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This image shows a collection of "paper wallets" that held my bitcoins in 2013. If I'd held onto the bitcoins, each of these pieces of paper would be worth around $280,000 today. I had a total of 56 bitcoins, so at today's price of $35,000, my May 2013 bitcoin holdings would be worth almost $2 million today.
Unfortunately, that's the month I took a new job at the Washington Post. Since I was planning to write about bitcoin, the Post's rules required me to liquidate my bitcoin holdings.
The story starts in 2011, when I started writing about bitcoin for my blog and Ars Technica. Initially, I was a bitcoin skeptic. I felt vindicated when bitcoin's price peaked around $30 in June 2011 and then plunged—reaching $2 before the end of the year.
But then bitcoin's price started to rise again, and I started to reconsider my bitcoin skepticism. By the time bitcoin reached $6 in January 2012, I was pretty sure it would be a big deal. I thought the fact that bitcoin had rallied after a 93 percent plunge demonstrated that it would have staying power. And it seemed clear that a decentralized, Internet-native payment network could be useful to a lot of people. And bitcoin's price would have to go up a lot for the network to be a viable global payment system.