Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks based on Blockchain technology. [Courtesy]
When Lawrence Mberi and Louis Kaptich first heard of cryptocurrency back in 2010 and 2016 respectively, both of them did not care much for it. This is despite Bitcoin – the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation – having debuted in 2009 with a lot of fanfare.
Just like everyone else, they obeyed the instincts which strongly told them not to indulge. “Bitcoin is a scam and cryptocurrency is another Multi-level marketing pyramid scheme.” This was all they heard.
Also to note that at the time, Bitcoin was trading at $ 436.46 (Sh49,376). Currently, a Bitcoin will cost you $48,364.80 (Sh5,467,889.66). This is high growth in value of 11,081 per cent from the first time the duo heard about Bitcoin to today.
After researching online and tracking cryptocurrencies in the international media, they decided to invest. But the decision was a bit hurried.
“In the true Kenyan spirit, we first jumped into this ‘new investment opportunity without finding out much about it,” Lawrence recalled. “I mean, we are marathon runners so off we went with the resolve to find out more later.”
The first time they both did, they lost money through a scam that cost them a significant amount of money in the hope that they would recoup their investment.
They burnt fingers in pursuit of what in Kenya is known as get-rich-quick schemes.
They then decided to find out more about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency and how to get into it.
“Ours was baptism by fire and that is what fueled the quest to gain more knowledge,” Louis explained. “We teamed up and founded Decrypt Edge, an organization that focuses on educating people about cryptocurrency, just to guide individuals interested in the trade.”
What is cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency (simply crypto) according to Investopedia, is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. A defining feature of cryptocurrencies is that they are generally not issued by any central authority, rendering them theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.
Currently, there are over 14,000 cryptocurrencies worldwide, with the oldest being Bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto, (believed to be a Japanese man), is the name used by the presumed pseudonymous person or persons who developed bitcoin. He authored the bitcoin white paper, and created and deployed bitcoin’s original reference implementation.
As part of the implementation, Nakamoto also devised the first blockchain database.
Cryptocurrency investor, Louis Kaptich. [Courtesy]
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