In early 2014, I vividly remember my first encounter with Bitcoin. It happened in the men’s dormitory at Ming Chuan University, where a roommate from the Architecture department asked, “Have you heard of Bitcoin?” At that time, as a student of modest means, I didn’t pay much attention to it, being preoccupied with exploring Google Ads and learning how to generate web traffic to earn ad revenue. I even set up a Minecraft server, called DF, which enjoyed a brief period of prominence. It wasn’t until I received a check from Google a few years later that I truly felt a sense of accomplishment.

Apart from Google Ads, I also started exploring other ways to make money online. Unexpectedly, I discovered several platforms that allowed users to earn Bitcoin by watching and clicking ads. Thus began my journey of manually clicking ads, which later evolved into automating the process using scripts and even changing IPs through redialing to create multiple online identities. While I don’t recall if I actually cashed out, I realized the value of exposure.

Subsequently, I began collecting articles from across the web, compiling all the information on my Blogger. This led me to concepts such as mining, sidechains, and consensus algorithms. I even participated in early dice games named after Satoshi Nakamoto and wrote a Python script for gambling purposes.

Facebook started gaining popularity in 2009, and in 2013, I started a Bitcoin group in Chinese. By 2014, I had delved deeply into the whitepaper, purchasing various mining rigs such as the Avalon, Butterfly, and Zeus miners, while trading on platforms like BTC-e and Poloniex. Apart from Bitcoin, there were only a few altcoins on the market. Local exchanges like BitoEX and MaiCoin emerged in Taiwan, and while some, like YES BTC and BTC EX, are now history, this was a natural progression of the technology.

In 2014, I organized a Chinese Bitcoin group and weekly Bitcoin meetups, discussing the attitude of regulatory authorities and tax agencies towards Bitcoin in various cafes. By the end of that year, we co-hosted Taiwan’s first Bitcoin summit and established the Taipei Bitcoin Association and the Chinese Digital Currency Association. In my free time, I often rode my scooter to various events, racking up quite a few traffic tickets along the way. I explored many new places, from cafes to beer bars, which provided my first experience interacting with people from various countries.

This journey not only enriched my knowledge but also shaped my profound understanding of digital currency and the online world.

Between 2014 and 2015, Bitcoin meetups were held weekly in Taiwan’s Bitcoin industry, gathering enthusiasts to explore Bitcoin’s potential. Despite not fully understanding how Bitcoin worked, people knew it was a new form of currency. Cross-border payments took just 10 minutes, solving the issue of international money transfers.

Bitcoin exchanges, trading platforms, and wallet services started to appear. Some operators successfully introduced Bitcoin into convenience stores like FamilyMart and possibly Hi-Life. Bitcoin was around $200 then. Due to a lack of demand, people had to promote Bitcoin through various incentives, such as offering LoL shell coins for Bitcoin purchases. Some people created simple auction platforms to start pricing items in Bitcoin. Some cafes and bars began accepting Bitcoin as well.

Merchants weren’t particularly keen on holding Bitcoin, so some operators developed a solution to accept cryptocurrency on behalf of merchants and directly transfer fiat currency to their accounts. I recall testing this out at a breakfast shop in Taichung.