not be used as a currency but it will likely have value in the future for 2 other reasons, 1 scarcity and 2 brand , because it was first its brand value will likely remain strong. However as a currency other competitors will enter the market that do transacting better than bitcoin. Bitcoin isn't well written to handle the kind of volume required of a global digital currency unfortunately. But some others already do and I bet something else will be written soon that works even better.

  8. "it rained more because more water fell off the sky". Everytime I make a economy related question that's the kind of answer I get. Honestly, that's just sad. People should make more effort to understand truly how economy works, but since it's so complex some just pretend to and try to make fun of any question others have.

  9. If anyone is interested in learning more about Bitcoin:

    Introduction to the Internet of Money (by Andreas Antonopolous)

    Introduction to Bitcoin (by Andreas Antonopolous)

    Ever wonder how Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) actually work? (by 3Blue1Brown)

    Cryptocurrencies will not be the one fix for capitalism but they can make it substantially better for us all in the foreseeable future. Especially people in 3rd world countries will benefit.
    Anyone with a phone, an internet connection and a little bit of wit will have the ability to send and receive payments with every other user in the world. Noone will be discriminated because of their race, gender, age, ancestry, religion, nationality, political opinion, etc. There is no central authority to tell you how much your belongings are worth and no huge bank could speculate with your money as if it was theirs.
    Money is a language and cryptocurrencies will allow us all to speak in the way we want.
    This is not a reality yet, but I sincerely hope it will be at some point. Give it time.

  10. a new exchange starts on February 1st the one who registers beta gets 500 USD balance ends on 21 January https://upcoin.com/?ID=93fb151a


    The things I could have done with that money…

    Charity, yes but like…bills…debt… Damn, Hank. You have a great heart for going to charity with that.

  12. We don't use it in the US. Crypto Currency is being used heavily for real world transactions in areas of the world that are less stable than ours. It began in Greece and a few other places and is now thriving in Africa and South America.

    It is the future and it scares the hell out of countries. You'll see countries drive to control the internet to limit the usage.

  13. It’s like finding a gift card when you’re throwing out a stack of old birthday cards except instead of being $20 for a book it’s $15,000. Unreal.

  14. ? tears because I will probably never stumble across 15K and not need it so much I give it to charity.

    Hank and John are wonderful humans. And lucky humans. I’m going to go wallow in my pile of student loans now.

  15. Hank and John. The reason that Bitcoin's price is so high is partially due to illegal goods on the black market. And illegal services. And people. For sale.

  16. Dear Hank,
    I loved the video. My one piece of constructive criticism would be to put the pop up text on screen for a little longer because I have trouble pausing it to read sometimes. Thanks so much for your videos and making the world suck less.


  17. Love how much money you people waste on ineffective charity work instead of investing and creating an incentive for people to work

  18. 2.5%dailyfor48days – mining -trading platform #Bitconnect #usitech buy the services from a new LOS ANGELES mining-trading company -100% compliant with business laws – join free today 8288237.vista.network

  19. Wow what a great opportunity to link to the video of Cryptocurrency on your SciShow channel and give people an opportunity to learn about it instead talking down bitcoin in the comments section!

  20. Shit shit shit. I completely forgot, but back in 2012 I got sent 0.2 free bitcoins. I've gone back through my email. I then transfered them to another account on my old laptop. It would now be worth ~£1800. I don't know any of the passwords or keys anymore, but the laptop is back at my parents and it still works, if slowly. If I saved the passwords anywhere on that laptop then I'm up £1800. If I can't find them….that will majorly suck.

  21. You probably won't even see this, but I was wondering if you could make the text on the screen appear for just a bit longer? I couldn't get it to pause at the right time and after about 10 times I used the "," key to get there

  22. You know a curios thing Bitcoin fell in the markets and was rescue by Peter Theil cash infusion, Invisible hand my ass.

  23. As a Magic the Gathering player I see a lot of similarities here between the "value" of Bitcoin and the "value" of magic cards. The only reason a piece of painted cardboard is worth $13,000 is because someone out there is willing to pay/trade that much. Yes, there is an element of rarity that adds to the value of certain magic cards, but rarity alone does not explain why a piece of painted cardboard would be valued at thousands of real life dollars. Not even getting into the even more ethereal value held by Magic Online cards (virtual representations of painted cardboard that are worth actual cash money). We trade Magic cards like people trade stocks, and that always blows my mind when I think about it too much.

  24. John should thank Hank, because otherwise they would have cashed out at a much lower price. It might have even been wise to hold onto it still, in anticipation of an even greater increase in value.

  25. Hank, for the love of being awesome, would you please not put a whole bunch of small words, you consider your inner thoughts, into 1 or maybe 2 frames, after which they disapoof?
    It's freakishly annoying as hell. If you don't want us to attempt to read them, leave them out, or stick them in the dooblydoo.
    If you did want us to read them please leave them there longer, and/or also in the dooblydoo.
    Thank you so much. DFTBA!

  26. So much love for Dr. Paul Farmer and what he does! I read Mountains Beyond Mountains some years ago…just reading about how docteur Paul would travel to isolated villages to treat his patients and make sure they had their bibles and sodas as well as their infectious disease treatments (and even to this agnostic who prefers an iced tea, this still resonates). Good choice, bros!

  27. Hey Hank and John, after watching Walkout in Spanish class and this YouTube clip: m.youtube.com/watch?v=-3TKnj… about the 1968 Rights Movement for Mexican Americans, I found out about how Sal Castro (legit the Latino MLK) died without getting to see a monument built for the students who sacrificed for equal education opportunities. I’m not Mexican American, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how this major piece of history just got brushed under the rug. If the nerdfighter community can’t build a monument (it’s ridiculously expensive obviously), do you think you could maybe talk about it for a minute? I’m planning on making a video but I don’t think it would reach as big an audience. I’m just afraid of something so important and someone as genuine as Sal Castro being forgotten. Thanks for being my greatest sources of inspiration!

  28. So your coin base is accepting bitcoin for charities huh also you have to pay taxes on that 15k according to the irs but at least you can get some of it written off

  29. @vlogbrothers pretty sure if you were given the BTC in 2014 then you should also have 1 bitchoin cash coin which is worth a lot less but it should be worth something!

  30. Haha, very cool story, John. I did want to express an opinion regarding the idea that the potential use of Bitcoin as a currency for day to day purchases is what gives it value.

    I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of crypto holders do not use Bitcoin as they would use their local fiat currency, nor do they ever intend to. That was the expressed intention of what Bitcoin could be in the "Satoshi whitepaper." Sometimes though, the intended use of an invention is not what ends up being its claim to fame.

    Over the course of its 9 year life, the Bitcoin blockchain itself has never been hacked, this despite the enormous bounty one could presumably acquire by hacking the blockchain. The decentralized "proof of work" system that makes this advanced encryption possible is what really gives Bitcoin enormous value.

    Of course, most people that purchase Bitcoin don't really care about this, and they just want to make quick money. However, one thing is clear – in the face of things like the Equifax hack, and as the internet continues to increasingly become an essential utility for people across the world, a superior way to secure our assets and data will be essential.

    Bitcoin is this security, and the crypto economics that will fuel the secure crypto-applications of the future will rely on Bitcoin to be the "reserve asset" from which monetary value can be redeemed. From supply chains, identity verification, to voting and general data integrity, Bitcoin will hopefully enable a new age of consumer protection.

  31. I'm so jealous of anyone who invested in Bitcoin early. My mind is blown at how profitable it is right now. One bit coin could mean owning a home and having some financial stability to persue a job I actually love. Soooo green with envy.

  32. Hank, please stop having text flash on the screen for only a second or two, it took me nearly the entire length of the video to be able to read the sentence when you said "humans" at 2:30.

  33. Just to clarify, YOUR bitcoin became worth 15K the moment someone else bought IT for that amount. Value is subjective. And that doesn't mean every other bitcoin was also worth 15K. There are people who don't see value in bitcoin at all, and for them their value is zero, which is fine. Others like me, would put a much higher value, meaning we wouldn't sell it for just mere 15K dollars. And heck, there's even discrepancies between markets in real time. Check this link: https://data.bitcoinity.org/markets/price/30d/USD?c=e&t=l.

    So it is a gross oversimplification to state that the moment you sold your bitcoin at 15K, everyone else's was also worth 15K "automagically".

  34. I think your summary is pretty darn good overall, and fine for a 3:45 vlogbrothers, post – BUT! If you wanted to be more accurate about how securities (or currencies) are valued, you'd need to go into the concepts of "bid", "ask", and "strike". For example, Google stock right now has a bid of $1,137.18 and an ask of $1,137.51. It's "value" is somewhere between those two, and has a gap of $0.33. Orders can be registered ahead of time, and there's a big stack of buy orders with $1,137.18 on the top, and a big stack of sell orders with $1,137.51 on the bottom.

    If someone offered to sell a share of Google stock for $1, it wouldn't set the price of Google to $1 for the entire world; the trading software (or, before software, just the people negotiating the trades) would agree on a "strike price", set to the lowest buy order on the "bid" stack. In our example, the new strike price would be $1,137.18, the seller would receive that amount, and that would be the new value of the stock. In the same way, a "market buy" is just "gimmie whatever's on the top of the 'ask' stack" and a "market sell" is just "gimmie whatever on the top of the 'bid' stack".

    Only when the stacks meet does a new strike price (stock price) get set. In that way, the value of a stock is actually much more of a consensus, where the volume and price of open sell orders can be compared to the volume of price of open buy orders.

  35. When you put away your winter coat, pop $5 in the pocket.  It'll be a nice surprise in October, and you can buy yourself a coffee.

  36. Listening to this only makes me feel sadder that I didn't hold on to the $100 worth of bitcoin I bought a few years back to play with and try to gain an understanding of how bitcoin works.

  37. It would be really nice if some of the pins could be purchased individually. 12 months of $11 pins adds up, but it would be nice to get a couple. Love the designs!

  38. Hey I have people wanting me to play VidCon this year. Is this a possibility or are the acts already locked in for the year? Thanks so much!

  39. Ill be honest, i love you both but finding 15k in an email when i been struggling to assure food and safety will be situated for myself daily, in such a touch and go fashion depresses the hell out of me.

  40. The thing is USD – and all currencies, really – are the same way, Hank. The value of a dollar is just whatever people think it is. When you give someone a dollar for a cookie you just pass long that uncertainty of value to them the same way that if you paid with bitcoin. "Backed by the U.S. government" doesn't do anything to peg the value other than how people trust the U.S. government to keep making sure that dollars continues to be a thing that exist. Cryptocurrencies are specifically designed so that there is no trust required in how they are structured, so in a sense you can also trust that your bitcoin will continue to be a thing that exists just as much as that dollar. As to the price of the value of a bitcoin, that will be for the market to decide; the fluctuations will dampen over time and it'll settle into a price point just like any other trading commodity. Whether that price point is more or less than the current amount it trades for I – nor anyone else – can currently predict. But it does have some value as a trading commodity in the same way that dollar does.

  41. Excellent video, simple metaphors for difficult concepts.
    Thanks Hank, i really feel we need greater education in this space.

  42. To everyone struggling with the flashes of text: use the "," and ".' (aka < and >) keys after pausing to go frame by frame!
    If you're on mobile RIP.

  43. One of my best friends once mined around 50 bitcoins when you could still mine them somewhat easily. He sold them years ago for less than 100 a pop. I can't think about this for too long or I just start to doubt everything in life >_>

  44. Sometimes God wills with your hand help to the other hands of his servants.
    When you help a hand, know that your hand is in the hands of God.

    ? Donations are always appreciated!

    Bitcoin (BTC) wallet address: 388zY5BNj66BjR9HX3zGdVw3ZPXKAW2woL

    Ether (ETH) wallet address: 0xe2c0435fb17d091d80f050620b72c4c61c19c36f

    Dogecoin (DOGE) wallet address: DLyaXWzbKyrxRVFW1SBZVcuidzwweJExKR

    we waiting for your help

  45. Sometimes God wills with your hand help to the other hands of his servants.
    When you help a hand, know that your hand is in the hands of God.

    ? Donations are always appreciated!

    Bitcoin (BTC) wallet address: 388zY5BNj66BjR9HX3zGdVw3ZPXKAW2woL

    Ether (ETH) wallet address: 0xe2c0435fb17d091d80f050620b72c4c61c19c36f

    Dogecoin (DOGE) wallet address: DLyaXWzbKyrxRVFW1SBZVcuidzwweJExKR

    we waiting for your help

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