I first learned about Bitcoin almost 2 years ago to the day in the Spring of 2013 at Atlanta Startup Village at Atlanta Tech Village. One of the presenting companies was BitPay. I had the chance to chat with Tony Gallippi, one of the co-founders and fellow GaTech alumnus, following the event.
That evening, I went home and researched Bitcoin more and it was one of the most interesting technological advancements that I had ever read about. The possibilities for application were seemingly endless. I came away from that research with 2 major conclusions: 1) Intermediaries and middle-men financial systems and models would be the most affected, and 2) Bitcoin, the underlying protocol, and incentive system would be the Trust protocol of the internet for transactions.
The largest hurdle, in my view, would be the user experience. The moment that you use any word that begins with Crypto, you lose the masses. In order for Bitcoin to reach mass adoption, Bitcoin would have to "disappear" and be invisible. No one really talks about SMTP or HTTP, we discuss email and websites.
In July, I took my first trip to London on business and had to exchange currency for the first time. The exchange rates and associated fees were a ripoff in my opinion. In this moment, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System transformed from words on paper to a real world experience, and I saw the true power of Bitcoin.
When I returned to the states, I signed up for an account on Mt. Gox (defunct) and started the confirmation process. On July 27, 2013, I bought my first Bitcoin. The experience did not invoke overwhelming feelings of trust, and there was quite a bit of friction in signing up, being confirmed, transferring money, and then finally purchasing Bitcoin.
There was (and still is) a long way to go before mass adoption, but the future was here and I had just purchased .994 BTC of it.